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Horror Speculative Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

Luke Reids would never, ever leave Rose. Could never, ever leave Rose. She drew him to her with unparalleled force, and he’d known from the first that the only force strong enough to rival hers was death itself. Even then, that separation would only be temporary.

At least, that’s what Luke thought as he walked with her on his arm. Rose—short for Rosemary, although she hadn’t told anybody but him—was the prettiest thing he had ever seen. Her name meant something about the sea, and about a rose. Luke could never remember exactly what, but if anything, he could always discern why: Rose had eyes that sparkled like the sun glinting off of the open ocean, and the soul of a breeze that filled the sails. And, of course, she had rose in her name. 

Walking behind her slight figure, though, Luke was having doubts. Not about Rose, of course—he could never doubt her. His doubts were about the structure looming in front of them. 

Dry leaves littered the ground and crunched under Luke’s feet. Dead leaves. He didn’t know what put the thought of death in his head, but it unsettled him. Maybe it was the way the full moon shrouded everything in a silvery-grey color. The same color as ash. The same color he imagined a skeleton would turn, after being left outside too long. 

Luke shivered. Why was he thinking like this?

“You sure you want to do this, Rose?” he asked. After his macabre thoughts, he found that the lighthouse, standing on the edge of a choppy sea and jagged shore, gave him chills. 

Rose elbowed him. “Why, you scared?”

“No, I just…”

He stopped. He didn’t know what he just. He only knew that suddenly, going into the lighthouse seemed like a bad idea. 

Rose laughed. “I knew it—you are scared. Let’s go.”

Then again, it didn’t matter what Luke thought was a bad idea. He would follow Rose until the day he died.

The lighthouse stood tall against the night sky, its light like a beacon to the couple. The spiraling cupola reached up into the heavens, delicately brushing the full moon. The light spun round, searching the sea and the woods in turn, over and over again. The steadiness of it had an allure that Luke couldn’t shake. Apparently, he thought as he watched Rose walk toward the lighthouse without another glance at him, she thought the same.

Luke approached the lighthouse in a sort of daze, almost a drunken stupor. He could hear nothing but the gentle crunch of his feet on dried leaves; he couldn’t even hear Rose’s footsteps. In her white dress—the same color as the light, come to think of it—she almost appeared to be floating. 

The lighthouse really was beautiful. They’d been talking about it so long, he was forgetting whose idea it was to come, but it was a good one. The light peeking out from behind the tower’s closed door felt inviting. 

Luke shook his head. It was just a lighthouse. Rose was the alluring sight here.

She looked over her shoulder and gave Luke a delicate smile from the steps leading to the wooden door. “The light’s pretty, isn’t it? I’m so glad you convinced me to come here.”

Had he? That settled it, then—it had been his idea to come. Luke grinned. He loved the way she smiled–it drew him in more than anything he’d ever experienced. “I’m glad you like it.”

Rose opened the door and disappeared into the lighthouse.


For the love of my life:

I didn’t mean to kill you. 

I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing such a thing. I wish I could talk to you again, just one more time, and tell you that I’m sorry for asking you to come here with me. 

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night—it was clear, and it was quiet. No sound except the two of us. The lighthouse was beautiful, and I remember thinking about how it seemed to point to the new moon. The ocean was choppy against the jagged shore, and I had a bad feeling about coming here, but you laughed and told me we would be okay. 

I thought of so many reasons to turn back, but I didn’t dare voice them. People who’ve disappeared here? You’d blame it on their lack of common sense. Old building that’s prone to collapse? No problem, for seasoned adventurers like us. Locals avoid the place? You’d ask me if I was one of those idiots who believed in ghost stories. 

But as we walked toward that lighthouse, neither of us asked the most important question. Why, on a tiny, uninhabited, never-visited island, is the light in the lighthouse still spinning?


Luke took the lighthouse stairs two at a time to catch up with Rose. She couldn’t have gotten this far ahead of him—he’d entered the building only seconds after her. The goosebumps on his skin hadn’t faded since he first laid eyes on the place, and something felt off. 

He called her name once, twice, to no avail. He arrived in the upper room, the one with the light, red-faced and breathless.

