The full moon was a saving grace as Jake made his way to the waterfront cabin as the darkness settled in. It was his two week start to man the Granite North lighthouse station. There would be no going back to the calamity he had just left. The town where Jake has lived for many years, was becoming a community of, and he came up with the only word combo he could think of at the time, a cluster of wing nuts. They were turning ideas and twisting opinions in an attempt to create a new model, one that would be a new version of living underneath and off the radar. Everyone’s thinking was to be turned off and transformed into a life of nirvana. To do that, every bit of information about the town, pictures, articles, maps, anything referencing the town would be permanently erased. Nothing would ever be known about the area, the town, or this place in Maine ever again.
It all started when a new family came into town. They seemed to fit in as just an average family. The community was an inviting one, where there was a local group whose mission was to be the welcoming committee of the town. New families were treated as special guests and were given a walking tour of the many businesses in the quaint downtown area. This included a new shop in town; Our Fancy Fist Sandwich. Their claim to fame were fist-sized sandwiches that quickly became popular and was soon featured in the #1 tourist magazine.
Jake remembered how that went. It was right before another notch to fame hit the town. This part of Maine had been recently highlighted on the latest episode of “Beyond A Click”. This was one of the most scenic areas of the state with the mill buildings converted into art studios. All anyone did was to simply click on any platform and, voila, their town would show up. The buzz was in the air about the number of out-of-staters that were everywhere. It was, thankfully, good for business. But these people would only come and stay for a while, then be gone until the next sightseeing bus came through.
Then, the Jumanji newcomers decided they needed to be in charge. Their version of life was soon to be installed in the town.
Something was in the air. It took just over a year for this family to create an alluring web of intrigue with their lifestyle. Their house was mostly built underground. Coordinates were an equal longitude and latitude written on a sign posted at the road side. There was always a lovely floral walkway leading to the entry door so no one really thought too much about this odd place. The man of the house, began to appear at each and every local meeting, town hall gathering, school events, elections and any state and town public television episodes. His manner became strong, heavy and one sided. Arguments were not to happen as he put anyone down with his language and firm tone. Something was happening as one by one anyone who had any opinion, soon began to nod in agreement with him and his family tribe. They made it known there would no longer be a town council, or anything or anyone at any upper level of management. The end of the year brought a signed document from each member of any committee which gave all rights of any town matters to the Jumanji tribe.
And just like that, people were agreeable to any direction the town was now heading. It was if they all drank the Kool-Aid and were nodding puppets to this master of illusion.
Jake saw the beginning of this rollercoaster ride. How they did this was still a mystery. He didn’t fall for the scam and made sure to stay clear of any of it. It seemed like the ones who were close to them at one time or another, whether at a store, in a town building or walking throughout the town seemed to have been pulled into their mind game. The roads leading into the town were blocked off and detours took traffic around and bypassed any access to any community.
In real time, Jake was tasked as a lightkeeper. This did not change and he would stand his ground to remain on sight. It time, now, to set up the lights and signals for the evening and early morning hours for the sea travelers. As Jake busied himself with chores, he thought back to what he just left and stopped as he needed to focus ahead. There seemed to be a low ship activity this evening according to the recorded data. His lightkeeper pal had headed back to town, and Jake tried to convince him that it was not a smart plan. “My family is there. What can I do?” Jake was adamant, “Don’t be taken in by this mind game thing!” He told him what was happening and to pack up and get out of town. His buddy thought about what was said, and nodded. “You’re right. I feel lost in that town and what’s left behind are robots. I’ll do it. We’ll be gone before the sun comes up.” He thanked Jake, shook hands and left.
Now here he was, by himself, trying to make sense of it all. I’ll be here at the lighthouse for two weeks and will have no idea if the town will be a memory. It has already turned into a gated community. No one in. No one out. Technology will be gone, over and done. No one will have access to the outside. Computers have already been collected. Now there’s talk about creating a tower using them as a monument to the past. Cell phones have been added to a crypt that will be buried. Plans are in the works to have a coming of the new age party. Empty excitement is the new thrill.
What happened to everyone’s mind? Jake was petrified. Who are these people that moved in like any other average family but then took everything over? He looked out over the beautiful ocean and just cringed. This place was his sanctuary. Maybe he could somehow help being in a place outside of the ‘gate’. He’ll have time to think things through and hopefully come up with an alternate strategy. There were friends he could put the word out to, who lived just outside of the town. They would be shocked to learn of his dilemma. Or maybe not, if this thing, whatever it is, is spreading.
Just then, the light board went out. From his view at the top, this was not good. Jake had safety measures in place but nothing was working. Every switch he touched sent a shock wave down his arm. He saw in the distance that the main light beacon had gone out. Now there was no aid for any ships at this time. Scrambling through the top floor, to the next floor down trying every way to reactivate any power proved useless. This went on for an hour. The electricity was sparking and creating a potential disaster. He could touch nothing without getting shocked and a scathing burn.
The only way to save any ship from a potential catastrophe was to go old school; oil lanterns.
It was pitch dark and the moon was hidden behind cloud cover. Jake was in a frantic turmoil as he set about trying to manage the amount of oil he would need. Any switch to even turn on a simple lightbulb was not working. He found his head light and put it on. It worked for a second, that’s it. He grabbed it and threw it down, so annoyed with everything. Anything to light the wicks, matched and lighters were missing. Something was not right. The lighthouse had gone dark.
Why me and why now? He was, hands down, the best lighthouse keeper they had in the state. As young as he appeared to the average person, he had the knowledge. He knew his stuff and had been on site at over 100 lighthouses all over the world. What is going on?
Jake felt his way back up three flights of stairs to the top level of the Granite North. He found his binoculars and out across the main sightline along the oceanfront he spied two heavy trawlers and one smaller boat heading towards the coastline. Before he dropped the binoculars and headed out in the yawl boat to attempt a last ditch effort to alert them to a possible disaster, an image caught his eye.
In the distance, Jake saw several men. They were standing above tree line and had I-pad computers in hand. He recognized one, the head guy of the Jumanji tribe; scam artist, smoothie, con man. They were the ones sending codes, and messing with every light source in the building. He could only think of what their gain was. Immediately the answer was clear. Destroy any other access point to come into the town. Create a disaster of any ship in the water making its way to shore. It was the Jumanji way or no way.
Two could play this game. What they hadn’t realized is that one of the boats was a U.S. Coast Guard Defender. This was a small vessel yet it was outfitted with a machine gun, to defend the waters. With every ounce of strength, Jake pulled the yawl boat, out of sight, to the water’s edge, and jumped in.
The game was not over.