Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
There was a clock tower not far from the hotel, and I heard it strike 12 midnight. It was time to go home before I turned into a pumpkin. Or perhaps I didn’t quite have it right. It didn’t matter. I needed sleep and it wasn’t going to happen here.
Nadia was being a temptress and not even realizing it.
“You need me on your team. I know the inside of the mall like the back of my hand.”
It didn’t surprise me. She used to run with a group of girls who could give Alex and Vince a run for their money in being cruel. I was positive now that she was in the mall at the same time we were, and quite possibly following us. After what Alex said earlier, there were going to be a lot of people following each other.
“You know where the bodies are?”
A slight hesitation before she said, “I might.”
The question was whose bodies. Missing girls, Benderby’s enemies. Certainly not the archaeologist, but if there was a torture chamber down there, maybe some clues that would point the police in the right direction.
“Well, tempting as that sounds, but no.”
“What if I told you I think I know where they tortured that archaeologist guy.”
“Why would they, in fact, it’s the one thing in all of this that puzzles me. Rico might have had a reason simply because he’s little more than a blunt instrument, not an extractor of information, that required a little more refinement than he’s, and the Benderby’s, what on earth could he know that they needed it from him.”
“Try the exact contents of this so-called treasure.”
“No one could possibly know what that pirate, whatever his name was, actually had?”
Not unless he was with the captain when he buried it, which, of course, unless he was a time traveler, he wasn’t and therefore couldn’t know.
“No one could possibly know that.”
“I beg to differ.”
She knew something we didn’t. This was turning out to be a very interesting day.
“Say for instance the pirate had a journal, a ship log I think it’s called, and in that journal, he noted everything he pillaged from all of the ships they attacked.”
“You’ve seen it?” I asked, slightly incredulously. This was the first I’d heard of one, and I doubted Boggs had either unless it was something he was not telling me.
“How do you know about it?”
“He’s pulling your leg. There’s no such journal or log in existence.”
“Oh, there is. That’s what the archaeologist had. And that’s what both Alex and Vince were trying to buy. And when he wouldn’t sell it to Alex, his men went a little too far with their persuasion tactics.”
“I bet Vince wasn’t happy.”
“No. He thinks Alex does know where it is, so they’re playing their games of cat and mouse. But it’s a waste of time. My source tells me the archaeologist never gave up the location of the journal. Both the Benderby’s and the Cossatino’s have been to his house but it was nowhere to be found.”
And if that was the case, then there would be no interior to the house left, one of the other would have stripped the walls in their search. But, if it was true and there was such a journal, two questions came to mind. The obvious was, where was it? The less obvious was why didn’t the archaeologist go looking for the treasure himself?
There was an answer, that he didn’t have the right map.
I cast my mind back to the only time Boggs showed me what he called the real map. It had been folded, and you could see the fold marks that had been there for a long, long time. Was it possible at some point the map was separated from the journal?
Had someone known about the map, and stolen it and rather than the journal?
“I can see the cogs ticking over in your head Smidge. You are going to need me, in the end. Especially if you find the treasure. You’ll want to know what both Vince and Alex are up to, and little old me with be right there between them.”
“You think that Alex doesn’t know what you’re up to?”
“You already know more than you did when you walked in the door. Either of them finds the treasure, I get nothing. You and Boggs find it, maybe I’ll get something. I don’t care what they think.”
She was dangerous, deceptive, and beguiling sometimes all at the same time. This was one of those moments.
“I think Boggs doesn’t entirely trust you, or anyone,” she said.
“That couldn’t possibly surprise you. Look what’s happened to him over the years. No one knows what happened to his father.”
“Maybe we can find out. How about you and I pay the mall a visit. I guarantee it will be a lot more interesting than finding a mannequin.”
Put like that, how could I say no.
© Charles Heath 2020