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Early on in the voyage Ransey had started to keep a ship's log. As with all things he was entirely professional about this, although a little dismayed that Adam, as skipper, showed so little interest in it. For some days the entries had been limited to comments on the weather, the stock levels, and the continued non-appearance of any form of land on the horizon. From the day of Isaac's outburst onwards he started to surreptitiously record other details, until he felt like a laboratory technician reporting on the antics of mice in experiments.
"Isaac now insists on sleeping on deck at night", he recorded on DAY SIX "I think he's afraid that we're all going to start bunk-hopping at any moment. Adam says he can't wait for when it rains. Have repeatedly noticed that Adam uses such caustic humour to shield his own true feelings. He's not an easy man to get on with, but he's intelligent and he knows how to keep order, even if some of the quarrels he does instigate himself!"
"Hillyard informs me that he's worried about his 'flabby figure'. Has taken to doing press-ups on deck, which causes great amusement to the three. He's a bit of a conundrum on the quiet. Likes to appear as the macho handyman, but deep down I think he's even more sensitive than Joby. Heard a lot about his failed relationships after dinner this evening. I almost began to feel sorry for him until Adam told me later that Hillyard has the attention-span of a gnat when it comes to love affairs".
"Isaac trying to make amends today by cooking lunch. The food was fine, but sadly no one trusts him anymore. We enjoy these 'nice spells' whilst they last, but we're constantly on the lookout for the 'turn'. He insists on praying before each meal. Most of us ignore him. although apparently both Kieran and Adam were brought up to do prayers at meal-times. Kieran says he stopped when he found it got funny looks in pubs and restaurants. Adam says he stopped when he grew taller than his father (main Elder figure), and the old man couldn't thrash him anymore for disobeying him. Got talking to Kieran afterwards about some of their previous adventures. I particularly wanted to know what it was like for him fighting the Devil, but he just said 'oh he tried to rearrange my face', and left it at that. I asked him what this Angel character was like as a person, but he looked strangely sad, then said it was all done with and there was no point going over it again. He then added in a peculiar tone that all evil was a waste of life and opportunities".
We've moved into shark-infested waters. I saw the distinctive black shape of one under the water this morning. I must admit I got quite nervous when it went under the boat. Hillyard said he'd heard of men working on some boats who would dive off and swim around the boat in shark-infested waters as a bet. Glad to say no one shows much inclination to do that here! Sighting the shark has added some excitement to life, but made us all nervous too. It reminds us how alone and vulnerable we are. After all we've not seen anything but water for nine days.
Fascinated by Kieran's voice. I asked Joby if it was because he was from a different tribe to him and Adam that he sounded so different to them. Don't know why, but Joby seemed to find this extremely funny. He repeated it to Adam, who also fell about. Comments of 'oh yea, he's from a different tribe alright!' left me none the wiser. We ate the last of the biscuits this evening. I'm going to miss them.
Being holed up like this day after useless day we start talking about the stupidest things. Adam said we shouldn't touch any more of the brandy in case it was needed later for medicinal purposes. This led Joby to query whether if Adam had to have a limb cut off we'd be able to give him brandy as an anaesthetic, considering His Problem. Nobody was able to answer this, until Adam said that the pain of having your leg sawn off would probably drive most other thoughts out of your head. He said to me afterwards that if we stay on this thing much longer our brains would atrophy. Could only agree.
Adam asked me to do another inventory of the food stores. No need to panic yet, but the complete lack of any land on the horizon doesn't fill me with much hope. Adam says he'll draw up a ration list just in case. I quite enjoyed doing the inventory. Sometimes there's so little to do here that straightening your bed can become something to look forward to.
I don't know whether I'm superstitious or what, but I woke up this morning, the thirteenth day at sea, feeling as worried as I've ever been. Spoke to Adam about it, and we tried to rationally discuss all the worst things that could happen to us. He said whatever happened we must guard against panic. I agreed, and I tried to reassure him that I'm not normally the panicky kind, I just get a bit worried sometimes. He said he knew he could count on me and Hillyard to stay relatively calm, and he could sort out any problems with the "brats" as he calls them. We didn't mention the sixth man, but I'm sure we were both thinking of him. Isaac's calm most of the time, but he'll suddenly erupt into these spasms of being what Kieran calls "vicarly". Wanting to help, discuss our problems etc. All very well, but our main problem is him!
