Cover - Goodbye My DarlingGoodbye My Darling
available now at

ISBN 978-1-59705-916-9

By JoEllen Conger

"This trip—this film is dedicated to you, Babe," Maude MacGinness vowed her departed spouse. "It'll be our last voyage together."

Passengers milled about, talking, drinks in their hands. Maude scanned the passengers with a photographer's eye. Her camera was an extension of herself, photography her art form. She moved through the crowd with confidence. Pondering angles, available light, and her subjects. Which picture would tell a story that needed no words?

"St. Johns—Antigua," she intoned to the camcorder. "Sunday, February 4th 1996, day of arrival."

Still looking for a point of interest, she climbed to the highest deck to photograph the city bathed in peach colored hues. What a spectacular vista. She panned vessels groaning against their moorings, the old fort ruins on the bluff, and the curve of the bay.

"Perfect," she declared.

Content with her footage, she stood at the rail drinking in the view. With wistful eyes, she searched the skyline shape of the old fort, remembering the time she and Jim had climbed the cliffs to the ruins above.

That had been a long time ago, but she remembered it as if it were yesterday. She could still hear Jim's throaty laughter. They had had so much fun together.

Maude watched the people below her. 'People watching' was her favorite pastime. Even in the darkening twilight, taxicabs still arrived to disembark passengers. Maude watched the white clad crewman guarding the head of the gangway for several moments before her eyes were drawn to a burly man leaning against the rail in the darkening shadows below her.

Without thought, she leaned farther over the railing to get a better look at him. His attentive gaze seemed fixed on the dock. She studied the man's powerful wide shoulders, amazed by the strength that rippled up his muscular arms from his white-knuckled grip on the railing. It made her shiver with apprehension.

What was he watching so intently? Her eyes quested the darkness again for his quarry. Following the direction of his gaze, she gasped with surprise when she discovered he was watching the redheaded storyteller.

"Oh, no," she rebuked herself under her breath. "Not him again."

Her attention darted back toward the figure on the deck below. A sense of imminent danger quickened her senses as she watched the burly man retreat further into the shadows. Her heart raced. It was too dark to see him clearly. Leaning farther over the rail, she sought the happy-go-lucky clown on the dock.

Was he in some kind of danger? He seemed totally unaware of being watched. Maude wanted to shout a warning, yet she remained silent.

As the redheaded man neared the top of the gangway, her eyes darted back toward the hidden figure by the railing, but he was no longer there. The storyteller seemed to have no sense of impending danger. In spite of herself, Maude wanted to warn him. She realized that whatever danger threatened him, was really none of her business, but she shivered in spite of the humid tropic air. She may not be responsible for his welfare, but she couldn't help but worry about him. No one deserved to be stalked, not even this audacious raconteur.