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I knew a man once who was always seeking treasure. Well, he was seeking the rumor of treasure. The excitement of hidden things, and secrets few knew. The allure of the mysterious. I don’t think he thought he would ever get his hands on any real treasure. He was a man stuck he had dreams and desires but had overtime settled for knowing and learning about various things rather than experiencing them. This can be very noble, however, it either sharpens a man so that he knows what experiences he aught allow himself or it causes him to settle in the worst kind of way, begrudgingly.
What does that mean to settle anyways? Like a glass full of mud with all the filth settled at the bottom. You would not drink it. Does it mean like settle the land set up a home wherever it is that the roots seem to dig in? That is not so bad. I kind of like the idea of putting down roots. He didn’t. I suppose he must have thought it a good idea at one point. I digress.
I am dying. I wanted you to know upfront. Remember the name Richard Krid. This is the only place you will hear it. It may be the last place you hear it, as well as the first. I am bursting at the seams and I need someone anyone to know why. I am a changed man, changed by something unexpected. It is said that Methvin declared from his home “What a long view” and that is how the city of Longview Texas got its name. Well, that is true but there is another reason. One buried deep in the minds and lives of those that live there. One that creeps below the surface.
Now usually that would be something dark especially if a story started like this but this is not dark. There is danger, but the danger does not necessarily indicate dark or bad. Earth is arguably good but regularly hurls hurricanes at our cities. Not bad just dangerous. This is what I am getting at.
Mirrors have this kind of danger about them. How many times have we seen in the movies where a man who has been going thoughtlessly though life and suddenly stops and sees himself in the mirror. Then he stops and he stares into that mirror and for once stops and realizes who is staring back at him. Maybe he is stunned by the age in his face. Maybe he is given pause by the lack of life in the eyes. Maybe he finally realizes how sad he is. there is danger there. Especially for us humans. When we see that person staring back we suddenly have to choose. Do we go on, deeper into that person or do we turn back? I don’t think there is a single person that has stopped and looked in that mirror and liked everything they see.
Where were we? Oh yes back to my friend. He was always seeking treasure. Always dreaming about this or that he could go retrieve and would suddenly be rich. Then he would sigh and stare longingly into his glass. “It is really about the journey isn’t it?” He would ask. I would nod and feel bad for him. He had a great wife and kids, a good job but for some reason, he never really shook this feeling of rambling on down the road.
It was several years after we had started meeting at the bar on the regular. We had recently changed our meeting place to Aliabi which was a barcadia, a bar, and arcade mixed. He called on Wednesday and told me that we had to meet, he wanted to discuss something he had found out. I usually did not drink in the middle of the week but what did I have to lose?
When he showed up he was excited to show me what he had found. He ordered and paid for a couple of beers and we fond a place a little out of the way. He sat down eyeing everyone around us and making sure no one was watching. He motioned for me to lean in. He confessed that even though he was interested in treasure hunting he never considered pursuing it. He also confessed that he often thought about leaving his wife and kids but only because he felt stuck and for other reasons that he had never been able to put his fingers on.
This last confession surprised me. I always knew it but he was saying the quiet part out loud and it made little sense. He looked like a man with a heavyweight he had carried for years. Then he told me, “I don’t want to go on like this. I have fantasized many times about being alone on the road. Just me and my thoughts. No responsibilities or duties. Then one evening I found myself with a pen and notebook planning how I would do it. Then one night I came to my senses. What was I doing! Why was I doing it? I flipped through the notebook and observed my thoughts and plans. I was horrified. I threw it away and wept alone in the living room while my wife and child slept unknowing and ignorant of the terrible plans I had made.”
I had to work very hard to cover my true thoughts. What a fool he was. Silly, to have such a woman love him and yet there he was throwing it all away! He continued, “I feel plagued by this. I can’t shake the thought now that I have let it in. I don’t want to leave her, but I can’t stay trapped. I need to have an adventure! I need to get it out of my system.” He then regaled me with this story.
