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by Curly 

Posted: 02 January 2006
Word Count: 4436

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He watched from the cliff top as the boat drifted toward the beach, it was battered by waves and seemed abandoned until he saw her body lying inside. He lifted her out, carried her back to the lighthouse and laid her on his bed. He poured some water into her mouth and wiped her hands and face. He watched her for a while, it was such a shock, you see, to have such a beautiful woman appear like that on his beach. She wore a uniform that he had never seen before but then that wasn't surprising since she was the first person he had seen in fifteen years. He lifted his cold hand up to touch her soft face checking that she was real but he couldn't linger over her for much longer because it was getting dark and he had to turn on the beam. He ran up the stairs and worked twice as hard to get the light shining. With one eye on the generator and the other on the dimming sunset he wound faster and faster. Pain shot up his arms but finally the beam pierced the darkness and he collapsed onto the floor trying to steady his breathing and soothe his blistered hands.

Since the woman was still lying on his bed he spent an uncomfortable night on the sofa barely getting a couple of hours rest.
He woke to find her jabbing his arm “Where am I?” She asked.
“My lighthouse,” he said.
“Iceland?” She said, “you mean Polar Europe?”
“Iceland was renamed after the Polar War,” she said, “where is my boat?”
“On the beach.”
She ran to the door and sunlight streamed in; he had overslept. His hands were still blistered and sore so he bandaged them with rags before running up the stairs to switch off the beam.

A few hours passed and the woman still hadn't returned so he decided to take a walk by the cliffs, part of him wondered if it hadn't all been some strange dream. The cool sea air felt good against his skin and numbed his aching hands. When he came to the cliffs he looked out onto the beach and saw the woman lifting crates out of her boat and onto the sand. She didn't see him because she started to unbutton her wet uniform, he knew he should have shouted out, but he hadn't seen a woman for fifteen years and couldn't avert his eyes. She took off her jacket and threw it into the boat then she unbuttoned her blouse and took off her trousers. Naked, she looked like a nymph just risen from the sea: Titian's Aphrodite with her golden hair glinting in the setting sun. She put on a simple dress patterned with yellow flowers and finally he turned away realising that it was getting dark. He had to run back to the lighthouse and wind the generator with his bandaged hands. When the light finally shone out he made his way down the stairs, his arms and legs aching, and went into the kitchen to find her cooking on the stove.
“I hope you don't mind,” she said. “I've made enough for two.”
He looked in the pan and asked, “What is it?”
She handed him a tin and laughed as he tried to read the label, but it was made up of symbols that he had never seen before.
“I hope you don't mind if I stay for a few days? I'm trying to fix my radio to tell my friends where I am. Then they will come and pick me up.”
“Where are you from?” He asked.
“Southern Eurasia,” she said. “Do you have a telephone here?”
“A radio?”
“No, nothing.”
“Where is the nearest town?”
“Twenty miles or so.”
“Do you have a car?”
“No,” he said.
“Why aren't you in the War?”
“What War?” He said but she didn't answer, instead she poured herself a drink.
“You want some?”
“What is it?”
“Schnapps, try it,” she said pouring some into a glass for him. He sipped it; it burned his throat and he coughed. “When was the last time you had a drink?”
“Fifteen years.”
“Was that the last time you had a woman too?” She said.
“Yes,” he said.
“Then I'll forgive you for looking at me earlier,” she said. He felt his cheeks flush with shame and he quickly emptied his glass. They sat in silence, drinking, for nearly an hour before he fell asleep on the sofa.

When he woke the next day it was nearly noon and his head was yelling at him not to move or open his eyes. Sunlight streaming through the windows was brighter than usual and pierced his eyes, he swore as he slowly stood up and gained his balance. His head was spinning but he had to get to the top of the lighthouse to turn off the beam. He stumbled up every step and swore every time he fell down, the white walls became the enemy as the sunlight glared off them into his swollen, red eyes. When he finally made it to the top he turned off the beam and collapsed into tears because he could feel the poison pumping through his veins, eroding his body from the inside. There was no time to tend the vegetable garden that day and his eyes couldn't stand to read so he prepared himself for a walk in the hope that it would clear his head. He walked over to the caves, some five miles away. When he got back to the lighthouse, the woman was in the garden trying to fix the radio but she didn't even look up as he passed. He made vegetable soup and left some on the stove for Maria. She didn't come in for another hour and when she finally did she collapsed onto the sofa.
“Are we even on the map?” She said as she got up and strode around the room fingering through his possessions, “where are we?” she said spinning a globe on the mantelpiece. “How can you live like this? Doesn't it drive you mad? Say something!”
“I have to go,” he said, he was relieved to be on his own again as he wound up the generator.

