“I didn’t see Davis again until the next day, after the ship sailed. We left Bermuda at four PM. He was in the dining room when I went in at seven for dinner. I ignored him, but he came up during the meal and apologized for seeming rude on the island. He said he had been a little drunk. But that was a lie. He was cold sober on the island, and he was cold sober when he threw me into the ocean!”
Her eyes were burning. I decided that if I were James (the Cat?) Davis, I would take care not to fall into her hands.
“I went back to my cabin after that. I wasn’t having much fun on board. Most of the other passengers were middle-aged or older. I should have flown to Bermuda. Anyway, after an hour I started to get stir crazy, so I went down to a lounge and watched the old folks dance a while, and then went to the movie. After the movie, I went for a walk on deck. By that time, I had forgotten all about Davis.”
But Davis had not forgotten about her. From the lounge, she had gone up two decks by an inside stairway, in the direction of her cabin. She saw Davis following her. It spooked her, so she turned aside into the duty-free shop. After he passed, she followed him and found him in front of her cabin.
Raven began to get scared. She didn’t want to confront him by herself, so she turned to get a ship’s officer. She never had the chance. Her second assailant, a slim, weasel faced man she had not seen before, was waiting to cut her off. He stood at the head of the stairs, not saying a word.
Raven turned left and went out of the heavy steel doors to the deck. She was above and forward of the main promenade where all the after-dance couples were strolling. Here the deck was narrow and slick with spray, with lifeboats every few meters.
The door wouldn’t latch. There was no other door letting out onto that small section of deck, only a narrow ladder forward leading up to the crew’s area. It was closed off by a waist high, steel mesh gate. Raven headed toward it just as the door behind her opened. Davis and his dark shadow came through.
“That was when I made my worst mistake,” Raven said. “I should have run like hell and crawled over that half-gate. But it seemed so melodramatic that I just couldn’t do it. I was scared silly, but at the same time I couldn’t believe I was in any real danger. Nothing that harsh words and a slapped face wouldn’t put a stop to. The second man being there should have warned me, but it was the kind of thing that never happens to real people.”
She shook her head . “If you hadn’t been there, that would have been my last thought as I drowned. ‘This sort of thing doesn’t happen to real people.'”
I reached across and took her hand. She jumped, then relaxed and finished her story.
Davis said, “What are you running from?” She told him to get out of the way. He just shook his head, and his weasel-faced shadow said, “Not ’til we’ve had some fun and done our job.”
Then Davis grabbed her arm, hard, while Weasel moved up beside her. She was dressed in a thin, clinging dress that half-bound her knees, and left her feeling vulnerable. For a moment she submitted to Davis’ grip on her arm, frozen by the shock of what was happening to her. Davis said, “Time for a swim.”
Weasel moved up beside her and began to touch her. He said, “Put her on the deck and hold her. You can dump her over when I finish.” more tomorrow