Max and Chase continued to gape at the booty and bone Montana dumped at their feet while they waited for Jamie and Doc to arrive.
Everything Max remembered finding was sitting in the pile. He held back the urge to rummage through the jewels.
What was she thinking? The question kept popping into his mind. He didn’t know if she was helping them or making things worse.
He glanced up at the ceiling, pictured her in bed, and wondered if she knew what she was doing. He glanced at the bones, felt a chill crawl up his spine, then glanced back up at the ceiling.
She was in her bedroom upstairs, he was certain. Why couldn’t he feel her energy?
“Stay here,” he mumbled to Chase as he turned on his foot and bound up the stairs to check on her.
His heart stopped for a second when he walked into the room. She was sleeping, her breathing so shallow he barely noticed it. He’d thought she had died at first.
With his heart beating somewhat normally again he reached down to touch her cheek, pulling it back just in time. He hated the fact he couldn’t touch her, feel her close to him.
He growled low in his chest and made himself join Chase downstairs.
“How is she?”
Chase began to tell Max everything would be all right, but he just wasn’t sure anymore. He closed his mouth and instead of kicking the loot, what he really wanted to do, he sat down.
A few minutes later Jamie barged through the door heading straight for the living room. She stopped dead in her tracks, eyes glued to the skeletons. Doc detoured to Montana’s bedroom.
“Those will be up and walking soon.” She made herself drag her eyes away from the bones to see how well Max was holding up.
His face was drawn and etched with anger.
She glanced at the bones again, then examined the treasure chest and the bag of gold the best she could, getting as close as she was willing to without touching any of it.
“This stuff is priceless,” she breathed.
She stood up, tiptoed through the mess to the jewelry, stopping short. Her pendant lay solitary in the middle of the sparkling jewels. She blinked her eyes, squatted down, glanced under the chain, and blinked her eyes again.
“The earrings match the pendant,” she muttered in surprise.
“This is how he did it.” Her instincts were screaming at her that the earrings were his way back. She wanted to grab them up with the pendant, lock them in her safe, and throw away the key.
She balled her hands into fists at her sides, raised to her feet, and stepped over to Max.
“There’s no mention of the earrings in any of the books. No one knew they existed! Between the earrings and Montana’s ah… special abilities he was able to set himself free. The sand on the ocean floor must have shifted enough throughout the years to bring the earrings into his energy range.”
Chase jumped off the couch, “then we can take the earrings and pendant back and it will be over right?”
Jamie’s face saddened, “if we caught it much earlier, at the very beginning then we could have. We can’t take the chance now, she’s too far under.”
Max squeezed his eyes closed, guilt assailed him. He knew about the earrings, but they’d slipped his mind. If he’d mentioned them earlier on could they have stopped this?
“You are right, Jamie,” Doc said entering the room. “She is barely breathing up there and she is so cold I am surprised the sheets have not frozen over with ice.”
“Is there anything we can do?” Chase whispered.
“Coffee,” Doc said.
Chase followed Doc into the kitchen. Jamie hooked her arm through Max’s. He was rooted in his spot, hadn’t moved or said a word. She could feel his tension radiating from his body. She grabbed hold of his fisted hand; he still didn’t budge or look at her.
I have to think of something, she thought, as she yanked him hard enough to steer him towards the kitchen.
She sat him in a chair then placed coffee in front of him.
Max felt like he was in a daze, his mind was blank. All he could think about was Montana lying up there, barely breathing. Not one idea would come to him, not one thought, he felt like he was frozen to that instance in time.
He forced his hands to relax, picked up his coffee, and headed out to the back porch. He needed air, fresh air.
Jamie watched him walk out.
“Give him a few minutes. There is a lot hanging on the line for him,” Doc replied.
Jamie burst out into tears.
“This was set into motion before you were aware Jamie. It is not your fault.” Doc closed his hand over hers.
“We have to be ready,” Chase stated, getting their attention. He took Jamie’s other hand, holding it tight.
Jamie sniffed and glanced up at him.
“You’re not going to like what I have to tell you, but I think it’s our only shot…”
After some discussion everyone congregated outside to fill Max in on the best plan they were able to come up with.
Even though Jamie and Max were not thrilled with it they were willing to give it a try.
With everything settled the only thing left to do was wait.
Jamie sat with Max and Chase. Doc went back to the shop to put the closed sign up. It would be closed for the next few days or longer.
Jamie managed to get a short catnap without shedding more tears. Max and Chase sat in silence for the rest of the day, periodically checking on Montana.
The sunset was brilliant as always, night fell, bringing in the darkness and storm clouds. Montana didn’t so much as twitch the whole day, which left Jamie pacing a hole in the carpet.
Dread filled the air surrounding them. There were so many lives at stake. She just couldn’t see how this plan was going to work without waking Montana and telling her what to do.
She glanced at Max and Chase; both of their eyes were closed, though they weren’t sleeping. She wondered if they were imagining the worst case scenario like she was.
Yawning, she marched to the kitchen to brew yet another pot of coffee and get some water to hopefully flush it through her system faster. With three mugs of coffee in her hands and a bottle of water under her arm she sat on the couch next to Chase.
After handing them off to Max and Chase her eyes wandered to the pendant and earrings again.
She was staring at them, eyes glazed over when they vanished. She stood up quickly, knocking her mug over, pushed Chase towards the upstairs bedroom, and grabbed Max, digging her nails into his flesh.
“Do you see them?”
“What,” he said shaking her off.
“The pendant and earrings! Look they’re gone!”
They both raced upstairs after Chase.