c7972-moonthumbChase leaned in the doorway, watching the thick, smoky, black mist move and shift around Montana until it finally consumed her.

Jamie and Max made it just in time to see the mist envelope Montana and disappear.

“Crap,” Chase sputtered, running back down stairs. The bed was empty.

**

I watched myself appear out of a swirl of ocean on the deck of the ship.

What a strange sensation. It almost seemed that there was two halves of me, both of us watching each other, waiting to meld into one.

The water cleared. The fish gave me a wide berth. I walked over the deck into the hull of the ship, past the now empty room where the treasure sat, and into the back.

“Ah, you finally made it,” he said, studying me appreciatively.

I stepped over to a broken mirror. I didn’t remember seeing it before. I examined myself.

A blood red gown swooped off my shoulders, flowing into long sleeves that opened like butterfly wings, covering my hands. The bodice was low, showing off the pendant, my hair was pulled back in a loose braid, showing the matching earrings. A black cape hung from my neck. My feet were bare. My skin was white.

My hand fisted, then released in time for him to snatch it into his.

“I have one more gift to give you when we reach the surface.” He said with a cocky smile. “But right now I need to say goodbye to my dungeon.”

I glanced at him as he wandered the ship with me in tow. He wore tight black buccaneer breeches with a rich embossed pattern. A blood red silk ribbon placed with pewter buttons adorned the sides and bottom of his knee length breeches. His muscled chest was bare, along with his feet. His long dread locked hair was held back with a blood red sash. His eyes were copper with a brown rim, reminding me of the tiger’s eye stone. He looked extremely seductive.

I tried to block him out of my vision. I had bigger concerns. Every time he moved to a different location I felt my other half lagging behind, like my spirit wasn’t quite connected into a whole.

I thought we had merged when I arrived on the ship, but I was wrong. I glanced up at him, I didn’t think he noticed.

We stepped off the ship. I reveled in the sand under my feet and the water flowing through my dress as we walked a path on the ocean floor to the beach. I watched the sharks gliding above us, as if they were protecting us. I wanted to stay in the ocean forever.

The waves parted as we strolled onto the beach, the moon stood full in the sky with storm clouds surrounding it.

Instead of feeling whole and giddy around him like I remembered I felt disconnected. I wanted to go back; I didn’t want to be here. I stopped, bringing him to a halt by my side, lifted the pendant and gazed into it. A bad taste invaded my mouth. I vaguely heard a whisper skitter into my head.

“Don’t worry it will be over soon.” He smiled before picking me up off of my feet, and cradling me in his arms. “And it won’t hurt very much.”

Images, voices, and memories fought for attention in my mind as he carried me up the beach, pounding my skull to be let out.

Scenes of Max, Chase, Jamie, and Doc standing on a mound on the beach flashed in front of me. I glanced over, not seeing them. Then Sam was there, so was the real me, Montana.

I closed my eyes and reopened them. He was in front of me, setting me down on my feet again; the images were still there, but ghostly, almost as if they were in a different dimension.

He was speaking to me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. My spirit was scattered.

They were screaming at me. I could tell by the way their lips were moving, but I didn’t understand them either.

I’m screwed, I thought, staying calm, smiling up at him. I was being ripped apart inside, and the pain was almost blinding in my war wounds.

He placed his palm under mine and raised my hand to his lips. He kissed it. All I could see was how white my hand seemed under the moonlight.

I glanced at the sky. Rain poured around us. I looked at Sam and myself again, standing behind him, before returning my attention back to him.

Was I moving in slow motion? It seemed that the world had to catch up with me every time I shifted my body.

He was talking to me again, showing me something in his hand. Ooh, a ring with rubies and diamonds in it. I reached for the pendant and swooned.

I heard a loud crack in the sky.

“Now!” A voice shouted at me.

My other half slammed into me. Every emotion and angst I’d been holding in raged through my body. My head snapped up, for the first time I really saw him for what he was.

Every emotion I held at bay from the moment Max stepped into my life, to my family, to Dick, to this thing standing on the beach in front of me whipped through me at once, sending me into a blind rage. Was this the mental breakdown I was sure I’d have? I’d never felt so much hate and bitterness sweep through my system.

So much for the meditation, I thought, as I grabbed hold of him, pulled him closer to me, and let the energy surge out of my body into his. If I was going down so was he.

I felt him fighting me, trying to push me away, but I needed an outlet. And I didn’t appreciate being used. I felt his darkness rebel and pump into me. I pushed it out.

I held my rage. I didn’t want the extra energy I picked up from other people. I didn’t want to meditate any more, and I especially didn’t want slime latching onto me, taking advantage.

His skin began to emanate a bright white light from the inside out, flowing into me from the contact. It didn’t matter, I was done.

Something hit me hard and I plummeted to the ground, letting go of him as I did.

A hard body landed on top of me. The night exploded, the earth shook.

The last words I heard were, “you’re coming with me.”

Jamie lifted her head in time to see Max throw Montana over his shoulder and carry her to his truck.

She elbowed Doc, “Shouldn’t you check her out before he leaves?”

He smiled, “No, but let me have look at you, Chase, and Sam.”

Sterling-A Montana Dayton Novel Chapt.25
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