Leagues from the shore of Athens, the cloudless spring sky gazed down on the dark, orange and blue Mediterranean ocean; the closest star to our planet, which was beginning to rise, was to thank for that scenic view. Schools of bright, sparkling fish were shining through the water while stunning flocks soared across the sky, it was sure to be a spectacular day for these secluded creatures. Business as usual, or so they thought: at that moment Brumali Horto blared its excessively loud horn and rammed greatly over the water, creating crashing waves, dismissing the schools and fleeing the flocks. Brumali Horto majestically coasted through, unaware of the wildlife it just disturbed, but a ship like that, painted to look like it was covered in vines and leaves, with blue, gold, and white detailing, with a sculpture of Poseidon holding his trident on the bow, could do just about anything, granted it was around a hundred years old, and everything previously mentioned was faded and rusted, but that only demanded more respect. Naturally, the schools of fish and flocks of birds should’ve never been in its way; Brumali Horto commanded the Mediterranean ocean for decades, and would continue to for decades more to come.
While those events took place outside, there was a subtle buzz happening inside, as the hundreds of staff, dressed the same, in their blue dress pants, white dress shirt, golden vests, and black ties prepared for, what felt like their thousandth morning aboard Brumali Horto. Tables were being set for breakfast, shops were opening their doors, and the live entertainment were heading to their various positions. The dim lights throughout the hallways generated a medieval atmosphere, like the lights were emitting from candles instead of bulbs, and, as you’d expect there were painted green, leafy vines running along the walls while an antique black carpet with blue, gold, and white aesthetics gave it a more vibrant and royal appearance. Cabins inside Brumali Horto were exceptional; there were ancient box televisions that they refused to upgrade to flat screens because while on vacation the T.V shouldn’t be a main concern; notwithstanding, every time Brumali Horto set sail it was at maximum capacity: 1000. To go along with the ancient box television, there was an old timers radio, a ceiling fan, (not an air conditioner), a small fridge, a telephone to call for room service or general inquiries, a bible in the drawer between the two lush queen size mattresses with soft, thick, warm comforters on top. Each cabin also had 2 circle windows above each bed, and a bathroom with all the amenities one may need.
Inside one of those cabins, number 616, a mighty fine gentleman was just waking up. He gently opened his dry eyes and saw only darkness, except for a bright light strip ranging from the floor to the ceiling. The man rolled over on his side and noticed he was alone in bed. Startled, he quickly sat up and looked around, then realized she was in the bathroom, which was where the sliver of light was coming from. A slight grin crept on his face when he heard the grimy sounds of someone trying to vomit. The man rushed out of bed and went to rescue his love.
“Mogey?” He asked in a soft voice, squinting as he opened the door. “You alright?”
She was hunched over the toilet. “Yeah, I’m ju-” Another attempt to throw up interrupted her. “Yeah, I’m just sea sick.”
Cringing from the sight of his fiancé with her head in the bowl, he squatted beside her, rubbed her back, and said in a caring, but teasing tone. “Do what you need to do, I’ll be out here.”
“Sure, Murph,” Imogen struggled to get out. “Just leave your sick fiancé alone to die.”
Her beautiful yet groggy voice was followed by more retching sounds so Murphy stood up and made his way out of the washroom with haste, closing the door behind him.
They hadn’t used the radio in their cabin yet, but Murphy thought now would be a good time so it could drown out the sounds of Imogen throwing up. He turned the dial to the first station playing music, he wasn’t too knowledgeable of Mediterranean radio stations, then rolled back into bed and stared at the ceiling, looking ahead to todays plans aboard Brumali Horto. They were on their way to Egypt, the first of two stops on this Mediterranean cruise; After spending a week in Cairo, Brumali Horto would then travel to Sicily, where they’d spend another week, before sailing back to Athens. By and by, they’d be back home in Connecticut in a month, where they’d resume their normal lives, which was put on pause for this cruise. Murphy was a real estate agent, he’d been in the business for six years now. Imogen was a high school teacher, and was the Head of the Social Science department; she wanted to become a principal one day. They met four years ago, at a soirée hosted by Imogen’s colleague; a fellow teacher. She was having an end of school year gathering at a nicer, larger house she airbnb’d with the help of her friend Murphy, who at the time was becoming properly aligned in real estate. At the party, the mutual friend introduced her two conveniently single friends; they had an immediate connection but the topic that really got them going was their love for Moby Dick the classic tale of revenge and the consequences that follow it. They both loved to read, but Moby Dick was their undeniable favourite novel, they read it multiple times, even after they met. Alas, the rest is history. After two and a half years of dating they moved in together and a year later, Murphy proposed; he knelt down outside the whale tank at the Aquarium. They planned this Mediterranean cruise some months later. Murphy knew he wanted to marry Imogen after their first date, and every time he saw her, even now as she emerged from the bathroom in a mess, he was reassured of that fact.
