This is the sixth part of a fiction serial, in 759 words.
When he woke up in Caroline’s bed the next morning, Mel found a note on the pillow. It was telling him to let himself out, and gave the code so he could set the burglar alarm. It also mentioned fresh coffee in the machine in the kitchen. As he was drinking the strong coffee and smoking a cigarette on the patio, he rang Ursula and said he would be late in, telling her to cover him until he arrived by saying he was in an important meeting.
Ursula seemed unimpressed, telling him that she wasn’t expecting anyone as he had no appointments. Since the Israel job had fallen through, the next arranged job was a film in Vietnam about a young backpacker who had been sentenced to death for importing heroin. They had secured an interview with her for October, only four months before her execution, if the appeal failed.
It took almost half an hour to flag down a cab on Turnham Green Terrace, and the driver seemed to be exceptionally pleased to get a fare all the way into Bayswater, happy to tell Mel he was heading for the rank at Paddington Station anyway.
By the time he had showered, shaved, changed into fresh clothes and walked into the office, it was past eleven. But he didn’t care, as he was eagerly anticipating the next one of Glen’s memory cards. It was Glen talking to the camera, and he was looking pretty pissed off.
“Okay, so we woke up this morning, and when we went to check the equipment, we found some things missing. One of the cameras in a dive housing has gone, but the worst thing is the sat phone, which is nowhere to be found. God forbid we have an emergency before we get picked up, as mobiles will be no use here. This is serious shit, and I am going to have to swim around the island to see if anyone has been on the other side. I doubt anyone could be up on the rock, as we can see it easily with binoculars, and it offers no shelter at all. Anita is going to stay here on watch, just in case. I will let you know what I find after my swim”.
Mel paused the playback, then contacted Ursula on the office intercom. He asked her to take the money from Petty Cash and go and get him a bacon and brie panini and a large black coffee. He didn’t want to start on the Stolichnaya that early in the day.
Glen was back on camera, obviously some time later that morning. He had a towel around his neck, and his hair was wet.
“There is nowhere to land anywhere else around the island. This beach is the only place that can take a chopper or small boat, so we can rule out anyone else being here. I did find a sea cave with an entrance about six feet high, but it narrows inside and I didn’t want to go in alone. Anita has checked all the provisions, and a couple of tinned items have gone, along with a big bag of rice. Our plan is to use the inflatable this afternoon, and explore the sea cave. That camera cost me thousands, and you have lost whatever the sat phone cost you. More to the point, we are not doing any bloody filming, and have lost a day.”
Noting Glen’s last comment, Mel started to see a different angle. So there hadn’t been much filming of the ruins or collection of more artifacts, but what Glen was putting on camera was fascinating in its own right. A real mystery indeed, on an island that wasn’t supposed to exist. Two missing film-makers, and police not rushing to try to solve anything too fast. He liked the sound of it in his head, and was already rethinking the whole project when Ursula arrived with his sandwich and coffee.
The next scene was on the two-man inflatable, Glen filming as Anita operated the tiny outboard motor and steered carefully into the sea cave. The powerful light came on, and the long narrow chamber inside could be seen. Anita cut the engine, and moved the boat by pushing against the rock walls with both hands. Glen must have signalled or said something to her off camera, because she was nodding vigorously, her eyes wide. Mel turned up the volume and replayed that section. Glen’s voice could be heard, barely a whisper.
“Did you hear that, ‘Nita?”