November 21st,

     My Lady Captain Meiling,

         My first mate, Arabella Porter has disposed of Charlotte Bennet. We are happy to inform you that the former Captain of the S.S Silver Widow is no longer a problem and are very eager for our payment at the end of the month.

     Your loyal ally,

    Captain David Brattle of the P.A.S Nyctimene

   November 23rd

      You're an absolute fuck up. Come to the island at once.

    Lady Captain Meiling of the Bloody Lotus

    Ara read the letters over and over again. David twiddled his thumbs, searching her face for an expression. 

    "Were we not supposed to kill her?" Arabella asked hesitantly. David shrugged. 

    "I saw her go over. There's no way she could survive a fall from 20,000 feet." He laughed nervously. Ara looked over the letter again. 

    "Maybe it's code." 

    "It's not code, Porter. Look at it. You can't get more blunt than that. She called me an absolute fuck up. So either we weren't supposed to kill Charlotte bloody Bennet or Charlotte bloody Bennet is still bloody alive, which she's not cause she took a twenty thousand foot dive into the fucking sky. There's no way she survived that fall."  He yelled. 

    "Well, if she didn't want her dead then she shouldn't have given her to us in the first place. It's not our fault." Ara plopped down in the seat across from him and folded her arms over eachother. 

     "This is Captain fucking Meiling." He stood and leaned over, "You think she gives a good god damn whose fault it is? Either she's right, or the sorry bloke that was right is dead. She's a 24/7 pms case." He paced back and forth excitedly. "There's no getting out of this mess."   It was like a riddle. Charlotte couldn't have survived that fall and even if she did, she wouldn't be dumb enough to let Meiling find out. There had to be something missing. On the other hand, Meiling gave Charlotte to the Nyctimene to "do whatever they wanted with her". She obviously wasn't keeping Charlotte for any special occasion. And if it wasn't about Charlotte Bennet, then what did David do? "She's going to kill me." 

    "Well what do you propose we do?" Ara asked. He shrugged again, defeated in his slumped position. 

    "We do what she wants. We go to the island early." 

    That night, Ara hopped in the shower but couldn't seem to wash. She felt the cold dividing itself over her head in lines of icy water. Was that how it felt to fall this high up? She thought. Charlotte's visage remained forever in her imagination. It was that challenging cold stare. She wondered what Charlotte looked like as she fell through the clouds. What did she look like when she hit the ground? Was the a crunch? a splash? a splat? All of that power and fire sucked out by rushing air only to leave a lifeless case of blood and flesh. Tears welled in Arabella's eyes. How many times had she killed for her own survival? But they were never people she cared about. Now that captain Bennet was dead, Ara could say it aloud, while no one was around. 

   "You were my friend." She pressed her forehead against the shower wall and stood there, letting the water run down her back and slide over her shoulders. It was clear that there was no starting over. 


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