Go back to previous chapter
"Adam and I have called you in here this morning to put a proposition to you, Joby", said Julian, as the three of them stood in his cabin the following day "We feel it would be best for everyone here on the Indigo, but particularly yourself, if Tamaz was put to death. Ransey can do it effectively and cleanly with one shot. We wanted to have your opinion".
"We didn't want Patsy in here too, because you always have a habit of doing what he wants", said Adam, softly "And we wanted to know your feelings, old love".
"As I said before I want him kept alive", said Joby "I can't blame him, not anymore".
"But he did some terrible things to you, Joby", said Adam.
"And it's all over", said Joby "I don't see as how killing him will make it any better. Let him go back to the City and stand trial for Gorth's death, but I don't want anything doing on my account. I feel sorry for him".
"There is such a thing as taking forgiveness too far", said Julian.
"Who said anything about forgiving him?" said Joby "I can feel sorry for him without liking him!"
"As that's your wish we'll go along with it", said Julian "Between ourselves I'm glad you've taken this line. There's been killing enough on the Indigo, and I think this old tub needs a break from it".
Julian arranged things later so that Hillyard was kept off "zoo-keeping duty" as he put it. Tamaz's flagrant attempts at seduction the night before showed that he wasn't letting his incarceration stop him pull any dirty tricks he could think of. That afternoon Julian took Tamaz's food down to the cage himself.
"You don't normally wait on table", said Tamaz, sourly.
"It's your lucky day then isn't it!" said Julian. He set the basket of food on the floor of the cage, and then passed him an oilskin jacket "It will undoubtedly rain after dark, so even though this cage has a roof you might have need of this".
"It'll make me sweat", said Tamaz, snatching it from him.
"You'll be even more of an oily little creep then won't you!" said Julian, stepping outside the cage and turning to lock the door "Sweet dreams".
There was a strange atmosphere on the Indigo that afternoon, or so Julian found. There seemed to be a buzz of anticipation around, and to Julian this didn't make sense, as they were very much in the middle of nowhere, and by current reckonings, likely to remain so for some time. By dusk the mood had turned to one of clandestine celebration, with sly giggles and furtive looks. Julian went into the galley to find Adam baking a cake, using a packet of cake-mix he had unearthed from the back of the cupboard and the remains of a sachet of hashish, which Hillyard had found inside his pillowcase.
"It's not somebody's birthday is it?" said Julian, perplexed.
"Well it'll be Lo-Lo's at the end of the month", said Adam, licking his fingers as he stirred the mix "I'm relying on you to remind me when that time comes round. I don't want to miss it".
"I don't know why, you're not going to be able to buy him anything!" Julian retorted "What exactly is going on round here, Adam?"
"It's not for me to say, old love".
"No I'm sorry, it's no good throwing a tantrum because I won't tell you. You'll have to ask Finia".
"Finia?" said Julian, his mood of perplexity turning to outright worry "What's he done now?"
"You'll see", Adam winked, obviously enjoying some secret joke "Now just remember, you're not losing a daughter, but gaining a son!"
"I thought Bengo was about the lowest you could sink ..."
"Don't talk to me like that, Julian", said Finia, in an injured tone "I thought you would be pleased for me".
"Pleased for you?" Julian exclaimed, stamping round his cabin "You stand there and have the insanity to tell me you want to marry an accountant!"
"It won't be til we get back to the City", Finia sighed "And I'll still be with you, Ransey knows that. We'll carry on living on the Indigo, in fact you'll hardly notice anything's changed".
"But Finia I don't understand", Julian whimpered, pathetically "Why? I appreciate that in some misguided moment you went and slept with him. We've all chosen bedfellows in the heat of the moment that we've regretted the next day, and these are unusual conditions we're living in, but MARRY him? Ransey?!"
"He's a sweet guy, and it's what we both want. We're well-suited. We like the same things".
"I find that very hard to believe!"
"It's true. I can't explain it, it just is", said Finia "I'd never thought about marriage before, but once he suggested it I could see it was right. And Ransey said he wanted to make it all legal and binding between us".
"Oh yes I bet he did", said Julian, caustically "That's entirely in character. I'm surprised he didn't make you sign a contact before you had sex!"
"I want you to be nice to him and accept him", said Finia, crossly "It won't inconvenience you in any way. As I said you'll hardly notice any difference".
"But you're a eunuch, Finia".
