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A Light From the Dunes
Tanner and Ethan sat in the back of their parent's suv. They were almost to their beach house they rented at the Outer Banks, a long island off the mainland of North Carolina.
It was early July, and it was hot. The hottest it's ever been. The temperature outside had risen to over one hundred degrees. This wasn't unusual for the Outer Banks.
The two brothers had been going there since they were babies, their parents too. The place held different surprises every year. Sometimes they would go shopping after going to the beach, or some years they would have their picture taken at an old time photo store. The activities they did varied. This year they had no idea what they would get themselves into.
Their black Suburban rounded into the driveway that led to the beach house they would stay in for a whole week. They could see it just in front of their car awaiting them.
The house had three levels, one: where you would enter from the garage, level two: where all the bedrooms were,and level three: where the living room, kitchen and dining area was located.
The two boys got out of the car. Tanner was thirteen and Ethan was fourteen, they were very close to each other never really fought or punched each other, always treating each other with respect.
"Boys, you need to carry your bags upstairs!" their mother called.
"Yeah, sure mom!" Ethan let out. This was the part of the trip that made them sick and both of them hated. Bringing everything up the many flights of stairs to their proper places.
Ethan and Tanner grabbed their heavy suite cases, their mother always packed way more than they needed. "Just in case," she would say.
When they got to the room they would share, Tanner and Ethan dropped their heavy load of bags.
"This is it," Tanner said.
The room was not small but not big, it had a small TV, dresser, and a bunk bed for the two of them.
Ethan climbed the tall ladder to the top portion of the bunk bed.
"Call it!" he said.
"Fine, I don't care," Tanner said. He really did care, he never got top bunk but he let it slide, again.
"Hey, check it out!" Tanner said. "We have a great view of the dunes!"
"What?" asked Ethan. "Oh yeah, mom never told you we have an awesome view?"
"Well then, now you know."
Ethan jumped off the top bunk and walked over to the window that looked out right onto the sand dunes. They were huge, maybe two hundred feet tall, and changed everyday since the wind would blow the sand around which ever way it pleased. But today, they were tall.
"This is neat," Tanner said.
"Yeah, you said it!"
After staring out the window for another long minute, the boys snapped out of their moment.
"Boys! There are still bags in the car!" called their father. He was a tough man, you didn't want to mess with him.
"We're coming!" Ethan yelled.
"Gosh, I hate this part of the trip!" Tanner said with a long exhale.
After dinner, Tanner went to go sit out on a large deck that sat just off the kitchen on the third floor.
He opened a sliding glass door that led to the deck, and stepped out onto the deck's wood planks.
"Hey," Ethan greeted Tanner. He sat in a lunge chair with a can of Pepsi in his hand.
Tanner sat in a lounge chair that was just calling his name next to Ethan's. He put his feet up and closed his eyes. He could hear the ocean's waves crash as the tide came in. He could feel a peaceful breeze hit his cheeks. It gave him the chills. He could hardly imagine how far that wind had come just to sweep down on his cheeks and give him great pleasure.
"Tanner look!" Ethan shouted interrupting Tanner's peace.
"What?" Tanner asked with anger.
"A light on the dunes! It's going up and down! Do you know what that is?"
"The light you're going to see when I punch you in the face?" Tanner asked.
"No," Ethan said. "Its the lights of pirates!"
"What are you, three?" Tanner asked with great intended sarcasm.
"No you see," Ethan began, he was a huge history buff and listened to every single historian at the museums that his parents would take him to when they went to the Outer Banks. "In the olden days, pirates would go up onto the sand dunes, and light a candle and walk up and down the dunes with the light in their hand!"
"Why?" Tanner asked.
"So ships that were out at sea would see it and think it was another ship just riding the waves so when it would go in the direction of the light, it would run ashore, having fallen for the pirates trick! So the pirates would run down to the beached ship and take whatever they wanted off of it!" Ethan had to take a deep breath after that explanation.
