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She Hides

She hides from him – his hungry eyes and itching hands.

She hides silently, waiting for him to come closer.

She hides, but the scars on her back and the bruises on her legs stand exposed

She hides with bated breath, listening closely to his approaching steps.

She hides, as he calls out to her in his sickening, singsong voice.

She hides the blade behind her back, right until the moment he is in range.

The knife plunges deep, penetrating into his shallow soul.

Now, she hides no more.

Word Count: 88

Prompts:

What do you see # 56 – 16 November 2020

Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 21 November 2020

Flash Fiction: Unimpressed

It is really irritating when you have a well-traveled, know-it-all husband. He fails to find anything impressive.
“Look darling, a rainbow!”
“Calm down woman. It is not like the first rainbow we have seen, you know.” Sometimes, it makes me feel guilty about being so easily impressed.

Yesterday I finally got a one up on him.
“Come here at the window. Look at the bird out there.”
“You want me to leave the comfort of my couch and walk there just to see some bird?”
“But it is a large white bird and it is coming closer..”
“Nothing special about a huge white bird. I have seen the Andean Condor up close.”
*rumble* *rumble*
“Get away from the window. It’s an earthquake!”
“No darling, it is the white bird.”
My husband got up from the couch and rushed to the window.

The gigantic bird stomping around in the city, left his mouth hanging open for the first very time.

Not unimpressed anymore.


Word Count: 157

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Week 21

The Darkness

Pranks. Being a hostel-ite for four years now, I knew pranks are a part and parcel of the hostel culture. Some pranks are funny, light humored that help build bonds. Some pranks are cruel – horrid and very much designed to hurt. And some pranks – they turn out to be life changing experiences, just like the one that was played on me during my first week in a new hostel.

It was my first year of Engineering. As a new student in a Pune hostel, I had been warned about the things I would have to face. So, New Year’s night when all the seniors from my hostel threw a party in room 222 and invited me for it, I knew I was in for a rough night. Early evening, I made my way to the room, dressed in casuals- jeans and a black tee. As I neared the room, the all too familiar smell of alcohol entered my nose. The seniors were all grins when they saw me approach. They welcomed me into the room. Handing me a bottle of beer, they included me in their usual banter about girls, weed and girls on weed. My time at the party passed well, the seniors were surprisingly all smiles. I decided to ease up and have a good time with them.

Perhaps it was the three bottles of beer I had or just plain stupidity on my part, I never noticed how the room started looking emptier by the minute. It suddenly struck me as the last senior smiled and waved at me, right before going out of the door and slamming it shut. It was followed by a click, the unmistakable sound of the door getting locked. It had happened too fast. I didn’t even move from my place. I ran to the door and started slamming my fists on it, pleading to my seniors to let me out. I was only met with laughter. Slowly, even the laughter died out. I tried slamming my body on the door, kicking it for a whole of five minutes. But, to no avail. Exhausted by my effort, I sat down on the only chair in the room. I was all alone.

‘Well, how bad could it be? ‘, I remember thinking. The seniors would have to return in a while. I would wait for them right in this chair. It felt really hot after all that exertion. I was glad the fan was working. The lights flickered, something that happened every day in my hostel. They flickered once again. And then they were gone. All had become pitch black. Now, panic started taking over. I wasn’t really fond of darkness. It sort of surrounded you and closed on to you. It engulfed me. In this sense, I’m sort of an anti-Batman. If he would use the shadows, I would want to refuse them. In fact, whenever I sleep alone, I make sure to keep the lights on. I don’t know what is worse, the darkness, or the apparent horrors it hides.

Now, almost every hostel everywhere has its own haunted room stories. In my hostel, they were all about room 222. Panic was replaced by fear as I recalled the stories. The headless ghost, the old witch and the man-eating bed, all tales I had heard about the room. It was hot but I broke into a cold sweat. An eerie silence surrounded me. No cuss words flying around, no threats, not even any god-awful crooning. Every small creak made my heart beat faster. My fear had now taken the form of pure terror. I stayed rooted to my chair, shivering.

But then, the rational voice inside me cried out –

‘No. You cannot lose it. You need to stay calm.’

Yes, I could do that. Speak to myself. It had always helped me calm down during exams.

‘There is nothing to fear here. It’s only me and the darkness. I only need to control my mind. I must calm down’, I went about speaking to myself. It showed effect. My heart slowed it’s pumping of blood.

