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She was five years old, when she was found alone on the Molly Claire, dressed in an old fashioned nightgown and a blood-drenched jacket that was much too large for her. She held a man’s pocket watch in her hand; a watch belonging to the Molly Claire‘s captain. Captain Jeffrey Browne was not on board his ship, and neither were the three members of his crew. The Molly Claire was safely anchored in the San Francisco Bay, and every piece of equipment was on board. The three wet suits belonging to the crew were still laid out in preparation for a dive that never happened, the air tanks were filled, the regulators, meters, and gages in perfect working order. The cabin was a mess of maps and hand-scrawled notes, but the captain’s wife said it was always in disorder. The radio worked, and the inflatable emergency raft was neatly stowed. Earlier that day, a fog had rolled into the Bay, but that was nothing unusual, and no distress call had been sent or received. It seemed the crew had intended to wait out the fog by eating lunch; a pot of canned stew sat on the small galley stove, and four bowls were laid out on the table. Three of them had untouched stew inside.
The only sign of distress was the blood on the girl’s jacket.
The captain and crew were never found, not in the nineteen years after the girl was discovered – but that was not the greatest mystery in my life. The mystery that haunted me was the girl herself, for even as no one could discover where the crew of the Molly Claire had gone, no one could discover how the girl had come to be on board. She was not a missing person, for no one had reported her lost. She was not injured, despite the bloody jacket.
And I was that girl.