“When Ossamus Hitch Methvin, Sr. looked out from his house he said ‘What a long view!’ and that is how Longview got its name right?” He asked. I told him I would have to take his word for it and asked him to continue. “Then he started selling parcels of his land to the railroad companies hoping that they would build his direction and raise the value of the land he had left. At least that is how the story goes.”
“There is another story. See there are few bodies of water near Longview in fact lake of the pines is man-made and was not there during the time of Mr. Methvin. The story I just heard from a friend of mine is that Methvin said his famous line from the top of a lighthouse. A lighthouse he found that had suddenly appeared on his land.” He declared a light coming back to his eyes.
I stopped him there and questioned the origin of this story. He told me that the story came from a friend of his that was part of the masonic lodge here in town. The lodge is an old building made covered in what looked like blocks of concrete. It has its typical accouterments of masonic symbolism on the outside with big heavily lightly ornate doors on the front. The lodge has a meager membership in town but for the most part, is a pretty quiet boys club as far as I knew. He told me his friend had to tell someone outside of the lodge about what he had heard because it was just too much to keep in and if his wife knew the kind of crazy talk coming out of his buddy then she would not be okay with him joining the lodge later.
He said also that the lighthouse still appears on occasion in Longview and if you stand at the top of it you can see a strange ocean. A strange ocean that Longview Texas is on the border of a strange ocean full of strange things. He could barely contain himself. “Adventure right here on my doorstep!” He declared. Then he told me that there was supposedly a map, in a safe, in the lodge.
I mulled this over in my head that night. A lighthouse that somehow magically appeared infrequently in Longview Texas of all places. Sure Longview is a decent size place but there are no lighthouses in this town let alone any kind of large bodies of water visible at any elevation.
Have you ever had a thought a story wiggle its way into your mind and take up residence there? A thought a story that you could not shake? Now this story about there being a disappearing lighthouse was that kind of story. Then there was the problem of my friend’s seeming disdain for his wife. “I need to get it out of my system,” he had said. Well, perhaps he did not deserve such an adventure? I hated what I found myself planning that night.
I suppose you should know a little more about me before we continue. As I said before I am dying. Might already be dead as far as I know. You should know I am dying happy. Full of light and hope. I have not always lived that way. I am no master thief but turns out you don’t have to be when you focus on small to midsized towns and leave the big scores to guys with way more funding and skill. I have made a living being the best small town thief and scam artist you will never know you met and I had decided that I would entertain my friends whimsy and see what if anything was true about this.
Part of the reasoning was charitable in this regard. I thought that if I proved that there was no magical lighthouse then my friend could go back to his life as a father and husband. I could divert for him what was a growing plan to self-sabotage what I knew was real treasure. The second reason was a mixture of full-filling my curiosity, and punishing my friend for his fantasizing about leaving his family. I had never married but it struck me as a terrible thing to let roll around in your brain unchecked.
I should admit that in the planning a boyish curiosity and mischief seemed to bubble up inside of me. I felt that sense of adventure my friend had been seeking and I relished it.
To even be considered for the masonic lodge you have to meet a few criteria.
1. You must have a belief in a supreme being. This is unspecified which supreme being but alas there must be a belief.
2. You must be able to take care of your family. This means that the club dues must not be an undue burden on your family and you are not stealing from the time they need of you.
3. You must know someone in the lodge. You can’t just walk up and say hey I would like to join. You must talk to, in person, a member of the lodge to join, whether that is by you asking or them asking you.
Lucky I could fake one, two was no sweat I had no family and the third was already underway through my friend.
The plan was as follows. We would try and locate the building plans for the lodge in city hall and see where it might make sense for there to be a safe. The lodge itself has very few windows but it does have a roof access. I would find a way to get up to the roof during our first visit and dislodge the lock so that someone could get in from the outside as long as they had a way to get to the roof. I would also secure a climbing rope to the roof and coil enough at the top so that if it were pulled down someone could climb it up. Then I would attach some fishing like to the end of the rope and run that down to the ground. The fishing line is invisible to the naked eye at distance. Once night fell I could then make my way to the back of the building locate the fishing line and use it to pull the coiled climbing rope now uncoiled and previously secured down to me.
I had used this method before in another town when I robed the courthouse in Marshall Texas. They still don’t even realize that several documents of historical and surprisingly, of great monetary value have been missing for years.
