This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 745 words.
After another shot of vodka and a second cigarette, Mel put the next card in the machine. Glen was talking, wearing a wet suit.
“So, we had a rather disturbed night. It was very windy, and there were all kinds of strange noises. But we were so tired, neither of us could be bothered to investigate. We have suited up ready to make our first dive on the shallow water part of the ruins. The wind has dropped and the sea is calmer, but it looks pretty murky down there, so Anita is accompanying me with a diving light.”
The next piece of footage was underwater, and much gloomier than Mel had thought it would be. The reasonably rough water was stirring things up down there, and he thought Glen had been underestimating the situation when he described the sea as calmer. As the camera moved around, the surface could be seen, so he could tell they were not too deep. The buildings seemed to be structurally sound, suggesting that the sea level had risen over them rather than they had fallen into the water for some reason.
Laid out in a semi-circle, there were five small dwellings with a larger and longer oblong building beyond. Glen swum in through the opening where a door would have been, and the walls stretched a good thirty feet ahead of him on both sides.
When Anita followed with the powerful light, Mel raised his eyebrows at the remarkably good condition of the stonework. Despite being covered in the usual crop of weed and small undersea creatures, it was still very obviously a hall of some kind, a building of importance compared to the hut-sized ones nearby.
Then the light went off, and the only illumination was the smaller one on Glen’s camera. He was swimming faster now, heading away from the buildings, and approaching the beach.
The camera was on Anita, and they were both standing on the shore. Glen was speaking first.
“What the hell? Why did you panic and rush off? Is there something wrong with your regulator or tank?
Anita was catching her breath, and shook her head before replying.
“Above you. They were above you, dark shadows in the water. I could see the wake from them moving fast. I told you we should have worn the full comms masks, but you wanted the first dive to reconnoitre, so my only way to warn you was to lose your light. I wasn’t going to hang around down there to find out what they were.”.
Glen turned the camera round on himself.
“Okay, so Anita has seen something in the water, probably seals. I’m going to call it a day and next time we will be wearing the comms masks so you should be able to hear us talking. Meanwhile, I am going to sketch out a plan of the buildings we saw. There are definitely some more further out too, in deeper water. Next time I will look for artifacts, and bring up one of the stones used in the building. We should be able to get a rough idea of the date then, see if it’s the same period as the huts on the beach”.
Blowing out his cheeks, Mel switched off the laptop. This hadn’t started well. Three memory cards down, and there was very little that could be used in any decent sequence. Anita had seen enough seals and sharks in her lifetime to be able to know one when she saw one, so why was she suddenly afraid of animals in the water? Placing the memory cards back into the waterproof pouch, he opened his wall safe and locked them inside.
When he phoned Caroline apologising for it being so late, she said he could go to her place anyway, as long as he could get a taxi. As he flagged down a cab in Shaftesbury Avenue, he smiled to himself. She would be hoping to dig down further into what he was working on, and get him to spill the beans. But that wasn’t going to happen.
The house in Chiswick was an Edwardian terrace in a very desirable street. He gave the cabbie a good tip for not talking nonsense all the way there, and as he turned round, Caroline was standing in the open doorway, backlit by the light in the hallway.
Mel grinned wide when he saw she was only wearing a transparent nightdress.