The Strange Glow
Written By: Matthew Keller
Estimated reading time — 24 minutes
My grandfather has been acting very strange lately, and has begun sleepwalking again. For this reason it was suggested to me by my parents that I write a journal to keep myself busy, and to keep track and document my grandfather’s behavior here. They will be away in Europe for the next two weeks so while they are away, my grandfather’s well-being will be my sole responsibility.
Now back to what I was saying; he’s been very odd lately and has been displaying signs of dementia as well. He has been repetitively telling me that ‘They’ are after him, and that ‘They’ will find him soon. As expected I asked who ‘They’ are, to which he has two responses; “I don’t know,” while the other response is complete silence and confusion. These are obviously signs of paranoia. I’m not a psychologist but I can imagine these thoughts are coming from a place of both age and trauma. Trauma in the form of war, for he survived World War II as a dive bomber fighting the Japanese, and experienced much combat and the lost many friends. After the war he continued to serve in the Navy as a training pilot in the Florida keys, oftentimes going through the Bermuda triangle, the Caribbean, and the gulf of Mexico, for training purposes. He very solemnly spoke about it, it was as though he was trying to forget something, something he was still scared of, and expressed to no one.
I wish he would tell me so I could be closer to him and be able to pass these stories down to the next generation of family, but for now I will wait. I am hoping these next two weeks will bring us closer than ever before. I am going to eat dinner in a moment with him then will write some more later.
Dinner was very good and we shared a glass of wine together; everything seemed like it was going fine until a simple ray of light from the lighthouse several blocks down along the waterfront came through our windows and shined upon him. All at once he went from talking about romantic city trips in Europe with grandma to suddenly flinching and nearly trembling when the light touched him. He nearly fell out of his chair which startled me. I got up at once and asked if he was okay and having an emergency. To which he denied and begged me to close the curtains immediately. Although I was confused I did so as fast as I could.
When I turned back to question him, he was gone. He had scurried to some other part of the home. After several moments of looking inside each room I found him in the living room. All of the drapes and curtains were shut as he sat upwards in his reclining chair hidden in the darkness. I asked if he was okay, to which he responded, “Fine, just fine,” very quickly and dismissively. Obviously something is wrong. I brought the rest of his dinner and wine to him and then returned upstairs to my room to write this entry.
He’s doing it again, waking up in the middle of the night, it’s about 3:13 am right now. I hear him walking back and forth, up and down the stairs muttering to himself; I am going to carefully check on him and come back.
The experience was more than what I was ready for. I called out to him several times, but nothing had the desired effect. He still ran about the house aimlessly. I remember hearing or reading that you are not supposed to wake people while they are sleepwalking, as it can be dangerous to the sleepwalker and the waker. Well let’s just say it was just that…dangerous. I lost track of my surroundings in the kitchen and accidently got between the island and my grandfather; when he suddenly changed direction and rushed my way and crashed into me. He roared and yelled and even began to cry. I was so confused. We fell to the ground but as we did I fell in a way where he would fall onto me so I could soften the impact for him. As I helped him up he flailed his arms around wildly yelling, “No, no,” on repeat. After he knocked over the spice rack along with plates and cups which crashed to the floor he stopped at once and stood there in silence, as if frozen. I then tip-toed to the next room and watched him, unsure what I should do and how I could help him. Another tense and quiet moment passed and I watched him adjust and relax his posture.
“Michael?” he spoke, almost trembling in the dark of the kitchen.
I didn’t respond at first, as my heart nearly broke at the pain and confusion in the old veteran’s voice. He sounded as though he was a lost child rather than a former warrior of the sky.
“Michael!? Are you there Michael!?” he said louder this time.
“Yes, grandpa I’m over here.”
He turned to me and went to me at once to embrace me.
“I’m sorry my grandson…I thought I was…”
“Was what?” I interrupted.
“…Being taken away”
“Taken away where?”
“I’m not sure my boy…I’m not sure.”
“Well it’s alright now.”
