About the Author
Alex Knight enjoys writing mysteries, horror stories and romantic comedies. She has had several humorous essays published in U.S. newspapers and her essays, poetry and fiction have been published in numerous online publications around the globe. Her most recent project, Murder in Mendocino, will be available soon. Other works in progress include a sequel to What Luck and a romantic comedy. She is also compiling collections of her short stories and poems. When she isn't busy reading or writing she can be found gathering research for her next novel or acting as her partner's photography assistant. She currently resides in a small Canadian city with her partner and an ever growing number of exotic 'pets.'

Where can you find me?




ON THE ROCKS by Alex Knight

I sat in my agent’s office and tried to make him understand why I wanted to back out of a project I had previously agreed to. “You took an advance months ago and they’re getting impatient. Either produce a finished documentary or make your excuses directly and return the money; there is no third choice.”

“Okay, I’ll return the money. I can’t imagine going anywhere with Walter right now, let alone to a foreign country where I’ll have to rely on him for company in the evening after spending the entire day with him.”

“Fine, but let me warn you that if you bow out now you’ll probably never work for them again, or anyone else in the industry for that matter. At least not in the near future.”

“Bart, it can’t be as bad as that.” I insisted.

“Morgan, you’ve built up a nice little career producing unique travel documentaries but there is a limited market for this kind of work. If you screw over one client, how many others will be willing to hire you? Think about it. So what if you and Walter are having problems, he’s a talented operator. Wait until the project is finished and then dump him. It’s a win-win situation.”

“For everyone but Walter.” I interjected, feeling guilty.

“True, but you’re going to dump him anyway, what do you care?”

“Five year’s worth is what I care. Even though things are on a downslide, I would hate for him to use me for a project and then say ‘sayonara’ as soon as it’s finished.”

“Then maybe you should be up front with him and make the trip strictly business.”

“And how do I know he won’t sabotage things just to get even? It’s too late to get someone else; all the good camera operators are busy. There’s no one else available if I’m to complete this on time.”

“Then go finish the project, come home and have a heart-to-heart with him. Maybe he is feeling like it’s time to move on as well.”

“Do I have a choice?” I groaned.

He ignored my rhetorical question and dialed the Bulgarian embassy to see what was required in the way of visas and permits for Walter and me.

All the way home I pondered Bart’s comments on the possibility that Walter was also feeling the way I did. Perhaps he was being possessive and pushy deliberately. He knew how strong-willed and independent I was. Maybe he was waiting for me to make the first move so that I could save face, although that wasn’t very Walter-like. As generous as he was in spirit, he would not want to look like the injured party. Once the documentary was finished, we’d have to talk about our situation and decide whether we could part amicably or not.

* * *

I was amazed at the breathtaking beauty of the rock formations ahead of us. All the major rocks had names, some of which were obvious when you studied the subject. It was incredible, in one

moment you felt like you were in the middle of a mystical landscape replete with fairies and fair maidens. In the next moment a massive brooding shape took on a threatening persona that made you quiver.

While I had seen similar landscapes in the United States and Canada, there was something about the history of these rocks that captured my imagination. Of course having read about the fortresses they helped form and the various occupations by the Romans, Bulgars, and Turks played a part as well. My mind drifted and I thought about the days when the pass was used as a major trade route.

“Are we done for the day? We’re losing the sun.”

Walter’s impatience was evident in every syllable and I didn’t understand why he couldn’t appreciate the majestic beauty of the Belogradchik Rocks the way I did. I began to wonder just what it was we had in common and what had brought us together in the first place.

“Yes, let’s head back to the motel and examine the footage.” I sighed. The magic was lost.

We packed the gear and drove back to our motel that was just minutes away. The silence made the trip seem longer than it was and I couldn’t wait to escape the vehicle.

“I’m going to the pub for a couple of cold ones; you don’t have to wait up if you don’t want to.” And just like that Walter took off, leaving me and the equipment deposited outside the motel room door. He hadn’t even asked if I wanted to join him.

I watched today’s filming with awe and anger. As beautiful as everything was, how could Walter have not seen the horseback rider on top of one of the ridges? Was he out to ruin the project, or was he simply not paying attention?

Walter stumbled in around one and although I was awake, I pretended otherwise. I was fuming. He knew that we were going out at first light, what was he thinking? Between the rider today and this inconsiderate behavior, I was ready to hand him his walking papers and go it alone.

* * *

“You needn’t shout.” Walter whined as he massaged his temples.

“I’m not shouting. If you have a headache perhaps you shouldn’t have had so much to drink last night.”

“So that’s it. You’re choked because I went out drinking without you.”

“No, I’m choked that yesterday’s film is ruined because you failed to notice the horseback rider in the background.”

“What rider? There was no one in the background.”

“Then we had better schedule you for an eye exam because there certainly was someone there.” I left him watching the film as I took my shower.

