his father painted the top of the lighthouse himself. with the last concise stroke of the red paintbrush, his father had a concise stroke of his own, and slid off the roof to his death, colliding headlong into the rocky ground, and tumbling into the choppy water. his body was never found, though toby often imagine a blue man, with nibbles taken out from fish schools, and skin as loose as kelp on his bones. with equal sincerity, toby imagined that his father had not died at all, and was merely hiding in the system of caves eroding into the rocks. toby’s mother should have dissuaded this highly illogical fantasy, but she couldn’t help from wanting it to be true, as well. they both took to pouring over the antiquated cave maps at the county library. over dinner, they calculated the best rise of the tide for underground excursions. they stared out of their windows before bed, looking for a sign that her husband, his father, had returned. he never did. they never stopped looking. the light in the red roofed lighthouse never stopped spinning.