Part two Carfax – Present Day
“Tonight’s news at ten, a mysterious sailing ship appears outside Carfax Bay.” The newscaster reported as Detective Constable Roger Squires sat watching his 42-inch flat screen TV while eating a light snack along with a cup of coffee. The scene changed from the studio to an outside broadcast, “first indications are that it appears to be an old sailing ship by the name of ‘Palomino Blue’, the name of the ship is barely visible, but it does appear to be very old. It is unknown whether there is anybody on board at this time.” Roger Squires watched the news report with interest as the outside broadcast continued, as one of his passions was sailing. “I have just learnt that a rescue crew are making their way to the ship to see if there are any signs of life on board. I have with me former Navy Captain Richard Bottomley who may be able to throw some light on the subject.”
The detective listened with interest to what the former naval officer was saying. But it wasn’t until he heard him saying that he thought the ship to be from the early 1900’s, and, that the ship’s captain may have been Captain Jack Clegg-Welsh, formally of Carfax town that he took more than a passing interest. “My God, how the hell has a ship from the 1900’s suddenly appeared in Carfax Bay, this could be very interesting indeed?” Squires thought out loud. Picking up his mobile phone he tapped in a number, it was answered after the third ring. “Hi Joe, Roger here, have you seen the news on TV? You haven’t, well I think there may be something of interest to you.” Squires continued to tell his colleague what had been reported on the news and that it might be something for the paranatural detectives to look into. “You know they would love this kind of thing Joe, a ‘ghost ship’ story is right up their street.”
Superintendent Joe Welsh sat listening to his friend and colleague talking about the ship that had suddenly appeared in Carfax Bay after being lost at sea for one hundred and eighteen years. “It appears, continued Squires, that there are no signs of life and no bodies have been found as yet. So how did the ship arrive back here after all these years?” Joe Welsh looked uninterested with what Squires was telling him. He was still on sick leave after having a minor operation in which he had his appendix removed. “To be honest Roger, I don’t think I’m up to it right now, and I know that Hector and Dan are both out of town at the moment helping in a case of child possession, so they can’t help either.”
“Tell me this then Joe. Do you know your past family history?”
“Why do you ask Roger?” Roger had left a certain point out of the news story to see what Joe’s reaction would be.
“I’m asking as a certain retired naval officer claims that the captain of the Palomino Blue was a Captain Jack Clegg-Welsh who was born and bred in Carfax. Now I know you were born and bred here too Joe. Could he be a past relative of yours?” Joe Welsh looked thoughtful,
“Well I know that there were seamen in my family many years ago, but I would have to look it up to see if there is a connection to this old sea captain. I do know there is a Clegg link in the family from way back when on my mother’s side of the family.”
“There has to be a connection then Joe. Listen let me do a bit of digging around for you, I’ll find the time around my usual police work, and maybe you could get in touch with a relative or search on line for any clues. What do you say Joe?”
Joe Welsh looked at his friend and could see that certain light in his eyes and nodded in agreement.
“Right now that we have agreed on that, let’s have another cup of tea.”
Out in the bay of Carfax, there was a tremendous hubbub of excitement from the locals as they stood watching the events unfolding around the sudden appearance of the ‘ghost ship’ near their homes. An investigative team had been sent to the ship to check if it was indeed as old as everyone assumed and news teams from all over England were busy reporting facts and interviewing people. A CBS news team had flown over from America as the news went worldwide. For many locals, it was a chance of five minutes of fame when they were interviewed for the news programmes. As the reporters were being filmed live, news came in from the investigative team that remains had been found on the lower deck of the ship and that they would need the local coroner and her team to get onto the ship as soon as possible to find the cause of death.
An hour later coroner Susie Stapleton and her team were aboard the old ship checking the remains of the crew and captain. How they had died was a total mystery to them as it looked if all had died while asleep except for the captain and another member of crew. They assumed it was the captain and first mate by their uniforms and the fact that they were in the wheel house. All bodies looked as if they had been sucked dry, but how and why, and where had the ship been for over a hundred years? Susie Stapleton told reporters that it was, ‘A most puzzling case indeed, perhaps an archaeologist was required instead of a coroner, and that all the bodies would be taken to the morgue in Carfax for autopsies to be carried out’. The crew’s personal effects were also taken along with the captain’s log.
The navy posted two guards on the ship overnight to stop sightseers from getting on board. The hubbub of the crowd died down around eleven pm and some news reporters followed the ambulances back into town in the hopes of gaining more news on the deceased crew. In amongst the reporters was a certain Carfax Standard reporter, Gregory Hickman. He was the local newshound who would always appear as if from nowhere whenever a tasty bit of information came his way. Hickman felt it his duty to inform the loyal readers of the paper at all times, and so it was that the newshound now stood on the pier asking questions to all and sundry for all he was worth.
Naval officers Bramwell and Pickering walked around passing comment now and again whilst checking port, starboard, forward and aft of the ship. They both felt a tinge of unease as they neared the keel of the ship each time they went below deck. Both men were amazed that the ships rigging was all but intact, and couldn’t quite fathom out why, surely they should be rotted by now they both pondered. Both men wanted to be off the old ship, but knew they had a job to do, keeping sightseers and the press off it, and by force if need be.
As they began their forth walk around the ship Bramwell thought he could hear something, a noise, almost like someone swimming in the water. “Hey Ken, can you hear that, some kind of swishing noise?” he asked as Pickering began walking over to join him.
“Yes, I can, it sounds like someone swimming, doesn’t it?” Both men looked over the port side of the ship but couldn’t make anything out. “I’ll grab a torch mate, hang on a second.” Pickering went off to find the torch and as he did so, something shot out of the water towards Bramwell, something long and slimy. Seconds later Bramwell was gone. “I’ve found the torch Richard, let’s see what….” In an instant Pickering was gone as well.
“Hey look, look! The ship, it’s sinking, I tell you it’s sinking.” One of the news reporters shouted as he noticed the old ship lilting to one side.
“By God you’re right Jenkins, it is sinking but why now?”
“Get those search lights on it now!” shouted one of the naval officers.
“Look in the water just away from the ship. It looks like two bodies floating.”
“Get a launch out now, it could be the two men we posted on the ship.” With that a rescue ship was launched at full speed and ten minutes later it returned to the side of the pier with the two bodies. The two bodies were in the same state as the bodies found on the ship, sucked dry of life.
“Right Coleman and Patterson get these poor men to the town morgue now and make sure the coroner sees them straight away. I want to know what has caused their deaths.” Lieutenant Oxford ordered as he jumped into his car. “I’m going to see Captain Buxton right now. We need to be on high alert!”
“Ma’am two more bodies have just been brought in by naval officers, in the same condition as the ones we have here. Should I get them to bring them in straight away?” Susie Stapleton brushed loose strands of hair behind her right ear and looked around the mortuary room. “Yes Alex, ask them to bring the bodies in and place them over to the left of the room please.”
Stapleton made sure she pulled up the white sheets on all the bodies prior to the naval officers coming in, “Place them on the two tables over there please.” Walking over to the two bodies she realised that they were officers. “Oh no, I thought it was two more found on the ship, not two of your own men. What happened out there?” One of the naval officers began to relate to Susie what had occurred earlier.