‘The Lighthouse’ by Agnes Owens

The Lighthouse by Agnes Owens, 1996

The magic trick:

Seeing a foreshadowing loop all the way through

This story simply doesn’t flinch.

It’s one thing to set up an ominous premise, two young children walking alone along an eerie, empty beach. And it’s another thing to extend that ominous vibe with some ominous foreshadowing.

But let’s be honest, how many stories actually follow through on those tacts?

And that’s quite a trick on Owens’s part.

The selection:

I don’t want to go to the lighthouse,’ he said, running over and butting her in the stomach with his head.

‘But I do,’ she said, skipping off lightly over the sand. ‘Wait for me,’ he called, picking up his pail and spade and trailing after her.

Together they walked along in a friendly way, going at a pace that suited them both. The day was warm but with a bit of wind. Megan almost felt happy. They came to a part of the shore that was deserted except for a woman walking her dog in the distance. Bobby stopped to gather shells. Throw them away,’ said Megan. ‘You’ll get better ones at the lighthouse.’

He emptied his pail then asked if the lighthouse was over there, pointing to the sea wall.

‘Don’t be stupid. The lighthouse is miles away.’

He said emphatically, ‘Then I don’t want to go.’ Megan lost her temper. ‘If you don’t start moving I’ll slap your face.’

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