Chapter 38: There be Treasure
Whatever Kyle had to show us seemed important, and his eyes twinkled with excitement when Anne and I agreed to follow him.
“You know there used to be pirates out here,” he stated as we made our way down towards the beach side of the rehab.
“Really?!” Anne replied with interest.
“Oh yeah, lots of ’em all along the coast,” I added.
Kyle led us out the gate to the backside of the rehab complex. Rob had the large circular area walled in when he’d taken over the aquarium, but it was still sandy beach. There was an old wooden workshop in the back, and it sort of reminded me of a prison yard like in the movies with the high cement walls and no view of anything but the sky. Eventually, it was going to be an area where sea turtles could lay eggs in safety, and when the eggs hatched, the babies would be transported outside of the wall to the ocean.
“What are we doing in here?” I asked, sure that nothing of interest would be in the empty space.
Kyle kept walking towards the small building as he talked, “So, earlier this morning I was trying to see if I could find some tools for Chuy since I couldn’t see them in the other storage shed. And when I was moving stuff around I got my shoe caught.”
He opened the door and motioned for us to follow him in. I wrinkled my nose; it looked creepy in there. The whole building looked like something out of a horror movie.
“It’s awfully dark in there,” Anne echoed my thoughts hesitantly.
“Don’t be a sissy! Your eyes will adjust in a sec.” Kyle prompted.
Anne and I stood in the doorway while Kyle moved inside, slowly going around some wooden boxes and other equipment piled up all over the floor. I used an old car jack to prop the door open so that the light would filter in, wishing there was electricity out here.
Kyle bent down behind the stack of boxes and pulled a large cloth off the floor, though Anne and I couldn’t see what he was looking at from where we stood by the door.
“Come on, you two! I found pirate treasure!”
Us two girls looked at each other, not sure whether we should believe him or not, but slowly made our way over to him anyways. He bent down again, this time getting down on the floor and when he stood up once more, he held a tiny, circular object high above his head. It glinted in the sunlight barely streaming into the large shed.
“Look, it’s a gold doubloon! And there’s a ton more!”
“Come on, we gotta check it out,” I nudged Anne, who still looked apprehensive about going any further into the building.
“But there’s probably big spiders in here!” She whimpered.
“Ah, don’t be a sissy!” I echoed Kyle’s sentiments from just a minute ago, swallowing my own fears about what sort of creepy crawlies might be living in here.
Anne followed me in, and we slowly made our way around the junk and back to where Kyle was waiting for us, holding up the large golden coin. His smile was ginormous as he held it out to me. “See!?”
I held it so that both Anne and I could see it in the dim light and ran my thumb over the front of the coin, raised with the profile of a fat man with a ponytail and words around the edge. Flipping it over, I could tell it was worn, but I could still feel the raised edges of some sort of shield or seal.
“Oh my gosh, is it real?!” Anne remarked.
“I don’t know. I can’t see it good enough; let’s take it outside to look at it better,” I replied, ready to take it into the sunlight.
Kyle grabbed my arm, “Wait! Look, there’s more!”
He stepped out of the way so that we could see the basketball sized hole in the floorboards. There was just enough light shining through the cracks of the box edges hiding the hole from the doorway to barely see into it.
To my amazement, there was a large hole dug into the ground under the floorboards and a chest full of more gold coins laying at the bottom!
“Holy Tuna Fish!” I said under my breath. “You don’t have a flashlight?” I looked at Kyle who shook his head.
“Na-uh, I hadn’t made it back out here and Chuy kept me busy until I came to get you two. I forgot about getting one.”
“Hold on! My phone has a flashlight!” Anne suddenly remembered as she pulled her smartphone from her pocket and opened the flashlight app.
She held it so that the light shone down into the hole and sure enough there was an ancient looking chest laying open and filled with coins. The hole had to go down about four feet deep and Kyle explained that when his foot fell through the floorboard, his foot didn’t hit anything, so he’d investigated. When he got down on his belly and looked into the hole, he saw the chest. It had been closed, but with his extra-long arms he was able to reach the latch and discovered that it wasn’t locked. Then he managed to flip the lid open and found the treasure! Not knowing what to do, he’d covered the hole with the cloth, then waited until breaktime to come and get us.