I then helped him back to his room. It’s now 3:30am
Today was a quiet day at first but became a bit of an anxious one at the news we learned later as the day progressed. We watched baseball on the television and then the news. There is a storm approaching in a few days. Many news and weather channels are predicting it will become a hurricane. Chances are it will hit us in full force. So my grandfather and I went to the supermarket and the gas station to avoid the impending chaos.
The anxiety of the town is obvious, people are moving faster, more aggressively on the road. I am hoping that the storm will miss us and go around us as most storms do. I am going to make dinner now; I will write after.
Dinner went well, and I made sure that the curtains of the window which faces the lighthouse were closed prior to inviting my grandfather to the dinner table to avoid another episode of whatever it was like the previous dinner. During our meal together, I took it upon myself to ask him about his military experience. I was hesitant to ask, but I couldn’t help my own curiosity which at first I thought might be selfish, but then I realized maybe I could discover the sole source of his trauma, or at least his odd behavior.
We started off simple and chronologically; discussing his training and time in boot camp, but eventually we got to the war and surprisingly the combat part. There was a mixture of pain, anger, confusion, and hope in his voice and tone.
As he discussed the war he was well composed, organized, and detailed when explaining everything. The dates, the ships, the equipment, the scenery and sensations, the fear. It was as though we were slowly being thrown back into the cockpit of a dive bomber plane, ready to freefall from the sky at a moment’s notice, through incoming and desperate fire. It was extraordinary to me, but then he began to discuss the aftermath of the war.
I could not help notice his pace dramatically slowed down. He struggled to organize his thoughts now, and there was a worry in his voice, it was the same frail voice that was nearly choked up and trembling when he was sleep walking and when the lighthouse shined upon him.
The very thing that caused this anxiety of his was the mentioning of the post-war events much to my surprise, rather than the war itself. What specifically caught my attention was when he recalled that five planes, all of which were piloted by his friends. One day they had all gone suddenly missing during a navigation exercise. The fifth plane happened to be a rescue plane which searched for the previous four. Additionally, a sea vessel was lost as well, which my grandpa described as a work of art, almost a living work of art by the way he referred to it as ‘she’, or ‘her’. Now my grandfather was the second rescue plane at this time, and wingman to the other rescue aircraft.
When I asked what happened to them, he took a long pause.
He slowly rose and put his hands together behind his lower back and walked towards the windows of his home and gazed upon the open sea.
“I cannot say for certain,” my grandpa answered.
“I’m sure you have heard stories about where I was stationed, they have been told there for hundreds of years,” he said.
“Mom and Dad said you were stationed in Florida, that’s all.”
“Yes, Florida indeed, but when we flew during carrier drills and exercise I flew between the Florida keys, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. That infamous and dreaded triangle cursed no doubt from centuries passed.”
“The Bermuda Triangle?” I asked him.
“Yes, also known more appropriately as the Devil’s triangle, both ships of the sea and planes of the air have perished there.”
I didn’t find this strange in the least so I asked, “Well don’t planes and ships go missing all the time?”
“Not like this they don’t, grandson, this is different, the number of disappearances there is unique to any other region on the Earth. Those twenty-seven highly trained military men I called my friends, don’t just vanish without a trace like that. I’ve sailed on every ocean, flew in every sky, and I tell you there is someone wrong with that area. Something still left unknown and a hidden secret to mankind. I often wonder…maybe I was supposed to vanish with them.”
“Nonsense Grandpa, your place is here, with me and your family.”
It was clear to me then, so much of the paranoia came from years of conditioned superstition and from traumatic survivor’s guilt.
“It’s survivor’s guilt that makes you feel this way grandpa.”
“Yeah, well maybe grandson.”
“You are safe here grandpa, nothing can harm you here, we are neither at sea nor the sky, we are right here in our pleasant seaside town.”
“You’re right boy, I apologize for getting worked up, but this town will soon be made unpleasant with the approaching storm. Let’s focus on that instead. We should get ready at once.”