When he returned her mood had changed; she was singing and dancing and drinking schnapps from the bottle.
“We're having a party, I've invited the neighbours,” she laughed.
She handed him the bottle but the smell of it made him feel sick so he placed it back on the table.
“Have a drink, it'll make you feel better,” she said as she waved her arms, “dance with me,” she said and grabbed him by the shoulders and swung him around. She laughed as she watched him trying to keep his balance and eventually she flung him onto the sofa where he stayed.
“I'm sorry I shouted earlier,” she said sitting down next to him. “I'm sorry,” she said rubbing his knee gently with her hand. At first he flinched at her touch; it was such a shock.
“It's okay,” he said catching her sunflower aroma.
“Thank you,” she said and put her arms around him. She held him tight and rested her head on his shoulder. When she left he took the schnapps from the table and took a drink.

That night as he lay on the sofa he heard her in the bedroom humming. He listened to her for a long time and then rolled back his blanket and sat up. Like a siren, she drew him to her door and he watched her through a chink in the wood as she sat on his bed gently combing her hair. He really believed she was a gift from heaven as he watched her slowly tie up her long silky hair and lie down on his bed. He hovered outside her door for a bit longer and then guiltily made his way back downstairs to the sofa. He took another drink and finally lay down to sleep.

Over the next few weeks he stopped tending to his garden because the mornings were taken up with sleeping and his afternoons with drinking. The woman had plenty of food in her crates so they ate and drank like kings and more and more he began to believe that she would stay at the lighthouse with him.
“Why don't you have any mirrors?” She asked one day.
“I don't need any.”
“Don't you want to see what you look like?” She said bringing a small mirror out of her dress pocket. He hesitated for a moment and then said
“Let me see.” She held the mirror up to his face and his eyes bulged with surprise. The face staring back at him was so old and worn. He tried to remember what he used to look like, his eyes were the same but his dark hair had greyed and thinned.
“I am an old man,” he said.
“You're not old,” she put her hand on his shoulder, “let's get rid of the beard, it will be better, you'll see.”
He found an old razor blade and she sharpened it while he prepared a bowl of hot soapy water. She placed a rag around his neck and began to smooth the soap on his cheeks. He closed his eyes as she slid the blade across his neck and face.
“It's done,” she said finally. He opened his eyes and she held the mirror up to his face.
“Thank you,” he said recognising himself again.

Later that evening after he turned the beam on he went into the kitchen and found her sitting at the table with her head in her hands.
“There's nothing left,” she said. “No more food.”
“Nothing? Are you sure?”
“Of course I'm sure,” she snapped.
“Don't worry,” he said putting his hand on her shoulder, “there's still my garden.”
“Your garden!” She laughed. “When was the last time you went to your garden?”
“It'll be fine. I'll sort it out tomorrow,” he said and leaned in to kiss her on her cheek.
“Get away from me,” she shouted pushing him away. “You're drunk,” she said running out of the lighthouse.
“I'm not drunk,” he shouted and took the cap off a bottle and took a drink.

The next morning he woke late and went straight to the vegetable garden, he knew she would be expecting something to eat and didn't want to disappoint her. When he saw the muddy patch that had once been his fertile vegetable patch he fell to his knees. How long had he been away from it? Snails, weeds and ants occupied it now. Nothing was growing, the tomato plants were dead and the greenfly had called victory over the aubergines, their leaves that were once waxy and green were now brown and brittle to touch. What would she do to him when he told her? Then he heard it: his old friend. It came toward him bleating, its horns curled around its head. The first time he had seen the goat was three years ago roaming the hard, barren fields for weeds. He had fed it carrots, potatoes and the dying leaves from the aubergine plant and it would come back every winter at around the same time for food and company but this year he had nothing to give but company, so they sat together until finally as it got dark the goat left and he went to wind the generator.
“I'm so sorry, there's nothing left,” he said finding her lying down in her bedroom.
“It's okay,” she said. “We'll be all right,” she smiled.