Tanner looked at Ethan's face, it was glowing with excitement.
"So what are you saying?" Tanner asked.
"Well, it could be the ghost of a pirate! We need to check it out! Come on, go with me!"
"Why should I? What if it's some reenactment guy?" Tanner asked.
"Well this is a chance to find out!"
Tanner rolled his eyes.
"Come on, man. Yes or no. This chance might never come again!" Ethan said with sincerity in his eyes.
"No wonder you don't have a girlfriend!" Tanner said.
"There's no time to bring my social life into this! Now yes or no!"
Tanner looked at Ethan he couldn't say no.
"So now what do we do?" Tanner asked.
Ethan stood on his tippy toes and whispered into Tanner's ear.
"We wait until mom and dad are asleep, then we sneak out, and follow the light."
It was late. The clock was ticking and it was passed midnight.
Tanner and Ethan laid in their bunk beds. Tanner got out his cell phone to check the time, the room lit up. The time on the cell phone screen read: 12:02 am.
"Ethan! Come on!" Tanner whispered in a high pitch.
"Shhh! Hold on!"
He checked his flashlight one last time. It was working fine. The batteries were still good.
Tanner was getting angry that his brother always needed to make sure that he wouldn't get in trouble. Tanner was blue in the face, he wanted to go. He jumped off the top bunk, and stood in front of Ethan's lower bunk.
"Let's go!" Tanner whispered.
Ethan got up, and wondered over to the bedroom door. He could hear his mother and father snoring. The coast was clear!
Ethan opened the bedroom door, it creaked open. He walked out into the hallway with Tanner following him.
Ethan led them to the stairs at the end of the hallway. They quietly tip-toed down the steps into a small room, that led to the garage.
They opened the door and went out the garage, the larger door keeping the cars inside was open.
"Yes!" Ethan said.
They both walked out and ran into the dark road.
Ethan turned on his flashlight, along with Tanner.
"How long will it take to walk there?" Tanner asked. "My feet have been killing me lately!"
"Do you have anything else to complain about?" Ethan asked. "Jeez!"
The two kids walked to the end of the road. The dunes began here where the road ended.
"We'll have to climb? Man!" Tanner let out.
"Stop being a baby!" Ethan said. "It's not that hard of a climb!"
"Who are you trying to convince?" Tanner asked.
Ethan ignored his brother and put his right foot on the dune. Then the left, and so on and so on. Soon, they had made it half way. Sand was in their shoes and pants, it wasn't very comfortable, but Ethan thought it was worth it to get to the bottom of the light.
Just minutes later, they reached the top. Ethan searched for the light, squinted and used his flashlight.
"There!" he said pointing to his right. The light was maybe ten yards away, so Ethan started running toward it with all his might. Tanner didn't, he stayed right where he was.
Ethan had his eyes fixed on the light.
The roar of the ocean's waves in the still night air was very clear to Ethan and Tanner the beach being only a few yards away to their left.
Ethan was still staring at the light as he ran towards it. He took his eyes off of it for a second to look back at his brother. Then looked to see the light again only the light was gone.
"This doesn't make any sense!" Ethan shouted almost to tears.
"What's wrong?" Tanner asked. "Too much sand in your pants?"
"The light, it's...gone."
"Well that's a bummer!" Tanner said with sarcasm.
Ethan lowered his head and walked back to his brother. His flashlight hanging loosely in his hand. Ethan was so disappointed.
"It's gone!" he told Tanner.
Tanner put his arm around his brother and walked home in silence. Ethan didn't feel like talking, he was just too upset.
What could the light have been?
Every night of the week that the brothers and their parents stayed at the house, they saw the light out in the near distance. ~To this day they still can't figure out what had happened.
Every family that has rented that same house since then has seen the light. Just about every one of them that had kids went to investigate, like Ethan and Tanner did, but were only disappointed to find the light had disappeared.