48 Hours a Day
Chapter 195 - Monster From the Depths of the Sea
“You said someone intruded into your place last night. What did you mean by that?”
Vincent was sitting across Zhang Heng, and seemed to be very uncomfortable and nervous.
“To be honest, I don’t know what happened as well. I slept early last night, and I was half-asleep when I woke up in the middle of the night all of a sudden. I saw that the windows were open, and a shadowy figure was standing beside it. His back faced me, and it appeared that he was searching for something in my drawer.”
“What made you think that he was looking for something?” asked Zhang Heng while pointing at the poetry book that he found on the carrack.
“That’s because he turned my bedroom upside down! Strangely, he didn’t lay a finger on the 33 gold coins that I hid inside my drawer. There was some change on the table as well, and the amount was intact when I checked on them. All he took were the supply records and the list of goods that we acquired from the carrack. As for this poetry book, I placed it under my pillow, so it was untouched.”
“Hang on. Now, why would you place a poetry book under your pillow?” asked Anne with a cocked eyebrow.
The young doctor’s face begun to flush, and he was left speechless. Zhang Heng could feel how embarrassed and awkward he became, and hence, quickly changed the topic.
“Did you manage to see his face?”
“I’m sure he’s not human. His shirt was wet, looking as if he just emerged from the sea. I could smell an overpowering stench of fish and a saltiness in the air when he was in my room. Water dripped down from his sleeves and pants. Apart from that, I noticed corals and seashells hanging on his shirt and hair.”
Vincent trembled in fear as he tried to remember the details of what happened last night.
“I remember that I pretended to sleep. Out of curiosity, I cracked open my eyes. That was when I saw his hand and the side of his face. It was covered in scales! Then, he somehow discovered that I was peeking at him, and he turned around and smiled. I was so terrified that I fainted! It was early in the morning when I opened up my eyes again. Immediately, I ran outside the house.”
Once Vincent was done talking, he took out three notebooks.
“I am almost done translating these three notebooks. I didn’t manage to translate the last few pages of the supply records, though. I would like to apologize for not being able to protect them.”
“It’s fine. You have done a good job. Thank you so much for your service. I have another favor to ask of you. Would you mind if I took a look around your place?”
“Of course not! Both of you are always welcome at my house.”
After that, Zhang Heng and Anne followed Vincent back to where he stayed. He lived in a small wooden house, large enough for a single person. There were various types of plants around his home. Amongst them were rare species of plants that only grew on the island of Nassau. Zhang Heng remembered Billy saying that Vincent fancied botany when they were introduced to each other. His house was covered in lush vines and looked gorgeous from the outside. Billy lived right next to Vincent, as well.
During that time, Billy was holding his two-year-old daughter and was taking a slow walk in his garden. He quickly waved he saw the three. Passing his daughter to his wife, he strolled towards them.
“You guys are here for the bizarre incident, right?” asked Billy.
“Can you give me a moment?”
Vincent opened the door and looked at Anne in an embarrassed manner.
“This is your house. You can do whatever you want to,” said Zhang Heng.
Vincent was grateful that Zhang Heng allowed him to do as he wished. Immediately, he ran into his house and closed the door after him as fast as he could. Soon, they heard a curious clanking coming from inside the house.
While Vincent was at it, Zhang Heng took the opportunity to ask Billy some questions.
“Did you notice anything strange last night considering you live right next to him?”
“I fell asleep immediately when I returned home last night. This morning, he knocked at my door in his pajamas and told me what happened to him last night. I could see that he was scared to death. It was my first time seeing him so afraid.”
“Do you think this incident has something to do with the mysterious ship that we found?”
“Hmm… I’m not sure.”
Zhang Heng suddenly remembered that a bizarre storm hit them when they were returning to Nassau. Every unexplainable thing that occurred to them indicated that they had indeed encountered something supernatural. It seemed the owner of the carrack was trying to retrieve the items that belonged to him. Still, Zhang Heng felt that things didn’t quite add up, which was why he wanted to check out Vincent’s house.
After a while, Vincent opened the door and invited the three of them to come in. He had hurriedly tidied up his messy place when he entered earlier and had even made a pot of tea for them. However, Zhang Heng wasn’t interested to have any tea.
The first thing the three did was to check out Vincent’s bedroom. Upon entering, they saw a series of herbariums and sketches on the wall. They also noticed shoes and clothes scattered all over the floor. Vincent became embarrassed when he saw that the three were looking around his messy room. He had no time to tidy it up after cleaning the common area. As a single man, though, his room’s condition was actually not too bad. Zhang Heng had seen way worse than this when he was in his hostel.
Ignoring the unkempt mess, Zhang Heng squatted and used his finger to touch the floor. There were a few wet spots, and it seemed that the mysterious person must have been standing there for some time. The wet spots led to where the drawer and bed were.
Besides that, he also picked up two pieces of small seashells and a scale on the floor. The story that Vincent told them must be true. As for the fishy stench that he mentioned, it was gone, perhaps because the windows were open. After that, Zhang Heng walked towards the window. This was the spot where the mysterious man apparently entered and left the room. There were supposed to be two potted plants placed on the window sill, but one of them had been knocked down. Outside of the window, Vincent’s small garden could be seen.
Zhang Heng glanced at a nodding Vincent before climbing on the window sill and jumping into the garden.
“How often do you water your plants?” asked Zhang Heng after he deliberately stepped on the soil twice.
“Erm. Once a week. I usually ask for Netti’s help to water my plants when I go on a voyage. It should have been five days since she last watered them.”
Netti was Billy’s wife. She helped Vincent a lot after he moved into the neighborhood, a reason why Vincent was willing to become a doctor on the Jackdaw after Billy persuaded him. Zhang Heng then walked around the garden and saw that there were a few houses around. So, he proceeded to visit them one by one with Anne. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to acquire any useful information from the residents. It was late at night when the mysterious thing broke into Vincent’s house. Hence, there were no witnesses.
That afternoon, all of them stopped at Billy’s house for lunch. Vincent was still shaken by last night’s bizarre incident. He was extremely grateful after getting Billy’s permission to stay at his house for a couple of days; his spirits slightly lifted.