The Lighthouse at the End of the World

15. October, 2016

I walk to the westernmost point of the city, the Grótta Lighthouse. From the cape of Seltjarnarnes I clamber across a chain of boulders, a slippery seawall, that links the mainland to the lighthouse’s island.

By the atlas’s reckoning, this is as close as I will come to my hometown until summer, but from Iceland, Oakland is farther than any atlas can calculate. Staring at the cloud-locked horizon is like looking into a tarnished mirror—only ghosts gaze back. California belongs to the sunsleek world before Ragnarök, not to this ensorcelled duskland. I look out from the Lighthouse at the End of the World.

Behind me, a man shouts something in Icelandic.

I turn, ‘Sorry?’

‘The land will be closed soon,’ he says in English accented by his agitation.

In other words: You had better run, girl, or the tide will catch you.

As I skim back over the beach, shells flash beneath my boots, as if a Seaqueen scattered the ecstasies of her jewelbox across the sand—amethysts, ametrines, and purple tourmaline. By the time I reach the seabridge back to the mainland, the tide is seething between the stones. Currents circle like sharks, snapping hungrily at the rocks and splashing me in spray as salty as blood. Feverish adrenaline burns my mind clear of fear, illuminating a route over the stones and guiding my boots to generous footholds. Just as the waves devour the first rocks, I spring from the seabridge to the mainland sand, safe on Seltjarnarnes beach. I look back to the Lighthouse, only a tempestuous three hundred meters away. How close I came to the end of the world.

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