“Sorry, I could have sworn there was no one there.” His tone was contrite and I decided to let him off the hook, for now.

“We’ll just shoot that part again. It shouldn’t take too long.”

We were halfway through the day’s shoot when a cute little thing drove up in a yellow Skoda that had seen better days.

“Walter, are you coming to dinner tonight?” the newcomer asked as she walked in front of the camera.

“Oh, this is just too much.” I muttered. “Yesterday was ruined and now this footage is shot as well.”

“Desislava, this is my partner Morgan. Morgan, this is Desislava. Her father owns the local pub.”

So I was now relegated to the role of partner, which could mean anything or in this case nothing at all.

“Pleased to meet you.” I extended my hand, which she shook limply. “Walter, we might just as well call it a day. You can catch a ride back with Desislava and I will see you in the morning.” Taking the equipment out of his hands and stowing it in the trunk I drove back to the motel, leaving him with no choice.

Obviously he had been with Desislava last night. Is she the reason I wasn’t invited to join him? Had they made the date earlier or met last night for the first time? Did he deliberately seek out someone who was my opposite? Desislava was petite, dark, beautiful, and feminine to the extreme. I was blonde, tall and although I bordered on being athletic I had enough beauty, curves, and style to hold my own against any woman.

Some women might have been upset, but I was relieved to have an obvious excuse to call it quits. I was angry that he was fouling up production whether it was intentional or not, and decided that I would finish the project on my own. If he needed time to dally, so be it! I would hire locals to describe the various wonders of Bulgaria while I did the remaining camera work myself.

Watching today’s film I was once again entranced with the beauty of the scenery and aggravated to find horse and rider present once more. What the heck was going on? Walter can’t possibly claim not to have seen him again today. It was growing dark but I decided to drive back out to the rocks and take a look around.

If I thought the rocks were amazing in the daylight, I was totally unprepared for their striking beauty in the moonlight. I had traveled to many awe-inspiring locales while making documentaries, but I had never felt this humbled before. Unexpectedly my eyes welled up and I felt like I was standing on the edge of something momentous. I took several pictures before I heard the soft whisper.


I strained to hear where his voice was coming from. Obviously he was trying to remain out of sight. Was he forbidden to see Bisera? Was she too young for him? Were they each married to someone else, or was one of them from the wrong side of the tracks? All kinds of scenarios sprang to mind as I walked toward him. Tripping over an unseen object my head struck a small rock.


“Help me, please.” I could only hope that someone who whispered a name so lovingly would not turn out to be a maniacal killer. Just a few yards away a man rose slowly from the rocks and walked toward me. He looked down at me for several seconds before he scooped me up into his arms. Placing me on a magnificent animal he climbed up behind me and we rode further into the rocky fortress.

“Where are you taking me? I have to get back to the others.” I wanted him to understand that I was not alone and others would look for me if I went missing.

“I waited for you.” He lifted me down and sat me on a rock.

“You waited for me? Was that you up on the ledge?” My head was reeling. Was this my mysterious horseman?

“You didn’t come, I waited for you but they came instead. I kept coming back to wait for you.”

“I don’t understand. Who came?”

“It doesn’t matter, we are together now.”

“I’m sorry, but I have to get back to the motel. People are waiting for me.”

“I waited for you Bisera. You said you would come.” He insisted.

“You have me confused with someone else. My name is Morgan.”

“Morgan?” He looked at me closely and realized that I was not his beloved Bisera. “I will take you back; perhaps Bisera is there now, waiting for me.”

“That’s a great idea.”

He put me on the horse once more and we rode back to the car. He stopped short, dismounted, and lifted me off the horse. He rode off without another word.

“So much for chivalry.” I sat behind the wheel wondering if I should try to drive the short distance to the motel or if I should just bellow until someone found me.

“There you are. I’ve been waiting, why are you just sitting here?” Walter was obviously in a mood and I wondered what the lovely Desislava might have done to upset him so.

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m injured. Can you help me back to the room and see if the manager can locate a doctor who will come around?”

“Oh gawd, now what?”

“Just help me will you? And take a look at today’s shoot, our rider is back. In fact, he might have been the one who came to my rescue tonight.”

“You were with some strange man this evening? That’s why you sent me off with Desislava?”

“Well I doubt he was any stranger than your companion. By the way, where is she and why are you back so early?” It was just like him to twist things around to put me in the wrong. He had gone off the night before and left me alone, but seemed to forget that just now.

“It seems her father isn’t too keen on her taking up with a foreigner. We’re going to meet later. I came back here to get the car. I trust you won’t be using it.”

“Hardly. We need to talk about the project tomorrow. It seems to be spiraling downward and we have to get things back on track.”

“Yeah sure, whatever. I’ll have a word with the front desk before I leave. Catch you later.”