I continued reassuring myself-

‘All these tales have only been made for entertainment. Getting me worked up is exactly what my seniors want. I can’t let them get what they want.’

My hate for my seniors worked wonders. Soon, my heart started beating normally. I calmed down and started breathing freely. I had conquered my fear of darkness.

I grinned, pleased with my valiant victory over my fears.

‘You can rest easy now. Take that you seniors, you can’t do shit to me. After all, is darkness not merely the absence of light?’

 

‘Yes, it is.

 

 

, Said a voice behind me.

 

To be continued..

 

 

Brouhaha Part II

Karan looked at Darsh’s lit up cellphone screen. He could see the indication of Nisha’s incoming call.

“Don’t pick it up.”

“Why? She must be in some kind of trouble and must need our help”

“Or, it could be a trap.”

“So, a trap lain out by the zombies. Really?”

“Yea, you never know how smart those creatures are. What if you pick up the call, and it is a zombie on the other end?”

“Well, then I would have my first conversation with an undead person. I’m picking the call.”

Darsh put the call on speaker.

“Nisha, is everything okay? Where are you?”

In response, a series of throat grunts came from the speaker. Karan’s grip on his bat tightened.

“I told you it was a zombie. I’m pretty sure these zombies are mobile-savvy. It’s probably because of the hours we spend on it, that even after dying our bodies do not forget how to use them”

“Shut up! Nisha, are you there?”

A faint voice came from the speaker- “Darsh, I’m so glad to hear your voice. Are you and Karan okay?”

“Yes, we are fine. Are you okay?”

Karan pitched in – “And what was that sound we heard a second ago?”

“That was Atman, he has a bad throat case. And yes, we are fine. We are in the master bedroom, right next to the backdoor.”

Karan could make out the redness on Darsh’s face.

Darsh hissed at his cellphone – “Bedroom? What are you both doing in the bedroom?”

“We are making out on the bed. You ass, we are hiding from those creatures. We heard your voices from the hall and decided to call you. I’m so scared, Darsh. Could you please save us from here? We are -“

The cellphone went silent.

“Nisha? Nisha? You there? Damn it.”

Darsh picked up his cellphone and pocketed it. He stared at the bungalow. Two shadowy figures could be seen by the window. Karan looked at Darsh.

“I know this look. We are going in aren’t we?”

“Yes, we are.”

“And no amount of me trying to talk you out of it is going to work, Is it?”

“No, it isn’t. Now, I couldn’t care less for Atman there. In fact if he was the only one there, I would have locked the doors from outside and barricaded the windows so that he couldn’t escape. But bro, Nisha is in there. You know I can’t leave her.”

“Yea Romeo, I know that. Okay, so what’s the plan?”

Darsh rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“Well, leaving the two of us, there were six others here. Nisha and Atman are trapped in the room. Vansh was in the hall. That leaves three others – Sana, Kevin and Nilesh. So we need to be on the lookout for four zombies here.”

Just then, they heard a moan coming from behind them. Slowly, they turned towards the source of the sound. Darsh shone the light at the shadowy figure that had caused the moan. The light revealed a tall creature that had similar rotten skin as Vansh had. The zombie was clothed in a watchman’s uniform. Or rather, the zombie used to be the watchman.

“Uh Darsh, I think you got that count wrong.”

“Yes Karan, I can see that. Thank you for your astute mathematical calculations”

The watchman-zombie started making his way towards the duo. Shuffling its feet as he slowly neared them. The two boys noted the lack of skin on its face. The nearing zombie had no eyeball in his left socket. The zombie-watchman had its one good eye trained on Darsh. The Duo began moving backward, making sure they had a sound footing before stepping back. Tripping over something and falling down was the last thing they wanted while a one-eyed zombie chased them.

“Darsh, I think he fancies you”

“Very funny. Let’s try to use the fact that he is focusing on me to our advantage.”

“Okay, I’m game. Tell me your plan.”

“Well, I’ll start moving towards my left. Since he is focusing on me, he should start swaying towards his right. With his left eye not present, it will create a blind-spot for him and that will be an opportunity for you to approach him and work your magic with that bat of yours.”

Karan gripped the bat tighter.

“Okay Darsh, let’s do it.”