Rose stood in front of the light, baring perfect teeth in another smile. Luke’s mouth hung open. To see her, illuminated by the light behind her…

She was breathtaking


I should’ve known right when I crossed the threshold that something was wrong. I’m still in the upper room, I feel like I’m losing my mind, but I can’t leave. I don’t know why, but I can’t leave. 

I was so focused on you that I didn’t take the time to think, but if I had to describe the feeling when I crossed the threshold here…I would say it felt like I was being called. Like I had no control. Like you were someone else, someone I didn’t know and hoped to never meet, someone terrifying and cruel. I should’ve told you to let the room alone, leave the light behind, and get out of here with me.

But I couldn’t. The light was like your smile, drawing me in. The light was calling me, too.


Rose glowed. Her flowing hair, her white dress and hands and complexion—the light made her look like an angel. It gave her an otherworldly, spectral aura, and her presence overpowered everything else in Luke’s consciousness. Beautiful. Glowing. The most breathtaking thing in existence. 

Join me, Luke

Luke paused. He hadn’t thought that last part. 

This time, with her voice, Rose’s lips moved. Join me, Luke.

The words—Rose’s voice, but it was inside Luke’s head instead of spoken aloud—left Luke mesmerized, paralyzed. He watched, open-mouthed, as Rose turned, reached out, and touched the light. 


Join me. I still hear your words, and I don’t know if they’re echoing around the walls or if they’re all in my head. Maybe they were all in my head all along—why would you be telling me to join you? All I know for sure is that your voice, swelling with every passing second, deafened me as you turned your back on me and touched the light. Then I blinked, and you were gone. Where the window facing out to sea used to be, a gaping hole stood.

Join me, Luke

I’m not sure what to do now. It’s been an hour, and I haven’t been able to leave this room. I can’t tell if there’s some supernatural force at work, holding me here, or if it’s you; if your voice is here, or if it’s just echoing in my head. All I want to do now is touch the light. All I know now is that I can’t touch the light. 

I’m going crazy. I can’t live like this—your voice just won’t leave. 

Join me, Luke. Join me. Join me.

You’re here—I can feel it. But that’s just it. I watched you. You’re not here, you can’t be here, because I watched you jump. Because you touched the light. 

Join me. Join me. Join me.

Maybe joining you wouldn’t be so bad.

The light in this room taunts me, sweeping in its rhythmic circle. It lights on me every time your voice repeats in my head. 

Join me. Join me. Join me. 

It’s my fault you’re gone. You said I was the reason you came here—because you came here, you’re gone. 

I didn’t mean to kill you, but I did. 

Join me, Luke

The least I can do is honor your final wish. 


A journal’s pages rustle, pen left unattended, dripping ink onto a half-full page. The lighthouse stands empty, desolate, waiting; it possesses a spectral aura, something otherworldly in the eyes of passers-by. The sea sends no breeze in the way of the lighthouse—it is dead silent along the rocky shore. 

Nobody ever ventures close enough to see the bodies lying broken over the jagged rocks. Many bodies, all of them young and all of them men. Only one of them is named Luke Reids; none of them are named Rosemary. The waves crash against the shore, looking almost hungry. Slowly, over time, one-by-one, the bodies will decay. They will give themselves up to the sea until nothing remains but a decrepit skeleton, a shell of what used to be there. A shell of the soul that they had sacrificed to the sea. 

The wind does not disturb the ground, but it sweeps through the top floor of the lighthouse, where the beacon shines, and caresses the slight figure of a girl whose name means bitter rose of the sea.


January 25, 2022 03:11

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24 comments

Tommie Michele
03:22 Jan 25, 2022

This is the first story I've posted in a while--I've been pretty busy, what with publishing and stuff--and it's really, really out of my element. There's a Gothic short story assignment in one of my classes, and I wanted to take the opportunity to post something to Reedsy, since I've been MIA for a while. Any feedback would be well-appreciated! This actually hasn't gone through any edits yet, so I would love to hear any crits or big-picture feedback. Thanks for taking the time to read!

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21:27 Feb 14, 2022

Hi Tommie, I hope all is well? I've had a go at writing for this week and I would really appreciate your crit if you have time for it. I didn't really like the prompts and I haven't exactly stuck to the one I went with, but it's a couple of weeks since I wrote so I was determined to do something. Any comments very welcome. Best, K

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Tommie Michele
05:17 Feb 16, 2022

I would love to give some crit this week! I’m incredibly busy this week—for some reason, we’ve had a lot of schoolwork lately, and I have an all-day choir event Friday and Saturday that I have to prepare for—but I think I’ll be able to find time sometime this week :). I hope all is well with you, too! I’m popping over right now to check out your latest :).