He then grabbed his shoes and tossed mine over to me.
“We have no time to waste,” he said as he put his veteran baseball cap on and got his car keys.
We then began on our way to the local supermarket, and on the way we passed through town where I saw an antique store that caught my attention. I am thinking tomorrow of going bike riding and stopping there.
It’s morning now, but I awoke late last night to the sound of my grandfather yelling. At first I thought someone broke into the house because what he verbalized made it seem as though he were fighting or arguing with another person. I got up to call the cops but I forgot where my phone was, so I grabbed one of his golf clubs from my bedroom corner and ran into his room where I surprisingly found him still asleep. The blanket was half on him and half tangled beneath him. He tossed and turned while yelling, “You can’t take me away! You can’t take me away!” Then he said things that sounded like coordinates and pilot diction, codes and numbers, call signs, etc. I watched him for a moment, still unsure as to what to do, until I decided I should turn on the light with the hope it would peacefully break his dream and calmly awaken him.
However, when I turned on the light, he cried out in hysteria and rolled back and forth until he threw himself off the bed, thudding hard onto the floor. I ran to his side immediately, and saw that he was now awake, calm, and still. He looked confused but relieved.
“It was a dream?” he looked at me, asking for confirmation. I could hear it in his tone.
“Yes grandpa, just a dream.”
“No my boy, not just a dream…a nightmare.”
“Do you want to talk about it? Are you hurt at all?”
“No, and no…I am fine.”
I was unsure of what to say or do, but we looked at each other for a moment and appreciated each other’s company for a few seconds..
“Tomorrow before lunch, let’s go to church,” my grandfather said.
I wanted to please him and so I told him, “Yes, let’s go,” before I returned to my room.
I wonder why he wanted to go all of a sudden, and bring him there with him. It’s still late and writing this is putting me to sleep. I will write more tomorrow about the church and the antique store (if I visit) I’m still hoping to visit.
We went to church as planned, my grandfather and I didn’t say much to one another. With church we were both very serious about faith, and listened intently to the sermon, but one thing I took away was what my grandfather asked, “Do you really think God exists?”
I didn’t understand why he was asking me this, it seemed heavy and out of nowhere, but I answered honestly and said, “Yes I do.”
He nodded and then bizarrely asked if I believed in ghosts, to which I said I was not sure.
“What about the government, do you trust the government?”
“I’m not sure, I suppose for the most part yes, sometimes no.”
Right afterwards he asked if I believe in extraterrestrial beings, to which I said I don’t know.
He then began to go on about how if God is real then ghosts must be real, but he questioned how God would banish them to an existence in between life and death. To this statement I didn’t know how to respond. Now with aliens he explained how every star in the sky is a sun, and each sun has planets, and each planet has moons, and how basically with all of the infinite number of worlds out there, it was unlikely that our world was the only one that could sustain life. I still remained unsure as to why he was telling me this. Maybe he was just trying to make conversation, and so I joked that perhaps there were alien ghosts on other planets, but this did not amuse him. In the next instant that followed the priests blessed us, “Go out into the world, and go with God”, and mass ended.
After mass ended, my grandfather insisted we stay longer and pray, but I had run out of things to pray for, so he advised me to pray for peace and calm; and when everyone left we still remained.
At first it was easy to respect my grandfather’s wishes but then things became awkward as I watched him with his eyes closed in silence.
“Michael, won’t you pray with me, repeat the words I say.”
I waited unsure of what he would say, but eager to appease him and anxious to leave before the antic store closed, it closed early on Sundays.
I then told him yes and so I said the following with my grandfather:
“Thou O Lord, who stillest the raging of the sea, hear; hear us, and save us, that we perish not. O blessed Savior, who didst save thy disciples ready to perish in a storm, hear us, and save us, we beseech thee. Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.
He slowly arose while he blessed himself and beckoned me to follow him. Once we were outside I took my bike I had tied to a telephone pole on the main street, my grandfather had driven there separately.
“Will I meet you at home?” he asked.
“I’m going to stop at the antique store.”
