This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 792 words.
The next card showed Glen sitting in front of the camera. He looked tired and drawn, rubbing his face frequently.
“We had a long discussion last night. Anita seemed to feel that she wanted to go out with the Letris alone, she was convinced that for some reason they find me intimidating. Because I am male, I presume. I suggested she wear her SCUBA gear, but she wouldn’t hear of it, sure they would look after her, and take her to the surface to breathe. To be honest, I had concerns. What about depth? If they took her down too far, she might get decompression, or maybe not even get back up to the surface in time. I got to the point where I had to forbid her to go without me, and make her promise she wouldn’t. As you can imagine, the rest of the night was awkward”.
Mel sat back, wondering about the conversation the Mayhews had had. He was sure it would have been worse than Glen was suggesting. That was more or less confirmed as Glen continued.
“This morning, I woke up before dawn, but she was already gone. No diving gear, but hopefully some drinking water and food, I’m not sure. They must have been waiting for her on the beach, as I doubt she would swim to the sea cave in total darkness. Those things have got inside her head, and changed her. She seems to imagine that she knows what they are thinking, and her behaviour is not typical. Far from typical in fact. She’s usually the worrier, always going on about being safe. Now here she is at sea, God knows where, with a new species of large strong creatures that we know bugger-all about. To say I’m worried is an understatement. When she gets back, I’m calling a halt to all this, and waiting for the helicopters to pick us up.”
When the screen went blank, Mel took the opportunity to stop the video, and go out to get something to eat. He walked down to Bella Italia and ordered Veal Milanese with garlic bread and a bottle of Chianti. Although it was before the evening rush and well after lunchtime, the place was crowded with customers, mostly tourists. Staring out ot the window, he watched the world go by. The card he had stopped in the laptop was the last one from the pouch.
Whatever was left on it would be the end of the film he was already making in his head.
The strong red wine relaxed him, and the food was welcome after a long day. He could probably get Eddie Minchin on the fast-edit. He was one of the best, and would definitely work on a Sunday for extra pay. Mel decided to send him a text, asking him to come in tomorrow at nine, and be prepared for a full day in the editing suite. All being well, they would have a two-hour film to review by tomorrow night, and that could be cleaned up later. Catching the eye of the waitress, he signalled for the bill.
Glen looked even worse in the next scene. He was agitated, talking loudly, and sitting far too close to the camera. There was no background, so he literally could have been anywhere. Mel hated that, he always insisted on context.
“It’s the next day, almost eight in the morning. Anita has been gone for maybe thirty hours now. I am beside myself with worry, and I’m bloody furious at her too! She is leaving me no option but to go out and look for her, so I need to pack out the inflatable with everything needed. I just noticed that two more cameras are missing, so I guess she thought to film whatever she was planning to do.”
Then he was further away from the camera, packing things into the inflatable. Mel could see him stacking tinned food and bottled water, a can of fuel, his dive tanks, mask, and flippers. Then he added a first aid kit, and a large foil blanket, before putting on his wetsuit. Walking back to the camera, he knelt down in front of it.
“I will leave this camera here, and take the remaining one, together with the last of the memory cards. Then I am going to check out the sea cave. If she isn’t there, I will start to search out at sea. As I have no idea what direction they took, I will begin with the sunken settlement, then head north. If you never hear from me again, look for the memory cards in a waterproof pouch that I am leaving with the remaining stores”.
He leaned forward and switched off the camera.