"So?" said Finia, aggressively.
"Married eunuchs have very little power or say in anything", said Julian "Once he's got you and that piece of paper signed, he can do what he damn well likes to you. Force you to have sex with him, which God knows would be grim enough, but he could beat you, anything".
"Ransey would never do that".
"There was a piece in the paper before we left the City", said Julian "About a man who'd beaten his eunuch with a length of chain as though he was a dog".
"Julian, he would never do anything like that", said Finia, emphatically.
"I can see you're determined on this", said Julian, stiffly "All I can say is if at any time in the future you realise what a ghastly mistake you've made, you can come back to me, and I won't say a word about it. We'll just pick up where we left off, no questions asked".
"Well that shouldn't be too difficult, seeing as we're not stopping anything in the first place!"
"Where do you intend to sleep?"
"When we get back to the City we'll get a new door fitted on the saloon, and we'll partition a bit of it off for ourselves, just enough for a double bunk for us both".
"What an absolutely gruesome thought".
"He's very sexy", Finia smiled "Adam thinks so too, he told me earlier".
"I will deal with Adam in due course", said Julian, darkly.
"Don't ruin the evening", Finia stepped up close to him "The others are going to throw us a little engagement party. I wanted you to enjoy it too. Please Julian. If you really won't give us your blessing then I'll turn him down".
"And have you resenting me for the rest of your life?" said Julian, sadly "I'm sorry Finia, but I always thought you'd be with me. Always".
"I always will be", said Finia "I promise you with all my heart".
"We've never had a wedding before amongst us lot", Joby yelled above the din of the gramophone, the tropical rain on the roof and several voices "Plenty of deaths, but no weddings".
"Julian could marry them", said Adam "Being Captain he has the right, and Patsy could perform a blessing".
"Nice idea, but Ransey wants it all done properly in a legal office", said Finia, who in his excitement had barely touched his plate of coconut and cannabis cake.
Julian gave an unintelligible growl under his breath.
"Stop grinding your teeth, Jules", said Adam "Eat your cake, and stop snarling at everyone".
"He keeps that up and we could lock him in the hold, like we used to do to Uddle", said Joby.
"I just think it's great to have new love on-board", said Kieran.
It was certainly obvious to one and all that Ransey and Finia were in love. Ransey was skittish and light-hearted in a way that the rest of them had never seen before, and Finia for once had lost his closed-in, imperious look and let his natural prettiness shine through.
"It makes a change from us old stagers who've been going the same old laps with people for donkey's years", Kieran continued.
"That's nice isn't it!" said Joby.
"I just think they're rushing into it", said Julian, suddenly.
"Rushing into it?" Adam exclaimed "Jules, they've known each other for nearly twenty years! If that's not the definition of a sedate courtship I don't know what is!"
"Hey I've just thought of something", Joby laughed "Ransey'll be able to start calling Julian dad!"
"I could hardly have been his father when I was ten", said Julian, shortly.
"Oh I don't know, you used to hear about that kind of thing in our time", said Kieran.
"And Adam'll be his mother-in-law", Joby spluttered.
"I promise I won't nag you too much, Ransey", said Adam.
"Anytime you want", Ransey blushed.
Above the din Tamaz could be heard yelling at them from the cage.
"Is that a demon I hear?" Ransey cocked his hand to his ear.
"Noises off", said Adam "Very Chekovian".
"I wonder what's the matter with him now", said Kieran.
"Just frightened he's missing something I expect", said Joby, indifferently "Ignore him".
No one showed any great urge to go out and attend to Tamaz, particularly with the rain hammering down so much, and the party wound on very pleasantly. At one point Joby walked into the heads to find Bengo sitting on the floor, nursing Toppy, who looked decidedly green around the gills.
"I think the cake and the booze disagreed with him", said Bengo.
"Poor little sod", Joby crouched down on the floor "Reminds me of the very first time I got legless. One Christmas it was. I passed out on the bathroom floor at my Mum's house. Wasn't much older than he is now. I'll give you a hand getting him to his bunk".
"Actually I was going to put him in with me tonight", said Bengo "The mood Julian's in I thought it'd be better that way. Is everyone going to think that's odd?"
"Can't imagine so", said Joby "There are worse place he could be in".
"Jo-o-by!" Kieran yelled from his cabin "Come here, I've got a surprise for you".
"From the tone of his voice I can imagine what it is too", said Bengo.