Darsh nodded. Slowly he started locomoting to his left, one side-step at a time. Sure enough, the zombie-watchman started moving to its right. At the same time, Karan tip-toed his way further to the left of the zombie, waiting for an opening to strike the creature. After a few more steps, Darsh hit the stone wall that surrounded the house.

“Karan, I’m trapped. Take that frigging creature down now.”

The zombie shuffled its way towards the now trapped Darsh.

“Any time now would be a good time to intervene.”

The zombie edged closer, a hungry moan escaping its rotten mouth.

“Karan, you had better strike it now, I-“

Darsh stopped speaking as the zombie’s stench invaded his nose. He closed his eyes.

‘I knew my hair-brained schemes would be the end of me, but being eaten by a zombie was never how I Imagined I would go. Okay, maybe a few times while playing those video games but still.’, he thought to himself, preparing to meet his maker, or become a zombie, whichever came first.

At that instance, he heard a thwack followed by a thud. He opened his eyes to find a shadowy figure holding a bat and another figure lying on the ground. He shone the flashlight on the two figures. Sure enough, he found Karan holding the bat standing over the now motionless figure of the zombie watchman.

Karan looked at Darsh.

“Do you think I should give him a couple more whacks, just to be sure?”

“Yep, be my guest.”

Karan obliged. He struck the head of the fallen zombie twice in quick succession, leading to blood splattering all over the duo.

“Yuck, we have got zombie-blood all over us, Karan. Don’t let it enter your system.”

“Really, Darsh? I was just thinking of drinking some of it. All that swinging has made me thirsty you know.”

“Okay, okay. Let’s get on with the plan.”

“Yeah, let’s go find that backdoor, save your damsel-in-distress and get the hell out of this place.”

“Not so fast though. I cannot have you doing all the whacking all the time and remain so defenseless myself. I need a weapon too.”

“Yes, you need a weapon. Let’s just go check our armoury. I’m sure we will find a few Kalashnikovs and Mavericks there.”

“Oh shut up. I know we won’t find anything much here, but I need to be able to protect myself.”

“Yes, I see your point. Let’s go check in the security booth again. We may find something of use.”

Darsh nodded in agreement. The duo made their way quickly towards the security booth, staying alert for any more of the undead roaming about. Darsh entered the booth, as Karan stayed out to keep watch. Darsh began to look around for any usable object. He noticed a drawer in the watchman’s table. He slid it open to reveal a wooden stick and a medium-length metal rod. He pocketed the lighter and picked up the rod.

“This will have to do.”

Karan glanced at the rod.

“Yep, something is better than nothing.”

“I agree completely with you. Now, we have a job to do.”

The duo entered through the creaking gate.

“Well, here goes nothing.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

STAY AWAY

The mind is a strange object. Its decisions are based on a set of rules called logic. The beauty of this system is that first whatever may be the decision, and how many times it changes, it always follows logic. But, this system itself is not uniform. Logic differs in its implementation among individuals, but it again follows a set pattern, the basis being goodwill to a fellow human. But sometimes, this logic warps.

 

You feel the edge of the knife under your thumb. It reminds you of the years as the son of a war veteran, once a decorated soldier, and later a frustrated drunk. The son of a caring, loving mother, and a waft of her cooking, especially that chocolate cookie she would make just for you, fills your nostrils. It also reminds you of the cold, harsh reality of violence. Your mother’s shrieks during “belt time”, you running to her aid and being brutally thrashed. You remember the syringes of meth, the last bastion of peace, in the cupboard and your mother lying next to it, foaming at her mouth. You then remember your father’s increased ire towards you, “belt time” now becoming “belt and knife time”. Walking down the street became an arduous task. Every brush with a fellow human made you clench, your body tightening, ready for the next hit which never came. You see your wounds every time in the mirror, seeing how each cut, each bruise took away something from you. It took away your control. You wanted it back so badly, that the next “time”, you pulled the knife and put it in his neck, the blood gushing over you, each droplet bringing back control: piece by piece. And you realise, your logic now twists, you now know how to get back control.

