On my way to the dropbox to send the second part of my interrogation report to the abominable beasts I officially work for, I noticed an odd looking fellow, who moved strangely, talking to a young boy, who I couldn’t see clearly. They were having some sort of agitated conversation on the dock.
Not wishing to interrupt just yet, I made my way over to Melnik’s Wharf to get a better look.
The young boy seemed to be wearing urchin style clothes, but I couldn’t see him clearly because the fellow he was speaking with had some sort of metal reflection coming off his head. As I noticed that his head was actually metal—evidently some sort of clockwork—I saw that there was a human face mask pulled off and draped behind its steal skull.
There was another very large fellow nearby, but I couldn’t see him clearly.
As the young boy bent to deposit some items on the dock, a young girl approached me. I struggled to get a better look at the boy, but the girl started speaking to me in a very strange manner.
Turning to her, I saw that she was carrying a dead dog with her, and wearing some sort of sidearm.
Startled, I immediately focused on the young girl.
I asked if she was lost and she replied that she had never been found. I stared at her for a second and then momentarily turned back to the dock and saw that the young lad, the large man and the clockwork had vanished. There was no boat, and I could see that they had not travelled to one end or the other of the quay, so they had either jumped into the water or vanished.
I stared in disbelief trying to figure out what I had missed, but the young girl impatiently walked toward me to regain my attention. She was asking me if I was real, to which I replied that I was as real as anyone else.
She giggled and whispered something to the canine corpse in her arms. She then turned to me with a disturbing, very serious look and said that nothing was real.
“The gun isn’t real, the bodies aren’t real, I’m not real, you’re not real…”
I interrupted her, “What bodies?”
“Anybody. Gifford isn’t real, are you Gifford?” she squealed inquisitively to her pet cadaver before scolding it angrily, “No, you’re not! If I’m not real, you can’t be, you silly creature. Now be a good puppy and stay quiet.”
I mumbled to myself that it shouldn’t have much trouble with that and she turned to look at me, irritated. Just then the Port Line tram rounded the corner in front of the Welcome Centre and turned north toward the Portside stop. The young girl squealed delightedly and ran off to catch it, leaving me dazed with shock.
I shook the horror off, and struggled to remain as professional as I could. Turning back to the dock where the small assembly had vanished moments earlier, I kept the strange little girl in sight as I made my way carefully over to inspect the scene of the disappearance.
There I found a small pile of assorted objects deliberately set aside, and no other trace of recent departure, with the exception of a concentration of air bubbles in the water. I had not observed a vessel there before, and could not see where one had departed to. Beginning to wonder whether I’d witnessed another vessel sinking, I shook my head and began to make my way back to the Chandlery to sort all this out.