“Last Watch” earned second place in the 2006 On Spec Postcard Story Contest.
by Susan Calder from Calgary, AB
Description of postcard: painting of a schooner
The schooner skims the whitecaps in Hudson’s Bay. Henk, the lighthouse keeper, trains his binoculars on the vessel. He hasn’t seen sails like this in fifty years. Fitting she’d appear his last night on the job. At midnight, an automated steel structure will replace him. The gale is blowing the ship to close to shore. One strong gust and she’ll hit the rocks. Henk will leap into his dingy, row into the wind, rescue the sailors from the bone chilling cold.
“Can you really leave this life?” his daughter teased. “How will the boats ever manage without you?”
Henk plants his legs firmly on the cliff. A wave tosses the ship to its side. Henk’s body is pure steel. He blinks out warning lights.
The schooner bobs over a wave, away from the rocks to safety.