A shark swam alongside us for some time today. I think it was attracted by the sound of the engine and our voices. Couldn't help being reminded of a vulture hovering near a dying man. Adam got nervous about this, and I heard him saying to Joby and Hillyard that Kieran must never be left alone on deck with Isaac. I asked Adam later if he was worried Isaac might attempt to kill Kieran. Adam said he wouldn't put anything past "that shifty bastard". I can't get the thought out of my head either now. Kieran's such a tiddler that Isaac would have no trouble at all in chucking him over the side.
Can't stand the suspense much longer, so I cornered Isaac in the wheelhouse and asked him if he had any plans to get rid of Kieran. He gave me a funny look, which made me wish I hadn't asked. Then he said he wouldn't have to do anything as Gabriel had all the power, and would be able to vanquish the imposter. I got angry at this, and reminded him of the effect Kieran had had on his fellow commune members. He then said those men had proved to be Far From Worthy. I emphasise those words because it seemed to me such a strange thing to say, especially when it wasn't so long ago that he was practically prostrate with grief over them. I couldn't take my usual siesta this afternoon, because I was too worried to sleep. I was convinced I had put thoughts into Isaac's head about tossing Kieran to the sharks. Spent the rest of the day hovering near Kieran, keeping him within sight. Just now I said to Joby that Isaac might try luring Kieran up onto the deck whilst the rest of us were asleep. "In his dreams", he replied. Then said Kieran would have trouble getting out of the bunk without disturbing him first. Hope he's right.
It rained last night for the first time since we left Mundaba Heights (and I don't count that as it was a Gabriel-made effort!). This was quite a mini-monsoon. Adam told me to call Isaac inside. I tried doing so but the stubborn wanker wouldn't listen. Instead he sat up on deck, cross-legged, staring at the floor, as though he was completely oblivious to the rain. Come this morning I thought at least he might have done us all a favour and died of pneumonia. But he's still here. Not even sneezing either. The rain's had a sort of stupefying effect on us here. None of us could be bothered to get out of bed this morning, and it was quite pleasant to give up the pretence of a daily routine and just lie under the sheets. Like being on holiday almost. Since then Isaac has been in one of his 'nice moods'. He prepared supper, and I found his pedantic, fussy ways almost unbearable to watch. He slices food as though he's operating on someone. I'm surprised he doesn't wear surgical gloves! He's now sitting below me on deck (I'm on the cabin-roof), staring at nothing. He's been doing that for some time now.
Isaac going out of his way to be nice to Kieran. All over him like a rash, constantly asking him if he's alright or if he needs anything. Kieran accepts it all quite calmly, and says he's just trying to be friendly. I must say this took me back a bit. Either Kieran's completely guileless, or he's being very crafty. I veer towards the latter, as sometimes it's obvious to me that the simple boy pose is all an act, and he's a lot shrewder than he likes to make out. Adam says that as long as Kieran's never left alone outside with him everything'll be alright. It's almost a relief to me to see Joby sulking about it, otherwise I'd start to think I was getting paranoid! Joby taking it very bad in fact. He and Kieran had some kind of row this afternoon about Isaac's attentiveness, which ended in Joby storming down into the cabin. I asked Kieran what was the matter, and he just shrugged and said 'oh Joby winds me up sometimes'. Wish I knew what game he and Isaac were playing between them.
Adam came down into the hold with me and said we'd have to bring in rationing. Things aren't at a critical level, but we can't carry on as though we've got the City Market on our doorstep. We're still fine for tinned stuff, and Hillyard's a small wonder with his fishing-rod, but things like fresh water have to start being conserved. Fuel's also a bit of a worry, we only use it for a couple of hours a day now, and we just drift otherwise. Found it all very depressing. Adam says there's no cause for alarm, which is alright for him to say as we have enough boxes of cigars in the hold to start our own smuggling racket! Plenty of coffee too, as it's so awful the rest of us can't drink too much of it. So he's alright then. Isaac's caring attitude towards Kieran continues, and he's supernaturally cheerful to the rest of us too. Not everyone's impressed though. Joby cooked lunch, and served up Isaac's with the contents of Adam's ash-tray sprinkled on top. Isaac didn't bat an eyelid. Adam had a go at Joby, although I think that's more for wasting food than concern for Isaac. Joby said he didn't care.
