69. Mirror me.

What happened today?


Oh yes, Bailey. Ha, ha. How could I forget such a thing? What a silly rabbit.

Well, I was only a few corridors away from my cabin when I saw Bailey and this other joe-schmo. They were circling each other like pigeons intent on mating – chests puffed, wings to breast, waiting for the other to pitch over. Revolve, revolve.

Strangely unarmed though – Queensbury rules, and all that?

No. Concealed weapons…

Some old chuffer meambling down the passageway, turns right. No witnesses now, eh?

They didn’t notice me at first, and perhaps it was the lack of sleep, or perhaps it was Bat whispering a few delicious ideas, but I soon found myself drifting up, to say hello as it were – a lovely, floaty, uninvited guest at their trivial tête-à-tête.

The three of us considered those others in the abrupt circle, static as stone monuments, and I saw the glances the two men gave each other.

A little puddle of fear, soon quashed, convinced me that my last moments on earth were nothing more than a mild inconvenience to such men, who just wanted to get back to the business of killing – some little, distant part of me, that wanted to concede defeat, there and then. But another part, a larger and much more radiant part, wanted to look once more in the mirrored glass of the porthole, darling – and that’s what I did: I looked to the murky reflection of myself in that nearby circle of glass…

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall?’

And in that moment, I knew all three of us, in our little circle, could see it – see it in me! Not the same look as my first quarry – not fear, not broken, not defeated.  But a crafty old wolf.  A blood-stained, baseball-bat-wielding survivor.

A Hunter.

Oh, darling, I’m not giving in. Why should I?

What’s that Mr. Bat?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Bailey lunged first.  He had already weighed up his options: the brute man? Or the bloody baseball bat with the petite woman in tow?  Beast or Beauty?

He pulled out a hunting knife and lunged at the other man, tearing into his side and forcing him to retreat backwards, but not before the man slashed out at Bailey’s face with a cutthroat razor.

Really, he rather missed.

I rushed towards Bailey, swinging the bat with all the spit and polish I could muster, and almost landed a good old thump to his head.  Almost.  He lashed out with the knife, deflecting my strike by barging through it, and what little of Bat did connect, wasn’t going to slow down a man the size of Bailey.  His knife left a gaping wound in my shoulder, the baseball bat sagged, suddenly slick to hold, and he was ready to finish the job, grinning like a devil, hadn’t the other man slashed at Bailey’s rear quarters.  Luck be a lady.

I knew I couldn’t finish this. Wounded, it was time for a tasteful retreat.

I ran down the corridor, bouncing from wall to wall – it seemed pain wasn’t good for one foot in front of the other – and I let my momentum carry me through the doors to the Vesuvius Bar.  No time to hide under a table, as Bailey came crashing through the doors just after me.  Where was his knife? More heavy footsteps. The other man staggering through after him, banging through the doors, razor in hand and a rage in his eyes.

Bailey was trapped between us. He could probably have taken me, I suppose, though I still had the letter opener concealed in my pocket.

But why run? Only one thing was going to happen here: Bailey was going to die. This I decided in a muttered pact to myself. Either by my hands or those of the shambling man at the doorway – our fox had been run to ground.

But, ludicrous as it was, Bailey didn’t seem at all concerned about his situation.  Was it that he welcomed death? A scary thought: a Bailey with nothing to lose?

His eyes mocked me as I closed in on him, as he backed toward the man at the door.  What was he thinking? The letter opener was now firmly in my hand, knuckles creaking. You’re going to get it now, I thought. Both I and the other man were no more than a few feet from Bailey, so we attacked. Just like that!

But Instead of the blood-curdling cry of our fox departing our seaborne cruise, we were treated to the rather annoying whistle of security, and the tromping feet of the guards that rushed the room to arrest us.

Life is full of disappointments, but being dragged past the ghastly man you just tried to kill, while he chuckles at you, is a new low.

‘There are rules’, reminded the guards as they escorted us to ‘The Judge’ – he in the stepped wig, who promptly fined me for carrying a dangerous weapon…

On a murder cruise…

Then to the brig, my dear.

The Judge

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