His eyes burn. The salt water stings where he nicked himself shaving this morning. They’d been under for a while now. Where is that bloody crucifix?
He looks around, desperately trying to see through seawater murkied by kicking bodies and swirls of sand. The salt-water pool, dug out of the rocks hundreds of years ago, fights the swimmer; tries to stop him finding the prize that has been thrust into its depths. He is one of many searching for the small cross that is thrown into the water and chased by anyone eager to be involved in the day’s celebrations.
After an eternity under water, he is beginning to give up. And then, in the periphery of his vision, he sees it. He dives towards it, the water progressively colder as he goes further into the depths. Constantly aware of the burning sensation in his chest as his lungs tighten and his brain panics from lack of oxygen, he kicks on and grabs at the crucifix.
He pulls. It doesn’t move. Caught on a rock.
He tugs harder and shifts the rock. Pulling his prize free, he swims upward and surfaces with the cross tightly clenched in his fist. The others surface too, and as they do, the crowd are thrown into chaos at the presence of one more body floating upwards toward the festivities.
* * *
Mark empties the packet of sugar slowly into the centre of the froth and gently edges it through to the coffee. Ignoring Laura’s questioning eyebrow, he watches it sink and delicately stirs, trying not to disturb the fluffy top. Laura sits back and folds her arms, growing increasingly irritated. He goes to repeat the process with a second packet, and Laura snaps.
“Mark, for Christ’s sake!”
He stops, and looks up at her sullenly.
“Thank you,” she nods, not quite gracious, but nevertheless acknowledging the act. “We’ve got a dead body, discovered on the annual Greek Orthodox dive at the Bogey Hole this morning. Male, middle-aged, looks to be a white-collar worker. A few obvious injuries and the body was weighted down, which suggests someone was trying to make sure he got to the bottom and stayed there.”
“Jesus. Happy Easter.”
“Yeah, well. It’ll be a few days before we get an autopsy report,” she shakes her head, “One man dies and two thousand years later, he’s still causing a hold up in the morgue.”
Mark sighs and sips at his coffee.
“We at least get an ID?”
A nod. Yes.
“Licence in his pocket says Luke Green.”
* * *
Sarah Green stares quietly at the phone in her hand, willing it to ring.
Of course, it doesn’t and it won’t. Her father would never bother to ring her at 3pm two
weeks after Easter. In fact, he would never bother to ring her at all except very late in the evening when he found a few horrible, whisky-soaked, angry words he’d forgotten to give her in her childhood.
Generally, she was fine with that. More than fine; she was glad. She would rather not deal with him at all, anymore. She would certainly prefer to never have to hear his drunken slurs and short, angry breaths ever again.
Now she was hormonal, alone, pregnant and unable to summon her usual rage toward her father, or the quiet, cheerful mask she put on every morning at 7:52am sharp as she left her house for the dental surgery.
She stared at the phone, fully aware her father was not going to ring. Then- miracle of miracles- it rang. She answered awkwardly and after a brief moment’s conversation, hung up slowly, contemplating the news she had just received; her father would never call again. Ever.
Five minutes later, the police called to tell her the exact same thing.
* * *
Mark hung up the phone and sunk back in his chair. As he stared blankly upwards, noticing some dry rot in the ceiling, Laura opened the door. He snapped back to attention, sitting up straight and giving her a tight-lipped grimace.
“I just got off the phone with Sarah Green, our victim’s daughter. She’s coming in this afternoon.”
“How was she when you told her? The usual reaction?”
“Pretty much. She seemed a little dazed, not as shocked by the news as I’d expected. Not as upset as I’d expected either. Just sort of...detached about the whole thing.”
“Well, we’ll be able to get a better idea when she comes in this afternoon, I suppose. Have you got any information on her?”
“Well, I got her work and home addresses. Lives in Tighes Hill, works in a dental surgery. Otherwise, she’s fairly enigmatic. No criminal record.”
* * *