I sat outside of Eddy's bedroom door, listening to her feverish moans and mutterings. It seemed she was dreaming of her father, she kept calling out. I paced the hallway, wondering when Jericho was going to come back with the healer he had rushed off to find.
"No!" Eddy shouted from inside the room. I rushed to the door, reaching for the handle. A large pirate shoved my hand away from the door, pushing me back roughly.
"She needs help!"
"Sand fever is dangerous." The man said gruffly, before disappearing down the hall. I stared at the door, considering going in anyways, but I didn't want another attack. I slid down the wall to a seated position against the opposite wall. My head thumped against the wood paneling as I considered the predicament we had found ourselves in, not for the first time.
We had been traveling for weeks, going to exotic places, searching for my family, and for the answer to Eddy's questions, though I had completely forgotten what they were. I felt that Eddy and I, once so close, were drifting apart. She seemed to be keeping secrets from me, sneaking away into a desert town and contracting a strange sickness. I used to watch out for her, and she did the same for me. Now she turned jealous and distracted when I was nearby. I had to wonder if it had something to do with Jericho, or something in the journals her father had left.
When I thought about it, Eddy had always kept things from me. I had never seen her father's journals, just my own, and only had the vague references to go by to discern the contents of the mysterious journals.
"I wonder if there's something about Jacer that we don't know." I said aloud, speaking to the walls, or maybe to Eddy, delirious as she was.
"Jacer... Heart..." I heard Eddy's voice once again. I shook my head, the fever was obviously doing it's work on her head. I brought my knees to my chest, smoothing my skirt over them so it draped to the floor. I drummed my fingers on my kneecaps. I felt so useless. There had to be something to be done. I looked around the empty hallway. All was quiet. I hadn't seen Jacer since Eddy fell ill. I stood up, bracing against the wall. There had to be something I could do.
Reaching the top deck I emerged outside and saw the exotic city for the first time. The sky was dusty and bronze, the sun was on the horizon, though rising or setting i couldn't tell. The streets below the docking tower were deserted, clouds of dust blowing along the alleyways, pushed by the strong wind.
I drummed my hands on the railing, trying to think of something I could do. Then it occurred to me.
Eddy was indisposed for the time being and could hardly object to something she would have no knowledge about. Now was the time, I could find the journals.
I ran back down to the lower decks, looking for the cargo hold. Eddy and I had stowed our trunks belowdecks, because the staterooms we had been given had little room for the trunks of books and equipment Eddy had insisted on packing.
I searched for the trunks labeled with her name, finding several. I hoisted the lid of the first trunk open. I could see mostly clothes, newly bought from the bazaars we'd been to on our way east. The second held glass vials and equipment, carefully packed in sawdust. The third was locked, and the smallest of the three. This one she had grabbed as we fled the laboratory all that time ago. I looked around for a key, anything that could help me get into the box, but there was nothing. It must be with her. I would have to get it somehow before she came to.
When Jericho returned I would help the healer with Eddy and that would give me my chance. I closed the trunks and tried o return everything to the way i'd found it. I could hear yelling from the deck, catcalls and whistles too. Jericho must've come back.
When I reached the top deck once again I saw the reason for the catcalls. A beautiful woman, older than Eddy and I, with cocoa colored skin and almond eyes, wearing several bright fabrics wrapped around her so they formed a dress of sorts, walked arm in arm with the captain. They walked with their heads bent towards one another, as if in deep conference. Jericho looked at her with a seriousness I'd never seen before, without so much as a flirtatious smirk at a comment she made. Neither of them saw me at the top of the gangplank as they stepped along it's length, still discussing something.
I curtsied to the woman as she stepped aboard the ship. She gave me a cursory glance and a nod and continued towards the staterooms, still arm in arm with Jericho. I watched her go, her raven black curls bouncing against her back with each step.
Jacer chose that moment to reappear, making me jump at his voice as he greeted me.
"Oh, hello Jacer."
"There is something wrong." Jacer said, I couldn't tell if it was a question or not.
"Eddy's just sick is all." I said, absently.
"No, with you, you're anxious."
"Nonsense," I waved a hand, inwardly cursing at Jacer's skills
of observation. "I'm perfectly fine. There's just something I have to get to is all."
I hurried after Jericho and the woman, still hoping I would get my chance. I just hoped I was not too late.