Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 51: The Pirate

ANNE

No one was more thrilled for Mom and Torin than me and Rainie! They had another date this Saturday! And what made it even better was that this time they were officially calling it a date! Eek!

~~~

Little did we know that after all the hard work we went through to get them to this point, we would be the ones to ruin it. Well, us and Kyle.

It was a day that would change my life forever...

~~~

Friday, the day before their big date, Rhonda borrowed us three kids after lunch to help inside for a change. The weather looked like it was going to rain and Rhonda needed some help moving supplies and boxes out of the new Exhibit Manager’s office before she started next week.

Rainie and Kyle were telling me about the middle school I’d be starting at in a few weeks, since they had already went there last year. I was nervous about starting a new year with new teachers, but I was feeling a little more relaxed knowing that I’d know at least two people - one being my bestie.

“Just hope you don’t have Ms. Granger for science,” Kyle remarked. “She’s really tough. I had her last year and was just happy to make a C+. My parents weren’t too happy about it, but they didn’t understand what it was like!”

“Yeah, I heard about her,” Rainie confirmed with a shiver.

The next thing I knew, I overheard Rhonda talking to someone from across the hall in her office. The unfamiliar voice sounded gruff and serious. Wondering who it could be, I tried to listen, unable to make out what they were saying, as I continued putting some pencils in the box of supplies I was stuffing.

Suddenly, Rhonda screamed!

The three of us froze, then fearing that she was hurt or something, Rainie, followed by me, then Kyle dropped what we were doing and rushed into the hall.

I don’t know who was more surprised, us or the man holding a gun inside Rhonda’s office!

As we entered his line of sight, the short, kinda chubby man jumped slightly, probably not expecting us to appear all of a sudden. Then, he began to wave his gun around terrifyingly, while Rhonda watched in horror. “Get in here you kids!” He barked. “Is there any more of you in there?”

My heart was beating so hard I thought it would burst - who was this thug and why was he holding Rhonda, and now us, up?!

“Is there anybody else in that room?” He yelled again, and we all shook our heads exaggeratedly, fearing for our lives. “Get in here!” He again ordered gruffly, motioning with his black pistol.

We shakily shuffled into Rhonda’s office, past the dark blonde, mostly balding man, and gathered near Rhonda who stood behind her desk. Rainie went to her grandma and they put their arms around each other tightly in fear.

The man was probably in his late forties and looked really grimy, like he might not have had a change of clothes for a few days. He definitely needed a bath and a shave. Was he a homeless vagrant looking to steal money or something?!

Just at that moment, Mom came around the corner in a hurry, obviously wondering what made Rhonda scream and to find out who was shouting.

“Rhonda?!” She exclaimed just before she saw the terrible man. “Darn,” I thought. “If she hadn’t rushed in, she could’ve called the cops from her office!”

Before she knew it, the man was aiming his gun at her, telling her to join the rest of us, and I might have whimpered out something, suddenly afraid for my mom. He continued to wave his weapon around wildly as Mom moved quickly over next to me. In turn, I clung to her like I was five-years-old again, and she held onto me just as tightly.

“Is there anyone else in the building?” He asked Mom pointedly.

“Uh... no!” She truthfully replied, and I could feel her tense. Chuy and Vickie were outside in the dolphin tank area, and the rest of us were here. Her two assistants rarely came up here, so maybe they’d be safe. If only we could get a message to them!

The man looked irritated and maybe a bit confused with all of us in the office now. This apparently wasn’t his plan. Finally, after what seemed like forever he spoke again. “Listen up. No one makes any trouble, and no one gets hurt. Is that clear?!”

We all stood there in silence with wide eyes, nodding ever so slightly, for fear of setting him off. Mom reached over and put her arm around Kyle’s shoulder, so that both of us were on either side of her, tucked close for protection. Mom swallowed heavily, then spoke up. “Look, we don’t want any trouble. But please, let the kids...”

“No!” He interrupted. “You look! No one moves until I say so. No one’s off the hook, so don’t expect me to let the kiddos outta here. Not until I get what I came for.” With bated breath, we waited for him to continue, hoping that whatever he wanted was easy to give him.

“Now, I know someone here knows where it went. I just need whoever took ’em to be honest and then we’ll go from there. I want my treasure.”

Mom and Rhonda instantly looked at each other, confusion all over their faces, while Rainie, Kyle, and I went pale. “Fudge! I knew playing pirate was a bad idea when Kyle suggested it! Why did I give in to peer pressure?!”

“We don’t know about any treasure,” Rhonda tried to explain, but the stranger interrupted, aiming his gun back at her, causing us all to gasp in horror.

“Don’t lie to me! I’ve been in there and someone took it. And I know only so many people work here, so fess up!”

“Please!” Rhonda begged. “What are you talking about?!”

My stomach tightened even more as he viciously yelled, “Diamonds! I’m talking about the [f-word] diamonds that are missing from the treasure chest buried out back!”

Rhonda looked panicked, not having any idea of what he was talking about and I could see her knuckles turning white as she grasped Rainie tighter - she surely thought he was going to shoot one of them soon!

“I... I...” Rhonda sputtered, and Mom took up for her with shaky determination.

“We don’t know anything about a treasure chest or diamonds. Please!” She was also squeezing me tighter, and I’m sure Kyle was feeling it, too.

The man was sweating now, a crazed panic coming over him, and I could tell he was going to lose it soon. If I thought I was scared before, it was nothing compared to how I felt now. He was looking for my stupid treasure - the diamonds that I had idiotically chosen for my pirate loot and hid in the attic! I glanced over to Rainie, who was looking at me, and I knew we were thinking the same thing. I had been right that day when Kyle found the chest - we should have turned it into the adults immediately, instead of playing some dumb game! Now we were going to die!

The pirate had come back to reclaim his treasure! And he was as icky and wicked as pirates come. What should I do?!

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