 

Slick……. The knife draws blood. The very knife, gifted as a commemoration for valour, is now the focal point of your mania. As you suck your blood, you eye him. In another world, he is a young graduate, fresh out of engineering school, returning home after a sucessful job interview. But in this world, he is just another target for your logic. “Stay Away”, you mutter, as the human in you fights against the cloak of your mind, twisted by years of abuse. “Stay Away”, now a whisper, as the candle of compassion is put out by your psychosis. You move towards him and grab him. His eyes register surprise, which turns to shock and horror as he catches the glint of steel from the corner of his eye. Then you do it. You slide it in, right in between his ribs, the years of nursing your wounds has taught you quite a bit about human anatomy. Slicccckkk……… as the knife slides in smoothly, nicking a rib but gliding in, as if his chest was the perfect sheath for it. The blood fills his lungs, gushing up, gagging him. You see his eyes cry out ‘Why me?’ for his voice fails him.  And then you feel it, the blood now coating your hand, bringing back control. You let go, and you let him, once a beacon of hope for a family, crumple right before you as a lump of muscle, sinew, bone and blood. And your mind, contorts your face into a small smile as you watch the light fade from his eyes. The blood still oozes out from under the knife, deep in his chest, covering his clothes, giving him the one final comfort of warmth as his soul leaves his body.

 

Madness claims one more for the reaper. And, the reaper is happy.

 

Author: Tanmaya Mishra

Repentance

The airport transit area- a familiar setting for me. I am a frequent flyer. My job requires me to go out of town at least once every week. It may sound tedious but I really do enjoy travelling and especially flying. There is something about being so high in the sky that gives me a thrilling joy. The wait in the transit area can get pretty long. But I have learnt to while away time by conversing with passengers. I have met and talked to many-a-character over the years. But none who were like him.

It had been a couple of years back. I saw him sitting alone, quite away from the crowd. He was looking at the floor the entire time seeming to be deep in thought. From his appearance he seemed like a man not from my own country, but then again the world has shrunk, so I did not know that for sure. But I did know that he seemed to be deep in thought. Something was clearly bothering him. I decided to go sit next to him. Now, quite-a-few people have said that I am nosy and don’t mind my own business. I beg to differ- I like to know about the other businessmen out there. So, I decided to strike a conversation with this troubled soul.

‘Hey. That’s a nice watch you have there.’

He grunted.

I decided to push on-

‘I couldn’t help but notice something seems to be bothering you.  Is it so? ‘

He looked at me with eyes full of gloom.

‘Yes. Something is bothering me. The wrath of God looms over me. I have done a horrendous thing. I do not think there is any salvation possible for me. No forgiveness. ‘

I was taken aback. The sudden outburst of sorrow instantly kicked in my damage-control instincts. I started consoling him.

‘Hey, don’t worry. I’m sure God almighty will forgive you. I do not think that you will be judged so harshly. God loves everyone.’

He said, looking down to the floor again-

‘No, after what I have done, all love will be lost for me. I repent my deeds.’

I was about to say more to him but a sudden increase in the television’s volume interrupted me. I turned my attention to the TV. A breaking-news was flashing on the screen-

“St. Mary High School Bombed. 495 killed.”

After looking at the dreadful images flashing on screen, a mixture of sorrow and rage filled me. I turned towards him and said-

‘Terrorists. They are truly pieces of shit who don’t deserve to live.’

Without giving me a glance, he said to me in a soft voice-

‘Yes. I know.’

Image source – http://sandiegolimoservicesignature.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/san-diego-airport-limo-service.jpg

Dinner

It was a habitual night at the Nath family’s high-rise apartment. It was 9 pm, almost dinner-time. Mr. Nath sat comfortably on his couch, reading the sports page of one of the many newspapers delivered at their house. Mrs. Nath was in the kitchen, making sure the food was warm enough. Ojas was sprawled on his bed, peering into his mobile phone and making sure his fingers received their daily dose of strenuous exercise.

“Dinner is ready” Mrs. Nath bellowed from the kitchen.

Ojas was the first to reach the kitchen. Spotting the golden fried prawns, he quickly grabbed a plate and piled on as many prawns as he could on his plate. He picked up a couple of slices of cucumber and lettuce and started to make his way back to his bedroom, his very own bat-cave.

“Where do you think you are going mister? Aren’t you forgetting something?” Mrs. Nath asked her teenage son, blocking his path.

“No mom. See, I even took vegetables so that you don’t make a fuss.” Ojas said, trying to sound as earnest as possible.

“Did me a huge favor by eating them.” Mrs. Nath said, her words dripping of sarcasm.  “Today is Friday young man, our weekly family-dinner night.”

“Oh damn. Alright, to the dining table it is.” Ojas said, as he stomped his way to the dining table.

Ojas picked the middle chair. His mother sat to his left and his father took the chair to his right.