“Okay, I’m going to read yesterday’s paper, once you get home we will go to the grocery store again together.”
He looked intensely at the sky, which still remained a blue Sunday. He then spoke.
“That storm will be coming, we better prepare for the onslaught of people attacking the store.”
I remember telling him sure and then proceeded to pedal to the antique store.
When I arrived at the store I was immediately drawn to the binoculars in the window, and when the owner greeted me, I asked her right away the price of them.
“$100 exactly,” she said.
My parents had given me $200 for the 10 days I was here even though I had a job and was using vacation days.
“They’re for my grandfather I said, he’s a World War II combat veteran, fought in the Pacific, I think these are navy issued, I’m sure he’d love them, are they World War II era?”
“Yes, those are World War II era, and who is your grandfather?”
“Old man McCullen.”
“Ah! I know him, always wearing his veteran’s cap, he’s a legend in this town, a fine gentleman,” the woman said.
“Alright, $75 for you,” she said.
“That’s very nice of you, it’s a deal, thank you,” I told her.
I was very excited, a surprise gift for my grandfather. I had every intention of giving them to him after we ate.
When I got back home we quickly made our way to the local supermarket where each register was open and easily had a dozen people per line. The chit-chat was loud and audible and the panic and haste was evident. Many couples and families went together and were shouting to each other blindly, communicating from isle to isle. Other people throughout the isles were simply grabbing everything they could. Many were hoarding the paper products, others baby formula; while most went for milk, eggs, and bread.”
My grandfather leaned towards me and said, “Don’t follow those idiots, grabbing the most perishable goods in the store. Go grab some pasta and rice, and beans in a can. If we lose electricity or whatever the case may be, we’ll have things to last without refrigeration.”
I of course followed my grandfather’s guidance and did as he asked. When we were finished my grandpa seemed agitated again.
“Let’s go, we have enough,” he rushed. “I don’t trust these people. Desperate people are the hardest to trust, and people in a panic are the hardest to reason with.”
I simply nodded and we made our way out.
The hours blended and seemed to pass quickly and before I knew it I was closing the shades and double locking all the doors of my Grandpa’s home. We had pasta with tomato sauce, and he hard boiled enough eggs to last the week in anticipation of the hurricane. He then went over to his record player and began playing big band and jazz music from the 40s. He was quieter than usual, but his hands seemed as though they were trembling as he unwrapped a small candy. I broke the silence with an impulsive question, no doubt ruining the music as well. “Have you gone to the doctor lately?”
“What, why is that?” he responded.
“Well you’re shaking a lot? Is it early Parkinson’s? blood pressure or diabetes related?”
He looked at me with surprise, “Listen kiddo, I survived World War II, if the Japs didn’t get me, an extra candy won’t either.”
“Are you worried; anyone will get you?” I asked again like an idiot half realizing what I said.
“What did you say?” he said defensively.
“It’s just that…you saw how panicked the people looked,” I quickly said.
“It’s not them I’m concerned about,” he responded.
Once again I wasn’t sure who he was referring to, and he hadn’t been to the doctor recently. Who is to say it wasn’t dementia or paranoia. I refrained again from pressing him further, and decided inside to calm the mood.
“Grandfather, you have survived my line of questioning,” I joked, “I think you deserved a bit of a reward for that,” I added.
He laughed, “And what is that?”
I got up from my seat and went over to my room, quickly grabbed the box of binoculars, and placed it over where my grandfather was seated. Facing me and the front door. The light of the setting sun outlining the closed black curtains, making them glow gold.
“What is this? This is a nice surprise,” he commented as he opened the box.
“My Lord…” he paused, seemingly stunned and unsure how to respond.
“I haven’t used these since…since….” he struggled to find the words.
I couldn’t tell if he liked it or not as he was stuck on repeat.
“Since your time in the service,” I added.
“Yes…it’s a nice gift,” he said as he fidgeted to return the binoculars.
I didn’t say anything, but I was most likely visibly disappointed.
