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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
The final treasure hunt
Boggs was unusually quiet, but that might be because he wasn’t in charge. We were at the cave Nadia and I had found shelter from the storm, and he was busy checking the climbing equipment and making sure he had everything.
Then he set both Nadia and me up with the gear we’d need to follow him. Neither of us was an experienced climber, but it was simple he said, he’d more or less pull us up once he found the cave.
If there was a cave there.
It was possible the seismic activity had closed it off, and it was gone forever, but he was choosing to be positive and believe it would be well hidden until he was right on top of it.
Certainly is not visible from below, it simply looked like any other rockface but with indentations where little shrubs were growing, and it certainly could not be seen from above because of the cliff overhang, nor could it be seen from the side, because it was not possible to get high enough or near enough.
Boggs said he knew a lot about rock formations, and his preliminary inspection in the late afternoon suggested there might ledge about 10 yards above the sand line. He had put in a few pegs and climbed to a spot under the overhang where there was a small ledge, and what looked to be a narrow pathway that zig-zagged seemingly through the rock but resisted the urge to follow it.
Both Nadia and I kept watch, but nothing else was stirring on that part of the shoreline. The idea was to go after dark when it was less likely anyone else would be around.
Now, as darkness fell, he was full of nervous energy, the sort that one had before participating in an event. This might finally be the end to his, and his father before him, search for the treasure, and even I was caught up in the moment.
I had just one more task before we stepped out the door, to send a prewritten text message to Charlene, just in case everything went pear-shaped. It was possible it might, but right then, it was the last thing I was expecting.
What if there were riches beyond avarice awaiting us? It was now only a matter of time before we knew.
After escaping the sheriff’s office, and saying all the words he wanted to hear, for my mother’s sake, I called Nadia, then went to see her, taking extraordinarily silly means to avoid being followed, because the idea of seeing her after being warned off might cause a reaction.
It was probably the most rebellious thing I’d ever done, and it was secretly thrilling, to the point of that pit in the stomach that was meant to be a warning that something bad was going to happen.
I could now understand the nature of addiction.
And in the semi-darkness, she seemed more like an ethereal spectre, albeit a lot more whimsical.
“The Sherriff just warned me that associating with you is putting my life in danger.”
“My mother is getting him to put pressure on me to stop seeing you. My mother is firmly of the belief you are tarred with the same brush as the rest of your family.”
“I take it the fact you’re here now means you don’t agree with either of them.”
“Or I find living life on the edge is preferable to no life at all. My mother wants me to be boring and predictable, and live my life like she does. But, she had a bad boy streak, marrying my father the criminal. She knew what and who he was long ago, one of Benderby’s henchmen.”
“Do you want to be boring and predictable?”
“I don’t want to be a criminal, even though it has a certain allure, and is probably the only other job you could get in this area.”
“Things aren’t that bad,” she said.
“They are. You know as well as I do, kids who’ve left school only do one of two things. Leave town for the big smoke, or get a crap job working for either criminal enterprise. No one wants to work in the factory.”
It was hard to deny the facts. And those that didn’t do anything, were either dead or close to it. I wasn’t exactly enamoured with my job at the warehouse, but it was legitimate, if not underpaying, job, and I knew I should be grateful.
“Anyway,” I said, “it’s all moot now. Both Boggs and I agree the treasure if it’s anywhere is somewhere on that cliff face, he was climbing before he was cut down.”
“So, you’re saying my family tried to kill him?”
“More or less. You don’t cut a climber’s rope unless you mean him harm.”
“I’d prefer to call it a warning. They probably think he was trying to gain access to the Gove via the beachhead. I seriously doubt Vince would see it as anything else. I think we can expect he’ll be keeping an eye on that part of the beach from now on.”
It seemed like something he’d do, so it was going to add another layer of complexity to our incursion. But I doubted he would be on the beach, but prefer the clifftop, and that could work in our favour.
“Be that as it may, are you in or out?”
“In, of course. And, just in case you’re thinking I’m working for my father, and all of this has been a charade to gain your confidence, it is not.”
“I’d be a liar if I told you it didn’t cross my mind, but I believe you.”
Did I? The was a 64,000-dollar question with half a dozen different answers, all of them leading down the path to hell. I would believe, until she proved otherwise, and I was truly hoping she wouldn’t. But, blood was thicker than water, as the saying goes, and now she might believe herself she was on our side, but when push came to shove, a lot could happen.
“In an hour. We’re going to get Boggs and his gear and go to your beach hut, and then to the cave we found. When darkness falls, that’s when we go up the cliff.”
A clouded expression, then a smile. “Clever, Sam. You’re not giving me any opportunity to betray you.”
I had to admit, at that moment, it wasn’t intended, but perhaps subconsciously I had planned it this way.
I shrugged. “It was all last minute, brought on by being hauled into the sheriff’s office. By tomorrow we’ll all be under observation, and take away any opportunity for us to do anything. I assume you’re still in?”
“Of course. We should have something to eat, so I’ll order up some takeout. Pizzas?”
And, if she wanted to, there were still a dozen ways she could betray us, and I was definitely not going to keep her under observation the whole time.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022