This morning marks the fourth day of the floating costume ball. It has been a huge failure from the beginning, nothing but long days of murder and deception. I look to my left and see a man dressed as a cowboy throw himself off the boat. I head below decks. This might be my last chance to find her. Who knows how long before the boat tips over a wall of ice? I find an empty bathroom and reapply my vampire makeup. I cloud myself under layers of white powder. I stuff my mouth with plastic fangs.  The boat fills with black water. I see a woman in a bird costume. She slips out of a giant egg. She is barely covered by small patches of green feathers. Her hair is a recognizable shade of red. “Finally,” I tell her. “We need to leave. This boat is ruined. Look at the rust. And the captain. Have you even seen him? I haven’t. Just a uniform passing between some of the guests. A pair of pleated pants. Certain insignia and badges. The whole boat is screaming.” The bird woman looks at me with black eyes. I remove her beak. The face under the mask is freckled and false. It’s just some little girl, already flying away. Somewhere else, a woman dressed like the Queen of the Nile is kissing a man she’s never seen before. He’s dressed like a vampire from a silent movie. They are both underwater. Her hair fans out like some red sea plant. The other man tries to comb it straight with his own set of plastic fangs. From this point on I start swinging in circles from a chandelier. I get so dizzy that everyone finally starts looking exactly the same.

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