This is the twelfth part of a fiction serial, in 771 words.
He was going to have a shot of vodka before going outside, but at the last minute Mel thought better of it and put the bottle back in the drawer.
Just outside the door to his company office, he introduced himself to the few journalists still hanging around, and made a brief statement, almost word for word what Tricia had told him to say. Then as they started to shout their questions, zoom in with the TV cameras, and click the shutters on the still cameras, he was back inside without answering anything. Safe from them in his office, he got the bottle back out, and had two shots.
Then he went out into the general office, and asked for everyone’s attention before threatening them with instant dismissal, no reference, and legal action if anyone breathed word one about the project in Ireland. Their glum expressions let him know they had taken him seriously, and the empty chair at Darius’s desk showed that he was already gone. No doubt happy to not have to stay until the end of the working day.
Mel knew it was time to watch more footage, so he shut himself away and got the memory cards from the safe. Before he could start, his mobile rang. As it was Tricia, he answered it.
“Well, I have some great news for you, Melvin. I contacted the police in Ireland to threaten them not to show anyone the footage, and they eventually admitted they don’t have it. Seems like whoever was tasked with copying it over there didn’t get around to doing it before someone else sent the cards off to you. Thank Christ for a rural police force, old love. Meanwhile, I have spent the last hour or so preparing all kinds of threatening letters and emails, including injunctions to be used at court if necessary. Before close of play today, I will be hitting every TV station, radio company, and newspaper. I’m sure they will reword the story to try to get around it, but the upshot is that none of them can access the footage without finding themselves in a legal shitstorm. Guard those memory cards with your life, and I will be in touch soon”.
Lying back in the chair and feeling relief wash over him, Mel lit a cigarette, briefly musing about how fortunate he was to have employed Tricia De Vries. They he put in the next memory card and pressed play.
They were back swimming below the shelf, passing the building from the previous day, and going further into much gloomier water. If not for the light rigs and the additional powerful light carried by Anita, it would probably have been impossible to see anything. They were also talking to each other, Glen first.
“Go to the building in the distance, that seems to be the last one of this old settlement”. Anita was seen nodding, and they accelerated slightly.
Then Anita could be heard. “This seems to be the biggest yet. Some form of meeting hall by the look of it. Follow me in”.
In the powerful light, Mel counted six window openings along the side of the building. He estimated it would have been around seventy feet in length. And judging from the large entrance that might well have had large double doors like those of a garage, it could have stood at least fifteen feet high. Maybe more, with a thatched or planked roof that was long gone. Before Glen had followed her in, Anita’s voice could be heard from inside.
“Oh shit! Glen, come and look at this!”
As her camera panned around, Mel leaned forward to make sure what he thought he was seeing was real. Along the sides of the inner walls of the building were rows of worn-out looking wicker baskets, metal cages, and low structures made from all kinds of things including woven wire and plastic cable. Inside them were live creatures. Mainly crabs, but also lobsters, and some large fish that Mel thought might be Cod. Glen said it for him.
“Jesus, ‘Nita. This is a farm. An undersea farm for fish and crustaceans. Look, there is even food for the crabs and lobsters, old fish heads. Who the hell is doing this at this depth? It cannot be practical for anyone in Ireland to do this, and besides, nobody knows where this island is anyway”.
Suddenly, Glen’s camera turned completely around. The image it caught made Mel jump back from the screen, and reach for the vodka.
A huge pair of round eyes, and a face with teeth like a wolf.