He tried to speak, “My boy…I…” he couldn’t finish, but kept trying.
“It’s just that the sun is setting…I…I suppose I could use them really quick, maybe spot a ship like I used to.”
I became satisfied in this moment, and thought maybe this is how his weird habit of frantically closing the blinds would end. It didn’t make sense, why have a home on the shore, with a beautiful view of the bay, the lighthouse, sunrise, and sunset, and not utilize it? Where did this phobia of the lighthouse come from?
My grandfather rose from his chair and slowly turned from me and approached the curtains. He muttered something to himself and seemed to take a few deep breaths. Next he raised the binoculars to his eyes and then gazed at the horizon. For a moment all was still and silent.
I watched him, not daring to move, worried he was on the fringes of having an episode, but at the same time my love for gift giving hoped that he would be able to relax his mind and enjoy his present. For a moment I was right, he laughed a bit, now and then, as though he were a toddler with a toy, but then for reasons unknown that laughter became near sobs and a whimpering. He banged the binoculars against the glass while his eyes were still fixed to them. He did this multiple times and spoke incoherently.
“Stop grandpa! Grandpa stop!” I yelled at him, but it only got worse. I ran over to him and nearly ripped the binoculars from his face.
“Nooooo!” he yelled. Pushing me away forcing me to the floor.
“What is wrong!?” I shouted.
He then yelled out, “Look!” as he accidently hit me in the face with the binoculars, almost immediately giving me a small fat lip.
Although I was aggravated I took the binoculars and looked towards the clouds on the horizon. They were dark as nightmares, and seemed as thick as a land mass, like a floating piece of land in the sky.
I lost my temper for a moment as I shouted at him, “It’s just storm clouds!”
I repeated to him what he had told me in the supermarket, “Desperate people are the hardest to trust, and people in a panic are the hardest to reason with.”
He calmed himself down and then threw the curtain closed. He apologized for his outburst and for my lip, gave me a hug, and then said right before he ascended the stairs to his room, “It’s inside the clouds now, it won’t be long.”
I stood there with my heart still vibrating in my pounding chest from his outburst. It was only a storm, yet it had such a psychological strain on everyone in the town, evidently including my grandfather now.
I spent the rest of the afternoon time napping, but I soon awoke in the early twilight to the sound of Sinatra’s version of, “Stormy Weather,” echoing throughout the halls from downstairs.
“Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky, stormy weather since my gal and I ain’t together, Keeps rainin’ all the time,” the lyrics went dancing along the hallways, room to room.
“Come on down!” my grandfather called when he saw me at the top of the stairs with a big smile on his face.
As I descended I noticed an assortment of grapes, crackers, cheeses, and a couple glasses of red wine. This was no doubt his way of apologizing to me for his outburst, and at the same time creating an atmosphere so contrary to before that it would be inappropriate to mention and ruin the mood he now tried to sustain.
When I sat down he pushed my wine closer to me, as the song continued, “All I do is pray the Lord above will let me, walk in the sun once more.”
“Ha, I flew in the sun once, never mind walking it, and I feel as though I’ll fly in it once again,” My grandfather said as he swayed back and forth, with his glass of wine to his face. I helped myself to a few sips of the red blend and observed my grandfather sit down. He took a heavy gulp and then raised something from a small wooden box on his side of the table. I then noticed that it was a large pistol, specifically his world war II M1911 .45 caliber pistol. Next to the box I now noticed dirty and moist rags next to paper towels, he had just finished cleaning it. He then inserted an ammunition magazine into the base of the pistol and tapped it into place and then pulled back the slide before releasing it, sending the slide back into position and effectively loading a round into the chamber.
“It’s loaded,” he said half matter of fact and half warningly.
“Why did you take it out?” I asked.
“Don’t be a naïve boy, robberies and burglaries, riots, they always happen during these storms. This is for self-defense just in case.”
I didn’t mind the firearm, but what I did mind instead was my grandfather’s mental health and drinking around the firearm.
