Jack Welch's Death Light





Pond Cove, Maine, is haunted by a light that on a certain evening, every

summer, rises a mile out at sea, drifts to a spot on shore, then whirls

with a buzz and a glare to an old house, where it vanishes. Its first

appearance was simultaneous with the departure of Jack Welch, a

fisherman. He was seen one evening at work on his boat, but in the

morning he was gone, nor has he since shown himself in the flesh.



On the tenth anniversary of this event three fishermen were hurrying up

the bay, hoping to reach home before dark, for they dreaded that uncanny

light, but a fog came in and it was late before they reached the wharf.

As they were tying their boat a channel seemed to open through the mist,

and along that path from the deep came a ball of pallid flame with the

rush of a meteor. There was one of the men who cowered at the bottom of

the boat with ashen face and shaking limbs, and did not watch the light,

even though it shot above his head, played through the rigging, and after

a wide sweep went shoreward and settled on his house. Next day one of his

comrades called for him, but Tom Wright was gone, gone, his wife said,

before the day broke. Like Jack Welch's disappearance, this departure was

unexplained, and in time he was given up for dead.



Twenty years had passed, when Wright's presumptive widow was startled by

the receipt of a letter in a weak, trembling hand, signed with her

husband's name. It was written on his death-bed, in a distant place, and

held a confession. Before their marriage, Jack Welch had been a suitor

for her hand, and had been the favored of the two. To remove his rival

and prosper in his place, Wright stole upon the other at his work, killed

him, took his body to sea, and threw it overboard. Since that time the

dead man had pursued him, and he was glad that the end of his days was

come. But, though Tom Wright is no more, his victim's light comes yearly

from the sea, above the spot where his body sank, floats to the scene of

the murder on the shore, then flits to the house where the assassin lived

and for years simulated the content that comes of wedded life.





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