They didn't eat that night or the following day, but it was only when three days had passed and the schnapps had gone that he started to feel hungry and every hour that passed seemed like two as he grew hungrier and hungrier. She complained too, but it didn't seem to affect her as badly until one day he found her lying on the sofa too weak to stand and clutching her stomach.
“We're going to die,” she said. “How long can a person go without eating, how long has it been?”
“Two weeks,” he said.
“There must be something we can eat,” she said. “Rabbits?”
“They don't come this near to the coast.”
“There must be something,” she said.
“There's…” he said and stopped.
“What? There's what?”
“What is it?”
“It's nothing.”
“Do you want to die?” She said. “Tell me!”
“There's a goat,” he said.
“A goat!” Maria said and some colour came back into her cheeks.
“We can't, what would we kill it with?”
“I have a gun,” she said.
“A gun?” He said.
“Yes, I have one. Shoot it in the head and it will die instantly.”
“I can't,” he said.
“Do you want us to die, do you want the hunger to drive us mad?”
“Then it's the only way,” she said and ran to her room to retrieve the gun. She showed him how to use it as he had never seen such a gun before, in fact he had never held a gun before. He wrapped both his hands around the handle and placed his forefinger on the trigger, though he was hesitant, he also felt the power that he now possessed and he put on his coat and headed out to find his prey.

His bones ached and as he forced his tired limbs forward across the cliff tops, he thought about what the food would mean to them, his hair once strong had become brittle. He had calluses and blisters on his hands and feet, his breath smelled rancid and his mouth was ulcered. The strange thing was that her hair still shone and she had lost very little weight, she was still beautiful. Wind struck his face and the rain started to come down in heavy droplets and he was soaked in just a few seconds. Then through the rain and low-lying cloud he saw the goat walking towards him. It came right up to him and he stroked its wet fleece. He wished he didn't have to do it, if he had been on his own there would be no need because he wasn't afraid to die, but now he wasn't alone and if he didn't do it, it would be like he had killed her himself. He raised the gun with both hands. The goat didn't move, he looked into its eyes and pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot cracked above the wind and the rain and the goat fell down dead. He sat looking at the carcass and the rain washed away the blood spatters from his face. When he had the strength he lifted the body onto his shoulders and started back. It took him nearly three hours to get back to the lighthouse and it was long after sunset. He dropped the heavy burden at the front door and she ran toward him to inspect his kill, then he climbed the steps one by one to the top of the lighthouse.

He came down to find her sharpening the carving knife with the carcass laid out on the rag-covered kitchen table.
“Do you know what to do?” He asked.
“Yes,” she said.
She surveyed the body hungrily and then brought the knife down firmly on its neck, breaking the head off instantly.
“We can make soup from this,” she said throwing it into a large pot. He watched her as she carefully dissected the animal, taking off its legs and removing its organs. She made every incision with great care, like a surgeon.
“This should keep us going for a while,” she said happily.

The goat did keep them well fed for a couple of months. Although the first taste of meat made him sick after some time he began to put on the weight that he had lost. She too put on a little weight and her dress began to pinch around her bosom. Summer came around and they were able to swim in the sea. They were like children, splashing and jumping over the waves. He told her about the time he had been to Australia and seen the surfers at Byron Bay, their long boards dancing over the white water.
“They were always there, as early as six am they would be out riding the waves, waiting for the fastest, the longest, the toughest wave to conquer.”
“You have been to so many places,” she said. “Most of them aren't even there anymore. Why did you choose to come here?”
“Everywhere I went I was afraid, except here,” he said lying back down onto the sand. The sun glinted in his eyes as it dried the seawater on his body, leaving a salty residue.
“Afraid of what?”
“People,” he said. “No, not people, the things that people do.” He said but she didn't understand. “People have a power that they are generally unaware of,” he said running a handful of sand through his fingers. “They have the power to hurt but here I am alone and I am safe.”
“But you are not alone any more,” she said. He smiled at her and caught the glint in her eye.
“You're different,” he said, “you're a gift from God.”
She laughed, “there's no such thing as God,” she said, “its been proven, and he didn't bring me here, that boat did,” she said pointing her toe at the rusty boat still grounded on the beach. They drank schnapps and bathed in the sun and sea until the clouds came over.