With the supplies and the plan in place, the hardest part would be smuggling in the rope and climbing equipment and getting long enough to set everything up without letting anyone know. The plans showed that there were two bathrooms in the building. One downstairs and one up.
At the first meeting, everyone was going around introducing themselves when my friend kicked everything off. He went to the bathroom. Upon getting there he pulled out his phone and waited for my signal. I waited a few minutes and then asked to use the bathroom myself. I confided in the man that had brought us that I had been having stomach troubles all day and needed to get to the bathroom. With a little persuasion, he lead me to the second floor and showed me to the bathroom there. I insisted that he not wait as this might take a few minutes. I then texted my friend letting him know that he was now to distract our acquaintance.
As soon as I received word from him that he had returned to the main hall I went to work. There were cameras mounted to the walls but I had seen the brand before. They were the kind meant to only look like an active camera. It was clear that the membership of the lodge had struggled. The decor of the upper floor was old and mostly used for storage except for a few rooms being used for offices.
I found the pull cord for the roof access at the end of the hall and carefully lowered the attic like stairs. I didn’t even have to pick the lock. It was clear that the masons did not expect anyone to break in from the roof. I made my way out to the roof and removed my shirt. I quickly uncoiled the rope from around my body and with a few swift but louder than I would like blows from a climbing hammer, secured the carabiner to the concrete lip of the building. I then coiled the rope so that it would easily fall and then tied the fishing line to the end and dropped it over the roof.
I had a brief moment of euphoria as the smell from Hotdog Express wafted up to the roof. The plan was set and just as quickly as I had set things up I was back down mingling and whispering to our host a thank you for being so gracious with their bathroom.
As far as I could tell, aside from some older tapestries, a few ornate pedestals, and the building’s exterior, it was no different from a baptist church’s fellowship hall. The dinner was good, not great but honestly, the company was the best part. The company and the excitement of what was to come the next night.
I had trouble sleeping and doing anything the next day. I was so very ready to wet my appetite with a heist so self-indulgent. I was sure I would find nothing. I was sure that there would be no treasure, there would be no safe, and even if there was the only thing I was committed to taking was a map to a lighthouse I was sure did not exist; could not exist.
I sat at Hotdog Express waiting for the evening to descend into darkness. I was reading Out of The Silent Planet. The return trip back to earth was almost complete when the security lights around the Lodge kicked on and it became time for me to break in.
I left the Hotdog Express and made my way over the back fence having scouted it earlier I knew that some unkept hedges were perfect for the cover I needed. I found the fishing line and gave it a tug. The climbing rope fell to my level leaving me only a short climb up and then into the lodge. I watched from my hiding place the foot and vehicle traffic near the building, waiting for the right moment to make my climb. I only had to wait a few minutes. Suddenly the street and the surrounding area was silent. Silent except what I know now was the sound of waves on a shore. At the time I just thought it was a strange-sounding wind.
I scaled the wall. It was quick and easy. I found the door unlocked like before and within moments of setting out I was in the top floor of the lodge. I made quick work of the upstairs looking for a safe in every closet and behind every painting. I then made my way to the second floor with the gathering hall and kitchen. There were a few broom closets but none of them held a safe.
I was beginning to feel the crash from the excitement I had been running on all day. The reality was that there was no safe or magical lighthouse. Only a silly story of a bored man and another bored thief who got caught up in it. I felt the little adventurous boy in me readying himself once again for the long sleep of adulthood. To my shame, I did a little stomp on the floor. The kind of stomp that a child would do when they are not being given the cookie they feel entitled to. To my surprise, this stomp let out a loud hollow echo.
I did it again it confirmed to me that something beneath the hall was hollow. There are two things very strange about this. The first is that basements in East Texas are very rare. The water table was so close to the surface that water tended to seep up from underneath if you dug but a few feet past the standard six for graves. The second was because there was no basement on the plans for the building. The little boy inside of me turned over and reconsidered the nap.