“You know how to shoot?” he asked me.
“I’ve shot a time or two,” I responded.
“Good…this one’s for you,” he said as he pulled out a small .38 snub nose revolver.
“Don’t I need a license for that?” I asked.
“Don’t leave the house with it and you’re fine,” he answered.
I wasn’t sure if that was legal or not but I nodded rather than challenged him.
After a short moment passed the record ended. It was silent inside the house now, but outside, the winds began to gain velocity. Twilight was nearly over, and so I allowed my curiosity to let me peek through the dark shades and observe the outside world. The waves were crashing larger and louder than usual, The beach front landscape began to twist and morph, the flags in the front yards of homes blew violently, whipping hard in the air. All the buoy bells and wind chimes rattled and sounded off. Up in the sky flocks of birds hurried away in formation. Slowly but surely the winds began to howl. I closed the blinds and took a step back.
“Do not worry my boy, it is just a storm, it will pass as all storms do, but be ready for anything. Now come get dinner.”
I am not sure if I have the right words to explain what came next, what my grandfather and I faced. But it is important that I do my best to recall the events with as much accuracy as I can, for all the sakes of the police, my family, and for myself.
The rain came down upon our house like machine gun fire. Loud, furiously fast, and seemingly endless. The thunder cracked like bombs above us, and we could detect the flashes of lightning when they lit up the dark globe for a moment, visible even through the drawn dark shades. Now and then that unrelenting lighthouse would flash its lamplight our way. In the distance fog horns of ships sounded off, and close by the noise of garbage cans flying across the pavement and yards filled our ears. The thunderclaps set off car alarms, neighborhood dogs barked, and the wind wailed and tackled everything in their path.
My grandfather and I had suddenly lost power, but we were not phased as we knew it was inevitable. We struck candles and placed them throughout the home. It was then I heard a loud bang against the side door which led directly to the garbage cans. Behind the garbage can was another gate, which when opened gave you direct access to the beach.
At first I thought nothing of it of course, but then the banging was nonstop, as if someone was there. I peeked outside of the window closer to the door but I could not see anything. Again I heard the noise this time much heavier. Heavy enough to catch my grandfather’s attention and his suspicion.
I went to open the door, but my grandpa ran over and threw himself in front of it.
“There is no one there, it’s just the wind!” he said in excitement.
Suddenly another loud bang struck the front door, and then both doors at once.
We looked at each other without saying a word. I could feel the feverish fear radiating from his face and knew that only paranoia and panic could follow. Without any other hesitation he withdrew his 1911 from his waistband and held it firmly in his right hand. He stared at me blankly for a moment before he leaned in to whisper in my ear, “They’re here.” He then hopped over to the table and grabbed the snug nose .38, and carefully handed it to me.
As my fingers grasped the pistol my heart began to race, and my breathing became heavy and difficult.
“What is happening?” I asked.
There is no time to explain.
“We should call the police,” I said.
He dismissed this saying, “It’s too late they’re here now, they’re finally here.”
He ran across the room and threw himself against the wall besides the front door. A third banging now began on where the garage door was located. I looked over to my grandfather, who calmly spoke, “ Aim towards the door sonny.”
I could not comprehend what or why quick enough, but before I could blink my grandfather threw the door open and then turned to face what was on the doorstep.
But nothing was there.
“Cowards!” he shouted, his voice muffled by the wind which ripped the screen door from its hinges and hurled it into the street. My grandfather leaned into the regular door and managed to close it.
“It’s the storm!” I shouted.
“NO! THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!” he boomed inside the home, as though still competing with the volume of the wind.
He approached the side door, this time grabbing a flashlight. He slowly opened the door this time as if it were a surprise for whoever was at the door. In another swift movement my grandpa had light and pistol faced towards the threshold, but this too was empty
Now I couldn’t see what my grandfather saw then, but he shined his light around in the darkness of the hurricane, shining it down upon the sand. Every few movements the area was visible by the prevailing lighthouse.