“What do we do now?” Anne asked. “Turn it in to the authorities?”
“No, they’ll just turn it over to the Spanish government,” Kyle explained. “It’s stolen treasure and the gold doubloons were probably from a Spanish galleon. If we turn it in, we won’t get to keep it!”
I was impressed with his knowledge of pirate treasure and nodded my head. “Yeah, it’s not like it’s modern money. Even if it was stolen by pirates, the owners are all dead now anyways, so we should be able to keep it!”
“Really? Shouldn’t we at least tell Vickie or Chuy or my mom? Some adult?” Anne still wasn’t sure about all this.
Then Kyle had an idea. “How about this! Why don’t we keep it a secret for now, at least while we’re still on summer vacation and volunteering here at the rehab. Then we can do some research on it and find out how much of a reward we should get for turning it in, and on our last day here before school starts we’ll turn it in.”
I liked that idea and looked at Anne, hoping she’d agree. “Come on! What fun is finding pirate treasure if you don’t keep it a secret for a little while?!”
She smiled and nodded, deciding that keeping it temporarily might actually be a lot of fun. “So, do we want to be pirates or treasure hunters?!” She asked, getting into the spirit.
“Totally pirates!” Kyle voted with a grin. This was going to be fun!
“Okay mateys, what should we do with that there treasure?!” I asked in my best pirate voice as we all laughed and began joking around.
“Well, we gotta hide it, right?” Anne ventured. “Pirates never keep their treasure in the same place. If the original pirates were to come back, they’d know where it was. So, we need to find a new hiding spot.”
“That’s right! And then we’ll make a map and mark the spot with an X, of course!” Kyle resounded.
We needed to make a plan and our break was almost up. We examined the hole in the floorboards quickly, and determined that it wasn’t large enough to get the chest out, and the hole was too deep to reach down and get all the treasure out since only Kyle could reach it, and he couldn’t reach much farther than the top of the pile. We were going to have to make the hole larger and get a ladder or something so we could get the chest out of the ground.
“What’s your cell number, Kyle?” I asked. “We’ll both send you a message so you have our numbers, and we can make plans, okay?” He smiled excitedly as he rattled off his number for us and we sent him quick text messages before exiting the shed.
“Okay, back to work, I guess,” I said sadly, as I would much rather play pirate than paint the enclosure.
“Yeah, I’ll text y’all later,” Kyle said as he started back towards the gate.
“Wait!” Anne hollered behind us. “If we’re going to be pirates and all, we need to have some sort of secret pirate handshake or something. You know like a code that we promise to keep our secret and won’t mutiny against each other and all.”
“That’s right! And who’s our captain?!” Kyle asked.
“You should be Captain!” I replied, happy to give him the title since he was nice enough to include us girls in his find. “You found the treasure, after all!”
I could tell that made him feel good and he blushed a little from the sudden attention when Anne agreed wholeheartedly. I had to admit that he was kinda cute when he wasn’t trying to act tough or like he didn’t care. While none of us were enemies anymore, Anne and I hadn’t really become friends with Kyle, but I could tell that that was going to change from here on out.
“Okay, Captain Hudson, what should our crew handshake be?” I continued as we huddled together in a small circle.
“Hmm, it should probably be something simple so that it’s easy to remember and not too noticeable to people outside of our crew. How about a fist bump, but you do it with your wrists crossed like an ‘X’? You know, to symbolize the ‘X’ on the treasure map?”
“That’d be perfect!” Anne cried, and I nodded my head with enthusiasm.
We tried it out, all three of us crossing our own wrists then meeting each other’s fists inside our circle. Now, every time we greeted each other, we’d have our secret code. There was only a month left of summer vacation, so we would have to work fast to make this as much fun as possible before we had to turn it all into the adults. This was by far the best summer ever!