The Death Ship
Billy Edwards came on deck with a line of irritation right-angling the furrows between
"Go ahead," the quarter-deck bade him, seeing him aflush with information.
"The captain won't believe me," blurted out Edwards.
"Is it as bad as that?" asked Barnett, smiling.
"It certainly is," replied the younger man seriously. "I don't know that I blame him. I'd
hardly believe it myself if I hadn't----"
"Oh, go on. Out with it. Give us the facts. Never mind your credibility."
"The facts are that there lies the Laughing Lass, a little weather-worn, but sound as a
dollar, and not a living being aboard of her. Her boats are all there. Everything's in good
condition, though none too orderly. Pitcher half full of fresh water in the rack. Sails all O.
K. Ashes of the galley fire still warm. I tell you, gentlemen, that ship hasn't been deserted
more than a couple of days at the outside."
"Are you sure all the boats are there?" asked Ives.
"Dory, dingy, and two surf boats. Isn't that enough?"
"Been over her, inside and out. No sign of collision. No leak. No anything, except that the
starboard side is blistered a bit. No evidence of fire anywhere else. I tell you," said Billy
Edwards pathetically, "it's given me a headache."
"Perhaps it's one of those cases of panic that Forsythe spoke of the other night," said Ives.
"The crew got frightened at something and ran away, with the devil after them."
"But crews don't just step out and run around the corner and hide, when they're scared,"
"That's true, too," assented Ives. "Well, perhaps that volcanic eruption jarred them so that
they jumped for it."
"Pretty wild theory, that," said Edwards.
"No wilder than the facts, as you give them," was the retort.
"That's so," admitted the ensign gloomily.