“Feeling better?” Murphy asked.
“A little, but I’m pretty sure I’m done puking.” She turned the radio down and took a seat on the edge of the bed. “What are we doing today?”
“Think we should start with breakfast, and go from there. We’ll be on this boat for three more days so we can’t do everything at once.”
“Alright, I’m gonna take a shower, I feel gross, my breath stinks. Smell it.” Imogen leaped at Murphy and wrestled him to make him smell her breath. Then she kissed him on his forehead and went to shower.
Forty minutes later, 32 for Imogen to shower and get ready, 8 for Murphy to do the same, they were out in the magnificent hallway, making their way to the Great Hall for a late breakfast.
“I almost feel guilty walking on this marvellous carpet.” Imogen gasped. “I can’t believe we’re here, thousands of miles from home. Everything’s so beautiful.” She interlocked her hand with Murphy’s.
“I know, going home will be heartbreaking but we have 28 more days left. By then we’ll be dying to go home, I’m sure.”
“You’re right, I’ll miss my students, too.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Oh, come on, I’ll miss them a bit.”
“If you say so.”
Murph and Imogen were greeted by concierge when they left the cabin hallway, and entered the area of Brumali Horto where things were most lively. A massive golden chandelier hung from the ceiling and made everything in its vicinity glitter with gold. The people underneath were looking for things to buy or activities to take part in, but most were heading in the direction of the Great Hall where breakfast would be served.
“Good morning, Sir. Ma’am,” said the concierge with a smile and a European accent. “May I help you find what you’re looking for?”
“Sure,” said Murphy. “We’re looking for breakfast.”
“Ah, yes. The Great Hall. On your left here and keep walking until you reach the escalators. Go down then it’ll be around the corner.”
“Fantastic. Thank you good Sir.”
“My pleasure, Sir, enjoy.”
They both smiled at the gentleman and began to follow his directions. Sure enough, down the escalator and around the corner were the double doors leading to the Great Hall.
The Great Hall, as you imagine, was a huge dining room with tables set to seat four or two, or there was a bar table where a lonesome person could eat if they didn’t want to look too alone sitting by themselves at a table for four. But anyone could sit anywhere. You’d probably expect that, this being a cruise with 1000 people, the breakfast setup would be a buffet, but there were menus and waiters and waitresses to take orders. The best part was that breakfast, lunch, and dinner was all included in what they already paid. So that was one less thing to think about; al though they’ll be thinking a lot once they have to pay the credit card bill, but they’d be fine.
Murphy and Imogen sat across from each other at a table for two and opened their menus. They scanned through the many options and before long a waitress appeared and asked if they were ready. She, too, had an exotic accent.
“Yes, we are. I’ll have orange juice, with pulp. A waffle, French toast, and home fries.”
Imogen shook her head and the waitress smiled. “And for yourself, ma’am?”
Imogen gave the menu another quick glance. “Okay, three easy over eggs, with whole wheat toast, sausages, and chocolate milk to drink.”
“Would that be all?”
“Yes, ma’am, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Exit waitress.
“How you can order a chocolate milk with eggs is beyond me,” said Murphy.
“It’s just one of my many weird characteristics that you love about me.”
That made Murphy smile. “Yeah, you’re right. Just like how Queequeg was a cannibal and was tattooed from head to toe but Ishmael grew to love him.”
Imogen wanted to hit Murphy but she laughed because it took less effort than reaching across the table.
Murph sat back. “I can’t wait until we get to Egypt. We’ll be there for a week. A week of living the Egyptian life. Exploring pyramids, investigating tombs, that’ll be spooky. Oh yeah, and the food.”
“I’d rather not be spooked, but it shall be fun. I’m looking forward to buying clothes made with Egyptian cotton.”
“I heard it was the softest.”
“Check the tag, it’ll say made in China.”
“Doubt it, but even so, you are aware China imports materials right?”
“Then it wouldn’t be authentic.”
