The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 2)

The Alibi – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 2)

Sean sat in a prison with walls of living flesh. Something like seaweed hung over tunnel entrances. The seaweed looked like beaded curtains and his captors came and went without hesitation. He stepped through one upward sloping tunnel’s curtain and what looked like beads exploded against him. Thousands of little spiny things stuck to his divesuit – the only thing he was allowed to keep in his captivity – and the one or two which penetrated it and pricked his skin left him a convulsing heap on the rock floor.

Once he regained control of his movements, he got close enough to inspect wihtout touching.

Neuroblasts? Seaweed with neuroblasts? I’ve never heard of anything like that. Oh, Seamus, me cousin, what have I gotten us into?

The pool leading back to the ocean had so many torpedo and related rays in it you could walk across if you had to, but Sean had no desire to have two-hundred or more volts hit him from every angle imaginable.

Other than being an obvious prisoner and seeing to his vital needs – how did the torpedoes know when he had to shit and piss and move aside? – his captors didn’t interact with him. The same petite female brought him his meals – a collection of raw shell and finned fish, and some edible seaweeds – waited for him to finish, and removed whatever he didn’t eat only to throw it to the rays in the pool. The few times he saw a few gathered, they didn’t speak. Not with words, anyway, not in a way he could hear, although it was obvious they paid attention to each other, could direct each other’s gaze, communicated. They never seemed to argue. What he did experience was a slight frisson, like something lightly crawled on him, an insect needing to be brushed away. Each captor produced a slightly different frisson on his skin, as if he could feel rather than hear their different voices.

One petite female, whom he referred to as his warden, either ignored or couldn’t hear him every time he spoke to her. Once or twice the small, Asian looking fellow came with her and watched while she put his food down and waited. They communicated, or seemed to, and again Sean had no clue what was communicated or how it happened, only their movements, expressioins, their postures indicating something exchanged between them, and that annoying sense of frisson.

It didn’t help that day and night didn’t exist in this cave, his prison. The bioluminescent walls never fluctuated in their lighting or brilliance. Only his stomach, bowels, and bladder indicated time’s passage.

He dismissively chuckled. Think about his stomach and it growled an alert it was empty. As if listening, his warden came through the neuroblast curtain and an assortment of edibles and barely edibles on a wooden plate which looked like it’d been salvaged from some ancient sea wreck. Ocean delicacies he could never afford on land mingled with things he’d forgotten the names to which stared back at him with lethal eyes.

He waited until she put the plate down and backed away. “Are all of these edible?” He pointed. “Those two look like they’d rather eat me.” He caught a motion and looked up from the plate.

The small Asiatic man stood beside his warden. He pointed at the creature Sean was unsure of, pointed to his own mouth, and gave a thumbs-up.

It was the first time Sean had seen any of these beings do a roughly human gesture.

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