When the goat started to run out they rationed themselves to one meal a day but when summer was over it was all gone and she started to spend her days by the boat looking out at the horizon in the hope that she might see a passing ship. He tried desperately to regain the vegetable garden, but it seemed that everything was damaged beyond repair. The lack of food over the next few days made them both miserable and one afternoon, as hunger once again painfully gripped his stomach he decided to go for a walk along the cliffs, something that he had not done for months. He slowly lifted himself off the sofa and his joints cracked underneath him. He hesitated when he got to the door and went back inside to get the gun: if there were something out there that could be eaten, he would kill it. The cold wind chilled his very bones, but at least it took his mind off the hunger. He walked for nearly a mile, stopping every so often to catch his breath and he decided to head back along the shore. The sea was rough, its tall waves swelled and crashed in the distance, she wasn't at the boat but he stopped anyway to rest his legs. He stepped inside and sank down onto the wooden floor. He lay back and watched the clouds turn dark above him. Out in the distance the sea grew fiercer, but inside the little boat he was safe. He sank down further onto the floor and found a crate to rest his head against. He closed his eyes and dreamed of the vineyards of Tuscany stretching out as far as he could see, each row ended by a rose bush in full bloom; he saw the banana plantations of Jamaica and smelled the rubbery banana skins enclosing their sweet fruit, he could smell it, and his stomach was seized in a fist of pain, tighter and tighter and then gradually it let up. He hadn't looked at himself in her mirror for some time because he knew that he would see a living skeleton, pale and withered, hollow and dead. But she was still beautiful, her porcelain skin didn't have the pallor and greyness that his had and her hair still glinted in the daylight. Her teeth were still white and strong, her eyes still shined. Was it some sort of miracle that she was unharmed? What could fifteen years of isolation do to a man? Was she real? Did he find it strange that after so many years a beautiful woman had arrived on his beach? But perhaps he wasn't going crazy, perhaps she wasn't starving at all.

Suddenly he knew the answer and he lifted his head from the crate it had been resting on. He dared not look inside it at first and ran his hand over the lid as though it were made of smoothly polished oak. He didn't know what he wanted to find. The lid was not nailed shut and lifted off easily. Hesitantly he peered in and then threw off the lid to reveal tins of peaches, condensed milk, bars of chocolate, tinned vegetables, tinned meat. There was enough to keep two people alive for at least a month and enough to keep one person for two. He looked at his pale, bony hands, which were once pink and soft with flesh; she was watching him die. He would die, the lighthouse would be hers and no one would ever know because no one even knew he was here. She could throw his body into the sea or bury him in the ground. She knew that no one would come looking for him. But then, he thought as he gripped the gun, no one would come looking for her either.

When he got back to the lighthouse she was sitting at the kitchen table.
“I fixed the radio today, but there was no one there,” she sobbed.
“You can stay here,” he said.
“I can't,” she said.
“Yes you can.”
“Stay here with you, forever?” She said.
“You could.”
“Ha!” She said. “Do you really think I like it here? Being with you? Do you think I could bare to touch you, to be touched by you?” She said. “The only reason I'm here is because I'm stuck here,” she shouted. “I hate this place, I hate being here with you.”
“But I love you,” he said.
“You think this is love?” She said. “What would make someone want to come and live out here all on their own? What's wrong with you? You have no idea about what's going on out there, all those places you talk about, they're all gone; everything has changed.”
“Stop it!” He shouted.
“You don't even know my name,” she said.
“Your name?”
“Yes, its Maria, what's yours?”
“My name?” he said “I don't remember.” She laughed a wide-eyed laugh as he felt himself struggle to remain standing. “I went to the boat today and found the food you've hidden from me,” he said.
“Stop lying to me!” He shouted.
“I don't know what you're talking about.”
“Look at your hair,” he said grabbing hold of her soft curls. “Look at your teeth,” he said forcing her mouth open. “Look at your flesh,” he said pinching her arm. “And look at me, I'm a skeleton, I'm dying!” he shouted.
“Let go of me!” She shouted breaking away from him, “I'd rather see you die from starvation than be stuck here with you any more. You make me sick, the way you look at me.”
“I'd do anything for you, I love you,” he said.
“I want you to die, I want you to die.”
“No - ” he said.
“I want you to die,” she said.
“No,” he said calmly raising the gun in his right hand. For a split second before he squeezed the trigger she realised what was happening and her eyes bulged with fear. He shot her in the head and she fell to the floor with a loud thud. As he stood over her dead body with the gun still in his hand, he heard music, it was as if there was someone in the room playing, it reminded him of his trips to Barcelona and he pictured himself sitting under a shady tree in the Parc Guell when he was glad to be alone. The music stopped and he was jolted back to reality as her blood seeped into the carpet.