“Mmm! Anita, the prawns smell wonderful.” Mr. Nath said, his eyes eyeing the juicy prawns in his plate from behind his glasses.

“Thank you, Sujat.” Mrs. Nath said, beaming.

Over the years, her culinary skills had become her sole source of the compliments that she received from her husband.

“Okay, now I think we should all tell each other how today went for us. You know, a nice conversation.” Mrs. Nath asserted.

Ojas and Mr. Nath looked at each other. They were both men of few words. But, they knew there was no escaping this weekly-dinner conversation, or there would be hell to pay. Ojas nodded his head. His mouth was too full of prawns to manage any reply in words.

“Brilliant. Ojas, why don’t you tell us how your day went? And for heaven’s sake, eat like a civilized human and not a nomadic barbarian.” Mr. Nath said looking at his son and offering him a glass of water to wash down the food in his mouth.

Having swallowed the mouthful, Ojas wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

Ojas started his day’s tale.

“Well, okay. My day was normal, you know. I got up- “

“Late” Interjected his parents.

“Well yea, but I did wake up earlier than yesterday. Anyway, I ran to college since I was late. The lectures were normal. Did the same old shit, differentiation-integration all that blah. Then you know, my class bunked and we went and played football at the college ground. It was kick-ass. I scored two goals. Then, post my lunch break, we had free lectures. Apparently my class-teacher Mrs. Desai left during the lunch break. You know, that Mrs. Desai you guys had met in the last parent-teacher’s meeting.”

“Umm, I don’t really recall her, but okay.” Mr. Nath said, adjusting his glasses.

“I remember her. Sweet lady. Okay, go on Ojas.” Mrs. Nath said.

Ojas resumed his tale.

“So yea, she left early for some reason and when she came back after one free period, she seemed to be in a great mood. So, she gave us the rest of the day off. I decided to come home and take the car for a spin with my friends. But, I saw no lights in the house. Mom usually leaves them switched on because it gets dark so early. Had you gone out or something, mom?”

“Yes. I had to buy a few things. You know, for making the prawns.” Mrs. Nath said quickly.

“Ah, well. So anyways, I did not even see our driver, Kailash kaka near the car, so I used the car keys I had and took the car out. I met with a couple of my friends and we took a long drive. Then I dropped them home and came home. Ta-da! End of tale.”

“Okay, looks like you had a fun day. My turn now.”Mrs. Nath said, placing her fork on her empty plate.

“My day was fairly normal too. It began with me getting up and preparing tea and breakfast. Then I saw you both off. After that, I started my preparation for dinner. I had my early lunch while watching my favorite show- Broken Hearts- “

Mr. Nath and Ojas sniggered. Mrs. Nath shot them a killer glance. Both of them fell instantly silent. She continued her tale.

“After that, I called you during your lunch hour, on your cell.” She said looking at Mr. Nath. “But, you didn’t pick up. So I called your office up and they said you had left office. “

“Well, I had a meeting. So I left office early, slightly before lunch time and did not answer my call because I was in the meeting.” Mr. Nath said, and proceeded to gulp down the contents of his glass.

“Oh, okay. So, after that I went shopping. Like I said, there were a few things I needed to buy. I needed beer for making the batter. But, I could find only one bottle. I’m sure there were two yesterday.”

Ojas swept his palms through his hair.

“So, you went to buy beer, mom? “

“Yes. I went to buy a bottle, just in case. Then I came home and started frying the prawns. They turned out really well though. I’m happy you liked them so much.”

“Yes, they were really amazing.” Mr. Nath said, giving a broad grin which he reserved only for the rarest of occasions.

He began his day’s narrative.

“After all the daily morning rituals, I left for office. The roads were lovely today. No traffic. I sorted a few files in the office, nothing much. Then I left for my meeting before lunch.”

“How did it go, dad?” asked Ojas.

“It went really well. The second party was very pleased with what I had to offer.” Mr. Nath said, scratching his beard. “ So then, after the meeting I called you, Anita. But your phone was picked up by Kailash-“

“Yes. I had taken him along to carry stuff and had handed my phone over to him while I was looking at stuff.” Mrs. Nath interjected.

“Oh! That is why he wasn’t near the car. You guys must have gone walking.” Ojas said.

“Bingo. I needed some exercise. Haha.” Mrs. Nath said, brushing aside her hair from her brow.

