The door to the Captain’s quarters closes as the mid morning sun graces the sea with sparkles upon the many white capped waves. A perfect day to be at sea, weather wise, a calm breeze blowing away the warm rays of sunshine. Ivon, having had her ‘turn’ at being questioned, has just exited the ‘interrogation’ room, giving all she can in order to help solve this latest mystery that surrounds the crew of the Phoenix Rising. She has been informed to bring the next person forward in what has become a long line of nowhere. No one, yet, has given Torrinda and Huff anything else they did not already know.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from Ivon.” Torr states as Huff informs him she had not lied in her retelling of the previous night. He continues to sit back in the chair, going over what he had saw, and what Mejo’s recounting added to the fact finding, but he cannot get over the strange feeling he has over the fact he did not have a nightmare. He has a mental block that will not let that strange occurrence go, thinking – just on a gut instinct – that maybe, just maybe, the two could somehow be related in some shape or form.
“I’m telling you.” Huff says, reclined in one of the chairs, the room eerily darkened so she can freely be out in the sun, albeit inside the window covered quarters. “I’ve got a strange feeling about all of this.” She looks at Torr and sits up more in the chair, a perplexed look upon her face as she sees his inner turmoil.
“What?” Torr asks, coming out of his inner thoughts to regard her. “What does your supernatural mind tell you?”
She thinks upon it, not really sure, but it keeps coming into the back of her mind. “What if it is Malakai?” She holds her hands up, nodding as she continues. “Now, just hear me out.”
Torr leans forward, his elbows on the desk as he folds his arms across it.
“Ok.” Huff begins. “You were stuck in the mirror and were not there to see his ending. With his weird power,” She opens her mouth and runs her tongue over her one elongated fang to accentuate her reasoning. “I just cannot believe he just disappeared like he did. I mean, don’t you think he could be somewhere on the ship still, waiting for the right time to snatch up another body?”
Torr’s head, cocked slightly, nods, urging her to proceed.
“What if, and this is a big if, what if he tried to get Zoey’s body? After all, she and Mejo were the ones to free you from your prison. What better way to get revenge.”
“Than to kill the ones who wronged you.” Torr puts in as he is following along with her reasoning.
“Right. But.” Huff waits dramatically. “What if he couldn’t complete the job? Say Zoey resisted him in trapping her soul, and with no other options, and she had seen the threat, she screamed out for help? Malakai, not wanting to be found out, killed her then and there.” She ends by clapping her hands together, a beaming smile upon her face. “I mean, it sort of would fit, right?”
Torr shakes his head, not at her questioning and conclusion, but by the possibilities that it could in fact be true.
“You think it’s dumb?” Huff asks, taking his shake of the head as such.
“No.” Torr quickly clarifies. “No. I actually think, if we do not get any other information that points elsewhere, that may very well be the case. There is also the mysterious disappearance of Andy. What role, or better yet, how does she, if she even does, fit into all of this? It cannot be simple coincidence that trouble strikes and she is suddenly nowhere to be found.”
“So you are thinking Andy is a clue we should be searching for?”
“I do.” Torr answers firmly. “Is she involved? Is she not who she claims to be? Or is it she has been disposed of, as you have thought, by Malakai who has returned and is vengeful?” He sighs deeply, the weight of the whole ordeal squeezing him all the tighter.
“Back to what we were thinking.” Huff responds, chewing her bottom lip. “If Zoey was murdered because she was involved in freeing you, wouldn’t Mejo, too, be a target?”
The thought dawns on him as she speaks it. He stands up suddenly with wide eyes. “Maybe we should be looking her way. If she is the next intended victim, I would like her to be with capable bodies who can manage her safety.”
“Like a vampire.”
“Yes.” Torr says with a nod and a smile, then looks to his door. “And the Captain of this ship. She was to perform some ritual upon me, to watch my dreams.”
“But you didn’t have a nightmare. The sequence of continuation has ended. Do you even need her to do such a thing any more?”
Torr thinks upon it for a moment, not sure what to conclude. “Maybe.” He says after a brief silence. “Maybe I still do. And, we will be with her, protecting her, while it happens.”
“Well, I will be.” Huff says with a grin. “You will be sawing logs.”
“Very true.” Torr concedes with a mock bow.
