Roanoke 03

Roanoke: Chapter Three

 

Edwyn le Fay stared at the scene in his cabin. He had only been on the ship for a few hours, but somebody had been in his cabin, going through his stuff.

He knelt among his items, and checked that everything was still there. His concern was for his books on Magick. Those were the only items which he owned which were of any real value. His money, such as it was, was on his person. He was now glad that he was carrying his money around with him, rather than hidden under his bunk, or something like that.

All of his books were still there. None of them had been stolen. His coloured sand and his new Magick Oscillator were there; as was his Falcombe’s Patented Magickal Visual Viewer, an item of equipment which he had purchased only just before going on this journey. He breathed a big sigh of relief.

Now that he had made sure that nothing important had been stolen, he took another look at the things which the thief had been interested in. it seemed to have been his notes on people who had disappeared over the years. They were spread out all over the floor. He checked to see if any of them were missing. But they were all there. Nothing at all had been taken. The thief, seemingly, had broken in only to read his notes.

Le Fay went to fetch the ship’s captain, or some crew member of importance. He was less than happy that somebody had been in his cabin going through his stuff. He found a man in uniform walking along one of the corridors of the ship.

“Please, come with me!” le Fay gasped out. “Somebody has broken into my cabin and burgled my stuff!”

The man was John Westerby, an assistant to the ship’s captain, rather than the captain himself. He was forty years old, and rather handsome, in a rugged sort of way. For the past five years he had sailed across the North Atlantic. This was not the first case which he had encountered of theft, unfortunately.

“Take me to your cabin.” Westerby said.

“It’s this way.” Le Fay led Westerby to the second class cabin. Westerby glanced over the things strewn on the floor.

“Is there anything missing?” Westerby asked. If he knew what had been taken then there was an outside chance that he might be able to get it back.

“No, nothing’s been taken, not even any money, but…”

“Had you locked your cabin door?”

“No, I hadn’t, but…”

“Always lock your cabin door in future, sir. It looks like somebody has gone through your stuff, to see if you had anything to their liking. You are lucky that they didn’t take anything. You might not be so lucky a second time.”

Westerby turned to leave the cabin.

“What, is that it?” le Fay asked.

“Nothing has been stolen.” Westerby said. “I am sorry that somebody has been through your possessions. But, as none of them have been taken, there is no chance of discovering who was in here. Now, unless there is anything else?”

“No, there is nothing else.” le Fay said. Westerby left the cabin, closing the door behind him.

 

Le Fay tidied up his possessions, putting them back in the suitcases. He thought about trying to cast a spell to discover who had been in his cabin. But he had no evidence to use to try to trace that person. They had left nothing behind; and, as nothing had been taken, he had nothing to focus on. The intruder had probably even worn gloves, now that people were beginning to realise that fingerprints were unique.

Le Fay decided to stay in his cabin, for the rest of the day, even if it meant him feeling ill. He was not going to have people go through his stuff. He sat on his bunk, and tried to think about what had happened.

It was possible that what had happened was that some thief had broken in, looking for money, and had seen his notes on Roanoke and other disappearances and had decided to browse through them. But Edwyn le Fay thought that such a scenario was highly unlikely. Any thief who wasn’t an idiot would have wanted to be in the cabin for as little time as possible, just in case the owner of the cabin suddenly returned. They would not have sat down to read.

No, le Fay thought that something else must be going on here. He had some enemy aboard the boat. Somebody must have followed him aboard. But who?

It was not like he had a lot of enemies. Well, not ones who were still alive. There had been the Coven of the Blood, but all but one of them had been dealt with in that affair – and le Fay could not see Vlad Tepes breaking into his cabin to go through his stuff. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing which he would do.

All of the other enemies had been dealt with, or were no longer enemies. He no longer had to fear the monster of the Dark House. Gideon de Ville was dead. He had made peace with the Naiths. There was nobody else. Well, nobody of whom he was aware, anyway. He supposed that he might have made some new enemies. But he didn’t know how.

He sighed. Perhaps he was imagining that somebody was specifically targeting him. It had probably been a thief, who had heard some sound and who had panicked, leaving empty-handed. Yes, that had to be that.

Le Fay began to feel more and more nauseated as the hours passed. He didn’t read any of his notes on Roanoke. He lay there, on the bed, feeling very sorry for himself.

 

Somehow he managed to sleep, that night, without being ill. But he had not dared risk having anything to eat or drink.

When he woke up the next morning he still felt nauseated. He had to get out of the cabin and onto the deck of the steamship. He locked the door of the cabin behind himself, though. He was not going to make it easy for any intruder.

He was a lot better once he got out onto the deck. He could now see the sea. He could see the movement of the ship as she ploughed a course through the waves. His stomach began to settle down.

He was hungry and thirsty. He had not had anything to eat or drink since leaving Southampton. But he still did not dare risk eating anything solid, as he feared that if he ate anything it would not remain eaten. He had a little water to drink. He then tried to return to his cabin. But his innards commanded him to go back up onto the deck.

He was annoyed. He had intended to spend these five days going over all of his notes one final time – not spend it staring at the grey waters of the North Atlantic.

He was a little cold. There was a stiff breeze blowing in his face. It was colder, back here, than it had been back in Britain. He wished that his coat was a little thicker.

When he could tolerate the cold no longer he went back down to his cabin.

 

He didn’t have anything to eat that day, either. He had a little dry bread on the third. By the end of the fourth day he had basically got his sea legs. He was no longer made ill by the motion of the ship. He ate a fair amount of food on that day – although he did not eat anything too rich, just in case.

Edwyn le Fay was relieved when the steamer finally reached New York and he could disembark. He tried to put a possible return journey out of his mind. Maybe he would stay in the Americas.

He could hardly wait to get down the gangplank and into New York.

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