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The Lighthouse in Munish

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At the southern cape of my town, Munish, there still stands a hundred-year-old lighthouse that was built by the white men who came to this place two centuries ago. They stayed long and worked tirelessly to convert our culture to their ways, but ultimately failed even through violence — the frigid temperatures, we knew, could not be tolerated by the inexperienced white men.

As a sort of last hurrah, they constructed a glaringly ugly lighthouse for the reason that unsuspecting sailors might wreck their ships here if there were no guidepost. But we all knew that the real reason was that, when they had their reinforcements, they could easily locate Munish again.

My ancestors took it upon themselves to destroy the beacon for that reason — and they did. For a time, life for them was good. The white men never returned, the lighthouse was vacant, and Munish remained happily secluded.

However, this changed on the day that the lighthouse beacon, despite being wrecked, inexplicably flickered back to life and lit a clear path over the sea for the white men to follow. Munish panicked, and a small heroic group traveled to the southern cape and entered the lighthouse with the singular goal of eliminating the problem. In the town, every individual witnessed the light die again. It was a startling moment, for the joy and relief that should have been felt was eerily misplaced. An appalling silence drowned everything.

The men who carried out the heroic act of destroying the light never returned. In their honor, an annual festival was founded on the day of their deaths. The very next year, on the day before the festival, the light returned. Again the town fell into fearful madness, and a handful of brave warriors followed the path of the fallen men from the prior year. For a third time, the lighthouse dimmed; the men did not return to celebrate.

Rumors were propagated after that, many suggesting that an evil spirit had possessed the lighthouse, and that it had taken the heroes for destroying its beacon. The rumors became ingrained into the culture, and soon tales of the Ning (the abominable creature said to dwell within the lighthouse) were commonplace in Munish. They were so well-known, in fact, that when on the following year the light came again, none offered themselves to douse it, out of fear of the Ning. Days passed, and the light shone on. No white men arrived, but the light continually grew stronger and took on a greenish hue.

In the span of a week, several individuals had alarmingly ended their own lives by way of lying nude in the tundra away from town for house — a terribly slow, grisly way to die. Inaction was the primary policy until several more villagers went berserk and threw themselves from the icy cliffs — the ones located beside the lighthouse. After much argument and many difficult decisions, the village sent multiple unwilling men to do the deed. Minutes later, the horrific greenness died, the men nowhere to be found.

For a century this trend continued, with each year growing increasingly tense for the townspeople. No longer were there volunteers, but instead the village chief selected the unfortunate sacrifices. All the while, the mystery of the lighthouse (and the supposed Ning) was never resolved. The light returned two days ago, in fact.

As it happens, I am the next in line to die.

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