"I'd better go and make the most of it", said Joby "It doesn't happen very often these days!"
"About time too", said Kieran, who was lying on his bunk, fumbling beneath the blanket "Only you're too focking late. It's going down".
"It has to be done in a split second with you doesn't it!" said Joby, staggering across to him "One blink and you miss it".
"I can't help it", Kieran pouted "It's ... it's ..."
"Puny?" Joby fell onto the bunk next to him.
"You should've come running the instant I called".
"And now it's all too late", said Kieran, drowsily "Can you forgive me? I love you".
"I love you too", Joby laughed gently, and kissed his hair as Kieran slid into unconsciousness.
"Stop giggling, this is a very serious matter", said Julian, who had resumed pacing his cabin, as though he was trying to set a world record at it "When we re-discovered women I thought it would be an end to all our troubles. I thought Bengo and Ransey would be sure to fall for them, but they're still here with us!"
"Jolly good job too", said Adam, his voice thick and slurry from the hash "Ransey drives this boat beautifully, and Bengo is a delight to have around. In fact they're both quite wonderfully sexy. Everyone in the world is wonderfully sexy, including you my darling".
"God save us, how much of that stuff did you eat?" said Julian, irritably.
"Chef's privilege", Adam giggled.
"It's been in Hillyard's pillowcase for several weeks, and God knows what was in the stuff to start with!"
"So they said", said Julian, dubiously "It could have been anything. Blood irresponsible putting it in a cake Adam, but that's always been you to a T".
"Oh don't nag, old love, you sound like your parents", said Adam "Remember what your father used to be like in hotels? Telling the poor old waiters exactly how to pour out his coffee, and biting their heads off because the rolls weren't piping hot? That's exactly how you are. You should just hear yourself, it sounds so horribly smug and pompous. And he was a terribly self-indulgent man wasn't he? Always insisting all the little trivialities of his life were Just So. I mean, nobody else cared about them but him".
"Such a silly old fool".
"Adam!" Julian shouted, as loud as he could "I need your support at this dark hour of my life".
"Oh nonsense", said Adam "Finia isn't going anywhere, he's said so. He's even offered to give up Ransey for you, and I think that is so noble of him. I'm very glad you weren't mean enough to make him. There's hope for you yet. My Mother used to say that all your lot suffered from a deep sense of unfulfilment, dissatisfaction, and sexual frustration".
"She was a bloody fine one to talk!"
"Your father would have made Finia give up Ransey wouldn't he? He wouldn't have let anyone's personal happiness get in the way of his creature comforts. I'm so glad you're not exactly like him".
"He didn't know any better", said Julian, and sat down in his chair "It was his only way of feeling he was alive. Not everybody can be a wild and naughty free-spirit like you".
"Am I?" Adam slid onto Julian's lap and put his arms round his neck.
"You know you are", Julian slapped his bottom and then pecked him on the lips "Imagine what it was like for some of the previous generations. Nothing to do but eat all day, and develop sexual intrigues to wile away the time. Mind you, it gets like that round here sometimes".
"Not so", said Adam "We are going somewhere, moving towards a definite goal. The trial and conviction of the abominable Tamaz".
"Oh that's a point", said Julian "I'd better go and check what he was yelling about, before I turn in".
"I'll come with you".
"It's raining quite heavily out there".
"Well I'm not going to shrink".
"No, but the state you're in you might slip overboard!"
"You'll just have to keep a firm grip on me then".
"Adam, I seem to have been trying to do that all my life!"
They found Tamaz standing in the middle of his cage, looking very sorry for himself. He wore only the oilskin jacket, which was a couple of sizes too big for him, and made him look like a child playing at being an Arctic fisherman.
"It's come for me, I know it has!" he yelled, tearfully.
"Well whatever it is it can't get you", said Julian, shining a flashlight over the cage "Not whilst you're locked up in that thing. Whoever it is would need dynamite to get you out of there".
"I'm being serious", Tamaz wailed "This thing's half-beast half-elemental. I set it on you lot months ago, because I wanted you all dead. And I forgot about it. And now it's come for me".
"So we reap as we sow", Adam chimed, standing under Julian's umbrella "Or something like that anyway".
"Have you seen this Thing?" said Julian.
"It was on the bank over there", Tamaz pointed in the direction of the jungle, which looked forbiddingly dark and closed-off "Just watching me".
