He’s Watching You – Episode 12

BY ten o’clock that night she had reached a decision. She would give up her job here and go back inland to Thetford. There was something profoundly wrong in the village and she felt threatened on all sides. Joan didn’t know who to trust.

The storm broke half an hour later. There was a distant roll of thunder and a flash of lightning that threw jagged shadows on to her bedroom walls. Then the rain came, beating and hammering against the window.

By midnight it was overhead, with a lashing gale, torrential downpour and the wind moaning round the house.

Cautiously, she drew back the curtains and peered out into the gloom. Something was amiss. The usual steady rhythm of flashes from the lighthouse had changed.

The light was flickering on and off haphazardly, bright one moment then only the darkness of the night. She guessed at once what had happened.

Joseph Smith, the keeper, had had an accident. The storm had brought down the telephone wires and he was desperately trying to attract attention. She thought of trying to summon help, but that would waste time. And her landlady was in Ipswich visiting her sister.

Quickly pulling on a waterproof coat and wellington boots, Joan opened the door and stepped out into the wild night. The torch beam illuminated the path, a track running with mud and water. Leaning forward against the gale, soaked from head to foot, she ploughed on through the bushes.

When she came out into the open space of the promontory, the wind threatened to knock her over. Half crouching, she reached the lighthouse and turned the handle of the small black door.

It opened and she stepped inside. Joseph would be upstairs in the lantern room. Up and up she climbed, hearing the wail of the wind, the lighthouse trembling under the onslaught.

Joan reached the watchroom and heard a muffled bleeping sound, and a voice, guttural and harsh. Horrified, she realised that Joseph Smith was speaking in German, telling somebody he was ready, that something would happen tomorrow evening.

Peering cautiously in, she saw him sitting at a small desk, fiddling with the dials on a radio, earphones on his head. Then she dropped her torch. It bounced down the stairway with a deafening clatter.

He swung round, his face creased with rage.

“You little devil! Creeping round at night. Poking your nose in where you shouldn’t be.” He picked up a heavy spanner and started towards her.

“There have been two deaths in this lighthouse so far. Another will make no difference. You’ll vanish. Like the others.”

Joan stood there, frozen. He was no more than three feet away when she was violently shoved to one side and a hard voice, icy cold, barked out.

“Stay where you are. Move an inch and I’ll shoot.” Les Walker, black from head to toe, stood there, the squat barrel of a revolver in his hand. Just behind him, four steps down, was a heavily muffled figure in an Army greatcoat.

Colonel Winthrop’s voice was calm, reassuring.

“Nobody can hurt you now, Miss Merriel.” Then he barked an order and two Army sergeants ran up the steps. “Take him away, men. Colchester Army prison.”

“Sir.” The two men stepped forward and she heard the metallic click of handcuffs.

Joseph Smith’s face was distorted. His last words were a snarl.

“The German Reich will win, you stupid fool.” Then he clicked his heel and attempted a Nazi salute. “Heil Hitler!”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.