42. Two days and the stench is unbearable.

It’s been two days.

I need to leave this cabin.

I’ve no food or water, and the toilet has become a cesspool, so rank, that I dry heave whenever I open the bathroom door. The stench is even shockingly bad out here, in a room with tiny portholes – and I suppose some of that fug is also of unwashed skin and hair.

I’ve heard the screams of at least three different people in the last forty-eight hours, so I’m not taking any chances – it’s bloody well what He wanted, but I need to arm myself. What else can you do, if everyone else is playing the game? But it’s strictly for defence.

It’s true what Darwin says: underneath we’re all wretched animals, and we are certainly no better than apes!

Unfortunately, my personal armoury for the Cotopaxi ‘gala party’ includes nothing more than an umbrella and a rather petite letter opener.  I guess I’ll take both – the letter opener will be useful if I receive some urgent mail mid scream, and the umbrella might save me from inclement weather while I’m murdered on the fore deck. Huh.

Still, let’s look at the stupid umbrella: despite the folds of material, an umbrella has reach, and I can swish it around, and yes I can whack it off the wardrobe, and there’s a pointy bit.  At the very least, it’s the illusion of preparedness (half the battle, Maud, half the battle…)

Oh, who am I kidding? At least it goes well with the pattern on my dress, smelly as it now is.Weapons

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