My abduction of the celebrated Mr Darwin was unreported at the time and is likely to remain so hereafter. It was simple enough to accomplish – despite the furore surrounding his work, he kept no guard and continued to travel openly.
We secured him in his cabin for the voyage, which I suspect was the kindest course of action in the circumstances. The old steamboat was tossed by mountainous waves and those of us on deck were fortunate to escape with our lives. He suffered nothing more than profuse seasickness.
His writings were already draining the world of its magic; I could not countenance that without taking a stand. I took him out alone in the skiff and rowed as close as I dared to the island.
‘Look at them!’ I shouted above the crash of the waves. ‘How do they fit in? What use are your theories here?’
One of the creatures glanced at us with a lazy eye before hauling its vast bulk along the beach: scales hissing against the shingle, two spirals of smoke issuing from its nostrils.
But he could not see them. He simply sat shivering in the stern and gazed wearily towards the grey horizon.