He turned to me; his face already red with windburn. “The footprints! The footprints!” he said.
“YOU FUCKERS!” he shouted out as he then ran outside. Leaping into the darkness.
I was frozen, unsure as to what was occurring. The storm and rain continued but the banging on our property ceased the moment my grandfather exited.
I stood there scared and perplexed and wondered, were there actually people that caused the banging? They moved like spirits, spirits that somehow knew that my grandfather had left the premises. What did they want? Was it simply the wind? Had my Grandpa finally snapped and lost his mind? All of these questions wrestled inside my puzzled mind as I tightly gripped the snug nose in my hand still.
I then heard what I thought sounded like a gunshot. I went to call the police but in the excitement I had forgotten where I placed my phone, that was when I heard a second gunshot.
I took a deep breath and then ran outside clumsily collapsing into the fence and taking cover there. From there I would run then dive onto the sand while the lighthouse light passed, so as not to be found by whatever my grandfather chased after. I looked behind me for footprints, to see where my grandfather’s and his enemies’ were, but the hurricane winds erased even my own. There was not a single trace of my grandfather or anything.
I ran on, blind in the dark, timing the lighthouse light and my dives every seven seconds. The winds of the hurricane blowing the sharp sand against me, passing my ears with the volume of passing trains, just an endless blast of white noise. I squinted, but it was as good as having my eyes shut, and so I shut my eyes and ran like a maniac in the abyss. I couldn’t hear my panting but I knew my heart was pounding; I held the gun firmly and covered to run out. Each time I went to call out my grandfather’s name I received sand in my mouth. With not a clue if I ran straight or in a mindless circle, I determined that my best course of action was to return back to the shelter of the house.
The second I decided on this and turned around, boom! Something heavy, maybe driftwood, struck my head and sent me crashing down flat on my back. I rolled over in pain, hot moist blood was dripping from my head and staining my hair. I couldn’t see it but I felt it dripping all over. Soon I was dizzy and fell to the ground, and began to crawl.
When suddenly the beach all around me was lit up. The lighthouse lamp might have become jammed or broken for it was now stuck in the direction I looked.
Next I noticed my grandfather some thirty feet from me staring at the sky, unphased by the elements, fixated on whatever was above him and slowly raising his pistol towards the sky. Through my squinting eyes I saw above us what appeared to be a large helicopter suspended and hovering in the sky with its lights as well fixed on my grandfather as if he were an actor on stage under a large spotlight. I then noticed that the light upon us and the surrounding maybe fifty to a hundred feet around us was not from the lighthouse but from this aircraft over the ocean.
I put my hands around my eyes then as if my hands were binoculars shielding my eyes, and looked around me, trying to call out to my grandfather, “Grandpa! What’s going on!?”
I could now see the blood from my head dripping off my wet and sandy hands.
“I’M HURT, LET’S GO HOME, LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” I strained my vocals.
I could not compete with the overpowering volume of the wind and my grandpa still remained still like a statue. So I ran towards him, getting hit with my debris from the wind, until I crashed into him, which snapped him out of his stupor.
“AHHHHH!” he yelled, just barely audible over the storm. He readjusted his arm and aim and began to frantically fire bullets at the helicopter above us. I threw myself to the ground beneath him so as not to get hit, I could feel the hot shells that ejected from the pistol sprinkle down on me, I reached for my own waist band and realized my pistol was gone, buried no doubt in the sand somewhere.
My grandfather continued to reload and fire uninterrupted and without hesitation. There was terror and horror in his face. I peered up at the aircraft and a second light seemed to come from where the ocean reaches the beach. I could not tell if my eyes played tricks on me but it looked as if a large vessel was becoming beached, and passed on by as if it were a ghost ship.
Was this the case of his terror? Was this thing part of the aircraft above? Was it the navy or the Coastguard? I could not tell. I was overwhelmed by exhaustion, pain, confusion, the storm, and my grandfather’s terror.
My grandfather pulled out his last magazine and turned to me. He then grabbed me by my shirt and pulled me close enough where our faces almost touched. He then yelled in my ears with all of his might.
