|The Encounter (standard:drama, 4396 words)|
|Author: TJC||Added: Mar 25 2011||Views/Reads: 1888/1801||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A down on his luck man considers suicide but then meets a mysterious young woman.... (This story could fit into several different categories, but I went with drama so as not to give it away)|
The Encounter The breeze smelled of salt as Tony Cielo stood on the deserted deck, looking at the passing sea. In the distance across the night water he saw another cruise ship, lights illuminated like a beacon, probably filled with happy, partying souls, exactly like the ones that permeated the vessel he currently was aboard. He, however, wasn't one of those care-free people. For the past thirty years he'd toiled as a baseball scout, beating the bushes for young players with major league potential, and in his spare time he was a freelance writer, penning short stories, articles and a couple of unpublished novels. Approaching his mid-fifties, and with two failed marriages and three grown daughters he felt alienated from, it seemed life was well past its best days. He couldn't make anybody happy, especially his harshest critic; himself. “How are you doing?” Said a young blond woman, holding hands with her husband without a care in the world. Tony tipped his Panama hat and smiled, saying nothing, returning his gaze to the night water. He wore the hat often when outside, mostly to protect his bald scalp from the sun, but even at night he felt naked without it. His red polo and khaki shorts were also quite the norm for him, though he changed up occasionally on the color of his polo. He hated being cold, and was happy he'd spent most of his life in the southwest. It seemed fitting he'd end it in the temperate climate of the Pacific. For Tony Cielo hadn't come on the cruise to vacation, he came on the ship to kill himself. Even this plan wasn't going well, though, as the days of just jumping off a ship were over. The modern cruise ships made getting to an edge from which a passenger could jump or fall a near impossibility. Leaning over the railing, it was quite obvious that unless he jumped with an Olympic athlete's power, he'd likely land on the lower deck and instead of dying he'd have some broken bones. “I'll find another way, or maybe another part of the damn ship,” Tony said aloud to himself. He then saw the bow of the ship bathed in a bright light, and wondered if they were going to do some lido deck show, but then it vanished in a second or two. People could be heard murmuring throughout the ship and Tony turned around to see some people rushing from one side of the ship to the other. “What's happening, Kid?” Tony asked a young teenage boy rushing past. “Some weird light in the sky and then it vanished. So cool.” Tony nodded. He had no interest. After watching the kid scamper off in excited anticipation, he began to contemplate another area of the ship and with people all distracted by the light show, maybe he could get close enough to the edge of the ship. No doubt he'd have to go through some ‘crew-only' doors, but it's not like they would arrest him if they found him. He wasn't committing a crime, after all. Inside his chest, his heart was pounding, the nerves pulsating his skin. It was his night. This would be his best chance. “Wouldn't it be better to have a drink and talk?” A voice said from the shadows behind him. He said nothing and waited. Emerging from a dark stairwell was a young woman, maybe in her mid-twenties. She was beautiful, her slender frame accentuated by a simple black gown and a silver necklace accenting the plunging neckline. The skin was pale, but looked fresh and soft and her dark eyes were matched by the long mane flowing down past her shoulders. “You can always jump ship afterwards if you still want to.” Her smile was bright and warm. “I don't know what you're talking about, young lady,” Tony said, leaning back up against the railing. Had he spoken out loud about everything? It was a habit of his being that he spent so much time alone. Click here to read the rest of this story (489 more lines)
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