Lia yanked at her handcuff, distressed. Was it really her father in the hat? Did the captain really kill him? So many questions and absolutely no answers. She glared at the handcuff and it snapped open. She rubbed her wrist, sitting up on the uncomfortable cot she’d been laying for the past–what? Five days? A week? She couldn’t remember. A while.
Now, how to get out? There were guards outside. Distraction. Hmm…Fire! Lia whispered the ancient word for fire and one sprang to life in the middle of the room. Then she flattened herself against the wall as she willed it to grow larger.
Outside the infirmary, two men stood guard quietly. One sniffed. Then he sniffed again. “Do you smell that?”
“Smell what?” growled the other one. “You’re always smelling things, you dimwit! Shut up!”
The first sniffed again. “Smoke. I smell smoke! Fire! There’s fire!”
“What? Calm down! No there’s–” Then the other smelled too. “Oh, fingersnaps!” They wrenched open the door and run into the room. “Great Scot!” he yelled. “Get water!” He grabbed a blanket and tried the beat it out, while the other ran for water.
“Sound the alarm! Fire! Fire in the infirmary!”
A loud bell sounded.
Meanwhile, Lia snuck out the door and ran down the hall. She kept running, toward third deck where the hat landed. Then she ran smack into someone, nearly falling over. It was some guy with a smoothie, which fell and emptied itself all over the floor.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” he yelled. “Oh, look what you did! You made drop my smoothie!”
Lia ignored him. “Have you seen the hat?”
The guy froze, his mouth hanging open. He quickly shut it. “Hat?”
“Aye, a hat! A yellow engineers’ hat with goggles on the brim! Have you seen it? Wait, how do you get to third deck?” Lia blabbered anxiously, her hands shaking. She had to find it!
The guy stiffened, staring at her. “What do you know about the hat?”
“Wait, you know about the hat, too? We must find it! It’s murderous!”
His eyebrows knit together in suspicion. “How do you know?”
“I’ll explain later! Let’s go!” She started off down the hall. “Wait. What’s your name?”
“Tel.” He held out his hand.
Lia shook it. “Lia.” Then she grabbed his hand and took off down the hall, dragging him behind her.
“Third deck is that way!” Tel pointed down a left hallway.
Lia swore in Welsh and turned down the hallway, not ceasing her pace. They ran into a ladder, leading down to third deck. Lia released Tel’s hand and jumped down, landing like a cat. Tel, however, used the ladder. Lia waited impatiently. As soon as both feet were on the floor, Lia grabbed his hand again and took off.
They ran all over the deck, but could not find the hat. Lia groaned and swore. “What are we gonna do?”
Tel was quiet for a bit. “We should go find Blemy. I think he knows about the hat, too.”
If though she had no idea who Blemy was, she asked, “Where is he?”
“Jail?! They actually have one of those?”
“Yeah, we have to break him out,” Tel said simply.
Lia glared at him. “Fantastic. Which way’s the jail?”
“Downstairs. The hold.”
Off they were again. Finally, they reached the bottom.
“This way,” Tel hissed, leading the way this time. They went down a hall, turned right, and there they were: the jail. Lia stopped, peering in at the single barred cage. On a small, dirty cot in the corner, lay a man, fast asleep–Blemy.
“Now what?” Lia hissed to Tel.
“We get him out,” Tel said, as if that explained everything.
Lia sighed. “Fine. Stand back.” She closed her eyes, focusing on the big padlock on the door. She spread her fingers and twisted her wrist. The padlock went flying along with the door.
Tel gasped. “What…? Witch! You did this!”
Of course. It had to be a dog. It’s slopping up my eyes, biting my head. Do I look like a toy? Put me down, you mangy mutt! UGH! I hate dogs.