“Right. So then I got back home. Oh yea, I fired Kailash today.” Mr. Nath said.

“Why?” asked mother and son in unison.

“I found cigarettes in our garage today, around the car.”

Ojas coughed and quickly reached for the bottle of water.

Mr. Nath continued.

“So, I went and confronted Kailash. He seemed strangely guilty even before I broached the topic of cigarettes. He directly started apologizing. But, I know his kind of people does not improve. So, I fired him there right there.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Nath in a soft tone.

“That is dinner done then. You guys clean up the table. I’ll get the dishes done.”

Just a regular family-dinner for the Nath family.

Sea of Blood 1

The Titania, with its sails fluttering in the wind, made for a very picturesque ship. It was not a huge warship boasting of many-a-cannon. But, as far as fishing ships go, Titania was one of the best. At least Captain Edwards liked to believe so. And why not? It was one of the few ships that had a success rate of a hundred percent. Never had they failed to get the fish they had targeted.

Captain Edwards had recently heard rumors surrounding a new species of fish near the Veluise Islands. Huge fish, almost the size of humans, the rumors had said. Captain Edwards had seen his share of huge. As a young lad, he had faced whales and giant squids that towered over humans. He knew not to discount such rumors. The only issue was, the treacherous sea surrounding Veluise Islands. There were no maps that detailed how to clear this dangerous threat. The only solution was finding a skilled navigator, who knew the said waters. Edwards had been in luck. He had found one such navigator in a shady tavern. Mr Jach, as he called himself, had agreed to join Edwards’ venture. Other than the considerable pay he demanded, Jach also wanted another person joining them on board The Titania, a certain Alain Waterblud. Jach described him as his ‘body guard’. Captain Edwards had no choice but to agree. He knew the returns from such a venture would be ginormous.

Early morning on the day of departure, Jach and Alain made their way aboard The Titania. Edwards did not like the looks of Alain. His skin was pale and his eyes were a deep shade of red. Red coloration of eyes was common among the sea-faring folk. The salt and the liquor had such effects on sailors’ eyes. But, Alain’s eyes were a different red, a blood red. Edwards observed that Alain had a number of trinkets on his self. Charms, some might call them. Again, they were fairly common among sailors, but the sheer number of charms on him made Edwards uneasy. He shifted his uneasiness to the back of his mind. He was the captain and there was a venture afoot. He gave orders to his crew and The Titania set sail towards the horizon, the sun rising over it.

It had been two months since The Titania had set sail. They had entered the treacherous waters that Edwards had been wary about, couple of days ago. Jach had proven that the hefty sum spent on him, had been well invested. However, Edwards’ uneasy feeling about Alain had returned. It wasn’t without reason. Alain would spend the whole day moving from one side of the ship to the other, muttering like a madman. He spoke in a tongue no one understood. Sometimes, Alain would voice his weird words at the sea. Edwards had tried talking to Jach about this.

“Stay out of his way Captain. He wouldn’t appreciate anyone interfering with his job.” Jach had told and offered no further appreciation.

Edwards did not like this. But, Alain was neither causing any trouble or harm. In fact, the sailors of The Titania had started seeing this as a source of entertainment. They would make up their own translations about the muttered words and come up with various stories about Alain. Edwards let his uneasiness drop.

A few more days passed by. Jach continued navigating and Alain continued his incessant bantering. It was the sixty-seventh night of their voyage. Only the crew that was supposed to be on night duty was up, steering the ship according to Jach’s written instructions. Mr. Toobak was on lookout duty. Captain Edwards could not sleep this particular night. So he decided to take a walk, chat with the night crew. He started walking towards the upper deck. He sighted the silhouette of Mr Toobak, doing his job dutifully. Just as Edwards started walking towards him, he heard sudden footsteps on the other side of the deck. He decided to find their source. He saw a figure walking hastily towards Mr. Toobak, sword drawn. Edwards broke into a sprint and tackled the figure to the ground. Edwards disarmed him. Pinning him down with his knee, Edwards struck a match at held it near the figure’s face. The fiery glow of the match revealed Alain’s face. Before Edwards could say anything, he heard a splash coming from behind.

He looked in that direction, towards where Toobak was supposed to be standing. Not seeing his silhouette anymore, Edwards grabbed the sword lying near Alain and ran towards where Toobak had stood not moments ago.

“Man overboard”, he shouted.

(to be continued)