The Night Caught Fire: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

I awoke once more to sand in my hair and dreams in my head.  Must’ve slept on a rock, I said to no one but myself, for the back of my head aches so.  And as I lifted myself up with my left hand, I instinctively reached round the back of my head with my right.  Bloody great knot, I said to myself.  Either that or my head has grown bulbous over night.  And I chuckled at the absurdity of my head taking on any new shape but normal.  Like a great egg, I said jokingly.  Like a great egg for omelets!  And here I laughed so hard that sand and saliva shot like a gun out of my mouth.

“Mind!” I heard a voice say.  “That’s the second time you’ve tried to blow me over with your breath!”

And I looked (Do my eyes deceive me?), and I saw, once more, the toe fingered creature from before.  “Well,” he said, “what of you, then?”  And as I looked, I found that we were once more back in his little hovel – tea and toast at the ready.

To be sure, confusion wrinkled my brow, and as it did, I began to ask the question that had plagued me ever since washing up on shore: “But where…”

“…have you been?” my once and again companion finished my query.  “It’s all well and good to ask where one’s been,” he began after a pause (in which he jellied even more toast with his ever increasing toe like fingers), “but to be there is quite another matter.”  And after this short monologue, he returned to his task.

I stared dumbfounded (confused as I was), and tried with all my might to wrap my brain around the apparent ramblings of this egg shaped fellow.  Having felt my stare (for what may have been a good deal of time), my half a friend looked up from his toast – jelly drip dropping off his knife – and crinkled his mouth.

“Forgive me,” I said finally with an air of defeat.  “For my brain feels all over…”

“Scrambled?” he said, interjecting once more.

“Why… yes,” I replied, feeling finally that someone – at least someone – semi understood my seemingly squalid predicament.

“Eh!” he replied and returned to his toast.  “Scrambled’s no good.  Not like sunny side up or over easy.  Fried’s worse, though.  Mind you don’t end up fried.”

“I beg your pardon?” I asked once again.

“I beg yours!” he replied with seriousness in his eyes – looking up once again to let his knife drip drop jelly.

“Scrambled,” he said abruptly after a pause.  “It’s a start.  And bacon, besides.”

“Come again?” I asked, now even more confused than when we had began our dialogue.

“Scrambled eggs ok, gov’ner?  And bacon besides?”

“…Yes,” I finally said, still rubbing the back of my head.  “Yes, that would be lovely.”

“Toast and jam?” the second voice asked.

“Jelly,” I said after a pause.  “And a knife to put it on.”

“Yes, sir,” he said once more, and scuttled off… leaving me to my person.

But the egg shaped man, I said only to myself.  Where has he off to? And yet, no one remained on that sandy shore of which I could inquire.


It’s all well and good to be offered scrambled eggs (and bacon besides), but when one is seated on the shores of a sugared tea sea, one soon misses the simplicity of salt.  And when I asked the sailors if they might have a pinch, that same look from before appeared when I had asked for tea.  But despite their lack of briny seasoning, I greatly enjoyed my eggs, bacon, and (jellied) toast, and began to think that things were indeed beginning to look up.  Come now, I said to myself (all the while munching heartily on a piece of grape jellied toast with a grin on my face that was as wide as my ears), for you could not have expected this.  Food and friends, all enjoyed under the blue gray of dawn as morning rises to meet this new day.  And to the right – over our shoulders – that great lighthouse stands like a sentry or beacon, beckoning weary travelers ‘Come,’ and providing protecting for those resting under its shadow.  And though poet I am not, I couldn’t help but feel supremely proud of my most recent soliloquy.

…But none have heard it, I said only to myself, remarking on my choice of description.  Does ‘soliloquy’ not require others? I asked, trying in vain to remember my lessons.  Ah, just as well! I surmised. For none but the lighthouse would be impressed.

“And I am impressed,” I heard a voice inside my head say.  “Very impressed.”

I needn’t tell you just how much jellied toast I spat out of my mouth upon hearing the internal voice of that external lighthouse.

“Careful, gov’ner,” the one next to me said.  “Don’t eat it too fast.”

I was obliged to nod a ‘thank you’ as I coughed up even more of my breakfast.  And with a quick chest pounding of my right hand (balled into a fist, thumb side in), I coughed free the last remnants of my choke.

“That’s it, gov’ner,” he said with a pat on my back (a forceful one, just in case I hadn’t managed to clear my throat of my own accord).  “That’s it.  Let the air do its work.”  And I once again breathed in the fresh clean air… and relaxed my esophagus.

While breathing (leaned forward with my elbows on my knees and my back hunched), I peered a quick glance in the way of the lighthouse.  Strange, I said only to myself, for it seems to be smiling at me.  And so it was.  For a great smile stretched out across the front of that lighthouse, following the divide between the red and white sections.  And I dare say, I said internally, still squinting hard at that house of lights, that it means to have eyes somewhere in its black most part.  And the more I looked at that lighthouse, ever searching for its elusive eyes, I realized the truth as if a hammer struck me on the head.

“Why, its light!” I said aloud, startling the whole lot of them.  “Why, its light is the eye!”  And this time, jelly and toast came spitter spat out of a great number of mouths, and it took ever so much coughing and patting to set everyone right.


“What do you mean, gov’ner?” the second voice asked once everyone was done choking and sputtering.  “What do you mean, ‘Its light is the eye?'”

“I mean,” I said, trying in vain to choose my words purposefully.  “I mean… well… (This isn’t going good, ol’ boy!) I mean that the lighthouse means us…”

“… to venture in,” the second voiced one finished (Just like the egg shaped fellow, I said to myself).  “I know, gov’ner,” he continued.  “I know it does.  And might I say, I’m obliged to go to it.  Obliged… yet scared.”

“Why scared?” I asked, not yet realizing that the conversation now consisted of only he and I – all the rest had returned to their breakfast.

“…Because,” he said after a pause.  “Because (and here he released a puff of air) the lighthouse, it talks to me.”  I could say nothing but nod in agreement.  “And don’t you see it?” he said, almost above a whisper.  “Don’t you see it?  Its smile – its red and white smile.  At times… at times I can almost make out teeth.  And they don’t look pleasant, gov’ner.  They don’t look pleasant at all.”

“Well, what are we to do?” I asked, hoping I hadn’t already the answer.

“We go to the lighthouse,” the second voice said.  “We go to the lighthouse… and we see.”

Dave Burns

About Dave Burns

"Writing is dreaming with your eyes open." - Dave Burns Available Books and Works: The Movement: A Children's Story for Grown-ups The Movement: Revisited Edem's Flight The Movement: Concluded - The Completed Anthology Pieces of Me a million little gods: the clearwater chronicles UnApologetic Uncarved: The Literature and Arts Magazine Volume 1 Uncarved: The Literature and Arts Magazine Volume 2 Uncarved: The Literature and Arts Magazine Volume 3 For a complete list of books and works, visit the author @ or
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