I suppose you are wondering what he did with the body, whether he buried it in under the aubergine plants or threw it into the sea, but he did neither; he cut off her flimsy dress and laid her body out on the table as she had done with the goat. He no longer saw a woman, she was nothing more than meat, the goat, survival. He chopped off her head and dropped it into the large cooking pot and then chopped up the meat carefully as she had done with the goat.

Things went back to normal after that, the only change was when the music played; he would be reading or cooking and suddenly the music would start and he would be back in the Parc Guell with Maria by his side. He still slept on the sofa, it didn't seem right to sleep in her room because every so often she would come back: he once saw her sitting upright on her bed gently running the comb through her hair as though every strand were precious and when she looked up and saw him she smiled. Sometimes when he was sleeping he felt her touch him as she floated past as though she were skimming the surface of a pond. He began to see her more and more and wondered if it had all been a dream, she sat next to him on the sofa, she took walks with him, she bathed with him until one day she spoke to him.
“Do you want to see yourself?” She asked reaching for her pocket mirror.
“Yes,” he said happy that she had come back to him. She opened up the mirror and lifted it up to his face. He shrank back in horror at what he saw: a sunken skeletal face barely clinging to life. He lifted his hands to touch his hollow cheeks and for the first time saw them as they really were too: thin and bony. He was only the remains of a man, clinging to life on a thinning hair. He tried to stand but his legs wouldn't hold him, he couldn't breathe and collapsed back down onto the sofa, the only thing left for him now was sleep; he closed his eyes.

The End

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Comments by other Members

gkay at 10:38 on 03 January 2006  Report this post

Welcome to the site. This is a fine piece of writing. I found myself drawn into this strange place on the edge of the world and to the two people inhabiting it. The story has a strong surreal undertow to it, leaving the reader unsure what is real and what is happening in the man's head. The dialogue is excellent, the descriptions pitch-perfect.

All in all, a great effort. It has the measured pace of a novel - have you tried your hand at novel-writing?


Curly at 15:38 on 04 January 2006  Report this post

Thank you very much for your comments, I'm really glad you liked the story. I can't say I've tried to write a novel yet - the thought of it is a bit daunting, but I would like to try when I get a good enough idea.


Becca at 12:26 on 07 January 2006  Report this post
Hi laura,
I thought the concept of the story was very interesting, but as both characters are of equal weight maybe you needed to work on the female character a bit more, even if she is an illusion of his. She is sort of contradictory, - say in the bit where she is offended by his drinking when she drinks herself. She seems to be both a siren of the seas, (especially with her mirror), and yet a prissy woman as well, at the same time.
I've a feeling that what you're trying to tell here is a very hard thing to do, and most of the story is telling rather than 'showing'. What I mean is, you describe the male MC's actions and what is happening to his body, but very few of his emotions. I can see why the female character remains distanced, but in a sense he does too, unless you get right inside him and experience, as the writer, what he feels. I don't know what you'll think of this idea, but it's one I've carried out from time to time, it's to write the story again from the first person POV. That way, you can't avoid the emotional content. Then you could re-write it in the third person, and I really think it would come alive more.

I wondered if the nub of the story was that people have the power to hurt? As that idea seems central, and the MC gets badly hurt. And, if you'll forgive me for saying this, I wondered if the story was coming to you as you wrote it, rather than as a complete idea from the outset. The parts that emphasis the idea of him not knowing what is going on in the world, didn't, for me, add much, and they didn't lead to anything. I think just the fact that he hadn't seen anyone else for fifteen years is a strong enough base for the story to stand on.

I know you've signalled 'Be gentle', so I hope my comments aren't too tough, it's just that I think you've got a good story in this writing, but that it could do with a lot of editing work, and could be a lot stronger and clearer. I like the fairy-story edge to it, or magic realism slant about it so to speak.
Just on some technical points: I, as reader, supposed she had arrived in a rowing boat, rather than a motor boat. Ok, my problem, but if you'd described it in the first para or so, I wouldn't then have wondered how the woman changed into a dress that wasn't totally wet. Oh, and I just thought, - how can he see her changing if she's inside the boat, lol!
This might be a bit pedantic of me, but in the first sentence he is standing on the cliff top, she's on the shore, do you need something to indicate he goes down there before 'He lifted her out, carried her back to the lighthouse ..'? Although you do need to avoid describing every action.
By the way, you say he hasn't seen anyone for 15 years twice at some point, so maybe re-phrase the line about him not having seen a woman for 15 years and show something of his awkwardness, rather than explaning it?
A time glitch for me as a reader was '.. with her golden hair glinting in the setting sun', lovely image, but the time is a few hours after morning which would make it about mid afternoon. So I think there's a problem with the phrase 'a few hours passed..'. You could change this to something like 'he waited for most of the day for her to return'.
A couple more picky things:
The idea of his hands being soft with flesh, - I'd think about this one because beneath it lies the idea that some people don't have flesh on their hands.
Would the woman really say 'I've made enough for two?' The implication here is that she might have just cooked for herself in a stranger's house, (although I realise she is taking over his home, - and I like the way his bed becomes her bed without any explanation about it!)
I liked also her 'fingering his possessions'.
'Sunflower aroma', this is an elegant phrase, only sunflowers don't smell too good! Lol.
I hope some of my thoughts are useful to you.

