Call Back

Inspired by a photographic image of Godzilla wading ashore at Crescent City, California, near Battery Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was situated  some 20 nautical miles west and north of the nearest seaport, slightly short of the great drop into the inky depths of the Pacific’s cold waters. It had been there since 1895 and had served its purpose well.

On some nights though, when thick fog and heavy, crashing seas were met on the large sea-stack that formed the foundation of the lighthouse, strange sounds could be heard emanating from that great depth. It were as if something were answering the deep bellow of the fog horn that sounded through the impenetrable darkness, and responding to the accompanying rotation of its bright glow and magnified by the polish of the Fresnel lens.

The three keepers, who rotated shifts of two-weeks each, told one another that it was merely imagination, set upon each man while in lonely isolation. That is until the youngest of the keepers, a Josh Breedon, lived through a waking nightmare.

One-hundred and twenty-two, that was the number of steps to the platform that housed the lens, as Breedon banged upward and out onto the catwalk, to enjoy a smoke, taking in the night’s breeze. The fog lay high, having yet to drop to sea level, giving him an unvarnished view of the blackened expanse that lay miles before him.

At first, Breedon believed he was watching the undulating movement of a large whale as it passed by and then circled the rocky platform. But soon it occurred to the youthful observer that he was looking at a massive body, perhaps three-times that in size of any ordinary whale.

Further, he believed that he could not only hear the darkened form reverberating, “Voquulo Zaa-q’ran,” as if in answer to the fog horns blast, but he could feel it’s subsonic vibrations racing through the stony tower. As the thing called back, it continued to circle the lone edifice until it was nearly making contact with its base.

By then the fog had started its majestic decent to the top of the waves, making it hard for the light keeper to fully fathom what was happening below. It was the sight of a large green head with red glowing eyes and tentacle like appendages, captured momentarily in the flash of the rotating lamps glare, that caused Breedon to rapidly retreat from the outer deck.

With that horrendous head came the deep bellow “Voquulo Zaa-q’ran,” in response to the continuing boom of the horn, followed by a webbed claw, reaching for the frightened man, now racing down the metal steps, heavy boots clanging, speeding for the safety of the ground floor. The entire thing shook with a great upheaval of violence, as he dashed to the safety of the machine room below the structure.

Breedon dived beneath a concrete work bench as the water-locked monument shuddered, crumbling around and over him. It would be two days before rescuers arrived to begin the task of digging the light keeper from his place of interment.

When asked what caused destruction, Breedon gave no answer. Eventually it was agreed that the ancient construct had suffered structural failure.

Replaced by a buoy, that emitted an electronic signal, a fog horn and bobbed at the end of a long, thick steel cable attached to the ocean bottom, the days of the lighthouses and the lighthouse keeper started coming to a close. Breedon found this acceptable as he remained too frightened to speak of that thing which befell the old lighthouse.

Instead, he moved to the 24-hour beacon of neon lights and the crashing coinage of the one-armed bandit, which line the streets of the many towns of Nevada. And it was amid this cacophony that Josh Breedon heard the familiar echo of  high desert, but failed to recognize its voice.

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