“I won’t buy it if it says made in China. Happy?”
“I’m always happy when I’m with you, Mogey.” Murphy knew how to save himself after being a pest.
“You better be.”
“Look, here she comes with our food.”
“Think again, there she goes to another table.”
“I’m starving,” groaned Murphy.
“Relax, would you? See, here she comes.”
Imogen was the one who thought wrong this time. Now they were both groaning in sync. Ten slow minutes later their breakfast arrived.
It didn’t take long for them to devour their plates. Murph and Imogen wiped their mouths with the napkin and simultaneously leaned back in their chairs to let the food digest for a while. They weren’t being rushed out; most people ate breakfast bright and early and now the Great Hall was nearly empty. Some time passed, Murph and Imogen spent it watching other couples and making fun of them for no particular reason. They got up and left the Great Hall.
There was no need to go back to their cabin since they were already dressed for the day, already brushed their teeth; they were the type to brush before eating in the morning time. So they roamed around the ship and looked for something to do. From the Great Hall, they followed where the crowds were going and found an information desk where the attendant gave them a pamphlet with daily activities printed inside. They received one when they boarded the ship but who knew where it was now. There were activities and events for couples, singles, teens, kids, seniors. There wasn’t anything they absolutely had to do going on now but, in a couple hours, there was going to be a performance of “Hamlet” inside the theatre and they were interested in that. Murph and Imogen decided on going to the Sports and Recreation area to kill time before the play began. Imogen was holding the pamphlet and flipped it over to check the map of Brumali Horto. They found it on the map and started towards that direction.
The Sports and Recreation space had a court where basketball, volleyball, ball hockey, and any other sport could be played. There was a tennis court, a 9 hole mini golf course, a driving range where the range was the ocean. There was a pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. Lastly, there was an arcade with any arcade game one could imagine, recent or old.
Murphy and Imogen could’ve spent the entire month there but they left after two quick hours and went to watch the performance of “Hamlet”. The thought of the seats being first come first serve didn’t cross their minds but the theatre, called Le Théâtre Méditerranéen, wasn’t at full capacity so they were able to get good seats near the front.
The performance was really well done, and at the end the producers, director, and actors took a bow on stage and said they’ll be performing ‘Hamlet’ again later that night but tomorrow they’d be performing ‘Macbeth’. Brumali Horto appeared to be partial to Shakespeare, or tragedy.
Murphy and Imogen applauded once more with the crowd and waited in their seats as everyone filed out to avoid congestion. When the aisles were free enough to comfortably walk through Murph grabbed Imogen’s hand and they made their way out.
After spending somewhere around two and a half hours inside the dark theatre, they were somewhat surprised to see everything still so bright and lively outside in the Main Hub. It was just about evening now and they were tired of sitting so they walked around the Main Hub for a short while, checking out shops, and other places to eat, or get a drink. They walked by a 21 and over club, which was across from the 21 and under club. Neither of them were the dance party, clubbing type. Then Imogen suggested they go out on the deck and enjoy the evening scenery. Murphy said he was just going to say that.
“Great minds think alike, you know.” The sliding door opened and the cool, warm breeze greeted them. It was really nice.
“That’s why we’re together. Wow, what a fantastic evening, this weather is prime time weather.”
“It sure is. Though, I’d say my mind is a little bit greater.”
“How’d you figure that?”
“I suggested we go out before you did.”
“What? Wouldn’t that suggest that I think faster?”
“In this instance, sure. Sure you did. Not in most, though.”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you mean what do I mean?”
“I hate when you say that. Never mind, how can we settle this debate?”
“You’re smarter than me, Mogey. Everyone knows it. There, it’s settled.”
They were looking over the guard rails the entire time. People were walking around the deck but they didn’t notice; the deck was sparse for the most part and Murphy was mesmerized by the water and the waves that were made by the ship. He was clearly in deep thought all of a sudden. Imogen looked at him, grinning, then seeing him so stoic, nudged him.
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, nothing. I’m just thinking.”
“You look like you’re brooding something heavy so I guess it’s not good thoughts.”
“You are smarter than me, and I shouldn’t deny it or try to make you think you aren’t, I’m sorry.”
“Are you kidding me? No, you’re smarter than me, Murph.”
“I’m serious. You’re gonna be a principal in no time while I struggle to sell houses.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, you make enough money. We make enough more than enough money together.” Imogen was baffled by Murphy’s sudden change in behaviour. “Can you relax? How can I help you relax?” She nudged him, and wouldn’t look away.
