Velma is gone. Where, how and why, I do not know, but this evening I witnessed several crew members remove her belongings and lock her cabin door. I was on my way to the commissary. They weren’t even cabin stewards or housekeeping, but ‘normal’ rough-talking sailors.
I followed them below deck, entirely unsure how close one should get, terrified I might give myself away – the situation feeling quite fraught and not-at-all ‘amateur detective’. When they reached a certain door, I waited and waited while they went inside to whatever business they were at – the corridor light blinking over my shoulder, my shadow poised like Nosferatu, the rest of the passageway dark for a dark business.
After a long moment, and the metallic grind and clang of a door, the crewmen headed off the other way, lighting cigarettes and talking low – there wasn’t much joy about them, bent as they were to hushed work.
When it was safe, I trip-tapped to where they had been, and unwound a wheel on a watertight door and found myself in a clutter of all sorts of possessions, but none that I recognised. To one wall was a wardrobe, locked, but failing all else, I was able to pry the door open with the broken end of an umbrella.
All Velma’s personal belongings were there along with a card. Written on it, in elegant calligraphy, was Velma’s full name, along with a bloody thumbprint that was much too large to be hers.
What the hell is this?