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Two boys once lived by the sea.
Their names were Jack and Sam Wesley.
They loved the ocean and hurried down to the shore on most days.
Exploring the coast was never difficult for the two, for they lived on an island! This was not a tropical island, nor a tundra island, but a foggy, misty island that happily rested off the American northwest coast in the gloomy Pacific.
It was a truly special place where all of the people knew each other’s names. At a large bay, where the people lived, an assortment of boats would have been found. Visitors usually came during the summer, and most of them stayed on their own boats since there were no inns on the island. The few who called Genoa home lived in cabins and makeshift homes near the bay. A seafaring man captained an ocean liner in Oregon and came by the island once a week. This simple way of living was all that the people wanted.
For Jack and Sam, life was rarely ever boring. Despite the somewhat dreary weather, the two brothers found many things to do. Fishing was Jack’s favorite pastime, while Sam preferred to explore the island’s oceanside caves. (A surprising number of these deep, watery caverns were found on Genoa.)
On a typical day, after some reading or writing and doing their required chores, the two would bicycle to the beach.
Usually with some friends, Jack and Sam would ride past the town park which was often littered with red and orange fallen leaves, and over the quiet stream in Whitefield Garden where trout lazily meandered along. Then, the comrades would traverse one of the several routes to the west coast of the island where a stretch of muddy hills dipped into the sea. This special place was a place of childish jubilation. Amid a dense, green forest, the youngsters hiked, climbed trees, and occasionally swam in the river.
Jack and his friends played ball games on the beach, and met in elaborate tree forts to trade things like fishing lures or model planes. Sam, being the leader of cave exploration, would guide his companions into dark, damp tunnels and through small apertures in the beach’s rocky regions.
At the day’s end, as the orange sun fell below the wind-beaten ocean, they would all hastily disperse and scurry home for dinner.
Aside from these thrilling escapades, Jack and Sam enjoyed their life at home. The Wesley family lived in a home near the harbor. Two stories tall, and built with large, wooden frames, their house was originally a fishing store. Mr and Mrs Wesley had worked hard to make the place a pleasant home for their children; the two made the larger rooms into an observatory, a kitchen, and a library. It was, indeed, a welcoming place.
Like any other children living on Genoa, Jack and Sam didn’t go to school because the population was much too small for a public institution to be built. Nevertheless, the two were well educated. Constantly reading the books they found in the Wesley library, these students were two of the island’s best. Jack was a writer and would journal about their adventuresome quests, while Sam was undeniably creative and loved to build things.
In many ways, the two took after their father. John Wesley, their brilliant though slightly eccentric father, was an established scientist. He was away from home frequently, working as an engineer. Before Jack and Sam were born, John and his wife moved to Genoa. John had been invited to work for Incandium Science Labs, a highly sophisticated company of scientists. Dr Verne, the president of Incandium, had learned of John’s discoveries and wished for him to assist the organization in its research and production.
As you will see, John’s work was altogether secretive; Incandium required him to keep from speaking about the details of his business. Because of this, his children found his occupation to be a complete mystery. The part that especially intrigued them was where their father worked. For many years, the location of the scientists’ laboratory was unknown to the Wesley brothers.
They would often go on disclosed treks to search for the place. All that the two ever found was military bunker from the Second World War and an abandoned trail. Of course, the two never dared go to the southern tip of the island. The children of Genoa believed an evil vagabond lived there, and that he always carried a dagger.
Unsuccessful in finding the obscure laboratory, Jack and Sam merely knew that their father had an an unrevealed job at a concealed location and was extremely busy with it.
John had known Marie Hudson since he was a boy. The two were raised on the mainland in the same, small town. John had never met someone so special to him. He saw that Marie was constantly looking for ways to help others. Unlike John, she sought excitement and accepted uncertainty. When John first received his invitation to the island, it was she who desired t0 move.
Jack and Sam were born on Genoa and raised by the sweetest of mothers. Taking them on boat rides and morning walks, Marie taught her sons to use their imaginations because, as she said, “Imagination leads to adventure!”
On a fateful day, Marie became ill from a rampant disease that had been introduced to Genoa. John tried to find the right treatment, but there was little available for her on the small island. A few days later, Marie died in her sleep. This, in fact, was the beginning of the darkest time in John’s life. He became depressed and endeavored to seek an escape from his anguish through his work.