Whilst Isaac was in the wheelhouse this morning, Kieran went up to Joby on deck and made amends to him. He gave nothing away about why he's being so tolerant of Isaac, except to say that we all have to make the effort to get on (I don't believe it's as simple as that for one minute). Nonetheless Joby was delighted they were friends again, and he believed Kieran when he said he was only trying to humour Isaac. Joby was beaming. When he smiles like that his whole face is transformed. I don't normally take much notice of what men look like, but Joby usually looks quite ... I was going to say ugly, but I think it's more sort of odd. On occasions like this though he looks quite handsome in a very startling way. I notice it's only Kieran who has this effect though. He doesn't smile that way for anyone else. I lay on my bunk this afternoon and suddenly got quite depressed at the thought that I'd never get to feel that way about anyone. It's never bothered me up 'til now. Quite the opposite really. The mess I've seen some people make of relationships I've always been glad I was out of it. But sometimes when I see how a sour look from Joby can be completely transformed by him being with Kieran, well something's bound to strike at the old heartstrings. I made omelettes for tea out of a tin of powdered eggs. Wolfed mine down and felt much better afterwards.
Our yachtsmanship skills are improving all the time. We now take it in turns to have a go at the wheel in the morning. It was my turn today. Joby came in whilst I was at it, and I passed on a bit of what I'd learned to him. He was quite cheerful for once, not complaining about anything. Soon found out why. Even Kieran's getting fed up with Isaac's attitude apparently. He went along with it to start with just to keep the peace, but feels he can't trust him. Glad to hear it. I said that Kieran obviously did him (Joby) good. 'He's the only person that doesn't make me feel like a loser', he replied. He went on to say that this was in spite of the fact that Kieran was the beautiful friend, and he was the ugly one. He said he knew what it was like to be alone, and hoped I wouldn't always have to live that way. I said I'd long ago resigned myself to it, and now I'd find it difficult to be any other way. I have a sneaking suspicion he's trying to pair me off with Hillyard!
(I wonder what the real date is?) Adam came up onto the cabin-roof whilst I was writing up the previous day's entry. Said I'd burn a hole in this book if I wasn't careful. I think he's getting suspicious about what I'm writing in here, as though I plan to sell my memoirs when we get back to the City or something! The Secret Life Of An Accountant - His Antics On A Yacht With The Vanquisher Of Evil! Adam then lay down next to me and dozed in the sun. I found myself getting quite distracted by the blonde hairs on his legs. Went down below to make a drink. Adam is a very sexual person to be near, can quite see why he upsets Isaac so much. Myself though I'm happy enough as I am. The objective observer. It's just sometimes I'm only human too.
Disturbing experience last night. One I don't want to live through again in a hurry. First I'd better explain that we don't use the lavatory in the hold anymore, as it wastes too much water, so (for the heavy jobs), we usually climb out onto a plank at the back of the boat and then crouch down and ... well whoever reads this will get the gist. Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night with the dread certainty that I had an attack of the trots coming on. There and then I wasn't looking forward to being alone out on deck with Isaac, and with me in such a vulnerable state too! I had no choice though. Nobody enjoys going out onto the plank, but in the middle of the night it's horrible. Whilst I was out there I heard a faint but shrill noise. It reminded me a bit of the night-carts that clean the streets in the City back home. It was very spooky. I seemed to take ages to finish what I was doing, but I eventually climbed back onto the deck. Isaac was wide awake and ferreting around inside his shirt. I then realised that it was from him that I must have heard the noise! 'You'll never get away from Gabriel', he said suddenly 'He knows too much about you'. I said, as far as I knew there was nothing to tell. I'd never touched any of his money, I'd always worked for him conscientiously, I hadn't spilled any company secrets (apart from what a weirdo Gabriel could be, but everybody knows that anyway), and that I was a celibate. What was there to tell? 'He knows your thoughts, even here', said Isaac. I got the distinct impression he was referring to the effect Adam had had on me the day before. This angered me more than anything. I'm sick of this kind of high-handed attitude. My thoughts, be they carnal or otherwise, are entirely my business. I told him that, and it seemed to shut him up. Even so, if Isaac had been intending to shake me up he'd done a bloody good job. I lay wake in my bunk afterwards and tried to figure out what it meant. Is he trying to make out Gabriel knows where we are, even what we're thinking, or is Isaac just trying to frighten us? I haven't a clue, quite frankly. And I'm more concerned about that strange noise than anything else. It really did give me the creeps.
