…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

Jose had remained stunned for a while after Thomas Clink’s revelation. He wasn’t sure he believed him. Why would he, Thomas was just a stranger. It showed the seeds of doubt in the whole affair though and gave him a lump in his stomach. The idea that life in London might not turn out exactly as he had pictured it was fine. This was something else entirely. Had he really been so foolish?

“Fool,” his sister muttered to absolutely no response.

She shrugged. This was life now and she didn’t mind it as much as she thought she would. They had nothing to lose, so what was the big idea with losing an imaginary property. It made the next few steps difficult for sure. Noemi wasn’t still in that hospital with people that disliked her though. Her brother would snap out of it eventually.

“Do you think he’s a fool?” Noemi asked Emma

“Most certainly. I don’t think he was lying though.”

“Not Thomas! My brother here.”

“I couldn’t possibly say. I don’t think my husband was a fool for falling for the Poyais trick. He was just preyed upon and hopeful. It should be the same for Jose.”

“Well, we’re not far from our exit point from this miserable ship, so I hope you have an idea of where to go Emma.”

“Not really. I’m not from London, me. Not to matter though. Directions are easy enough to find and follow. Just need to ask some friendly faces.”

“Now, if only we can get my brother to think that way.”

The two women looked at Jose and Noemi prodded him. No reaction.

“They’re gliding into the dock Jose and we’ll have to disembark. Come let’s gather our things.”

He followed Noemi still in his daze and Emma did the same. They descended into the bowels of the ship and then were promptly coughed up with their meagre set of belongings. At least they would not need to lug much about in this crowded city. Jose spoke not a word.

Fewer disembarked than had come aboard in Belize Town and even fewer than had left England and Scotland many months ago. There was no fanfare or welcome much to describe, just a somber procession of the survivors of the Poyais scandal and then Noemi and Jose marching their own somber walk down the gangway.

A sole reporter looked out for some faces who might be able to give him a good story. Seeing Jose’s young and stricken face, the reporter sensed something great brewing beneath the surface. The approach was much like most reporters, stabbing at the truth rather than gently coaxing it out. He asked Jose, “tell me about Poyais, Sir. What was actually there when you arrived? How much did you lose? Are you out for blood?”

Jose stared blankly back at the reporter who said, “shocked into submission, is that it?”

Still no response, so Noemi jumped in, “He wasn’t at Poyais and neither was I, we were just on the same ship. We’re from Belize Town.”

There was potentially a story here, but the reporter judged that it wasn’t of more interest than the Poyais one, so he politely said thank you and went further in search of his story from a more suitable individual. Jose was left still stunned, but showing improvements, asking, “who was that sister?”

“No one to mind brother, let’s find someone to point us in the direction of Fox Lane.”

He nodded, walking away from the ship, The Ocean, which his brain was trying hard to erase from his memory. Noemi knew that Fox Lane was supposed to be close to the docks, though that hardly helped in this city, which seemed a denser jungle than the wilderness near home. The first several people they asked were sailors who only really knew were the nearest drinking holes and brothels were. One could have been of use from Jose’s memory wiping project, but Noemi and Emma couldn’t fathom it at this juncture, not least because cash was something they had precious little of.

Wandering onwards and away from the stinking docks, if only just, they asked some friendly faces for directions. The first was a kindly older gentleman who gave completely incorrect directions. He was polite at least. The second was a young woman, who less politely told them what she thought of people asking for directions. The third young woman kindly sent them to the right place. A turn down a road here and a lane there and before they knew it, they were standing at the end of Fox Lane.

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