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

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Chapter 53: Anne's Confession

ANNE

“Hey, who’s in here?” I heard Chuy’s voice from the enclosure entrance and me, Rainie, Kyle, and Rhonda all reverted our eyes from Mom who was looking for treasure in the shed to Chuy who was now laying on the ground with crimson blood oozing out of his arm.

It happened so fast! This evil man had really shot Chuy! Oh, Chuy! Mom, still inside the shed, echoed my thoughts as she yelled out his name, rushing towards us and exiting the little building, as she squinted her eyes in the contrastingly bright sunlight.

Our captor, the Pirate, started screaming at Chuy as he let go of Rhonda, and she flew towards us kids, while the three of us reached out to grab her.

Before I knew what was happening, the Pirate was heading towards Chuy just as Vickie ran into the enclosure to see what had happened, definitely hearing the gunshot and Chuy’s painful scream. If I learned anything from today, it was to listen before rushing in to see why a person was shouting.

I cringed as the Pirate aimed his weapon now at Vickie, ordering her to come inside the enclosure and join the rest of us. Mom surveyed the scene, wrapping Rhonda in her arms, while obviously relieved to see Chuy alive, yet just as fearful of what was to come next as I was.

But Chuy wasn’t doing so well, cussing in Spanish and holding his arm while Vickie looked pained herself, wanting to help him, but afraid to move. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind now that this madman would really shoot us if he wanted to.

“Please, he needs help!” Vickie finally braved, and the man eased up a bit.

“Fine. Bring him over here,” he relented. “Now! And do it quick, before I decide to put him out of his misery.”

Oh my God, he still might kill him! And this was all my fault! I felt like throwing up, seeing all the blood run down Chuy’s arm. I was terrified and felt equally guilty. If I hadn’t taken the stupid diamonds, then this creep wouldn’t have us all at gunpoint now and Chuy wouldn’t be shot!

Mom rushed to Chuy as soon as the two of them made it over to us, leaving Rhonda with us kids.

“I thought you said no one else was around,” the man yelled at Mom, and she winced.

“They were never in the building,” she managed to get out, trying to sound brave. “You asked about inside the building.”

He scowled at her in return. “Well, you got him shot. So, if you don’t want anybody else shot, let’s work on our honesty, okay?”

Mom nodded slowly and tightly in fear, yet I could tell she was angry. She had that look in her eye. The one that I’d only seen a few times in my entire twelve years of life.

“Alright,” he said, addressing all of us. “Now that the whole family is together, I’m going to ask again. And if I don’t get the answer I want, I have a few more bullets to persuade you with. Where the [f-word] are the diamonds that were in that chest?!”

“Should I say something?! Would he really shoot someone - again - and more on purpose?!” I asked myself in panic.

“Do you know anything about the treasure chest inside the shed?” Mom shakily asked Vickie, then Chuy, who was looking pretty pale as he sat on the ground with his back up against the shed with Mom pressing her hands on his wound to try and stop the bleeding.

Both of them shook their heads, and I looked at Rainie and Kyle, hoping to see some sort of confirmation that I should do something. Rainie looked just as scared and bewildered as I felt, silent tears falling from her eyes. Kyle looked all kinds of worried, frightened, and concerned. I could tell neither of them had any better ideas.

“God dammit!” The gunman yelled, “It didn’t just up and walk out!”

Stepping up to Chuy, he put the nose of the pistol against his sweating forehead and I screamed, “Stop! I have them! Please, don’t shoot him! I have your diamonds!” I confessed with tears streaming down my face. I didn’t want him to kill Chuy, and I was terrified that if Chuy didn’t get out of here soon, he might bleed to death anyways. I wasn’t sure how much blood someone could lose before dying, but his blood was all over Vickie, and now Mom’s hands, and all down his arm.

Everything seemed to freeze as soon as I shouted, and I swear everyone turned to me in slow motion. Mom shook her head tightly, fear in her eyes, obviously hoping that I wouldn’t be the Pirate’s next victim. The Pirate’s eyes narrowed as he eyed me, and before he could say anything again, I whimpered, “I took the diamonds. Please don’t hurt anybody else.”

“What are you talking about, Anne?” Mom’s voice sounded both shaky and angry as she motioned for Vickie to take over Chuy’s bleeding, while she rose to eye me.

“Ky- W-we found the treasure accidentally,” I chose my words carefully, not wanting to blame Kyle. “And, um… I took the diamonds. They’re at home.” I swallowed nervously, having said this all to Mom and not the Pirate. What seemed like not a great, but fun idea at the time, now sounded like the dumbest thing I’d ever done. Why didn’t I listen to my gut that day?!

The Pirate was standing between my mother and I, and for a second I was glad, sure she seemed more deadly than him as her jaw tightened and she glared angrily in my direction. Perhaps her eye even twitched, but I wasn’t sure.

I think the Pirate felt like he was losing control of the situation to Mom, or maybe he was frightened of her, too. So, he decided to remind us of his presence by speeding towards me and pointing the gun at my chest instead! I screamed and cowered, closing my eyes tightly. “What’d you do with them?!” He shouted, panic in his gravely voice.

“Anne!” I heard Mom, more fearful and less angry again.

“I- I hid them in the attic… up in Grandpa’s chest!” I yelled waveringly, bracing for impact, sure I was going to be shot.

Instead, the Pirate grabbed me by the arm and I opened my eyes wide again. “Alright girl, you better be telling the truth, or it’ll be game over. We’ll be goin’ on a little field trip to see if my diamonds are where you say they are. But first,” he looked at the rest of the group, “we need to lock all the rest of you up.”

“No!” Mom yelled, and he squeezed my arm tighter. “Take me instead! I can even drive you there, but let her go!” Then she looked at me pleadingly. “I can get to them, right, sweetheart? If you tell me exactly where they’re at?”

“Y-yes, Mom.” I sputtered. She was going to take my place? “But…” I tried to argue. This was my fault, I didn’t want her hurt!

“You really did hide them at home?” Mom asked, and I could see tears forming in her eyes, and I let the ones I was trying to hold back slip down my face.

I nodded truthfully, then whispered, “Yes. They’re in Great-Grandpa’s chest in my old purse under Grandpa Harold’s hat. In a little dark blue velvet pouch.” Mom’s eyes searched mine, and I got a horrible sense that she was totally prepared to die if it meant that I would be okay. If I thought I felt bad about my actions before, I felt a hundred times worse now. If something happened to her, I would never forgive myself. “I’m so sorry, Mom,” I managed to tearfully squeak out at the end.

“It’s okay, baby,” she whispered back, as a large tear escaped. She was shaking. “It’ll be okay,” she tried to reassure me, though I think she was trying to tell herself, too.

“Alright, now that that’s settled, let’s go,” the Pirate broke his silence, and turned his gun on Mom.

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