ec556-moonthumbI bolted up in bed from a deep sleep with a scream frozen in my throat and my heart banging in my chest.

Shit! Shit!

I grasped hold of the small memory lingering from the dream and crashed out of bed falling to my knees, pain seared through me.

Pearls, lots of pearls.

I scowled, pulling them off. I chucked them on the bed and hurriedly got dressed.

Not wasting a minute I ran downstairs, grabbed my scuba gear, and flew out the front door. I jumped on my bike, reversed out of my driveway passing Max and Chase as I raced down the street. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have time for them right now anyway.

“Where do you think she’s going?” Chase asked, holding on as Max swung the truck around.

“Not sure, but she’s riding like a bat out of hell and she doesn’t have her gear on,” Max’s stomach twisted in a knot. If she got into an accident he’d kill her.

“Do you think she’s remembering?”

“Unfortunately, yes. How much is the question.” He lost Montana in traffic, but kept going in the direction of the beach.

“Ah, shit. We don’t want her to remember, do we?”

“No, she could have a mental breakdown, but she’s tough.” She had to be for both their sakes.

Max parked in the same spot he had earlier that morning and leapt out of the truck.

“It’s like no-one ever comes to this part of the beach. It’s always deserted.” Chase stated. They started taking tentative steps while tossing dirt in front of them. When the dirt hit the energy field and dropped to the ground they stopped.

“There’s the bike and Montana.” Max hissed.

The bike was parked in the middle of the beach; she was in her bra and boxers, busily putting on her scuba gear. Max let out a long string of curses, causing Chase to raise his eyebrows.

“We’re going to have to call Doc in,” he fished his phone out of his pocket, “keep an eye on her.” He stormed back up to the truck, hoping to receive a signal on his phone.

*

I waded over the sandbar and dove into the deep, kicking my feet in the direction of the sharks, keeping myself as calm as I could.

They were circling. I was planning on swimming right through the circle. I wanted to close my eyes, but the thought of them taking a big bite out of me kept them open.

I neared, held my breath, and watched in anticipation, they parted, letting me through. Once I was to the entrance of the cave without any chunks of flesh missing I turned. The sharks were circling again.

Why the sharks had let me through I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I closed my eyes and counted to ten, letting my heart return to its normal beat. The memories of my dreams returned to me in short clips as I passed the Stalagmites and found the ship.

My brain screamed at me it was time to turn around. I could only handle a small amount of knowledge at a time. I refused to listen. I dove into the cargo area and came to a sudden halt.

I scoped out at least a dozen skeletons and shuddered, they all seemed very well preserved. One of the skulls even had a gold tooth still in it.

Pushing off I headed to the room with the treasure. I ignored the gold and jewels, swimming past them into the back corner. My adrenaline was running on high; I could feel my pulse throbbing in my veins. I knew this was the end of my dream, that there was something scary back here. I knew I should turn around, but I also needed to see what was giving me nightmares. The nightmares won.

I glided around the pile of jewels and giggled. It was just another skeleton, a really ugly skeleton, but still.

I stopped in front of him and giggled again. Long thin hair still stuck to his skull, the bones were a black/grayish muck color, the ones I could see anyway, he still wore ratted out cloths, and he was wearing rings on every finger, along with chains around his neck.

How I knew he was a male and not a female I wasn’t sure. I shook my head tempted to touch it, resisting the urge I retreated the way I came in, before I changed my mind. I was going to sleep well tonight now that I knew the end of my nightmare wasn’t horrible.

Now I could return the jewelry, and then get the hell out of dodge. Maybe I could even convince Max to leave with me, if he solved his case before I left.

*

“There she is. Whatever she was looking for she must have found it quickly.” Chase exclaimed.

“Let’s go. I need to get you back to her house before she arrives.” Max replied on a long exhale.

“We’re not going to follow her?”

“No, if she found what she needed to find, I have a feeling she’ll be heading home.”

“What about you?”