I told Adam about what had happened. He was as perplexed about the noise as me. He said was I absolutely sure it had come from on-board the boat? I said I was as certain about it as I am that my name's Ransey. And I'll swear that it came from Isaac. He had definitely hidden something inside his shirt. Adam said we'd keep this between ourselves for the time being, the less Isaac knows we know the better. We've both been shadowing Kieran all day. He got quite exasperated with us at one point and said why didn't we put him on a long chain like Gabriel had done!
I made a point of lying awake last night, and listening out for the noise. In the still watches of the night I could hear a faint echo of it. I am now certain it's some kind of communication device. Told Adam. He says it's important we get it from him. If he's communicating with Gabriel then he's double-crossed us all along. We have to get rid of this gadget, because otherwise Gabriel knows exactly where we are (even if we don't!) and is secretly manipulating us.
Extraordinary time. Adam didn't hang about. Late last night, after we'd all settled down, he woke me and Hillyard and made us go up on deck with him. We got the gadget from Isaac with no trouble at all, but then he hardly put up a fight. 'Gabriel is all-seeing all-knowing', he said 'He doesn't need technological devices to know about you'. Adam said that was as maybe, but getting rid of the gadget would help to slow him down. The gadget turned out to be a small long-distance handset. Isaac had been tapping messages on it every night to Gabriel. 'Gabriel is President now', he said 'He runs the City. He runs everywhere'. Adam threw the handset in the sea. I was very pleased to see that Isaac took this badly. I think he suddenly realised how vulnerable he now was. Perhaps he doesn't have such faith in Gabriel's telepathic powers as he likes to make out. We woke the others, and spent the rest of the night clearing out most of the hold, so that we could make a small prison for Isaac down there. He didn't say a word whilst this was going on, and seemed to calmly accept his fate. 'I've done my work', was all he said 'You're well and truly lost now'.
There's bugger all room to move in our cabin now as we have most of the stock in with us, but Adam says at least it's where we can see it, and not being tampered with by Isaac. We keep Isaac in the hold all the time. He gets fed regularly, and his pot emptied. But otherwise he stays locked up. We daren't even give him a lamp, as he's that crazy he'd probably use it to set fire to the boat. Although having him below our feet all the time makes it feel like the beast in the cellar, at least he's not up amongst us casting a blight with his presence.
Isaac is dead. He killed himself by unravelling the wire from inside his sunglasses (which he'd had in his shirt pocket all the time he was in the hold), and slashing his wrists with it. It must have been a tortuously slow process, but we think he cut his veins and then went to sleep, leaving himself to bleed to death whilst he was unconscious. We all checked the body in turn and then signed a piece of paper at the back of this book saying it was suicide. This is for official purposes if we ever get back to civilisation, although if Gabriel really is in charge we'll probably be hauled up on a charge of murder anyway. We'll worry about that when the time comes. We gave him a serviceable funeral, sliding him over the rails, whilst looking appropriately respectful. I don't think any of us can take it in. Adam said he must have been a zealot to do that, particularly to calmly go to sleep knowing he was dying. He says it's the sort of thing the Roman Centurions did apparently, if captured by the enemy side. Kieran says he can't believe how any genuine God-fearing man would even consider suicide. We all agreed though to use some of our valuable fuel to get as much out of the area as we can. The sooner we can elude Gabriel the better.
Hillyard caught a peculiar fish today. It had no eyes! He had no luck with any catch for the rest of the day, and we later found a whole shoal of fish lying belly-up on the water. Adam reckons the sea-water must be contaminated or poisoned. Joby said it was probably Gabriel's doing, to try and starve us out. Adam then said that if we're not careful we'll start attributing everything to that man. It is now three days since Isaac gave his last communication to Gabriel. In that time we've put quite a bit of distance between ourselves and the last co-ordinates that Gabriel had of our location. Although it'll be some while before we feel safe, if ever. We can't help but remember that bloody elemental he uses, which seems to defy all normal restraints of knowledge and distance.
