He actually had liked going to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but now he was sorry he'd come because he felt as though he was going to barf. This tub smelled of diesel fuel.
Longingly he gazed at the private yachts around them in New York harbor. He wished he were on one of them. Someday, when he made money, that was the first thing he'd do -- buy a cabin cruiser. When they started out a couple of hours ago, there had been a couple of dozen boats in the water. Now that it was getting overcast, there weren't so many out.
Ben's eyes lingered on the really keen yacht way over there: the Cornelia II. He was so farsighted that with his glasses off he could read the letters.
Suddenly his eyes widened. "No-o-o-o...!"
He didn't know that he had even spoken aloud, nor was he aware that his word -- half protest, half prayer -- had been echoed by virtually everyone on the starboard side of the tour boat, as well as by all the observers in lower Manhattan and in New Jersey who at that moment happened to be looking in that direction.
As he had been watching it, Cornelia II had exploded, suddenly becoming an immense fireball, sending shiny bits of debris shooting high into the air before falling all over the waterway that led from the Atlantic Ocean to the harbor.
Before Ben's father had spun him around and clutched him against his side, and before merciful shock had blunted the vision of bodies being blown to bits, Ben registered an impression that settled immediately in his subconscious, where it would stay, to become the source of relentless nightmares.
Copyright © 2000 by Mary Higgins Clark
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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