“Not sure anything can help. Something about staring into empty space makes me melancholy as hell.”
“Let’s go back inside, it’s getting chilly now anyways.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too, Murph.”
The sliding doors slid open and they walked through.
“Where to now? It’s too early to turn in. What do you think?”
Murphy looked at her and smirked. She did the same. “Let’s get something to eat at the bar and have some drinks.”
“Funny, that’s what I was going to say.”
“Great minds think alike, you know.”
They walked to the bar and ordered a simple meal for dinner. Murphy ordered a chicken burger with sweet potato fries and Imogen ordered fish tacos also with sweet potato fries. Instead of orange juice and chocolate milk, Murph got a beer to start and Imogen got a whiskey and coke. This time their food came fast. Murphy got through half his beer and Imogen was on her second whiskey and coke.
“The Greek’s know how to mix a drink. This is perfect amount whiskey, perfect amount coke. In America it’s like ninety percent coke, five percent whiskey, five percent ice.”
“Cheap bastards. I’m gonna try one.” His mouth was full so he raised his hand to get the barman’s attention. He was the only one working but the bar wasn’t busy; a couple nearby tables were occupied but the further ones were empty except for a man sitting by himself. He looked to be in a dark mood, there were no plates on his table, only empty glasses and a full one which he picked up and sipped. Murphy made eye contact then quickly looked away. The barman was standing over him.
“Yes, sir, I’ll have what she’s been having.”
“Right away, sir. How is the food?”
“Magnifique, much better than America.”
“I do not think that is hard to accomplish, sir. I am more surprised an American would admit us Europeans are better at something.”
“Oh, I have no problem admitting the truth, my friend.”
Murphy was a bit tipsy. The barman turned to work on Murphy’s drink. He returned shortly with the drink, and Murphy sipped.
“Magnifique, I say. You were right, Mogey. But I’m done drinking. Bring me a water, sir.”
“Me too, please.”
Murphy and Imogen finished their food. Murphy ate most of Imogen’s sweet potato fries. He slapped some bills on the table which Imogen double checked to make sure it was the right amount. It was. Then they left for their cabin.
It was only eight o clock, but that was late enough. They changed into their pyjamas, and got into bed, and cuddled underneath the soft covers. Both were pretty tipsy and weren’t going to fall asleep just yet. After a while they were on their backs looking into the dark. They talked for a bit about who was smarter, about how much they loved each other, and the day tomorrow. Only one more day until they arrived in Egypt. They were sober by the time they fell asleep.
Murphy awoke with a jolt. He slept well throughout the night; didn’t have a nightmare, or any dreams for that matter, but for some reason he awoke with a jolt and that unnerved him. Unlike yesterday morning when he woke up there were no lights, it was dark inside the cabin. What time was it? The clock read 6:16, the same time as their cabin number. Murphy thought that was interesting, he reached over to feel for Imogen but his hand fell flat on the mattress. He tried again incase he missed but still felt nothing. He turned on the side lamp and saw that she wasn’t there. He fixed his eyes towards the bathroom. The door was closed shut and he couldn’t see light coming from the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. He figured she was puking again and didn’t want to disturb him like last time. He continued to lay in bed with the lamp on and waited for Imogen to return.
Murphy awoke with a jolt. The side lamp was still on, he looked to see if Imogen was in bed now but she still wasn’t. The washroom door was still closed shut, and the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door was still dark. Murphy looked at the time and it was three hours later.
“Imogen?” Called Murph. He got out of bed and went to the washroom door. “Imogen? You in there?” He knocked and simultaneously opened the door. It was dark inside, so he flicked the switch. Nothing. Murph wasn’t ready to panic yet. There was no reason to. She was probably eating breakfast and just didn’t want to interrupt his sleep.
Murphy got dressed hastily and left his cabin without combing his hair, showering, or brushing his teeth. He brisk walked through the hallway and met the same concierge as yesterday. He didn’t bother to say good morning to the concierge, who said it to him; but he felt the breeze of Murphy who sped around him. He was practically running. Down the escalator and around the corner, he opened the double doors to the Great Hall. He took a few steps and looked around. She wasn’t there. Then he saw the waitress who served them yesterday.
“Morning, sir. Eating alone this morning? Or is your lady still getting dressed?”
“Neither.” Murphy said, discouraged. “Do you remember how she looks?”
