Gary Hewitt and Jim Tretick



Golden Paradise by Gary Hewitt


I’ve never come across a ghost ship before, let alone two. We stand and listen. There is no sound except our heightened breaths. I walk across to the other boat. Both are in perfect order.
‘Captain, what do you think happened?’
I shake my head.
‘I have no idea. There must be a clue somewhere. The table is set out with four meals and drinks poured yet no-one has had as much as a nibble.’
‘Another Marie Celeste?’
I frown.
‘Cisco, please keep it real.’
I head into to cabin. I scan the room and curse our myopia.
‘There has to be something.’
I smack the space bar on a laptop and an image of a naked mermaid swims onto a desktop. I click recent documents and spot a word.doc called blog. I look at the properties. The last modification was two days ago.
‘What did I tell you?’
The screen whizzes for a second before the hourglass sails away. I begin to read.

Tuesday: Sun, Sun and Peace

As I sit here typing I can honestly say I have never known such happiness. The sun never seems to set and I can sit on the deck with Elspeth with no fear of being disturbed. Oh, except for a couple of seagulls. We’ve called them Billy and Jessica. Don’t ask me why but the names seem to fit.
The beauty of being out here is that it gives us time to reflect. God, it’s good not to have to worry about that damn office and this must be good for my blood pressure. No-one coming up to me and saying ‘Mr Reynolds can we drop another three percent off the price’ and getting annoyed when I refuse. No going home with a beetroot face in a perpetual state of stress and grief. No, this is heaven.
She’s just asked me what I’d like to eat. I fancy a good old fashioned steak and Dauphinoise potatoes with a glass of red. I know this is all a bit banal but trust me it’s the little things in life that make life sweet. The sun is setting. It’s still beautifully warm though, in fact life is perfect.

Wednesday: Dear Friends

We’re not alone. I can’t believe in the middle of this ocean that we’ve bumped into someone else. Before you think I’m complaining I must add I most certainly am not. The couple we’ve met are very charming. They’re also rather generous and invited us to their boat for dining and wining. It transpires the chap who owns the boat is a property developer in Spain who is looking to enjoy a good three or four months on the ocean. His wife is a divine creature who isn’t afraid to flaunt. Still, she can’t compare to Elspeth (I know you read these entries my dear!)
We’ve all agreed to go ashore tomorrow to explore the island. As much as it’s bliss to laze on this boat we’re curious to see the interior. You never know, we might even find a few indigenous natives to regale us with their local knowledge.
Jean Claude (sorry, he’s the other chap I mentioned) says he’s heard tales of an ancient treasure. He even showed me a rather crude map with an x marked beneath a grove of palm trees. I fancy he is playing a rather outlandish yarn upon me but I’ll play along with him. I dare say we will find a chest of gold doubloons. Then again, perhaps not…
Well, their lights have been extinguished we had best follow suit. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a most eventful and long day.

Thursday: The Golden Frog

What a day. Where I start? I imagine the morning is a good a place as any. We clambered onto land at first light and after a walk of an hour or so we encountered a bizarre Polynesian by the name of Ahurewa. Fortunately she spoke perfectly good English (even if it did have a most annoying Antipodean slant) who warned us about finding the cursed treasure of some unpronounceable deity.
It’s amusing how these simplistic people can be. Fortunately, we are more rational and intellectual than our friendly native. Apart from the puerile nonsense about a curse she proved to be a most amenable host. We even bought some lucky charms from the good lady and bade her good day before venturing further.
Can you imagine my astonishment when we found the spot Jean Claude’s map had mentioned? Whilst there was no x on the ground we soon found an incongruous pile of rocks and we set to work. We dug for half an hour and discovered a casket made of gold. I had the honour of prizing the treasure open and was astonished to find a frog crafted of the same material. It is rather an ugly looking thing but must be worth an absolute fortune. We’ve agreed to split the income from the sale of this delightful trinket.
Poor old Ahurewa went positively barmy when we showed her and the dear creature went running back to her shack and told us to return the idol at once. Silly woman. We shall leave her to her dementia whilst we shall enjoy a rather nice profit.
I’m looking at the toad right now and it really is rather hideous to look at. I fancy the auction houses of London will find good looks not an issue though.

Friday: A Worrying Day

Truly this is a most dreadful Friday. We had a most restless night and we awoke at about 3am due to a most odd sound coming from the cabin. When we entered we found the idol on the floor and the figurine has developed a rather strange red tinge around its mouth. Talking of the mouth it gapes open where I swear yesterday it was sealed quite shut.
I was going to ask Jean Claude about this but when we went over to their boat to share our breakfast there was no sign of them. I have no idea what happened to them and when we spoke to Ahurewa all she prattled on about was this absurd curse. She told us that they’ve been spirited away by an evil spirit and if we do not return the idol we will follow. Poppycock!
However, I must admit their disappearance is rather worrying. The thing is their boat is in perfect order. I can only imagine they rowed to one of the outlying islands for the day. I do find it odd they never thought to tell us though. I dare say we’ll find out soon enough if only to silence that silly woman and put her mind at ease.

Saturday : Help Needed Now

I am beside myself. Elspeth is missing. I had just finished my coconut and cream and encountered an unfortunate episode with my rather gentle stomach. When I came out of the toilet I could not find any sign of my wife.
I have been to the island and called her name and yet I have heard nothing. My wife would never wander off in this fashion. All I heard was the ridiculous nonsense about the curse. Jean Claude and his wife never returned either. Oh and the damnable toad has changed again. Its colour is now bright crimson and its belly is incredibly bloated. I have contacted the authorities and a boat has been sent and will be with me in a couple of days or so. I fear my wife and our new friends must have been abducted.
‘What do you make of it Captain?’
‘I’d say the woman ashore knows plenty. Curses my foot, four wealthy foreigners would be worth a decent ransom to someone. It might even be piracy for all we know.’
My colleague nods and his nose wrinkles.
‘Look at that ugly old bastard.’
He points to a golden frog. Its head is wide open and several flies flit around its gaping mouth. I wish I’d never seen it.
‘Evidence, Cisco. Guess we’ll have to take it to the mainland.’
He pales and shies away.
‘Yes Cisco, it does make us the new owners doesn’t it? Remember, we’re here to keep law and order, even out here.’
He doesn’t take comfort from my words. I’ll be honest, I’m not looking forward to the trip back to the mainland.

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