There comes a knock at the door. They both look to it, Huff backing away into the shadows of the room. The first individual had opened the door and she had been caught with in the light – briefly – but enough so that she has since wisely moved away from the doorway, back into safer spaces inside the quarters. Once she is beyond the danger, Torr calls for the person to enter.
The door opens slowly as Arlynne comes walking in from the glare of the sunlight. The next crewmate to be questioned shuts the door, returning the room to it’s darkened gloom. Arlynne smiles tentatively at Huff – who can really be comfortable around a blood sucking being? – and takes the appointed chair across the desk from Torr.
“Arlynne.” Torr nods as he greets her. “Fine day, don’t you think?”
“It is quite lovely, yes.”
“Do you like it here?” He asks. As always the line of questions are trivial at first, ones deemed to start the process before other, more meaningful ones are asked.
“Other than fearing for my life?” She playfully answers and follows with a small laugh. “It has been… Interesting, to say the least.”
“Good.” Torr smiles and leans back in his chair, hands interlocked and clasped behind his head. “Now, you know why you have been asked to come here, so I will just be straight forward. You came along with the last group of men, and women,” He nods at Huff with the add. “Did you not?”
“That’s right.” Arlynne answers firmly. “I did.”
“And you also were introduced to the former Captain.” He nods and continues as she nods in reply. “I unfortunately was unable to be there to greet the new deck mates. But as I have gathered, you were bunked with Zoey?”
Arlynne shakes her head. “Not at first. I was put into the same room with, Jazz? I think his name was? Anyway, only after events saw the demise of Jazz, and all returned, minus the Captain… Former Captain, was Zoey and I put into the same room.”
“What can you tell us about Zoey, Arlynne?” Huff asks. “Did you two get along? Could you, or did you sense anything out of the ordinary?”
After pondering it for a moment, Arlynne shakes her head. “Nothing comes to mind.”
“What, if anything, did you two talk about?” Torr asks.
“Simple things. She had told me how she and Mejoltman had broken you free of the mirror. She was quite happy with that fact. That she played a major factor in deciphering the means to set you free.”
Torr brings his hands down and rests them on the arm rests of the chair, his face unreadable. “You were the last one to see her alive.”
“I didn’t do any-” Arlynne begins to protest.
“I didn’t say you did.” Torr interrupts, his hand in the air to stop her. “I am only trying to put things in perspective. You had said you left her asleep in the room before you took your turn at mid-watch.” Torr explains, reading the last bit from the various notes of parchment off to the side.
“That is correct. We had talked about returning to port and that it was a welcomed thing.” She frowns and looks down at the desk legs. “Sadly she will never see it.”
Huff audibly sighs, Arlynne’s gaze glancing her way.
“What about another crew member?” Torr begins, bringing them both out of the dark thoughts. “What do you know about Andy? Alexandria?”
There is a minuscule twitch in Arlynne’s left eye, which Torr notes, as the woman finds the words to describe the newest member. “She’s… fine. I mean, I’m sure you have all heard her stories about how she has supposedly traversed this world and has found countless, unbelievable, things.”
Torr’s brows scrunches. “Do tell. I am sensing you do not care for her?”
“I personally think she is a phony.” She leans back in her chair and folds her arms across her chest. “I have vast knowledge of these places she claims to have been to.” She shakes her head. “Something just doesn’t add up.”
It sounds like she is jealous…
Torr’s eyebrow raises has he hears it, but when he looks at Huff, she gives him a confused ‘What?’ look.
“So, you.” Torr looks back at Arlynne. “Wouldn’t be jealous of Andy, would you?”
Now it’s Huff’s turn to look at Torr confused. She wonders how he knew what she was thinking and plays it off as a coincidence, just another angle to gauge Arlynne’s truthfulness in this matter.
“Me!?” Arlynne scoffs at the absurd notion. “Never! I am not jealous of, of… that woman.”
I bet those daggers are sharp. Huff thinks in her head, her gaze looking at the gem embedded weapons the woman favors. Could cut open a chest pretty efficiently…
“I’ve seen you at work with the daggers of yours.” Torr, hearing the words but not seeing Huff speak them, shocks both women. “I bet they are razor sharp, as you keep them in pristine condition. Would be pretty easy to take out a foe.”