“Of course, sir, she’s very pretty. Hard to forget.”
“I know. But you haven’t seen her this morning?”
“No, sir. Is something wrong?”
“I hope not, I’m trying to find her.”
“Well she couldn’t have gone far, we’re on a ship.”
“Keep your eyes open for me, will you? Please.”
“Of course, sir.”
Murphy turned his back and left the way he came. He used the escalator to go back up and he looked over the railing to get a birds eye view of the Main Hub. It was still quite early so he’d be able to spot her walking, if she was, but it looked like she wasn’t. He checked everywhere after that; the sports area, the arcade, the theatre, the bar. Even the chapel. Finally, he went to a help booth.
“How may I help you, sir?”
“Can you use the intercom to page someone for me?”
“Absolutely, sir, what’s the name?”
“Imogen Wilson.” Murphy decided to use his last name. “She’s my fiancé. Say to go back to the cabin.”
Murphy watched him speak into the microphone and heard, loud and clear, across the Main Hub, “Imogen Wilson. Imogen Wilson. If you are hearing this please return to your cabin as soon as possible. Imogen Wilson please return to your cabin as soon as possible. Your fiancé is looking for you.”
“Thank you,” said Murphy. “Just incase could you repeat that message in 15 minutes?”
“Yes, sir, I will.”
Murphy showed his thanks through a smile and walked back to his cabin slowly, looking around for anyone who looked like Imogen. He swiped his card, turned the handle and walked in. She wasn’t there. He took a seat at the desk, put his leg across his knee, and faced the door, tapping his fingers, waiting for Imogen to appear. Murphy wasn’t sure what was going on right now but it was making him very anxious. He wasn’t sure if she was playing a prank on him, or if she was hurt, or if someone hurt her. He wondered how someone could go missing on a cruise ship, then he figured it wouldn’t be that unbelievable, it’d be like the movies. Murphy thought of all the worst case scenarios, did she not love him anymore and decided she’d rather throw herself overboard than spend the next month with him on this cruise? He thought about it and decided he’d gone too far. But where was she? He heard the help booth concierge call for Imogen again. Maybe she’d come this time.
Hours later, Murphy was inside Brumali Horto’s security office in a sweat. It was evening again and they’d be in Egypt by the afternoon tomorrow. He was explaining what happened to the Captain, the head of security, and a couple officers who were in pants and a dress shirt, and were carrying their pistols on their waist. The head of security only had a taser and bear spray. They all had European accents.
“I don’t know where she could be, that’s what I just told you. I’ve been looking for her all day.”
“How has she been since you boarded the ship?” Asked the Captain.
“She’s been fine. She was going through an episode yesterday morning but it was just seasickness.”
“What do you mean an episode?” Asked one of the officers.
“Nothing. She was throwing up.”
“Maybe she had more seasickness then had a breakdown,” said the other officer. “She’s probably hiding somewhere.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Yes it does,” said the Captain. “You’d be surprised what happens on a cruise ship. People go crazy and they disappear for a few hours. We find them in the hull, or in some washroom that doesn’t get used.”
“I know that didn’t happen. She wouldn’t do something like that, she’s well aware of what she’s doing a hundred percent of the time.”
“I believe you,” said the Captain. “But do you want to look around the places we’ve found missing people in the past?”
“Listen, I don’t want to waste any time, we need to find her. I know she’s not anywhere like that.”
“Then what do you suggest happened?” Asked the Head of security.
“I think someone has her. Aren’t there cameras on this ship you can check?”
“Oh, no no no, that doesn’t happen on Brumali Horto, mate,” said the captain, proudly.
“It could. How do you know? What I know is that my fiancé is missing.” Murphy stopped to compose himself. “Last night at the bar there was a man by himself and he was giving us looks. Can’t you check the cameras?”
“We only do that in extreme circumstances. We’re not ready to declare that yet. Theres a lot of procedures that go along with that,” the Head of Security tried to explain. “What did that man-”
“How the hell am I supposed to know? How hard is it to check? And this isn’t extreme? A missing person? Unless extreme means dead? Are you in on it? Is this a cover up? Just check the cameras for god’s sake.”
“Alright, alright, we’ll check the-”
“You’re acting as if I’m bothering you. You think I want to be here?”
“If you’d let me finish, Sir, I was going to sa-”
“I know what you were going to say. You’re going to check, but reluctantly.”
