The gun shots brought people running. With the gun now discarded on the floor, she leaned over the side of the railing, her eyes searching frantically for any sign of Simone.
But it was difficult to see anything other than the black, churning waves. She climbed further onto the railing, the metal digging painfully into her stomach as she leaned far over. Her heart hammered in her ribcage as she willed herself to see Simone somewhere in the water.
"Ma'am, I don't know what has happened out here but jumping is not the answer." She heard the voice somewhere through a roaring in her ears. "Please, come off the railing. Take my hand."
She turned her face --skin pulled taut with frozen tears--and looked at the man's hand, stretched out toward her. What was he talking about? She wasn't going to jump. Why was he wasting time, he had to save Simone!
The man stood a few feet from her, dressed in a patrol uniform. Behind him, another few ship officers held back the throng of people that had spilled out of the dining room, preventing them from stepping onto the ramp.
"My friend fell overboard." Rachel heard her voice as if it belonged to a stranger. This couldn't possibly be her and the person lost in the waters below couldn't possibly be her best friend. "Do something."
The officer glanced behind him, his hands still held out in front of him as if he meant to catch someone.
"Do something!" she shouted louder.
The officer reacted and spoke into his ear piece. In no time, Rachel was pushed to the opposite edge of the ship as a few people swarmed the deck, their bodies clad in rubber suits. They tethered anchors attached to their belts to the railings while another few worked on getting a flat metal slab that sat parallel to ship ready to descend.
Rachel's throat felt swollen with sobs and her eyes burned with unshed tears. She could hear the murmurings of the crowd. Some of them yelled, others whispered about the body lying dead on the ramp, wondering which of their friends or family had been shot.
The men in rubber suits climbed onto the flat platform, pulling masks over their faces. Rachel watched them go until their heads disappeared over the side of the ship.
Not long after that, two ship officers came barging down the ramp, their footsteps full of purpose.
They were careful not to step on the body and someone had even had the good sense to cover it up. It was more respect than Gabe deserved in Rachel's opinion.
The next thing she knew her wrists were being forced into a pair of silicone ties but she was too shocked to object. No one made a move to remove her from the ship. She didn't remember the string of rights they dictated to her—none of it mattered. She didn't even recall the two men leaving her alone with the officer from before.
All she remembered was the numbness in her hands.
What felt like an entire lifetime later, the gears on the metal platform began to grind, creaking with the weight of the bodies on it.
She saw the divers first, one of them standing while the other crouched over something wet and dark, his hands working furiously over the person's chest.
A pale foot poked out from under a thermal blanket but it wasn't the sight of the foot as much as the red chipped nail polish that made Rachel's heart clench painfully.
She tried to move forward, get closer to her best friend, but a hand held her firmly in her place.
"What are you doing?" She snapped at the officer.
"I'm sorry ma'am but you can't leave this spot until the master-at-arms comes to retrieve you."
"Until the master-at-arms comes to retrieve me? That man tried to kidnap me and pushed my friend overboard and you're worried about arresting me!?"
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Marked ✔️Science Fiction
After World War III and biological warfare destroy two-thirds of the world population, what was once known as North America has become the Council of Nations, a ruthless society that has closed off its borders, trapping its citizens in. Now every ci...