For a split second, I managed to register that the lower half of my body seemed to be draped over the edge of the cabin steps with my feet lying somewhere awkwardly below. I gasped, panic-struck and a feeling shot through me that brought a brilliant white light to my eyes.
Along with some metallic-tasting saliva, I blew out a piece of stone. I couldn’t make out anything in the darkness. I dared not move, but it was already too late. My whole upper body was burning again.
For how long had I been in this way? Where was Bill, Monish, Dora? Why wasn’t anyone helping me?
I heard the slapping of the water against the hull first, so I knew we weren’t going anywhere fast. Time to move. Time to move was a resolution, which took a long time to action. Yes, the pain was less, but by barely moving at all I could almost fantasise that it was a figment of my sick imagination, that I wasn’t actually lying in a pool of my own blood.
I was not prepared for what I saw next. A very slight upward push from my left wrist was enough to clear my head off the cabin floor. A shriek like the death-cry of a wild animal pierced the silence. It had come from my own throat. I had been stabbed, for sure, because the pain was as if a sword had been plunged into my shoulder and was being plunged in once again. Before me, face planted on the veneered floor and spread eagled, was Bill.
I took stock, tried to breathe. Gritting my teeth, or at least most of them, I pushed myself up further onto my elbow and slumped against the edge of the saloon couch. Was Bill still alive? ‘Bill! Bill.’ I hissed. Nothing. I peered at his body. His T-shirt was soaked in Burgundy and there seemed to be a massive laceration in the middle of his back. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
To be continued…