Murphy watched the Head of Security begin to go towards the computer desk, take a seat, and type something before he even finished his statement. The Head of Security clicked his mouse a couple times. Murphy, the Captain, and the two officers stood behind him at the desk and saw security camera footage of the ship. The Head clicked some more buttons and Murph saw the footage begin to rewind.
“You said you were at a bar last night. Around what time?”
“The one closest to the theatre, not the club, the bar, where you can eat too.”
“Sure.” The Head of Security continued to search. “Okay, here we are. That’s you and your fiancé right?”
Murphy saw a clip of himself and Imogen entering the bar. “Yes. Now go back an hour, the man looked like he’d been there a while.”
The Head’s finger scrolled backwards slightly.
“Look, there he is. That’s him.” Murphy was without a doubt. Everyone else in the room was stroking their chins. “Do you have cameras in the hallways?”
“Is he not suspicious?”
“I have a bad feeling. I just have a bad feeling. How about we follow the mans movements after he left the bar?”
The Head of Security glanced over his shoulder and saw Murphy glaring through his soul. He looked at the Captain, who nodded at him. The Head turned back to the screen. His finger slowly scrolled forward on the mouse and the images sped up. Murphy watched himself and Imogen eat their meal and interact with the barman. Soon he saw himself pay the bill and leave with Imogen. A few quick frames later the suspicious man also got up. He left the bar, without paying, and they saw him turn in the same direction as Murph and Imogen. On screen, they were able to see Murphy and Imogen ahead in the crowd but they had a good eye on the suspect who was keeping his distance, looking down to ensure there wasn’t a clear view of his facial features. A few time lapsed seconds later the suspicious man was still following the unsuspecting couple. They were at the top of the escalator and he just got on at the bottom; as the couple got off, Murphy watching the screen could see the mans face turn slightly in their direction. Now out of sight on screen, Murphy knew that’s when they went back to their room. The suspicious man was now off the escalator and, to no ones surprise, went in the same direction as Murph and Imogen. They saw him turn into the hallway.
“That’s who we need to find,” cried Murphy. “Is that enough proof? I mean we need to find Imogen, but you know what I mean.”
“Did you say anything to him at the bar?” Asked the Head of Security.
“No. Neither did Imogen. I made eye contact and looked away but it wasn’t a dirty look, I was observing the people in the room.”
“Alright. Well he followed you, we can see that. But how did your fiancé go missing? I’m sure you would’ve heard if he knocked your door down in the middle of the night and dragged her out.”
“You’d think,” said one of the officers.
“What if he was involved and this was all a distraction?” Said the other officer.
“Are you fucking kidding me? Just find my wife!”
“We’re trying to, Sir,” said the Captain.
The captains calm, carefree, callous tone made Murphy’s body temperature rise. Murphy told the Head to fast forward until something happened, and so he did. Anxiously watching the screen, Murphy saw the amount of people in the Main Hub and other areas dwindle as the time got later. There was nothing happening outside their cabins hallway but they kept the video rolling. Then Imogen appeared at the entrance of the hallway, it was 2:57AM, and she looked like she was in a daze, which Murphy, who was becoming more nervous by the second, figured was because she just got out of bed in the middle of the night. The others in the room looked at him as if to say ‘see, maybe we should’ve checked those spots’ but Murphy, more concerned about why she even got out of bed, told them to keep it rolling. Imogen was going down the escalator, the Main Hub had no one in sight, but Imogen kept walking. She no longer looked like she was in a daze. Then as time went on, it was 3:16AM on screen now, a dark figure emerged from the theatre. The door opened and closed and the figure was walking towards Imogen, who stood still. Murphy wanted to yell that that’s who they needed to find but no words left his mouth, the suspense was killing him. He continued to watch. It looked like the man was approaching Imogen to greet her; he raised his hand and went even more in her direction, she then made ways towards him. Murphy began to think the worst, but he wasn’t quite sure what the worst would entail; first he thought the worst would be finding Imogen dead, now the worst could be she’s alive and well and was cheating on him. Murph was in lousy shape. He continued to watch. Imogen and the suspicious man were now face to face and looked like they were having a conversation. After a few seconds they turned back and started walking, side by side, the way Imogen just came from, away from the theatre, past the same over, under 21 clubs. As the video showed them walking up the escalator, they still seemed to be in a deep conversation. Hand gestures were clear, Imogen didn’t seem scared or angry, though, which made Murph begin to become scared and angry, and when they reached the top and made their way outside through the sliding doors, the Head of Security, the Captain, and both officers looked at Murph as if to say ‘are you sure you want to keep watching?’