The narrator lives and tends to a lighthouse on Three Skeleton Key with two other men, Itchoua and Le Gleo. It is mostly a peaceful life, but one night the three men notice a derelict ship coming straight towards them. When the ship crashes on the Key, countless killer rats stream from the ship. The three of them flee to the lighthouse with little provisions and only a few millimeters of glass separating them from the rats. Eventually, the glass cracks and the rats invade the lighthouse.
". . . it was a nice life there. We had enough provisions to last for months." "During the day we would work about the light . . ."
"Itchoua pointed, and following finger, we saw a big three master, with all sail set, heading straight towards us."
"But the rats did not drown. Not these fellows!"
"A sighing groan came as the water rushed into the ship; then she split in two and sank like a stone."
"Then Le Gleo became morose and had nightmares in which he would see the three skeletons dancing around him, gleaming coldly, seeking to grasp him."
"Well, that night, Three Skeleton Light was dark, and all the men were alive."
"At two in the morning, while Itchoua was dozing in his room, the sheet of metal sealing his window gave way."