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(A long short story of 13477 words)

God is Over All

Historical Fiction Literary

by James Roderick Burns

In December 1900, three lighthouse keepers on a remote Scottish island - battered by Atlantic storms and the intense emotions of confinement - disappear without trace, leaving an enduring mystery in this most mysterious of places.

Ducat, Marshall and MacArthur - Principal Keeper, Assistant Keeper and Occasional Keeper, stout men all; he knew them - Ducat, Marshall and MacArthur seemed, though he could not possibly credit it, to have disappeared into the briny silence. Vanished. Spirited away, on some rogue cloud or the topmost spike of a vast passing rogue wave, unseen in the charts, unsensed in any mariner’s lowest troughs of sleep.

There was, he realised, one tale which might yet yield its secrets: the logbook.


Nothing was recorded for December 14th; no space, or torn corner, no tea-stained portion blotted down or overwritten, or simply torn free for whatever inconceivable reason. Simply nothing. The white space was given over to the following day, as though 15 followed 13 in every diary in the world.

As he read the short (and hopeful?) note, Moore’s veins seized as though some hatter had broken through and squirted them full with mercury.

December 15th, 1 p.m., it read. Storm ended. Sea calm. God is over all.

Nothing else was there in the ledger - he flipped about with shaking hand, back and forth, hither and yon, hoping against hope – but nowhere in any ledger, log, record or other mark of passing time recorded in any lighthouse in the world could such an entry occur. Moore sat back, astonished. A runnel of sweat descended from the nape of his neck, wicked away into his undershirt like the pass of a child’s hand through an outdoor tap.

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