. He continued to watch. Good thing, depending on how you look at it, there were cameras on the deck; Imogen and the suspicious man walked towards the the railing, similar to Murphy and Imogen yesterday before they went to the bar. Murphy felt like everything was coming full circle in the worst possible way. They were stopped at the railing now, Imogen and the suspicious man, looking out over the black water in the darkness. Moments passed, then Murphy saw the unthinkable happen. The suspicious man leaned into Imogen as if he was trying to kiss her, Imogen backed away, and pushed him, they started to go back and forth, Murphy wanted to punch the screen. The struggle continued then Murphy’s heart sunk; the man grabbed hold of Imogen and threw her over board. Murphy started to yell and storm around the office while the Head rewound it to see if what they saw was true. There was no doubting that it was. The devil of a man made a dash for it then the cameras all of a sudden lost sight of him. The ones on the deck, throughout the Main Hub, the Great Hall, were all showing nothing but eerie stillness. Murphy, who was left speechless, currently in a state of shock, felt goosebumps crawl down his spine . He didn’t know what was going on, he was hoping he was in a nightmare. The Head of Security continued to fast forward until passengers started to wake up, and there was still no sign of the suspicious man, and Murphy had a sorry feeling he wouldn’t be showing up.
Every step Murphy took towards the door to leave felt like his feet weighed as much as Brumali Horto itself. His vision was cloudy and he felt unbearably cold. He could hear the Head of Security, and the Captain call out to him but he couldn’t make out the words in his fit. He pushed open the door and heard it slam behind him, but he felt like he couldn’t hear or see anything and somehow he managed to find his way back to his cabin. He swiped his card, and fell face down on the bed.
Later that night Murphy awoke with a jolt. He’d been asleep for three hours and it was now a quarter past ten. He lifted his weighed down head and saw wet blotches all over the sheets. It could have been drool or tears, a combination of both. He couldn’t believe this happened, just yesterday Imogen was here beside him and now he figured she was most definitely dead. His fiancé! He sat on the edge of the bed and dumped his face in his hands. He couldn’t even think, he just felt sick, like he’d throw up at any moment. Murphy slugged to the bathroom and turned the sink faucet on to the coldest, stared at himself in the mirror and suddenly the idea hit him like shards from a shattered lightbulb. Murphy kept the water running and went over the toilet and poked his fingers down his throat to make himself throw up, it was nothing to him at this point. Murphy then went back over the sink and splashed the cold water on his face. He shuddered and stared at himself, he could hardly recognize his face. He repeated splashing water on his face until he could no longer see himself; he couldn’t do what he needed to as himself and now that Imogen was gone there was no need to be himself, he could be a person who, in simple terms, didn’t give a fuck. So with heavy shivers and his face freezing, he left the washroom and sat at the desk where he spent most of the day, earlier, waiting for Imogen to return. Now, he sat on the chair, put up his leg across his knee and drummed his fingers on the desk, making the sound of a deep pitched metronome. Murphy stayed in that position, continuing to drum, for a while, contemplating why Imogen had to be gone, why did she leave the room, why’d she entertain that suspicious demon in the first place. Why’d the Head of Security not want to check the cameras? They seemed like they hardly cared, like passengers fiancés get thrown overboard all the time. Why was Brumali Horto still in business, then? They must’ve had a good real estate agent. But now was not the time for jokes, everything seemed off to Murphy, and each minute that passed was him wasting time. He got up and started for the door, he checked the time which read 2:47 in the morning, Murphy was hardly aware of all the time that passed, he was focused on the task at hand.