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Alex Sultan
01:07 Jan 28, 2022

Great take on the prompt - it's cool how you incorporated the meaning of the name into the last line. I think that's exactly what the prompt called for, and you did it very well. I also think your use of italics is really unique. I see no other stories like it(Keeping certain words un-italicized in a paragraph of it is clever) This is what I found for notes on a second read - I hope it is helpful: At least, that’s what he thought as he walked with her on his arm. -Good hook! I do try to read a lot of stories on here, and I find many author...

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Tommie Michele
18:06 Jan 28, 2022

I think I will--I haven't submitted anything in a while, so why not? Thank you so much for the line-by-line--I'll go through and implement them later today!

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Alex Sultan
10:09 Jan 29, 2022

I've read through it again, and I do like the changes you've made. I already liked the first paragraph, but I do think it is better/more engaging now. Best of luck!

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Tommie Michele
04:15 Jan 30, 2022

Thank you! Best of luck to you, too!

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Rachel Smith
13:59 Jan 25, 2022

I liked it. I think you did the gothic horror thing well. Cool twist too, creepy and haunting.

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Tommie Michele
17:59 Jan 25, 2022

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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Hey Tommie - I have a prayer request at the top of my bio. Please ask other people in your life to pray, too. I'm asking this of anyone I know on Reedsy who says their Christian.

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Patrick Samuel
15:09 Feb 17, 2022

This gives new meaning to "romantic suspense". I liked how you built it up alternating the main action with journal pages like an ominous dialogue between the hopeful present and a future full of regrets.

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Tommie Michele
18:57 Feb 17, 2022

Thank you so much! That’s definitely the idea I was going for!

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Kevin Broccoli
23:49 Feb 07, 2022

I loved this story. You should have taken the prize for this one. It's gorgeous.

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Tommie Michele
02:27 Feb 08, 2022

Wow, high praise! Thank you so much, Kevin!

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Cindy Calder
13:52 Jan 29, 2022

This story reminds me of Poe’s works. I loved it!

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Tommie Michele
04:15 Jan 30, 2022

Thank you! That’s a huge compliment :)

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18:15 Jan 28, 2022

Hi Tommie, good edit. The opening is much improved.

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Tommie Michele
22:30 Jan 28, 2022

Thank you! I still need to go through and do some line-edits, and I'm not sure if I'm completely happy with the opening, but I do think it's the best it's going to get on that front.

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16:23 Jan 26, 2022

Hi Tommie, Welcome back! This creepy! Well done on building the atmosphere and keeping the final line in store to set off the meaning of the name and bring the whole thing full circle back to the title. If you want crit I spotted a couple of things that would be easily fixed: You describe the moon as a full moon near the beginning and as a new moon near the end, you need to be consistent, they are quite different things. You use a few cliches throughout the piece which you could switch up a bit and improve the feel of the story by ame...

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Tommie Michele
19:20 Jan 26, 2022

Do you have any suggestions for what I could use to replace the cliche lines? I'm having some trouble thinking of things--I want to convey Luke feeling this sort of helpless love, but I'm not sure how to word it (especially in the first line) Thank you so much for reading it over!

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20:00 Jan 26, 2022

Hi Tommie, I'll have a bit of a think. How about any of these? Luke Reids loved nothing more than breathing in the presence of his lover. Just being in the same room as her rendered him helpless to think about anything else. Her smile was such that it stopped the traffic in his head and silenced his fears. If Rose had wished it Luke would have boarded a sinking ship or climbed a burning tree. Have a think about tangible actions that a person might carry out in the name of love, but that would seem crazy to an onlooker. Maybe imagi...

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Tommie Michele
20:58 Jan 26, 2022

Thank you! This helps a lot--I'll go back and edit as soon as I can :)

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Reen Jones
09:19 Feb 03, 2022

Actually, I quite liked the cliches - in this instance! They fitted the protagonist's/victim's slavish adoration of Rose!

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Tommie Michele
15:36 Feb 03, 2022

Thank you! That was the effect I was going for (although I will admit, all the cliche was unintentional), so I'm glad it came through!

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