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.
Cavorting with a snake?
I had no idea that Boggs resented me that much for spending time with Nadia, though I could see how he could assume she was the enemy.
But he knew me, or I thought he did.
That cavorting with a snake statement elicited an instant response from Charlene, a wide-eyed look of total surprise. I wondered for a moment what her interpretation of cavorting was, certainly not the same as mine.
Something else that was very clear, he hated Nadia. And I was close to the top of that same hate list, by association.
“I would hardly call it cavorting, Boggs, rather just hanging out. It’s not what either of you thinks.” I gave Charlene a glare to emphasize my disappointment.
Despite it, it was clear her interpretation was still leaning the wrong way, but the surprise has passed, “I didn’t know Nadia had returned from Florence.” Charlene obviously kept track of Nadia, because I hadn’t known exactly where she had been staying in Italy.
“I don’t think many people do.”
“Was there a reason?”
“She said her mother was sick and wanted to see her, but I think that was a ruse, and she’s not happy with any of them, which is why she’s not staying with them but just outside the town.”
“That woman is not her mother, but stepmother. Old man Cossatino tossed her aside for a younger woman, and I’m not surprised.”
Interesting insight, she had not told me that it was her stepmother she was annoyed with, nor where her real mother was.
Boggs however was not interested in the details of Nadia’s parentage, nor Charlene’s opinions.
He turned his attention towards her, “Just what are you doing here.”
“I told you already…”
“Just leave, wait outside, do whatever you want, but leave me alone.”
She went to reiterate her reason for being there, but it was met with a very volatile, “get out now.”
I had expected him to round on me next, as he watched her reluctantly get up and slowly walk out of the room, phone in hand. The sheriff was about to get a call.
His anger was apparent, but he didn’t say anything for a moment, as if mentally counting to ten before speaking. Then, “Sit, you’re making me nervous standing there.”
A sigh of relief, I did as he asked.
“In view of this relationship with Nadia, does this mean you are working with Cossatino?”
“Actually I work in Benderby’s warehouse attached to the factory. I think you know me better than to seek employment with the Cossatino’s, and no, it’s not any sort of relationship other than talking over coffee.”
“In her hotel room,” Boggs added.
So, he had been watching me too. I should be flattered so many people were interested in whom I spent my time.
“At times, yes, but it’s not anything else, no matter what you might think. I seriously doubt she thinks of me in that way.”
It was not what he wanted to hear, so he tuned out. “It’s not the impression you give, but I get it. She is a contradiction at times.”
I wondered what he meant by that.
It was time to change the conversation. “Did you ever get to the library to read the documents in the Ormiston collection?”
Yes, it got the desired response.
“All of the stuff at Ormiston’s house after he died. His wife had asked the librarian to come and box it up, and it’s been sitting there all this time. I think so far she’s the only one to read any of it, aside from me.”
“How did you pull that off.”
“You know I was always her protégé at school. She said Alex had asked her about the documents, but she just told him she didn’t know about them, but that’s not going to hold them off for long.”
He thought about what I’d said, perhaps debating whether to trust me, but I could see curiosity taking over.
“Was there anything useful there?”
“One item scribbled in one of his search diaries. Look for the big A.”
I watched him carefully when mentioning that piece of information, and it struck a chord, as much as he tried not to react.
“But you knew that already because we both know where that big A is.”
“No. Despite what you might think, I’m still on your side, and still working towards finding the location of the treasure, but, I think you need to consider the possibility it’s long gone. I’m sure the Cossatino’s have made a very extensive search of The Grove, over the years.”
“They don’t act like they’ve found it, or have any idea where it is. You can see that from the many maps they’ve produced. I’ve got at least twenty variations, and none of them lead to that spot on the shoreline.”
“There was a latitude and longitude reference hidden in one of the diary sleeves, and it matched the spot where I saw what looked like the big A. It had another reference, one in the Caribbean, so it might have been taken from the pirate’s log, as the start and end of the run to stash their plunder. How did you come across the location?”
“Something I remembered my father saying. It came to me a week ago, when I was camping out and a storm hit. He mentioned the letter A, a formation on a rockface he had climbed once at The Grove. There are several, and it was at the last I saw something that resembled an A.”
“Since that shoreline looks as much the same along the whole cliff face, I suspect the pirate used it as a marker do he could find it again. The fact it’s a little lopsided tells me there’s been some seismic activity that stretched from the inland mountains across the lake that no longer exists to the shoreline, here, and at the old marina. That’s what you were looking fir, wasn’t it, a shift in the rocks?”
“No. Not really. I thought there might be a cavern that was covered by a rockfall, but if there was seismic activity, all it did was clear a path for the lake water to drain into the sea. But, now we agree on the most likely location of the treasure, it’s not going to be possible to get back there, not now the Cossatino’s can guess why I was there.”
“There is a way, but it involves Nadia.”
He shook his head. “No. She can’t be trusted.”
“Well, she’s your only ticket there. You make up your mind what you want to do, but I’ll be at her hotel tomorrow night if you want our help. Otherwise, I’ll go myself.”
“That’s not what we agreed.”
“We didn’t agree on anything. You just asked me if I wanted to go on a treasure hunt. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t want the treasure because it’s cursed. It cost you your father, countless Ormiston’s, and that professor on Rico’s boat. He was tortured by the way in a secret room at the mall. Nadia and I found it, and Alex Benderby’s stash of treasure documents and maps. They think a map is going to lead them there, but I think your father, as the Cossatino’s cartographer, spent more time leading everyone away from the real location, all the while searching for it himself with permission from the Cossatino’s. The fact he said he’d found it was always going to get him killed. And, if he did, then the Cossatino’s have it. But, like I said, come or not, I’ll be going.”
And, not to give him the opportunity to argue, I left, leaving him with a rather bemused expression.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022