Time to get back to work on my masterpiece!
Fountains of the Abyss
It was a cold night. The wind blew across the dirty sand as a lonely tourist sipped away his troubles at the empty beach cantina.
A woman in a red velvet cloak took a seat beside him and ordered a drink. She glanced over at the tourist. She watched him take sip after sip, staring off beyond the bar.
Her drink came.
Oh, this is good! I never knew I could be anything more than a paper salesman, but it seems I may make a good paperback writer too!
Now where do I go with the story? I need some action! A twist! Romance!
"What? You're not going to buy me a drink on this lovely night?" she said to the man.
He turned his head and found himself caught off guard by her beauty.
The making of a good romance, no doubt!
He didn't speak. He couldn't speak.
"I just hate drinking alone," she said. "My father used to drink alone. Pretty soon he was doing everything alone. I guess that's why mom left him. Sometimes I think it's hard to not be alone. Even when I'm with someone, there isn't a true connection. You know?"
The man starred calmly into her eyes. And then spoke slowly, "No matter how much time you spend with them, no matter how much information you share, you don't feel understood."
She turned away and looked down at her glass on the bar. "Yeah," she sighed. She lifted the glass and took a drink.
"Yeah," the man said, taking another sip. He held the glass in his hand at all times, though drank from it slowly. His hand refused to set it down, not even for refills. "My father," he started, "is a pirate."
She laughed. "A pirate?"
"Well, who knows what he is. Or where he is. Or if he's even alive. He was an accountant for years, all through my childhood. Then, about 10 years ago, he said he was fed up with it and left. He bought himself a yacht and sailed off into the ocean." He pointed with his glass out to the sea. "I've gotten two letters from him in the 10 years he's been at it. The last was three years ago."
"You're kidding right?"
"No, not at all."
"He just packed up and left one day?"
"Yeah," he replied. "He always said work wasn't fulfilling. For years he'd say that. And finally, he just left. At least with alcoholism, it's gradual. You can notice the problem. But there's no way to have an intervention for job dissatisfaction."
"There's vacations," she said. "I mean, isn't that why you're here? To get away from it all for a few weeks, just so when you return, you can last a little longer?"
"Yeah, I guess you're ri-" He was interrupted by a sudden explosion on the beach. The cold night sky lit up a bright orange.
They turned toward the ocean to see flaming debris scattered across the dirty sand. A large mast with torched sails fell onto the beach.
A small crowd approached. In the nearby hotels, lights were turning on in every floor.
"There's someone in the water!" a little girl screamed out as she pointed.
The bartender looked at the tourist, "I know you've been drinking a lot, but they might need your help, Doctor."
The lady looked at him. "Doctor?" she asked.
He set his drink down and extended a hand. "Dr. Doug Ellis," he said taking hold of her hand.
"Bethany Cates," she replied.
"Put her drink on my tab," he told the bartender. "See you around, Bethany." He ran off onto the beach.
The bartender leaned over the bar and said, "Look, if you're after his money, forget it. He doesn't have any, at least not the kind you're used to."
She stood up and glared back at the bartender. Her eyes glistened in the moonlight. She turned sharply and ran down the beach.
A man was being helped out of the water.
"Back off! Back off!" he yelled. "I'm fine." He pushed away a few people and stomped up the beach.
Bethany found Doug. He was attending to another survivor lying on the beach. She knelt beside him. "Can I help?" she asked.
Doug looked up and said, "No. He's gone." He got to his feet and helped Bethany up.
"I said back off!" The man was still pushing away people coming to his aid.
Doug grabbed him by the shoulder, "I'm a doctor," he said, "just let me take a look at you."
"I already said I'm fine!" The man turned around. A smile grew slowly. His eyes widened as he grabbed the doctor's shoulders. "Doug, my boy!"