crowspark at 22:48 on 07 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Laura,

I was really drawn into your story. It developed well in a way that kept me interested and I loved the ending. I loved the way he cooked her, repeating the actions he'd carried out with the goat.

Your writing was good but I thought it improved towards the end. There was some lovely description in here.

I picked up on some of the points Becca made.

I enjoyed your skills as a story-teller and look forward to reading more of your work.


Curly at 11:55 on 09 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Becca,

Thank you for all this! These are exactly the comments I need to move forward with this story - I'll get to work on it and post an updated version when I'm done. And you're right, I didn't have a story plan when I started writing this, in fact, I don't ever tend to have a plan - do you think this could be my downfall?!

I'm glad you like it Bill - I will post something else shortly.


allyb25 at 22:19 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Laura,
Hope I'm not too late in commenting but have hadn't many chances to visit the site and read new stories.
Like previous comments, I enjoyed this and felt that the world you've created around the man and his lighthouse is dark and strange enough to draw the reader in. (Poor goat though :-) ) The time and place they were living in seemed quite Orwellian too (especially the hints about the war etc).
I think Becca has summed it up best though about showing not telling. Your writing is really strong and you have a very clear style but more about how the characters were feeling, what he loved about her (other than watching her get dressed...tut tut), his solitude etc would really add to the piece.

Also, a lot of sentences started with 'He' which can mess about with the pace of reading sometimes. I've done it myself too but it is easily sorted by rearranging the sentences. A lot of the times it can force you to be more descriptive and gives the writing more of a flow...which is always good.

Look forward to reading more!
All the best

Curly at 08:45 on 26 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Ally,

Thanks for your comments - it's definitely not too late! Interesting about the 'He' thing - I'll have a look over and see what I can do.


Nik Perring at 10:58 on 26 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Curly,

So sorry not to comment on this earlier. I must have missed it.

Don't think there's too much I can say that hasn't already been covered.

I liked the story and the way you told. Great concept as well.
I also thought your dialogue was very strong - very real.

Great stuff.


Salty at 11:49 on 12 February 2006  Report this post
Hello Curly,

Wow, first posting and a great one too. I think you got the tone exactly right with this, which is half the struggle. It had a nice sense of melancholy and isolation which preciely fit the main character.

His deterioration has a magical realist quality. There are grammatical issues in the work which you need to address with a rewrite, including, and this is my opinion...

He lifted her out... marks the beginning of a new paragraph otherwise it is confusing.

There is also a tendancy to introduce facts which have no prior introduction, as in...

We find out his hands are blistered, and this comes as a shock because we don’t know how it happened.

The woman is lifting crates out of the boat… when you said earlier the boat seemed abandoned, I imagined and empty life boat, and now she is taking crates out of an empty life boat, which threw me out of the story. I think you need to describe in a few words what kind of boat it is.

Other small niggles include...

“”“It's okay,” he said catching her sunflower aroma.””

I really like the way this is written as a whole, but this feels a bit clunky and needs at least a comma after 'he said'.

Okay, I am picking bits out to feedback on as I read, and I am really interested in this taciturn man, but I find the idea of somebody running a working light-house, and not having seen anybody in fifteen years, and feeding himself as a subsistance farmer, stretches credulity for me. Light houses are extremely maintainance heavy, I remember seeing a documentary on one on Discovery, and there are people all over the shop doing repairs, replacing the bulbs. Then feeding yourself from a garden is a full time job as well. Then how does he heat his home, pay the bills etc? I think somebody can be a recluse and not have much contact with people, but to see nobody?

But after having said all of this, and being at the end of the tale, maybe what I have said in the previous paragraph is not the point. Both these people exist in a special place you have created, very effectively, in which all of these things can and do happen.

Fine work and I look forward to reading more.


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