When their mother passed away, Jack and Sam were still young. Though they missed her immensely, they became accustomed to getting along on their own.
When Marie died, John was given some time away from work. Jack and Sam quickly noticed that something was dreadfully different about their father. During his break, John hired David Berkley, a friend of his, to watch after his children while he would be gone at work.
Mr Berkley was Genoa’s lighthouse man and was known for his pleasant and relaxed demeanor. He had brown hair and a weathered face, and usually wore a bright, blue vest that matched his bold, blue eyes. He lived on the north-east peninsula of the island in his cottage. His home was adjoined to the red and white lighthouse that protruded from smooth, sun-bleached rocks. Mr Berkley once proudly explained to Jack and Sam that he was the first to take residence on Genoa. The two were unsure about his claim, although they were told that he had lived on the island since he was a little child.
As an academic enthusiast, Mr Berkley enjoyed teaching the Wesleys about things. Whether through expounding on American history or by teaching the two how to tie knots, he always seemed eager to offer his abundant knowledge. The two became recognized as scholarly individuals and received remarks like, “You make the king’s jive!” and “Are you writing a book?” They aspired to be like Mr Berkley who was surprisingly knowledgable and well-informed considering that he had lived on a small island most of his life.
Because Mr Berkley was friends with Captain Edwards, the ocean liner captain, he and the Wesleys were given a free ride to the mainland harbor every summer. Although Jack enjoyed the place, he was constantly disappointed because he had always wanted to go beyond the harbor. He wanted dearly to know what life would be like on prairies and in mountains.
You might find it humorous that Genoa’s famous lighthouse man was entirely opposed to getting married, as he simply didn’t see the need. Jack and Sam sometimes teased him about his position, but to their disappointment, he was very good at making fun of himself. Mr Berkley simply found his joy in helping the people of Genoa.
Mr Berkley was a regimented man and rarely ever did he deviate from his daily routines. After a slow morning, he would drive his station wagon to the Wesleys’ home. There, he would say hello to the boys and look after any important tasks. Joining the two in their activities and educating them along the way, Mr Berkley unfailingly sought the brothers’ welfare. He occasionally ran errands, making sure that they had plenty of food and things. Then, each afternoon, the blue-vested islander would take the dusty road back to his cottage. Before his nightly lighthouse duty, he would usually take a nap and then eat some supper.
As evening turned to dusk, he would climb the long, spiral staircase to the top of his lighthouse. Throughout these nights, Mr Berkley would always give careful attention to his trusty radio which allowed him to communicate with Captain Edwards. He took pride in his lighthouse and kept it in quite perfect shape, shining its brilliant beam of light wherever needed.
Jack and Sam became exceptionally fond of the easygoing lighthouse man. You see, the brothers were the only children who had grown up and continued to live on the island. The other children came and went, visiting for only a few years at most. Like the Wesley children, Mr Berkley was there to stay.
Shortly after returning to work, John was given a much higher position at Incandium. Now, he was gone more than ever. Living at the laboratory, he would only visit home on certain occasions. Although his children were exceptionally indignant about their father's absences, they aspired to spend time with him and tell him all about their schooling and adventures. John continued to be shadowy and reserved about his work, and told his boys that it was for their own good that he keep quiet. This, of course, made them all the more curious. They became determined to learn anything they could about Incandium. Despite their father, Jack and Sam began to use the clues they found to solve their mystery.
John loved his children and enjoyed being with them, but his vocation was his priority. Mr Berkley wasn’t blind to the harm being done and eventually confronted his friend, being terribly frustrated with him for leaving the children on their own. Despite his exasperation, it was truly difficult for him to challenge John because he enjoyed his friendship with the Wesley children and feared it might be taken away.
To Jack and Sam, their father seemed imprisoned by his work, conflicted between his family and his secretive purposes. As they grew older, they carried on with their delightful exploits. However, they became increasingly worried about their troubled father.
Although Mr Berkley loved his life on this little island, his patience with the vanishing scientist would run out. Perplexed by John Wesley and his absences, Mr Berkley was to face his greatest challenge yet and to become the hero that Jack and Sam would need.