I began to crawl on my hands and knees knocking on the floor. Listening to the sound and feeling for a seam in the well-worn carpet. I had been there for two hours. Much longer than I wanted to or should have been. There was definitely a hollow space beneath the hall and it sounded the most hollow up near where the officers sat but where? Where could the entrance be? I tapped and scratched and pried at every single possible seam I could find. Nothing let me into what I was sure was a basement and not just really bad foundation problems.
Then I hit pay dirt. Behind the main large tapestry was a painting. An ugly black velvet painting of a lighthouse. This thing looked like something you would by at a garage sell just to throw it away and rid the world of its poorly executed beacon. At the time it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I felt around its edges and then slid my hand behind it to find that there was a hole in the wall and metal handholds for someone to hoist themselves up into the opening. Naturally, I did this and found that a ladder descended into the darkness of the space beneath the lodge.
Before I committed to climbing I took a moment and hung my head over the edge and let my eyes adjust to the deeper darkness. I could see much deeper down than just a basement a faint light shone in that darkness. It was strange it seemed that the hole went much deeper than would be possible in East Texas. I shrugged it off as an optical illusion and got to the business of climbing down. The ladder was made of cold iron and strong. It was affixed to the wall inside of a black tile-lined tunnel shot straight into the ground.
The hole was far deeper than any possible basement and I began to speculate that maybe the shaft emptied into some kind of pre-war bunker. However, this was not the case. Somewhere along the way, the walls had transitioned from standard black tile to [obsidian stones covering every wall](https://www.longviewtruthnews.com/entertainment/esoteric-local-collector-shows-off-collection/). The light from bellow had grown much brighter and was pulsating, growing brighter and the dimmer only to grow brighter again. The stones themselves were jet black and glass-like with flecks of yellow that seemed to dance and move in the darkness. Always seeming to move upward like they were trying to slowly rise towards the surface without anyone knowing.
I finally after possibly a football field worth of ladder-climbing found my self, setting foot onto a floor made entirely of the same yellow flecked obsidian. The flecks of yellow formed a lazy flow away from the source of the light. I rounded the corner and began down a long hallway made of the same obsidian with coat hooks lining the right wall and ceremonial robes of varying colors hanging on those hooks. There was not a bare hook among them, the only reassurance I had that I was alone.
The light continued to pulse and a sound came like the metal straining against metal. The same sound a metal structure might make when buffeted by a strong wind. The same sound of a boat groaning under the strain of the weather. This had one difference. It was aggressive and it had in it a shuddering rythm. I took one last deep breath and held it like plunging into the light would take my breath away.
I feel I do you a disservice by not immediately describing to you what it is that I saw. I am afraid you might go looking for it. You should remind you that I am dying. What is killing me is old. I want you to know that I have not lived a good life. I have stolen from good well-meaning people because they were easy to steal from. I have never made close friends. Only acquaintances that I later discarded because it suited me. I did consider getting married once. I loved her. She is better off without a man like me. She did eventually settle here in town. Set down roots. I wish her husband thought better of her. Treated her like the treasure I know she. I wish I had known then.
The room, no the cavern! A cathedral underground! The obsidian lined cavern sparked with yellow stars the flecks ever moving away from the central feature of the cavern. The Lighthouse! It was a metal Victorian lighthouse. The outer cover was covered in black rust and corrosion. A variety of chains, large and small were wrapped around the structure all of them terminated in large ornate iron rings affixed to the ground. Each ring had engraved upon it some scene where the lighthouse was leading in various ships, caravans, armies so noble it was hard to gaze upon them, and creatures so dark I wish I had not taken the time to look.
The beacon, oh that beacon. The cage of the beacon was open-air with bars that looked more like a prison. From it shown the purest of light spinning, spinning ever spinning. Occasionally the lighthouse and chains let out a strained sound. Like the lighthouse itself was struggling against them. The flecks of yellow that moved through the obsidian found their origin at the base of the lighthouse. I also found myself drawn to the strange sight and the door of the lighthouse.
