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The Body on the Steamboat

A ten minute writing prompt - a random title of The Body on the Steamboat.

Chuck held the wheel steady as the steamboat chugged it's way along the river between the two riverside towns. The sun was setting and a rosy glow washed across the sky. He could hear the faint chatter of his passenger's below but also his cabin boy shouting.

Damn, boy! What's going on?"

The boy appeared in the wheelhouse, white faced and shaking. "Captain, you gotta come. Hurry."

"Calm down and stop shouting."

"I found it in the lifeboat, Captain. Horrible it is."

"Found what?"

"A body, Sir - all bloody and cold as ice."

Chuck looked directly into the boys eyes. "If this is some sort of joke you and cook have thought up, you'll both be out of a job."

"I swear it ain't a joke, Captain. Come and see for yourself. Horrid it is."

Chuck gave the wheel to his second in command, Norris, who looked relieved at not being asked to investigate. The captain followed the boy to the farthest lifeboat and lifted the canvas. There sprawled over the boat's wooden hull was the body of a man. His throat cut, his eyes open and blood dried on his clothes. Chuck swung around, bend down to the boy's height and uttered a whispered command.

"Tell Norris full steam ahead to Mickleton now! No word about this to the passengers, boy. Go now!"

Chuck pulled the canvas back over the lifeboat and secured it. He was slightly relieved there were no passengers on deck, but anxious as to who the murderer might be. No one would leave his boat until the police arrived.

A deck door swung shut with a gentle click...

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