The Encounter (Part II)

Two nights prior, Stephen lay in bed unable to sleep.  He spent so much of his days sleeping that he often had trouble sleeping at night.  Now his head and back ached from the excessive slumber.  He threw the covers off himself and painfully rolled out of bed, thinking that maybe going for a walk would help.  He carefully picked his way across the dark room, groping blindly with his toes for the many piles of clutter strewn about the floor.  He stumbled out into the living room where the moon beamed through the window, lighting up the shadowy mountain of dirty clothes.  Upon reaching the pile, he pulled the most recent additions from the top and slipped them on.  He donned his coat, started to pull open the front door and then paused.  Slowly backing away from the door, he turned and scanned the room, his eyes ultimately returning to the mountain on the couch.  Then with surprising energy he dug through the mountain until reaching a worn out pair of jeans at the bottom.  He reached inside the pocket and pulled out a smooth black case that glinted in the moonlight.  Slipping the case into his coat pocket he returned to the door and strode out into the cold winter night.

Though the moon was out, it was clear that the weather was deteriorating.  A gusty wind blew in from the north and small wispy clouds whipped past the moon.  Upon reaching the street, Stephen set off down the sidewalk, the cold wind quickening his step.  The road was lined with old brick houses with small but neatly kept yards. At the end of the block Stephen crossed the street to head into a wooded park.  Given the time of night, and the weather, no one else was around.  The walkway through the park was lined by rows of giant oak trees.  They towered over Stephen like rows of sentinels peering down disapprovingly at the disgrace that passed below.  Given Stephen’s recent slothfulness, he quickly tired of his brisk walking pace and gradually began to slow.  He had also now generated enough warmth that the cold wasn’t quite as unbearable.  The path approached a pond with a small wooden dock that stood out into the water.  As he walked out onto the dock it creaked and groaned as if Stephen had woken it from a peaceful slumber.  At the end of the dock he sat and dangled his legs over the water.  It was still early in the winter and the pond had not yet frozen over.  The wind died down slightly and Stephen starred off into the depths of the water – beyond the depths of the water.

By now the moon was completely enshrouded in clouds and a steady snowfall had replaced the wind.  Thousands of dense flakes dropped into the pond instantly melting at the surface like hopeless kamikazes.  A dusting of snow had covered Stephen’s coat and hat – leaving him as a white figure against the dark water.  Had Stephen then simply returned to his house and gone back to bed I might not be telling you this story.  However, at this point, something unusual happened.  Stephen’s trance was broken by a sudden creaking and groaning as the dock was once again woken from its slumber.  He turned to see a figure in a dark suit standing behind him.

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