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Jodie is the 3rd Place Winner of tellitintype's "Into the Unknown" writing competition!

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April 20th, in Short Fiction


By: Jodie Dinoulis

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 0 seconds. Contains 1202 words

"Aaaaaaaaaaaah!” The woman bellows out of her body, releasing every feeling she has had cooped up inside of herself. She has let out so much of her emotions, that she feels like she might pass out and is now staggering a little at the edge of the cliff.

“Are you ok? You need help?” A man asks from nearby, he starts to stand up from the crouching position he was in, his arms are up in defense. His eyes are wide looking surprised by her.

“Oh, gosh, um no,” she responds. She then places a hand on each of her knees and bends over, trying to catch her breath, while laughing. He had taken her by complete surprise, she should have looked around first, before she decided to let it all out, she thought to herself.

The man’s posture relaxes slightly, and he says, “Ok, because I can call someone for you.”

“What?” She says still out of breath, she stands, and looks at him.

“Did a love die? Or best friend?” the man says still holding his arms up slightly and he takes a couple of steps closer to her.

The woman looks at him surprised and confused by his questions.

“That was pretty intense, the screaming, a lot of stuff was coming out of you, I feel like,” he says.

Now she is just staring at him, the woman is unsure on how to respond.

“I thought I was alone,” she says laughing a little, shrugging her shoulders.

“Dog die? Cat? I’m not a cat person, but I get it, I could get attached to a cat if given the opportunity to,” the man said taking a few steps closer to the woman. He decides to take a seat on a big rock that is near the edge of the cliff. He silently looks out into the open air over the canyon.

The woman feeling unsure if she should leave or stay, stands there for a moment staring at the man’s back.

“No, nobody died, it’s just been a lot,” she responds.

The sun is shining brightly overhead. The day is hot, but a cool breeze blows through the trees, and it trickles up the woman’s arms giving her goosebumps. The man takes out a water bottle from his backpack.

“Here, I have another back up,” he says, extending it out toward her. She takes it and says thank you, quietly before taking a gulp of the crisp cool water.

“So, you don’t look like you’re hiking, just up here sorting stuff out, huh?” he says. He takes a sip from his spare water bottle.

“Yeah, but I guess screaming and scaring the crap out of animals is all I could come up with,” she says laughing.

The man laughs too, he has a nice laugh she thought to herself. It is genuine, just like when he is speaking to her, even if he was just making sure she wasn’t crazy.

“I’m not crazy,” the woman starts to say to him.

“I don’t know you, but crazy was not what I was thinking,” he says smiling at her.

She decides to sit down on a rock near him. They both look out into the sky across the canyon silently. Another cool breeze blows and caresses their faces.

“I usually do scream, but you started before I could this time. So, I figured she can have at it,” the man says breaking the brief silence.

The woman turns to look at him with one eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, I hike and scream,” he says nodding and turning his face to meet the woman’s gaze.

She instantly bursts into laughter. Her laugh is infectious, and the man starts laughing as well.

“Yup, I sound like a mountain lion in heat when I scream. Have you seen that video online?” he says then points a finger at himself and he grins.

They both laugh even more together. The woman can feel her heart lifting instantly.

“Thank you,” the woman says smiling.

“I haven’t laughed like that in a while,” she says smiling at him.

“That’s a shame,” he says breaking eye contact, while reaching down to pick up a small stone.

“What is?” she asks as she reaches down to pick up a small stone of her own.

“Your smile is amazing, I would make it my mission in life to make you smile every day,” he says, as he turns to throw the rock out into the canyon. The rock lands but makes no sound, because it is so small, and the canyon is so vast. The woman stares out at the sky before them, hesitant to throw her own rock. She feels a little sad again. Unsure if she is disappointed with the rock being too small to hear it land. Or from what the man had just said about her.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” the man says.

“What?” the woman asks quietly.

“Just silence,” he says to her. He brings his knees up to his chest and wraps his arms around them.

She gives him a quizzical look. He shrugs his shoulders waiting for her to respond.

“I’m sorry, I’ve never been given such a beautiful complement by a complete stranger before,” the woman says. She stares out at the sky, not wanting to make eye contact with the man.

He releases his legs to stretch them out, starting to stand and says “Ok well, hello, my name is...”

“Don’t!” the woman says interrupting him.

“You’ll ruin it with reality,” she says quickly.

“Yeah? Yeah ok, I agree,” he says standing and walking closer to her now. He selects a rock near her and motions to it and asks, “May I?”

She nods and he smiles as he takes a seat. Their knees are almost touching now.

“I feel like we are old friends already, is that weird?” the woman asks smiling at him.

He clears his throat and says “Friends huh. I was hoping we could be more than just friends.” He smirks at her, and she elbows him playfully.

An older couple comes out through the woods and walks up to the cliff to peer over it. They all smile at each other for a moment. The man leans and whispers to the woman “We’re not alone anymore.”

“Shhh” she says laughing in response to him.

The older couple continues hiking, leaving the man and the woman alone again. It reminds them that they cannot stay up on the mountain forever. The woman sighs breaking the quiet.

“We have to leave here and face reality at some time,” the man says as they watch the older couple walk away from them.

“I know,” the woman says quietly to him.

“How about we finish the walking path back down together? We can see if we will still like each other by the end,” she suggests smiling. The woman stands up to help the man with his backpack as he puts it back on. He turns back around to face her, offers his hand for her to take it.

“I like that idea, or we can both just scream as we hike,” he responds. They laugh again, as they walk together.

Jodie Dinoulis

About the Author:

Jodie Dinoulis has harbored a passion for writing since the tender age of 10. Her literary journey took a defining turn when she clandestinely delved into the pages of a closed-door romance novel, unbeknownst to her parents. As she matured and gained access to PG-13 movies, her fascination with romantic comedies and dramatic romances solidified, shaping the genre she aspired to write. Furthermore, her two-decade-long marriage contributes a wealth of personal experiences and insights, enriching the depth and authenticity of her writing.