Author’s Note: The world is a crazy place. One of the things I love about writing is that I can go and hide for a while. It’s true for reading too.
Electra kept Tim away from Foxy and led him up a different companionway to a room with a heavy steel door.
‘The ship’s brig?’ Tim said.
‘Don’t be stupid. This is an ocean vessel, all the doors are like this.’
Electra pulled opened the door and waited for Tim to go inside.
He put one foot inside the cabin. ‘What’s this all about, Electra? I know about the Canola seed, this ship’s full of it, Koponen told me. What’s it got to do with Foxy and me?’
Tim met Electra’s cold gaze. You’re flawless, he thought. There’s not a line, a mole or a wrinkle on you, every platinum-blonde eyelash is in place. It’s part of why you’re so intimidating.
‘With you? Nothing. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. If we’d left you behind you’d have caused problems. As for her, I can guarantee you’ll never guess.’
Tim couldn’t help but laugh. ‘You think she’s a mermaid too.’
Before he could move Electra had a grip on his wrist irresistible as a hydraulic vice. ‘Don’t think, Mr Wassiter, Tim, little Timmy. Do as you’re told and go into the room or I’ll crush your hand to a bloody pulp.’
That’s the other part, Tim though, dry-mouthed. Electra propelled him into the cabin. The heavy door swung shut with a deep, metallic boom.
Electra’s voice came through the door. ‘We’ll come and get you later. You won’t be disturbed because I’ve locked you in.’
As soon as she had gone Tim tried the door. Unsurprisingly it did not budge. Electra wasn’t the sort of person to make simple mistakes. He sat on the narrow bed. Well done, he told himself. You’ve made a real success of this investigation.
As well as the bed the cabin contained a wicker chair painted eggshell blue and two corner shelves. A porthole window by the door offered a view down onto the dark docks where a sparse scatter of security lights gleamed. A steady vibration thrummed the air, the deck canted gently and clear water appeared between the ship and the quayside. Water churned to foam at the stern, the bows swung out – the vessel was under way. Despite everything Tim felt a rising excitement, he was heading out to sea towards whatever fate had in store for him.
He checked the room again. The entire place was made of metal, the bed was steel-framed and bolted to the floor, the shelves welded to the bulkheads. There was nothing to use as a tool or weapon beyond the blanket and a wicker chair. He imagined various daring escapes: flinging a blanket over peoples’ heads; stabbing them with a broken chair leg. Each plan ran up against the same obstacle. To rescue Foxy he would need to overpower the entire crew single-handed.
The lights along the coast fell far behind. Belatedly, guiltily, he remembered Persistent Smith locked in the boot of a car with an empty soft drink bottle for a toilet. With that thought came a chilling realisation: Mrs Woosencraft had been right after all, there had been four people in the Chrysler.
To be continued…