"What does it look like?" said Julian.
"Hairless", said Tamaz "White and slimy, with a huge red mouth that takes up most of its face".
"The creature Joby saw that time", Julian muttered "When we were going round the Horn of Wonder".
"It's got a dick that reaches to its knees", Tamaz continued "I saw it in a sideshow in Lixix. It was called The Most Fearsome Creature In The World".
"I'm not surprised", Adam giggled.
"Shut up, Adam", said Julian "But Tamaz, as it's never attacked any of us, it can't be that dangerous".
"I don't know what it's going to do", Tamaz wept, miserably "I don't know what it's capable of. I want to come back inside".
"Not a hope", said Julian, firmly "You can't be trusted".
"I didn't say anything Joby didn't want to hear", Tamaz stamped his foot, petulantly "It's not my fault he was aroused by me".
"I hope for your sake this half-elemental doesn't get aroused by you", said Adam, teasingly.
"Quite", said Julian "Well we can't stand here talking all night. See you in the morning, Tamaz".
"I might not be alive then!" Tamaz shrieked.
"He thinks we care!" Julian whispered, and led Adam back below.
When the topside doors were unbolted in the morning though, Tamaz was still alive, sulkily sitting on his oilskin jacket. He refused to speak when Julian asked him if he'd seen any more of the Wang Man, as the others had now facetiously nicknamed the creature.
That day dawned hotter than ever and led to a succession of days that were torrid in the extreme. No one bothered wearing any clothes until sundown, and then only the bare minimum were put on. The whole river seemed to close around them like some great steaming puddle. In the relative cool of the dawn a scavenging party would go ashore to collect coconuts, bananas and mangoes. No one ever found any trace of the Wang Man.
Hillyard threatened to take strike action when he said that he couldn't bear working in the hold any longer. The conditions were inhuman and he could hardly breathe. But travelling by night was a hopeless option, as the darkness became too intense, and they were fearful of running aground in the atrocious visibility caused by the nocturnal monsoons. Ransey drew up a rota after Julian decreed that they should all take it in turns to do the stoking, with no one doing longer than thirty minutes at a time. It was tedious, but it ensured sanity.
Tamaz hung his blanket around the cage to shut everybody out, labouring under the laughable notion that this would bother them. In the musty coolness of his shaded cage he sat or lay on the floor, wearing only his silk drawers, which after all these weeks were considerably dirty and tatty.
One afternoon he heard the keys rattle and sat up to find Joby bringing in his food pail. Tamaz reached for his t-shirt coquettishly and held it up against his breasts.
"You don't normally come to see me", Tamaz simpered.
"Everyone else is busy", said Joby "And I don't see as how I've got anything to be afraid of where you're concerned anymore".
"Oh no?" said Tamaz "So why are you afraid to admit you want me? You were aroused by me last week when I had my period, and you can't deny it. Go on, see if you can deny it".
"I wasn't gonna deny it", said Joby, quietly.
A distinct look of greed and manipulation crossed Tamaz's face. He stood up to face Joby squarely. They stared at each other for an age, and then Tamaz edged closer. He let the t-shirt drop, and brushed his bare breasts against Joby. When he brushed Joby's lips with his own, Joby didn't recoil.
"If you drop your pants", said Tamaz "I'll rub my breasts against your cock, Gorth used to like that".
At the mention of Gorth's name Joby felt his erection go down. He felt like he had woken up to find himself in the arms of Lucrezia Borgia. He pulled himself away from Tamaz and stepped back out of the cage.
"You'll be back", Tamaz sang out, and Joby knew he was right.
For several days they played this game with each other. Joby felt like he was succumbing to some horrendous addiction. He could see the dangers, but was still powerless to resist. Joby took Tamaz's rations down to him, and Tamaz cooed seductively over him in a crass and obvious, yet undeniably erotic, way.
"You think you're in control because you have the keys and I'm in the cage", said Tamaz "You think you could do whatever you liked to me, and no one would condemn you for it, and you could. I couldn't stop you. But I'm still the one in control here, Joby. You force yourself onto me, and see who's the most in control afterwards. It won't be you".
Joby turned once more and left the cage.
"Til next time", said Tamaz.
"You're the only one who can stop this game, Kieran", said Julian, facing him across his desk "Joby's out of his depth here".
"I don't think he is", said Kieran "I think he needs to resolve this himself".
