by Thomas Turnbull-Ross
[Excerpt from notebook, translated from Arabic. Recovered from curator’s office at the Citadel of Qaitbay Naval Museum, Alexandria.]
Today has been bad. Not many visitors, but I can’t just enjoy the quiet and clean the exhibits. No, I have to keep on reminding Aziza to do her job. She just keeps staring out the window instead of sorting the files like she’s supposed to.
I have a good feeling about today. [obscured text: ‘Although Aziza hasn’t’]
She just arrived now. Late. She looks ill. Maybe I’ve been too hard on her. She and Skyla get along quite well, so I’ve sent Aziza to work with her in the archives for the day.
I’ve got to get someone to clean up the outer walkway. There’s a streak of slime or mud or something. Don’t know what caused that, but it reminds me of when I visited my brother in Cairo. He showed me where crocodiles come onto the riverside paths at night and leave these big smudges across the ground. It looks sort of like that.
I think putting Aziza with Skyla was a mistake. Skyla’s staring out the window right now, like Aziza was before. Although Aziza’s better. She volunteered to clean up that mess on the walkway. I swear there’s more of it this morning.
The walkway looks amazing. Aziza really did a good job, although she hasn’t turned up today. I’d say it’s better than I’ve ever seen it. I feel like I never really appreciated how pleasant the view from the walkway is, with the deep blue of the Mediterranean stretching away to the horizon. I could watch it for hours.
They won’t just let me work in peace, will they? Aziza is back today, but she and Skyla are both being lazy. I keep finding them on the walkway, looking out at the sea or leaning over the crenulations.
There are so many people here today. It’s nearly closing time, but I’ll stay for a bit after locking up. The view from the walkway is so calming.
It’s worse than before. The walkway is covered in muck and slime, so we’ve had to close it off to the public. Skyla and Aziza both haven’t come in today, so that just makes more work for the rest of us.
I’m cleaning the walkway this time. I need that view of the sea. This sludge is so strange, green and brown and smells of seafood. I found little bits of broken shell in it. It looks like whatever caused this was dragged along from the crenulations, but they’re just a straight drop to the sea. Maybe that’s why Aziza was looking down there the other day. I’ll go and have a look, see if there’s anything there.
The slime is all down the side of the outer wall, like climbed out of the sea, but
[illegible] locked myself in [illegible] office [illegible]