This is the eighth part of a fiction serial, in 770 words.
On his way to Archer Street to eat at Bocca di Lupo, Mel was stil thinking about what Anita had said on the video. Where had that thought come from? She was suggesting that whoever had stolen the camera and sat phone had left the sword as a replacement. One thing was for sure, they had no idea of the relative value, if they thought the old sword was a worthy substitute. Or maybe it had similar value to them?
Sipping a vodka martini as he scanned the menu, another thought hit him hard enough to stop him drinking and put down the glass. Those earlier artifacts, the Viking or Anglo-Saxon things. Could they have been replacements for valuables stolen from other people who had been on that beach? Did whoever took them even know what they were, or just presumed they were valuable because they had been brought to the island and stored carefully?
He necked the martini and caught the barman’s eye to order another.
When he had eaten, his curiosity got the better of him, so he went back into the office and played the next memory card. Glen was on camera, lit by the camera light in the darkness.
“So Anita has really hooked onto her theory. She’s convinced that something is taking our stuff and leaving artifacts in return. She has run through every option, from something spooky and ghostly like dead pirates, to alien life forms, or some kind of marine life we have never seen or discovered previously. She says the stuff we found lying around on day one was likely given to people who found themselves on the island in the past, and that it probably came from ancient shipwrecks, rather than any settlers who lived here. She has gone to bed now, but tomorrow we are going to explore the deeper areas where there are more buildings, and will use the communications-masks”.
The next scene was underwater. Glen and Anita both had cameras, and were filming each other using larger light-rigs. There was no talking at first, just the bubbling and hissing sounds usual when divers were using SCUBA gear. Swimming past the buildings in the shallow water, they went deeper past a shelf of some kind, and Mel could see larger ruined buildings on their left.
They were roofless and doorless, and the tiny window openings no longer had any shutters or coverings over them. Anita swum into one, and it looked to be around thirty feet square inside. Glen spoke, his voice slightly distorted by the microphone.
“Be careful, ‘Nita, wait for me to catch up”.
Even with the lights, it was murky. Where no light was shining, it was dark enough not to be able to see into the corners. As Glen caught up with her, it seemed that Anita had no legs, and as the water cleared, Mel could see that she was standing in something. Glen’s light illminated what it was.
Fish bones, and Shells. Clam Shells, Crab shells, Lobster shells, Mussel shells, remnants of crustations and molluscs of every possible kind, piled four feet deep across the entire sea floor in the building. Mel poured a large vodka from the bottle in his drawer. It was like some incredible underwater rubbish dump, and he had never seen anything like it.
Anita spoke over the intercom in her helmet, her voice excited.
“Glen, look at this!” She moved the light, to show her husband what she was talking about.
When he saw it come into focus, Mel lit a cigarette and downed the vodka. On top of the huge piles of old shells, something shiny was catching the light.
Two large tins of Tuna, and a big bag of rice.
Rummaging around the pile, Glen disturbed a lot of crap that floated around them, and temporarily obscured the scene. When the water cleared, he was showing two things to Anita’s camera The satellite phone, and a rusty musket, probably from around the time of the Napoleonic wars. He spoke quietly in his presenter’s voice, causing Mel to crank the volume up.
“Whatever is taking our stuff seems to eat fish and all seafood. This looks to be where they dump what they no longer need. They probably couldn’t get into the tuna, despite the tins having pull-tabs, and the rice is not recognised as food, just something of value to us. I’m guessing the musket is early nineteenth century, and as for the sat phone, that will be useless now”.
His next comment was obviously directed at Anita.
“Let’s look inside some of the other buildings”.