I am well and truly spooked, I have to admit it. I've never had any time for the supernatural before but well ... I woke up late last night to hear someone walking about on the cabin-roof! It was none of the others as I checked their bunks. It was a steady pacing noise and it seemed to go on for hours. I was so scared I hardly dared breathe! This morning I felt certain I must have dreamt it, but I was still bothered by it. Considerably. Adam noticed something was up, so I thought I'd better mention it as I knew I'd write it in here, and then one of the others might go and read it anyway. He said he didn't know what to make of it. I can tell he's as upset by it as me. 'We must get off this thing soon', he said.
Exactly one month we've been here. Feels more like three years. The three time-crossers have been trying estimate how far they could've sailed in a month in their own era. 'From England to Israel', said Adam. Joby said it didn't sound very far when he put it like that. I'll have to take his word for it. It's a nonsense to use that method anyway, as we've only been using the fuel on and off. Both Adam and me lay awake last night to see if we could hear the footsteps, but nothing happened.
We have sailed into an enormous fog-bank. For the first time I'm writing this inside our cabin, as it's too damp and chilly to sit outside. It is impossible to see anything out there, so we've switched off the engine and are now simply sitting here like a toy boat adrift in a huge bowl of porridge. It's been hours and it hasn't lifted at all. I was worried that the younger ones might start playing up, getting overly-anxious, but they've been very calm. Joby even took a lantern and went up on deck with Adam to see if it was thinning at all. 'No such luck', said Joby, and then went back to playing cards with Kieran and Hillyard. I think I'm getting more nervous than they are actually! It's this feeling of total stillness, neither moving forwards nor backwards, just suspended in time. Adam's just read that last bit. He says I'll work myself up into a state if I keep writing like that. So I'll close this until tomorrow.
Fog still here! I can't believe it, it's as dense as ever. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is a Gabriel effort. That he's finally found a way of having us completely stymied. He could keep us in the grip of this thing until we all go mad or starve to death. Adam senses I'm uptight, says I must keep calm. I agree, but I feel I don't know myself anymore.
Strange noises heard up on deck last night. I can't quite describe them. A sort of shuffling and muttering in low voices. Was horribly reminded of the zombies. Prayed this was not so. Come morning, found the fog still here. I despair. Adam jokes that he's given Hillyard strict instructions to slug me unconscious if I start running amok. I know it was a joke, but I got a bit offended by this. I'm a hard-headed businessman, I have never in my life 'run amok', or remotely felt like it, not even after being closeted with Gabriel at his most bizarre. Told him I didn't need lecturing on backbone by a roaring art-fart in nipple-rings! He laughed at me. He was right to do so. I apologised. He said not to worry about it, he's been insulted by experts in his time. I felt bad about it though and said so. Particularly as Kieran and Joby haven't got worked up once. He said he should hope not, they've been in far worse situations than this.
Was woken up this morning by a loud stamping noise. For a moment I lay rigid with terror, until Adam said sleepily that it was Hillyard 'po-go-sticking on the roof'. Hillyard's bunk was indeed empty, and I knew at once that the hateful fog had gone. Ran up on deck and greeted the sunshine like a Solar Nomad during a solstice festival. Hillyard was jumping up and down on the roof in excitement. He screamed that he could see land. We all took it in turns to look through the binoculars. THERE WAS LAND ON THE HORIZON! Adam says we must have drifted further than we realised in the fog. The engine was started at once.
I am writing this ON LAND! A beach of white sand actually. We have found ourselves on what we think is a large island, but until we've explored more thoroughly it's hard to tell. It's certainly a beautiful place, and there doesn't seem to be any other humans here. No footprints in the sand, or tell-tale signs like that. There are coconuts, bananas, exotic fruits, and plenty of healthy fish in the sea. Joby reckons we died during the fog and this is Heaven. If it is I don't care, it's wonderful! We carefully moored the sail-boat inside a watery cave, but we've lugged all our bedding out and plan to sleep here on the beach tonight. Hillyard is brewing up water for coffee in a can. The can is so well-used already that it instantly turns the water black. The sun is setting. None of us cares if we are stuck here for a while (or at least until we can get our bearings), and Gabriel feels a million miles away. I hope he is.
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