The Doll Collector

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Chapter 89

As the man in the waterproofs loosened his grip on David and collapsed, there was a gargling sound. The man who had opposed David’s presence was struggling for breath.

The last movement the man would ever make was an involuntary one as he collapsed to the floor, eyes wide.

David could see a hole in the side of the man’s hood and blood pouring from every gap in the awful yellow outfit. The bullet bounced back and caught him in the neck. He looked behind him as if he could identify the offending piece of metal. It must have missed me by a couple of inches.

Blood spread across the deck as if someone had failed to turn off a high-powered hose full of the stuff. In a moment, the blood had spread far enough to cover his leather shoes. In one last moment of accidental defiance, the corpse was slumped in such a way as to cover the gap, blocking his access to the ladder. He let out a frustrated sigh. Even in death this man is blocking my path.

Despite the dangers of needing a new set of clothes, fortune was smiling down on David, and he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.

David grimaced as he undertook the next task required of him. He hooked his hands under the armpits of the dead man and hauled him out of the way. Finding a wide enough gap behind him, he dragged the body backwards until he reached the edge of the ship. Before heaving the man into a watery grave, he checked his pockets, finding a wallet stuffed with banknotes and nothing else of use.

With several full-body shoves, the man in the yellow waterproofs splashed into the sea, disappearing out of view in seconds.

Taking a moment to catch his breath, David leaned against a container and tipped his head back. As the cold sleet hit his face, he didn’t care about taking cover. I wasn’t prepared for this. Who knew a dead man could be so hard to shift?

Regaining a level of composure, he ran back through the gaps until he was once again by the pool of blood, becoming increasingly watered down by the elements. In a minute or two there’ll be nothing left.

He found the gun before positioning and climbing one ladder after another. Fighting against the storm, he approached the container which he hoped would be his ticket out of the country. Despite the death of the deckhand, it was possible that he could still get what he wanted.

As he reached the top of the ladder, he stared at the various levers in front of him. If I can figure out a digital SLR, I can figure this out. He tugged at several levers until a gust of wind threatened to send him crashing down to the deck, his own blood spilling and mixing with that of the deceased and disappeared deck hand.

He held still, waiting until the wind died down somewhat. Feeling sure-footed again, David gave one last tug and heard the creak of old metal scraping against old metal. Nearly there. He took a deep breath and yanked at the lever again at the same time as dropping his head to avoid being hit by the opening door.

Aboard the container, he would use his powers of persuasion, and his newly acquired pistol to convince another stowaway to help him somehow.

He glanced down at his shoes, the blood now washed away. I’ll need to think on my feet to get out of this situation with my life and my freedom.

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