“MICHAEL RUN!!! MICHAEL RUNN!!”
I went to move but I was frozen as if my feet were buried in the sand.
My grandfather then turned to me and pointed the pistol at me.
“Holy shit! Stop your crazy” I said automatically. The fear unlocked my feet and I began to run aimlessly in the opposite direction.
I don’t know what compelled me to do it, maybe it was instinct but I ran to the nearest dune I could find and from there watched my grandfather shoot his final bullets, standing there with defiance against his unknown enemy.
‘Why didn’t they or this thing shoot back or run away?’
It was madness, everything was bewilderment and madness, and my vision was beginning to blur and by now I was consciously fighting off oncoming unconscious through the onslaught of the sands and the grueling pain from the wood’s impact with my head.
Just then after shielding my eyes as though my bloody hands were binocular I watched my grandfather, and something in the nearing distance like a massive wall was coming closer and closer. I noticed it then to be a massive wave, like a tidal wave.
I stood up in shock and screamed for my grandpa as loud as I could, but without a moment without further warning or time to react, suddenly he was gone!
Gone just completely gone! And then the wave hit the beach, and the lights from above vanished. All at once without reason or explanation. I stood up on the high dune, watching the black water cover the less dark by contrast sand. The lighthouse now resumed as normal, as if it were never interrupted. I went to go shout for my grandfather again but something thunderous above me boomed, the storm increased, and completely depleted I surrendered to my exhaustion and collapsed. My world was now completely engulfed in silence and darkness.
When I woke up yesterday I was in the hospital, I woke up with stitches and bruising and was soon released. Upon returning to my grandfather I wrote everything I could remember the second I got home. Backtracking though, when I did wake up my aunt and uncle shared a room with me, and upon seeing me open my eyes they alerted the nurses and a police officer who came in from just outside the door.
They greeted me and asked if I was okay, but before I could answer they said I had suffered a minor concussion and a few stitches on head, and had only been asleep for several hours. They also let me know that the police patrolling the shore found me with their search lights. When I asked about my grandfather, they said they regretted to be the ones to tell me, but that he was missing and with no clues as to how or where. They were hoping I could assist them. It all came back to me in a flash, all the confusion and excitement and fear rushed back into me. I could not hide my excitement and they saw it. The police officer stepped forward and suggested I come by the station when I felt better to give any witness statement or testimony as to what occurred and what I knew.
I have made copies of everything I have written, with the hopes that someone will understand or can explain everything.
It’s been a few months now, and my grandfather is still missing, and presumed dead due to drowning. I want to believe that…I really do, but the memories are still fresh, and are still perplexing to me. I cannot help but reflect on the conversation I had with him in church, about ghosts, extra-terrestrials. Did the ghost ship come for him? Something from another world? I cannot help wondering if he was just insane from the war and whatever mysterious circumstances followed him were just coincidences. Did an advanced intelligence take him? It drove me nearly crazy and has kept me up for what seems like endless nights now; to the point I needed to have sleeping pills prescribed to me. So many questions, I know. Was this all just madness, was it an instance or an experience that happened in a single moment and drove him mad? Was it triggered by the storm? Was there something he witnessed in the sky or in the ocean that day his friends disappeared, did he see it again the night of the hurricane?
Did he know too much? Was he better off dead to some than to linger alive?
Or was it simply that his mental ailments had too much of an influence on me while I was nearly isolated with him for just under two weeks? It was like contagious paranoia. I have to have answers, and I want to believe that he just had a mental episode triggered by the coast guard or the storm, and that a wave did in fact claim his life.
A fitting death for a naval man. Fighting until the last breath, and being consumed and buried, really as if returned, to the ocean where all the madness, power, and haunting memories belonged.
Please God, I pray, please let him be dead and reunited with grandma or his beloved ocean, and unharmed by forces I can never explain.
Read this story and more on Creepypasta at https://www.creepypasta.com/the-strange-glow/.