I finally left my cabin.
It was 3am, but there was still a sense of activity across the ship. The lights were on and I could hear loud voices a few corridors away in the direction of the lounge – footsteps, an inexplicable THUMP, then silence.
Move quickly! I thought, a darting, little mouse.
Given I was in desperate straits, I found myself trying a few door handles, but the cabins next to mine were all locked – barring cabin 10, which still stood open and empty. But – glory of glories – there was a vending machine at the end of the hall. I ran towards it, patting pockets, emitting a half-choked cry of joy that came out as a pitiful squeak.
Damn it, Lucy, do you want to get stabbed?
Luckily, I still had a few dollars left in American coins – enough to push into side-loading slot, and with several tugs on the release and the ‘sprang!’ of the mechanism, there was rattling and banging (in sheer terror that this bedlam would attract other, more murderous passengers) and I managed to disgorge some Fryman’s chocolate, Walkin’s crisps and three cans of Luxury Cocoa Relief!
I hadn’t had any food or water in almost three days, and although this was rather grubby sustenance, I must say I fell on it all, there and then, like a ravenous mongrel, gobbling and shlupping it down, drooling like a halfwit.
Less than a minute, and I’d ended the lot of it, and felt thoroughly disgusted with myself. But now, I can hardly believe I was seriously thinking of drinking out of a toilet (though, in my defence, that was on day one).
These vending machines may be modern, and the next big thing – whatever – but that visit was risky. Not that I was paying much attention to the danger at the time. I was too busy wiping chocolate off my face, licking sticky fingers, and picking every last fragment of the crisps from my teeth, which led to me scraping clear my fingernails and swallowing the result.
I was hardly sated, but now I gave some regard to a nearby, wall-mounted case – the fire axe had been taken. While I’m not certain it would have been much use to me because of its uncompromising weight – I remember it as a thud-headed, clud of a thing – I suppose it may have been some small comfort, until it had to be used, that is.
Lucy, you and a fire axe? Really?
But the thought did occur, that if the case were empty, that brutal thing must already reside in other, much less friendly hands. Did I see a fire? No.
I considered exploring further, but soon thought better of it (The axe! The axe!).
However, I did discover something more immediately unsettling: a security guard, standing at the end of an adjacent passageway. Just standing there, as they always do, oblivious to what I soon perceived to be a corpse at his feet. It looked to be a young woman. Oh, dear.
Perhaps not ‘oblivious’? Uncaring?
He saw me peering around the corner – I’m sure of it – but this was of no consequence. So now, dear diary, I think I’m beginning to truly understand how this beastly game will work…
Perhaps I shall smash in that machine tomorrow, just for the fun of it, and gorge and gorge on its guts, until I am sick!
Anyway, as I ran back here, I found a scrap of paper lying on the corridor floor, which, in the end, wasn’t of much interest. But it was next to a large patch of blood – more blood than I’ve ever seen. More than one person can hold, surely?
Blood, but no sign of a body…