“I… My blades are my most trusted weapons. I keep them magnificent so they can stay that way.” She begins to catch on. “You seriously think I killed Zoey!? That I used my blades and did that to her?” She rises out of her chair, the piece of furniture skidding back several feet.
“Well,” Torr states calmly. “With the information we have just received from you; you do not care for Andy, and is missing, you shared the same room with Zoey, who is now dead, you were the last person to see her, by your own admission, before she wound up dead. Maybe, and I am only throwing a stone in a bucket here, maybe you were so caught up on Andy that you orchestrated this entire thing so it looks like the missing woman will take the blame for it. Meanwhile, you, who are so skilled with your daggers, had ample time to sneak back down during your watch and dissect the poor woman while she was asleep.”
“That!” Arlynne yells, her hands gripping the desk. “Is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. If I had wanted Zoey, or Andy for that matter, dead, you think I would be sloppy enough to leave that carnage all over the room?”
“Sloppy?” Torr asks, then counters. “Or is it supreme cockiness? What better way to show skill in a kill by brutally dismembering another and make no intention of hiding it?”
“In all the…” Arlynne’s knuckles are white from the pressure from her grip. “Are we done here?” She growls and turns about to leave. She throws open the door.
“What did you do with the head?” Torr asks at her back.
With a feral growl of rage, Arlynne slams the door with as much force as she can, the sound making Huff wince. “That… was uncalled for.” She says looking at the door.
“I know.” Torr agrees looking at the door. “I thought it was going to come off its hinges.” Torr chuckles, but when he looks over at Huff, she is not sharing in on the amusement.
“I meant you.”
“What do you mean?” He asks, hurt, but still playing it off as a joke. “I was not serious.”
“It sounded pretty serious. You openly accused her of heinously murdering Zoey, telling her it was cocky to leave the room that way. And…” She adds as Torr opens his mouth to speak. “You think she has a personal vendetta against Andy.”
“Who is missing.” Torr reaffirms.
“Who is missing.” Huff echoes.
“I don’t know why you are so bent out of shape about it. After all, you said some of those things as well.”
Huff recoils as if she had just been slapped. “I most certainly did not!”
“Did you not say that you thought she was jealous?” Torr asks, confused.
Huff shakes her head. “I did not say that.” She hesitates for a slight moment. “But I did think it.”
Torr looks at her closely. “But I heard you. Didn’t I?”
Huff replays the conversation, knowing she did not speak the words. But he read them from her mind? What am I thinking right now?
“There!” He answers, but frowns. “But… You didn’t move your lips.”
Huff sits there with her mouth slightly open. Can he read my mind?
“Yes?” Torr answers, still very much confused. “Huff, are you working on your ventriloquism?”
“Hold on.” She says looking down at the planking. “What was it you heard just now?”
“You asked what you were thinking.” He continues as Huff, mesmerized, stares. “And then asked if I could read your mind?”
She stutters several times, her mind unable to let her form words. So she doesn’t. When did this happen?
“Just now.” Torr answers. “Or at least during the questioning of Arlynne.”
Huff takes it all in. Feeling giddy, she leans back in the chair. Could you read Arlynne’s mind then too?
Torr shakes his head. “No. But I believe I didn’t have to. Her thoughts were apparent enough, I did not need to?” He ends the sentence in a question since he doesn’t really know how it all works, or even why he has this random ability.
“Very interesting.” Huff declares aloud. “Think we should tell Mejo about this.
No. Torr tries to reciprocate the mind reading.
“You listening to me?” She asks, not hearing his telepathic answer.
“I am.” Torr answers, a slight frown on his face. “I do not know yet.” He states. “I don’t even know how it all works yet, or even why I can do it.”
Huff sighs. “More secrets…”
Torr shrugs, holding his arms up. Before he can answer…
Torr scrambles to the window, pulling the cover just enough to peek without too much sunlight coming through.
“I’ll be damned!” He bangs his fist on the wall. He looks over at the sun and gauges the distance to the horizon. “And just in time for dusk.” He smiles and looks back over to huff, the woman relieved.
* * * * *
Somewhere deep in the empty supply boxes, hidden away, Andy sits breathing shallowly, rapidly, fearfully. She slowly rocks back and forth inside a larger box, muttering over and over, quietly, to herself.
“Please, don’t let her find me. Please, don’t let her find me…”
Buried At Sea by Matt Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.atramentous.net.