"Good God", said Julian, with annoyance "You really do think you're in line for a sainthood don't you?"
"No", said Kieran "Joby's not a fool, and he's not sentimental like Hillyard. He knows exactly what Tamaz is, and I have every confidence he'll sort it, in his own way".
"But this is a dangerous game he's playing", said Julian "Sexual mind-games, they're the worst of the lot!"
"Trust me, I think he needs to do it this way", said Kieran "I know Joby, I know he'll put it right".
"Oh get out", said Julian, with great irritation.
"About your children", said Joby, pushing the cage door shut behind him "Do you ever think about them? What's gonna to 'em?"
Tamaz groaned and rolled onto his side, facing away from him.
"Where were you born?" said Joby "And how?"
"My Mother was impregnated by a Ghoomer during one of her benign spells, in the Marlsblad woods", said Tamaz, in a bored sing-song voice "She had me in a cave on the edge of the Uncharted Area, and I was taken underground by a party of Ghoomers soon after, for my own safety. As far as I know, the vampires at the Winter Palace never knew I existed. Satisfied?"
Joby continued to stare at him for a while, trying to come to terms with the extraordinary creature who lay near him. Tamaz rolled onto his back and stretched his arms up, causing his breasts to pull together upwards, tautly.
"You should ask that little nigger friend of yours if you can borrow a pair of his stockings", said Tamaz, unpleasantly "I'll wear them for you".
Joby climbed onto Tamaz, and rested his naked sunburnt body against that of the Ghoomer. Silently he groped for the waistband of Tamaz's drawers, but found himself loath to do anything so gentle and tender as undress him.
"Take them off", he said, curtly.
Tamaz arched his back with difficulty and managed to tug the pants down, all the while staring into Joby's eyes triumphantly. Joby felt Tamaz's dual-sexed genitals beneath his own, feeling the unpleasant sensation of touching his penis as he felt for his vagina. He thrust into him fiercely, stabbing at him as effectively as if he'd used a knife.
It hurt, but Tamaz gritted his teeth until he thought his face would become permanently locked into one expression. Joby remembered to withdraw just before he ejaculated. He didn't want Tamaz breeding another litter on his account.
"Now run away", said Tamaz, bitterly.
"Kieran has a lot of say in the City", said Joby, getting to his feet "When it comes to your trial I'll ask him to put in a good word for you. By then it'll be some time since Gorth died, and no one wants to keep chewing over a death, not even a president's. And women'll be back in society by then, so they won't wanna keep dwelling on you either. I'll recommend Kieran asks you to be released. It's up to you from then on".
"And meanwhile I stay in this cage?" said Tamaz, never one to show too much gratitude.
"You'll be in here until we get to the City".
"Want me as your captive lover do you?"
"That's not gonna happen again", said Joby, firmly.
"We'll see", said Tamaz.
Joby ran down to the quarterdeck, and got into his cabin before anyone noticed him. Inside, Lonts was lying on his bunk, sucking his thumb, supposedly having his afternoon nap. Joby ignored him, and splashed some cold water into the enamel wash-bowl. He washed himself vigorously, and then fell to his knees, sobbing.
"Joby?" Lonts climbed down from his bunk, and knelt on the floor next to him "Has Tamaz upset you?"
It took some time for Joby to calm himself, and then he looked into Lonts's face. The contrast between Tamaz, with his spiteful sneer and his endless goading and manipulating, and Lonts, with his frank, open expression and his complete and utter guilelessness at all times, was immense.
"Don't let on to anyone I was upset", Joby whispered "Not Adam, not Toppy, not anyone. Promise me?"
"I promise, Joby", said Lonts sadly, and he leaned his head against Joby's shoulder "I just want you to be happy again, that's all".
"I don't know what I feel at the moment", said Joby "I'm all shot to pieces. What do you think about when you're lying in here, Lonts?"
"I'm usually asleep", said Lonts, solemnly "But if I can't sleep I think of tram-cars".
"Tram-cars?" Joby exclaimed "Why? You've never shown the slightest interest in 'em before".
"They rock about when they're moving", said Lonts, as though Joby should have realised the logic in this "Whenever we went on them in the City they always made me feel sleepy, so now if I can't sleep, I lie here and think of tram-cars. Especially the orange ones".
Joby felt he wasn't strong enough at the present time to ask about the reasoning behind the orange ones.