I hesitated, I had forgotten myself. I was underneath Longview, underneath the Mason’s Lodge, and a there a lighthouse stood. Yet I quickly forgot this and opened the door. There was little to the internal structure of the lighthouse. The front door opened to a small corridor with stairs that lead up to the beacon and another door that lead to an internal room. Like a moth to the flame, I had to see what the light was. I made my way up to the beacon drawn in by the sound of light musical humming. A single note vibrating the air. The beacon itself had a series of lenses focusing the light out from the center. The lenses rotated lazily by some unseen mechanism around the light source. It seemed that the lenses and the frame that held them were suspended in the air.
I was looking at this array of brass framing and lenses hovering slowly around the light source when the sound reached my ears. The sound of waves. I turned and looked out from the beacon and there was an ocean. A strange ocean cast against a deep cobalt sky. Dark menacing clouds hurried their way through the sky occasionally letting a magenta bolt of lightening loose from their boiling surface. The ocean itself churned as oceans do except that most oceans do not have teal and purple emanations of light that move through its waves and below the surface. The wind carried on it a scent of salt and spice.
It was menacing, it was powerful, it was strange, and it was beautiful. The lighthouse was no longer in a cavern but on a craggy outcrop. I rushed around to the other side and there on the landmass that the lighthouse now stood a strange city could be seen off in the distance. I had to see it from the shore I had to explore this strange coast. I rushed down the stairs and threw open the door and there I was back in the cavern. Again the lighthouse shuddered and strained against the chains.
I did not go immediately back to the top but instead decided to explore the small room. I opened the door and the same smell of that spice met my nose. A lantern glowed in the corner the same strange pure light that beacon gave off. The room had a bed a table, a small kitchenette, and a single chair. In the chair sat a figure with a ragged blanket draped over its entire body. The figure was still except for the smallest movement of breathing. “Hey what is this place?” I asked reluctantly breaking the silence of this room. The figure did not move in response. I slowly circled to the other side of the room so I could get a look at it.
The figure was slumped forward in the chair. The blanket falling open in the front revealing what looked to be a desiccated corpse. From the eyes and mouth, a yellow fluid dribbled down the face and chest, into the folds of the blanket. Following the implied path I noticed it making its way down the leg of the chair and then into the floorboards of the small room. Fear overtook me and I turned and bolted from the lighthouse. I exploded out from the strange beacon past the chains and to the entrance of the cavern when I stopped and turned. I watched again the yellow flecks in the black stone moving away from the lighthouse where they found their origin, the corpse.
My puzzlement deepened, theory, mystery, and danger formed a sucking pit in my mind. Excitement mingled with horror and I stood there dazed at the site until the lighthouse shuddered again straining against its chains, almost pleading for me to come. In one of those moments when the desire to know overrides solid reason and a healthy sense of danger and self-preservation, I turned back. I had to see that strange coast one more time.
I climbed the inner spiral of stairs towards the top and listened as I went. The sound of wind and waves slowly crept into the ambiance. The lighthouse shuddered and strained against its chains, this time so hard that its metal frame creaked. It wanted me to climb to see that coast. That coast with its magenta lightning and teal lights bellow its violent surface. The smell of the salt and spice flooded my senses as I once again stepped into the beacon. Strange and wonderful the sight of a frontier unknown unseen by so many. I turned again to look at the gravity-defying array of lenses and brass framing.
I crouched down and slid underneath its lazily turning bulk. I gazed upon a rough stone pedestal terminating in a bowl from which the purest light shown. I reached into the bowl and scooped from it with my bare hands that liquid light, that spark of creation captured and distilled. Then I drank.
The lighthouse is gone. I broke its chains and released it into the wilds. Released it to spread its mystery, released it to continue its protection of that strange coast and to draw people into itself to gaze upon it. I released it and got about the business of dying.
I am so full of light. Joy comes so easy nowadays. I confessed to my friend why I had befriended him and I urged him not to cast away the treasure he had found in her. I begged him to not forget his desire for adventure but to instead breathe it into his family. I pleaded with him to never forget that he was the heartbeat of his family. I reminded him that she was his and if he ever needed adventure, danger, excitement, or peace she was there.
The light, it is all I see now. Am I changing? Was it God’s will that I find one of his strangest creations? Did I know there was a God before this? I am dying. I am dying the same way a star does. Filled to the brim with light.
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