Ch. 1- Blood and Water
Dr. Marcus Jones was having a rough day. In his opinion, the small craft they were standing on could barely be called a boat, much less a ship. It was only 150 feet long, and had enough cabin space for a crew of 10, if they crammed together to sleep. The fisherman called it I'Argo, in honor of the once famous Greek ship that was sailed by one of the world's most well known mythological heroes. It may have once been worthy of the name, but now it has been reduced to a rusty, foul smelling hunk of brown metal that the sailors fish from. Marcus sighed. After an 8 hour flight from the states to Rome, then south by car across the worst roads he has ever seen, he finally arrived at the small fishing village of Pineta Riviera, where has was able to bribe a sailor to allow him to accompany him on his trip. This wasn't an exotic vacation, where you would travel to remote places in the world to learn about the culture and experience new things. This was work. Marcus Jones was a doctor in Marine Biology, and he came to study the local fish. It was rumored that recent storms had brought rare deep sea fish to the surface, and were being caught by fishermen.
The day started off well enough. The crew were able to bring in more fish than usual for this time of year, but, upon examination, none off the fish were anything of interest. He was hoping to see something uncommon, but it seemed he was out of luck. With nothing else to do, the captain put Marcus to work, having him detangle nets and help haul nets up from the water. By dinner time, his back and shoulders were aching, not used to the strenuous work. Then the storm hit. Raindrops that felt like the size of marbles were thrown down at them with the force of a gun, the sky randomly flashing with lightning, and the large, spontaneous boom of thunder echoed around them. Worst of all was the hard rocking of the boat, making Marcus feel like they could capsize at any moment. The captain, sensing his unease, let him head back into the cabin to try and focus on not getting seasick. The storm roared on.
Nearly an hour later after no sleep, Marcus slowly stood up off the bunk. The crew had all gathered near the port side of the boat, at least, he thought it was the port side. His ship vocabulary was not up to par. Could the crew have found a deep sea fish? he thought. He could either abandon the safety of the cabin and brave the storm, or stay in and possibly fall asleep. Curiosity won out. He pulled on his raincoat and opened the door. Immediately, Marcus was thrown off balance by the rushing winds and unsteady, tipping floor, nearly off the side. Gasping, he pulled himself up and stumbled over to the crew, pushing his way through. His mouth fell open in shock. It was a dead body.
He had never seen a dead body before, only in movies. The body was that of a woman, with jet black hair and a wetsuit on. The closer he looked, the more details he noticed. There was blood oozing from an opening in her side, a dark, nearly black color. Small cuts and bruises littered her once clean face, now filthy with blood and the grime of the sea. She may have been beautiful, with high cheekbones and a soft, smooth face but he couldn't tell through the welts and dirt. The scene before him sent a shiver down his body, aided by the dark and cold atmosphere of the storm. The crew seemed to have gone silent, realizing what they had pulled up. But as he looked, he noticed something. The girl was breathing. "She's alive!" he yelled over the storm, "We need to get her inside!"
The crew realized that to, and quickly started to move. Pulling her out of the net, they set her on a spread out blanket to use as a gurney. Three of the crew moved to grab the corners to lift, and Marcus caught ahold of the last corner. Once they were inside, they led here down to a table where they had finished supper, hours earlier. Now cleared, they laid her on to the hardwood surface and lowered the blanket. She was now face up on the table, breathing shallow and slow, like that of a small dog. To Marcus, she looked to be in pain. Her face was tight like she was trying to not shout or move, but she was still out cold. At least she was out of the wind and rain, he thought. There was a sudden commotion behind him. Glancing back, he saw the only other English speaker on the boat surge forward through the small crowd. It was Dr. Washburn, a old medical practitioner who was hired by the captain to help with any injury that his crew sustained.
"Togliti di torno!" Washburn yelled in what Marcus presumed to be Italian. The crew started moving towards the door. He continued, pointing at him, "You, stay here with me. I need your help." He motioned to the woman. "Flip her over." Nodding, Marcus grabbed at her shoulders and spun her to her side, then on her stomach. Looking up, he saw that Washburn had already retrieved his medical bag, and had pulled out a scalpel. Slowly, he bent over her and sliced open her wetsuit right down the spine, careful to not push too far and cut her. The doctor motioned to the other to grab and gently pull open the fabric, exposing her back. The both gaped at what they saw. The source of the blood from earlier was revealed as two bullet holes, one on her left side and the other at her right shoulder, just beside the shoulder blade. Marcus looked up at Washburn and muttered, "Holy...", too shocked to continue. The doctor had turned pale, while Marcus was a sickly shade of green.
Washburn noticed his color. "Go upstairs and make some coffee. God knows we'll need it." Marcus nodded thankfully and left. Turning back to the surprise patient, Washburn pulled out tweezers and moved to take the bullets out, which have buried themselves barely half an inch into her. He considered her damn lucky. Noticing more blood poor from her side than her shoulder, he shifted left and slowly caught ahold of the small metal object. He pulled. If he had paid more attention, he would have noticed her hand slowly flexing moments before, her foot stretching, and her eyes pull themselves open. She felt the sharp pain of the tweezers shifting the bullet, and acted on instinct.
Her hand moved first, reaching out and grabbing the scalpel, holding it with the confidence of a world class chef with a knife. Her back twisted away from Washburn, turning her towards him. The tweezers pushed the bullet back in during her movement. Jumping off the table, she caught ahold of his hands and pinned them above his head, shoving him into a wall with the scalpel at his throat. All of this happened so fast that he did not even have time to shout in surprise. Staring right at him, she said in a panicked voice, "Where am I? Who are you?" Suddenly, the sharp gaze in her eye shifted to one of confusion and pain as everything caught up to her. She fell forward slightly, off balance by the rocking of the boat and the pain in her head and back. Washburn gently grabbed her and set her back down on the table as the fell. "I'm a friend." he said just as gently, ignoring the slight spill of blood sliding down his neck, "You're on a boat. We pulled you out of the water." She just looked confused, glancing around. He said something, but she couldn't catch it. "What?" she asked quietly. "I said what's your name?" he repeated. A look of pain swept across her face. "I don't know. Oh G-God." she stuttered, falling back, again, out cold.