“I need to talk to Jamie and pick up Doc.” Max’s eyes narrowed. “I wish she would talk to me, so I know how much she remembered and where to go from here.”

“Montana’s been taking care of herself for a long time. I don’t think she likes to ask for help. Give her time.”

His eyes narrowed into slits, a flash of anger sizzled behind them. He didn’t feel like he had the extra time to give Montana. He could lose her any day now, he wasn’t sure he wanted to live without her. These last months without her by his side had made him take a good look at his life, and he didn’t like what he saw.

“It will work out Max. We’ll find a way. Don’t forget I love her too.” Chase whispered.

He glared at Chase, had he really become that easy to read?

Chase laughed, “Only when it comes to Montana. I’m surprised she can’t see it.”

“She’s not ready.”

If only he’d met her on better terms last winter.

“Where’s Chase?” Sam asked as soon as Max stepped into the shop.

“He’s with Montana. Is Jamie available?” He didn’t have time for Sam’s crush on Chase right now.

“She’s been locked in her room all day.” She pouted. “I don’t know what she’s doing.”

Max folded his arms over his chest and gave her an even stare.

“I’ll go get her.”

Within minutes Jamie was pouring Max coffee in the kitchen. She handed him the cup and raised her eyebrows.

“She remembers something.”

Jamie frowned, “Any idea what?”

“No.” He explained to her what happened.

Jamie’s frown deepened. “Crap.” She said under her breath.

“I called in Doc. He’ll be here later today.”

“Chase is going to have to stick like glue to Montana. Do you think she remembers enough to try to return the jewelry?”

He shrugged his shoulders. “If she does then she will. It’s too bad we can’t follow her into the ocean and see where she goes.”

“Yes, out of the question. She can’t return the jewelry Max. If she even tries…” Jamie raised her shoulders. “It will piss off Sterling beyond belief.”

“Are you getting anywhere on the spell for the energy field?”

She shook her head slowly. “I couldn’t find the right spell. And it could be months before I get this other one down. The spell I’m working on that will destroy the energy field.” She sighed. “I think the magic in my family skipped me. I’m going to continue practicing, but we need to look at every available avenue to stop Sterling from gaining more power.”

“Don’t let Montana out of your sight, and don’t let her try to return the jewelry. Make sure you do let her go to Sterling every night though, we don’t want him to know about us until the last possible moment.”

Max gritted his teeth, trying to keep his anger under control.

Did Montana always find trouble or was it only when he was around?

A feeling of pure worthlessness consumed him. He couldn’t protect her to his full ability, and he couldn’t get close to her without Sterling picking up his scent.

He’d done his research and hadn’t found anything on this Sterling anywhere. How was he supposed to fight this guy if he didn’t have any information on him?

“I need to see your books.” He demanded. “I need to go through them myself.”

Jamie’s eyes rounded; no one outside her family had ever even glanced at the books. But then again, what could it hurt. Max did have a huge stake in this, and maybe he find something she was missing.

“Okay,” She let out a long quiet exhale, “they can’t leave the chamber.”

Max pulled out his phone on the way to the chamber. “Chase, do not leave Montana’s side, don’t even let her go to the bathroom alone.”

“I won’t boss.”

Sam locked the store doors when Max entered the kitchen then returned to eavesdrop on their conversation. She didn’t like being left in the dark. When Jamie and Max headed upstairs she grabbed the little digital camera she’d found and followed at a distance.

She opened Jamie’s door quietly and peeked in. The room was empty. She glanced down the hall. Where did they go?

She took a deep breath and flexed her hands to get them to stop shaking. Sliding into the room she began her search, which took all of about two seconds.

She found the spell lying on Jamie’s bed, took some pictures of it, then tiptoed back out of the room closing the door quietly behind her. She was curious about the chamber Jamie mentioned and wanted to look over the spell, but right now she had to re-open the shop and hope her guilt from spying wouldn’t give her away.

She need not have worried; Jamie locked herself back in her bedroom, after several hours Max left with a mean look in his eyes and determination in his step.

Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel Chapt.13
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