"So you like here and think about tram-cars?" he said, marvelling at Lonts's clarity of mind that allowed him to meditate on such simple pleasures.
"I don't have to do it often, as the boat rocks too, you see", said Lonts.
"Yeah, I had worked that out", said Joby "Don't you ever think about anything else? Like life, love, all that jazz?"
"No, it'd keep me awake", said Lonts.
"You always come out with logic when I least expect it", said Joby "Usually just when I've been thinking you're completely batty!"
"I can't be as batty as you, Joby", Lonts retorted "You're the one who keeps going to see Tamaz, even though it upsets you, not me".
"I can't argue with that", Joby sighed "Would you like a game of draughts, or would you rather go back to thinking about tram-cars?"
"I've been asleep, Joby", said Lonts, as though explaining himself to a half-wit "I don't need to think about them when I'm awake again".
"Good", said Joby "Come and have a game with me then. That'll make me happy".
"First of May", Julian wrote in his log "Still no end in sight of this bloody river. We've pored over all the maps we have until we're practically blue in the face, and we can only come to the conclusion that each and every one of them is wrong, and that the distances shown on them are far smaller than they are in reality. I refuse to get unduly concerned. Regular shore excursions keep the fuel and food levels topped up, and thanks to the nightly monsoons the water situation is always plentiful. It could be a lot worse, in fact we've known it a lot worse. Nonetheless the heat continues to be fierce, and we now drop anchor for a few hours in the afternoon. The fact that this means our journey back to the City will take longer can go hang.
I am very glad to report that Joby has stayed away from Tamaz's cage for the past few days, and Lonts has taken it into his head to act as Joby's own personal policeman, hovering over him on deck and glaring fiercely at anyone who mentions Tamaz's name in his presence. I asked Adam if anything had happened that I needed to know about, and he said that Joby hasn't spoken a word about Tamaz for a while now. I fed Tamaz myself this morning, and I could tell he was singularly put out that I wasn't Joby, but otherwise he gave no trouble. Apart that is from a small whimper that he's been dreaming about the Wang Man, and he lived in mortal terror of the night. This was quite blatantly an attempt to get himself invited back on-board, and I rightly ignored it.
There is little else to report, as life has a feel of everyday mid-term trivia about it. Quite bizarre when one considers the circumstances. There are a morass of niggly little ailments going the rounds. Sunstroke, bowel troubles, and thanks to a bout of Hillyard's recent over-enthusiasm in my bed, I have a sore anus. I'm sure this isn't the sort of thing great captains should record in their logs, but short of any shark-fights, pirate raids and mutinies, I'm a bit low on gossip.
Overheard Toppy saying to Finia earlier "wouldn't it be awful if one of us got really sick stuck out here? Like brain cancer or something?" Why brain cancer? I would have thought malaria or dysentery would have been the obvious choices. Brain cancer? Can only assume he chose that because it sounds so utterly dreadful. Was going to mention this example of child-like thought processes to Adam, but as I knew I'd immediately get a full catalogue of all Lonts's endearing little eccentricities, I thought it'd be wiser to refrain".
"Later. About three a.m. Heat is making it impossible to sleep, so I thought I'd make another pointless entry in this. Needless to say it's raining again, and I find myself wistfully thinking of cool, rainy summer days back in Dear Old Blighty (wherever it is these days).
Toppy drew me a picture earlier showing the Indigo sliced in half. At first I thought this was some dark and tortured wishful thinking on his part, but he explained to me that it was a "detailed diagram of the structure of the boat" for my own personal use. Quite why I need a detailed map of a small boat I've been living on the for the past year-and-a-half I didn't like to ask! Ransey praised its attention to detail and mathematical precision. All very well, but Toppy had rather marred the effect by adding pin-men, meant to be all of us, and looking like frightening animated periscopes at large, rather like the marching broomsticks in 'Fantasia'!
It is very very quiet outside. Sometimes I long for the kind of noises one would hear at this hour back in our time, such as a plane going over, a train in the distance, even a car-alarm going off. We'll just have to grit our teeth and sit it out I suppose. This river can't go on forever, can it? I'll close now, as otherwise these mindless ramblings are a waste of valuable paper. Sometimes this feels less like a Captain's log and more like a schoolboy's letter home to his mother (Bagshaw Minor's got mumps, and everyone thinks the new geography master's a twerp, that kind of thing!)"
Go forward to next chapter
Return to Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales and Strange Places web site