Her skin still had the light tan from the Florida sun, she’d lost some weight, and her face was drawn, even in her sleep. Not too bad. But he had the feeling that if he peered at her through a mirror she would look like hell. He stepped by her bedside. Small pulsating vibrations emanated from her. He gazed over her form, tiredness consumed him, his eyes drifted closed.
Doc locked his hand around Max’s arm and pulled him back out into the hall.
“You should not be near her when she sleeps.” He stated.
Max shook his head hard trying to snap himself out of Montana’s pull.
“See the welts, they are back.”
“I don’t need to see them; I can feel them perfectly fine.” Max growled.
“You can always stay at Jamie’s and work from there.”
“No. I’ll stay here as long as I can.” Max glanced at Montana again.
Chase had the trunk up, gloves ready, and was carefully checking out the bag of coins on Montana’s bike when they entered the garage.
“Does she know she has these?” He asked no-one in particular, holding up a silver coin.
“I don’t think so. You drugged her before she had a chance to find them.” Max grinned.
His pain was ebbing; he was finally becoming fully awake. He grabbed a pair of gloves and tossed a pair to Doc. Doc stuffed his in his pocket.
“I will look, but not touch.”
Chase tied the bag with the coins in it closed then stepped up to the trunk.
“There’s not a lock on it, but I can’t get it open. It’s cold to the touch.” Chase mumbled eying the treasure chest.
Doc took a step towards it before taking a few steps back, “Bad energy.”
Max glanced at the trunk for a moment, touched it, and cringed. The welts once more rose on his body. The chest snapped open to everyone’s surprise.
“You are still carrying Montana’s energy within you.” Doc said before Max could inquire.
They peered into it. Pieces of eight in gold and silver, jewelry, goblets, silver, gold, and copper ingots, bronze guns, gold bullion in many forms, gold and silver artifacts, handfuls of individual pearls, emeralds, diamonds, rubies, and other rare precious stones glimmered inside.
“The chest seems way too small to carry all of that,” Chase said in wonder. “Hell if nothing else Montana’s rich.”
“Montana’s already rich.” Max sighed.
“Okay, now she’s extremely wealthy.”
Max tapped the lid closed and shut the trunk. He had no idea what would happen to the loot once they got rid of Sterling, because there was no “if” to it, they had to bury him deep. And he would make sure Montana wouldn’t keep any of the treasure afterward.
“She has to find it on her own.” He said. “We’re going to have to give her some space. Someone needs to keep watch outside, for a while anyway.”
He felt his imaginary welts shrink as soon as he closed the lid to the chest and wondered if Montana only had the pain when she was around the booty and/or Sterling.
“We are running thin on people to watch her and now you. How are we to find a way to re-kill him if we are keeping vigilance on her?” Doc asked.
“We can bring in Sam. She’s smart and could do the research.”
“I don’t think so,” Chase cut in, “Jamie promised me not to tell her.”
“She already knows parts of it.” Max said, gritting his teeth.
“I know, she’s been eavesdropping, but Jamie doesn’t have a clue.”
“Call her anyway. Doc keep watch outside until someone relieves you. Chase will stay with me for the duration.”
Doc nodded and handed Max a bottle of pain killers before leaving.
Max and Chase poured themselves more coffee and headed out to the patio. Max lit a smoke and glowered at Chase until he called Jamie.
Chase sighed and dialed Jamie’s number.
“Absolutely Not!” Jamie screamed over the phone after hearing him out. “She’s not getting involved in this; we’ll figure something else out!”
“Think on it. Please.” Chase pleaded before hanging up.
I bolted upright with a scream on my lips and tears streaming from my eyes. The nightmares were getting worse. My head felt like it might explode at any minute.
I grasped my head with my hands, took some very long, deep, breaths, and then stumbled out of bed to the shower. I let the cool/warm water pound on my body, because for some reason the boys felt the need to cover me in a ton of blankets at night. I soaped off the sweaty grit, fluffed up, checked my phone then plodded downstairs.
I sighed, looking at the calendar. a day had vanished from my life. They must have drugged me. I’d never in my life slept through a whole day and two nights. My lips twitched. I had done the same to them, hadn’t I.
“Hey boys,” I said as I sipped my coffee and lit a smoke. Chase and Max smiled at me.
“I know what you did yesterday,” my gaze bored into them, “did you find what you were looking for?”
They both shrugged.
I prodded them a touch, both gave themselves away with their nervousness. It felt weird to lose a day, but I did need the rest, and I deserved the payback.
“I’ll forgive you this time, but don’t ever do it again.”
“We thought you could use the sleep.” Chase said shyly.
I glared at him. Did they find the jewelry? Did they know what was going on? I vaguely remembered screaming at Max. In my head/out loud?Had he heard me?
I wanted to ask, I wanted to know, but my vocal chords weren’t working when it came to speaking those problems aloud.
I was remembering bits and pieces of my nightmares, they felt real, and I couldn’t even talk about it.
Were they real or was I losing my mind?
I recalled part of the nightmare and saw Max flinch; I quickly shoved it to the back of my mind and closed myself off again.
“I need to talk to Max alone, Chase, please.” Chase shrugged again and went back inside.
Max raised an eyebrow, trying not to grin. This was it, she was finally going to confide in him.
“I need to know where Dick might be hiding out. I was wondering if you could help me find him.”
Max frowned, “Dick Nibbledink?
I nodded and gave him a rundown on what my sister told me. “I was going to ask you yesterday, but under the circumstances.” I gave him a half hearted glare.
His frown deepened. Was she kidding? Dick wasn’t nearly as important as the problem with her in Florida right now. He sighed. Maybe Doc was right and Sterling weaved some spell around her or something, maybe she really couldn’t ask for his help, except haunting him with her dreams.
Max was making me nervous, he hadn’t answered me, and he usually jumped at helping me. He’d expected me to ask about the jewelry, I could see it in his eyes, he knew. I opened my mouth then closed it and shut my eyes for a second. When I opened them he was scowling at me.
I had to do something and quick. I felt like I was losing him, I didn’t want to lose him. I opened myself up and shot a vivid picture to him of the treasure and the skeleton behind the treasure, knocking the breath out of me, and making him stumble backward.
“So will you help me?” I asked when I got my breath back and he righted himself.
Exhausted I wandered back inside and laid down on the couch. I wanted to jump into his arms and hug him; my feet wouldn’t carry me to him. I wanted to touch him, my arm wouldn’t lift. I felt like crying and I was, oh, so tired, especially after opening myself up to him. It worked, now if I could muster up the energy to send him more images, both of us together might be able to figure out what was going on. But not right now. I closed my eyes. I needed a nap.
Max watched her sleep, frowning again. She’d just woken up not an hour ago.
He stepped into the kitchen to get a refill of coffee. Her small burst of energy had almost knocked him off his feet, and it had drained him. She was trying to communicate with him mentally. He smirked and shook his head, who would have thought she could do that.
He wanted to talk to her about the situation, tell her what they knew, and tell her it would be all right. He wanted to hold her. He wanted too much from her right now. Most of all he wanted to know what she remembered, it might help them, but that little burst of energy left her taking a nap and him dead on his feet.
He would look into Dick, maybe the distraction would help him clear his mind and better focus him later.