Monday, November 3, 2014
April 1, afternoon
The day hours are so much better than the night. I feel normal when the ship is buzzing with activity and I’m surrounded by others. Why can’t my fouled up psyche accept that all is well again? Why do I keep going back to Finiuld’s ship when my defenses are down?
All these questions and no real answers. I’m due to see Dr. Feru in an hour. We’ll see if he can clear my skull of all its ghosts.
Speaking of ghosts, Candy is now certain she has proof of her specter. One of the gals in our group, Megan, said she saw something weird last night.
“I was up late and walking down the corridor,” she said. Her freckled milk-pale skin flushed slightly when she said it, so I assume she’d been visiting a man in his quarters. “I saw this dark shape, like a big man as I turned the corner ... and then it disappeared.”
Candy inhaled so sharply that she damned near choked on the piece of toast she’d been chewing. Katrina was positioning herself for the Heimlich Maneuver when Candy hacked it back up.
As if she’d not just nearly killed herself on breakfast, my friend leaned excitedly towards Megan. “You mean, it vanished? All at once? Just like ‘poof’?”
“Not quite,” Megan said. “It headed right into a wall when it just kind of faded out. It was less than a second. It happened so fast, I thought I might have been seeing things.”
“Probably,” Katrina said, regaining her seat. “If you’re not sure you saw something, chances are you didn’t.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Candy said ominously. She fixed bright blue eyes on Megan. “Where did you see it exactly? Was it near my quarters?”
“No. The wall it walked into was next to Shalia’s door.”
Candy’s attention immediately riveted on me. “Did you see anything last night?”
Just the past in my head, I thought. What I said was, “I slept somewhere else last night. But what I saw would curl your hair.” I leered suggestively.
“That’s my girl,” Katrina grinned. “I’m sure it wasn’t rising from the dead either.”
“Damn. I know there’s something supernatural going on,” Candy said, ignoring the teasing.
Betra chose that moment to approach our table, his gaze centered on me. I know he was worried about my nightmare. “Are you stopping by Medical today?” he asked.
“Already scheduled,” I answered. I appreciated he didn’t mention Dr. Feru. With me being pregnant, everyone would probably assume I was simply getting a baby checkup.
“Betra, have many men died on this ship?” Candy asked.
He looked at her with some surprise. “Yes, there have been deaths aboard this transport. Not on this trip though,” he said, apparently thinking that would reassure her.
“Were any of them violent deaths?” she pressed.
Betra’s brow drew down. “I’m sure there were. This vessel has been in service for some time and in many wars. When you transport thousands of battle-ready Nobeks for long enough, there will be fights. No doubt some turned deadly.”
“What about in our area of the ship? Did anyone die near our quarters?”
Betra folded his arms over his chest. “What is this about, Candy?”
She was at her most dramatic as she informed him, “I think we have – a ghost. The spirit of one of the dead is restless and haunting this ship.”
Katrina started to laugh and turned it into a coughing fit to avoid hurting Candy’s feelings.
Betra looked more confused than ever. “You mean the soul of an ancestor? Is that what you’re saying?”
“You don’t have hauntings on Kalquor?” Candy looked at our liaison like he was the one saying outlandish things. “Come on, Betra. Supernatural stuff happens everywhere.”
“There are some who believe in such things,” he said, a slight smile pulling at his lips. “I am not one of them. Tell me what you’ve seen that makes you think dead men are prowling this transport.”
“What’s the point?” Candy said, glowering at him. “If you’re a skeptic, you’ll just tell me we’re imagining things.”
“Who else saw this spirit?” Betra said, giving her his most compassionate, caring look.
Megan told her story. Since Betra gave her considerate attention, Candy was encouraged to share her tale as well.
“Interesting,” he said after hearing their strange encounters. “Neither of you is given to lying or overly active imaginations, so I have to concede you saw something. Whether or not is was supernatural is another matter.”
“I knew it,” Candy pouted. She glared at her half-eaten breakfast, as if eggs and grilled ronka were to blame for Betra’s lack of belief.
“Wait, my sweet. Don’t be angry.” Betra was conciliatory, trying to make sure she didn’t feel shut out. “I can’t explain what either of you saw. So the best thing to do is to tell me immediately if something similar happens again. Wake me in the middle of the night, if you must. I want to get to the source of this mystery. My Mataras should not be frightened if there is something I can do about it.”
His willingness to take care of things mollified Candy right away. Maybe it wasn’t the belief she’d hoped for, but no one can ever doubt Betra for his sincerity. If he said he was willing to chase ghosts, he’d do so even if he didn’t think they existed.