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Katelyn Vandersteen

Being a candidate is an honor. Something to be proud of, you’re told. You are doing a duty for your town. It doesn’t feel like an honor. No, standing there, staring up at the lighthouse on the edge of town. You don’t feel proud. You feel scared.  You would run but the townspeople block the road. Drowning is an option. You are by the water and can’t swim. Would drowning be better than the lighthouse? Would you really doom your whole town in an attempt to save your soul? What is your soul worth compared to the lives of everyone in this town? Your family and friends. Your steps are slow, hesitant as you approach the door. 

It’s cold there, standing on that doorstep. The coldest you have ever been. A million times worse than the coldest winter. It feels like you are breathing ice. Your lungs ache with each inhale until you feel as though you would rather never breath again. You imagine the blood freezing in your veins. Ice creeping through, claiming you bit by bit. Freezing you from the inside out. 

There is a loud creak, the only noise aside from your gasping breath as the door opens. You hadn’t touched it. The other side is darkness. It is as though all light stops at the threshold. Dread settles itself in your heart. This is it. You exhale, ice falling from your lips and enter the lighthouse. The door swings shut, and the town is safe for one more year. 

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