His cabin door clicked shut and Murphy, with a determined, angry look, feeling robbed, eyeing justice with his lonely and sad eyes, was alone in the darkened corridor. It was quieter than the centre of the ocean in the middle of the night, and Murph tried to slow down his anxious breathing to make it even more so. He began to move. Slowly and cautiously he paced down the corridor, he knew he had to be the only one awake except for the guards in the security office. They probably wouldn’t pay him any mind until it was too late for them to realize what was going on; he knew he had to work fast. He hoped they were asleep. Murphy approached the spot where concierge greeted him every morning but instead of going to the escalator he went to the stairwell in the other direction. He pushed open the metal door and it creaked, sounding like the ship was aching. It was even darker, and much colder in the stairwell and Murphy kept going. He sprinted down the flights of stairs, not noticing anything but the steps in front of him, a sign could’ve said ‘warning, the floor is lava’ and Murphy would’ve jumped into it. He could hear the noises of the engine, and the furnace in the boiler room and Murphy knew to keep following that noise all the way down. He pushed open the basement door, and immediately felt the heat, it didn’t take long before the sweat dripped down his forehead. He looked around before he began to move again, making sure there was no one else in the basement, then he started, this time he was running. The echoes of the metal floors and bars rung all around him and everything sounded like loud voices calling after him, but he didn’t look back, he reached his figured destination and began to pull out, rip, stretch, bang, and kick at anything he saw that looked important. Alarms began to screech and blare, red lights flashed throughout the dark room, which was no longer hot; the temperature was falling rapidly so Murphy knew something had to be broken. Then he made a break for it, following the path he took, he pushed open the door, but not before he heard something like the sound of a missile being shot, then an explosion. Murphy sprinted back up the stairs, completely out of breath, pushed open the door and found himself back in the main hub where the concierge greeted him every morning. It didn’t seem like anyone knew what was going on yet, it was still quieter than ever but if you held your breath and didn’t move a muscle you could faintly hear the alarms from the basement. He ran around the escalator and went up to the deck. The doors slid open and Murphy was greeted by more cool air. This is where it happened, Murphy thought. He was almost there. Murphy ran across the deck, reading the signs for what to do in case of an emergency. Was this an emergency he wondered, maliciously. They’d definitely be checking the cameras in the morning. Too bad, Murphy thought, there wouldn’t be a morning for them. He was the dawn. Murphy reached the side of the ship where the rafts were. The alarms were all over the ship now, he could hear them and see them, but there wasn’t anyone on the deck. Murphy took one last look behind him, jumped over the railing and landed inside the life raft. He pulled the rope cords and, at first let himself down slowly, then let the raft free fall into the water from about fifteen feet. Murphy was a little disoriented but found his bearings after a brief moment of gaping around like a fish out of water. Or a whale, because that’s what Murphy felt like; a whale, the king of the seas, causing destruction to anyone and anything that wrongs them. Murphy looked up at Brumali Horto, there were people galloping all over the deck with no clue what he did or what was about to happen to them if they didn’t get off. Murphy started using the oars to paddle himself further away from the ship. It was pitch black, but he hoped if he continued rowing in the same direction the ship was heading he’d reach land, hopefully Egypt. Murphy looked behind him once more, Brumali Horto was beginning to sink, it was slowly getting deeper into the water. Murphy had chills, he couldn’t fathom what he did, he was responsible for all these souls; souls that would meet their maker because of him. He wanted to find Imogen, and he wasn’t going to. He wanted to do damage to those incompetent, insensitive bastards who practically refused to help him. That evil man who murdered Imogen was somewhere on the ship but now he’d be rooted out and trapped while the ship went down. That’s justice. Maybe most of the innocent lives will be able to escape, but the ones that didn’t were a sacrifice, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Murphy continued to row as Brumali Horto continued to sink, there were hundreds of people on the deck, pushing and running and panicking, hoping for a spot on a life raft. People were being lowered into the water and Murphy felt relief that some people were making it off, he just hoped that it wasn’t the Head of Security, the Captain, or those two other officers. And especially not the devilish man. Murphy continued to row as Brumali Horto continued to sink, he saw people diving off the side into the black water. He was proud people were taking matters into their own hands rather than go down with the ship. He continued to row, about a quarter of the ship was above water. Murphy faced away from it and stared at the darkness ahead, praying he was going in the right direction, if not, he was positive that, before they drowned, the Captain was able to communicate what was happening to the port they were heading to, and he’d be rescued. That gave him some relief. Moments later he felt the raft knock on something and seem to get tangled in it. Perplexed, Murph used the oar to feel around the water. He felt something that seemed hard yet mushy, he pushed the raft as much out of the way as possible then he saw it; bobbing up and down, in the black and murky, hellacious, sinister, Mediterranean Ocean, was the body of Imogen.
For decades, Brumali Horto commanded the Mediterranean, but because of one man, who chased revenge, who was now reaching inside the water, struggling to pull out the slippery, limp body of his fiancé onto his raft, this was its last day above water. But this wasn’t the first time Brumali Horto had a guest as tragic as Murphy.
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