The Unspoken

Page 24

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Alan stood. "Dr. Channel, we're documenting everything that happens."

Bernie stood next to him. "I tell my man when to turn off his camera."

Amanda pursed her lips and stalked away.

Will was checking the tanks for the second dive. He glanced up as Kat approached him. "You sure you're okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine, and, um, thank you."

He shrugged. "It's what we do."

That seemed to be his mantra, she thought.

"You have more belief in whatever it is I'm seeing than I do," she said, speaking in a low voice.

He looked around to assure himself that they weren't being watched. She took a step back. He'd stripped off the arms and chest of his suit because the sun was hot. He was bronzed and lean and she wanted to touch him.

"There's something at the end of this…vision that's so horrible you don't want to see it and I'm afraid for you to see it-especially in seventy-five or eighty feet of water. Do you think you should go down again?"

"I'm fine, I swear. And if you're next to me…"

He laughed. "You pack quite a wallop for a little girl," he said.

"I'm not a girl."

"Okay, you pack quite a wallop for a highly educated and brilliant but tiny agent-how's that?" he asked her.

"Better." She paused. "Did I really hit you?"

"You tried. Last night and today. But I'm fairly bright and well-trained myself."

Kat noticed that Earl and Bernie were speaking somewhere near them. It was a private conversation, and she didn't mean to listen, but even on the decent-size boat, they were close.

"Alan should just pull the plug on that bitch!" Earl said.

Jon Hunt heard them and came over.

"No, no, please. I'll speak with Amanda. She's just intense. You have to understand that while you make documentaries on many things, we live ancient history. Please, try to understand her, and I promise, I'll talk to her," Jon said.

"She doesn't seem to care that a good friend of yours died on this expedition! All she cares about is her own agenda. She wants the big stuff done immediately, and she wants to call all the shots," Bernie said, folding his arms. "We're here because the center is considered the best of its kind and isn't trying to stow away anything that legally belongs to the State of Illinois. She's pushing the boundaries, and if she isn't careful, she'll bring the curse of politicians and lawyers down on us!"

"I'll talk to her!" Jon said again.

Kat excused herself to go to the hold to get a bottle of water. She wasn't part of this argument.

But as she started down to the galley she paused. Amanda was on the phone; she'd gone there for privacy.

Kat would have left.

But she was here to investigate, to learn what she could.

And even if she hadn't been, she couldn't have left fast enough to avoid hearing Amanda's frantic whisper. "I'll find it! I'm telling you, I'll find it!"

She snapped her phone shut and turned and saw Kat. Her face went red, but she quickly rallied. "Hey, sorry. That was a friend of mine. I lost her Adele CD and I told her that if I couldn't find it I'd buy her another one. I can't believe she called me in the middle of all this about a CD!"

"Well, people do love their music," Kat said mildly.

"I guess. But…" With a shrug, Amanda stepped toward the galley's counter. "I'm putting together sandwiches. We'll take another thirty minutes before our next dive."

Just then Jimmy came down the galley steps. "Ready for… Oh! Amanda. You're getting started on lunch. Great. Thanks!"

"Sure. No problem. We all have to eat, right?"

She was extremely pleasant. Kat grabbed her water, and moved to Jimmy's other side. With their assembly line, they had a stack of sandwiches prepared in a matter of minutes.

Topside, she saw Will in conversation with Bernie and Alan. Earl was filming sailboats that passed in the distance.

She didn't get a chance to talk to Will before they went for their second dive, but she intended to keep a close watch on Amanda-and to make sure that what she put in her bag came out of her bag when they reached the surface.

I'll find it. I'm telling you, I'll find it!

The words flashed through Kat's mind as they descended. When she got to the ship's grand salon, she felt compelled to stop again.

She turned.

Will was there. He touched her arm, and she looked at him and knew he'd be there for her, a safety net.

She looked into the salon-and it began.

At first, the characters were ghostly. She heard her own breathing through the respirator; she felt Will close at her side.

Then the characters became real, and the water seemed to disappear. Once again she was alone on the ship's deck. She heard the laughter, the music. The people talking, the warnings about the curse…

It was coming, and she knew it. The wind that became icy cold. The blue sky turning dark. And then the thing, the shadowy, shapeless thing, massive in the night. It was coming toward them and then she could see it…

Huge, tall. It was a man. A man with incredibly large dark eyes, his arms crossed over his chest. He wore a tall, turbanlike hat or cap, and jewels adorned his neck. The eyes looked at her, stygian, blank, as if sightless, and yet all-seeing….

It-he-came closer and as he was nearly upon her, she felt pure terror.


She heard a garbled voice. "Breathe!"

She was being shaken. She blinked and saw Will. She was trembling in the water, freezing, as if she'd been through an ice storm.

But she was breathing….

She didn't choke.

And as she saw him, she felt safe. She was strong; she had faith in herself. But his faith was even greater, and he would stop whatever demons came for her, stop them before they could reach her.

Yes, Will seemed to have faith in her, and he seemed to know her.

He didn't try to get her to go back up before the others, although he realized she'd seen something more. She wanted to watch Amanda, and although she wasn't sure how to convey that to him, he didn't protest any of her movements.

They joined the rest of the group. It always seemed impossible that no one had noticed their later arrival. What felt like aeons when she was staring into the salon must have been just a minute or two.

She and Will went to work. Amanda and Jon were looking over a crate packed in a tarp, trying to determine size and weight and, no doubt, whether or not they could bring it to the surface.

Jimmy Green noted that their dive time was up, and they made the ascent.

There were more treasures, of course. As usual, Amanda commanded the time before the camera, while Jon did as he was told. Will hung in the background with Kat, and it wasn't until the dive trip had ended and they were in the car, headed to the hotel to shower and change, that he was able to ask her what she'd seen.

"I don't know," she said. "I guess I was expecting a mummy to suddenly appear in the darkness. But it wasn't. It was a… I don't know what it was. A giant Egyptian, maybe. I saw a man, with slicked-back hair, wearing some kind of headpiece. He had deep, dark eyes. The eyes didn't seem to see, and yet the thing was coming at the ship. It was the great dark shadow that threatened the ship."

"Interesting," Will said. "Maybe once we've gone through some of the journals at Austin's house, we'll figure it out. A giant Egyptian," he murmured.

Kat was thoughtful. "He seemed like a young man, say early twenties, with dark skin and exceptionally fine features. I'm not familiar with Egyptology the way you are, but I've seen pictures of pharaohs that were similar."

"Maybe it was Amun Mopat. We don't actually know what he looked like," Will said.

Kat made a sound of distaste.

"It wasn't really Amun Mopat," Will said. "We know he wasn't a giant, and I still don't believe he came back from the dead to sink a ship. However, that might be who or what you saw in your mind's eye. Which could mean many things."

Kat sighed. "Will, when I went down to the galley before the second dive, I found Amanda talking on her cell phone. She said-and I quote-'I'll find it. I'm telling you, I'll find it.'"

"Did she know you heard her?"

Kat nodded. "She said she'd lost a friend's CD. And then she started making sandwiches."

"She could have lost a CD-or she could be looking for something special associated with the ship. But…that's a long shot. The ship's been at the bottom of that lake for over a hundred years. And it's not like Amanda's ever down there alone."

"No, but we've all been bringing up pieces of pottery and stone statues-and the dagger and the box. There could be something special down there," Kat said.

"We have copies of the ship's manifest. I've looked through it, but I'll read it more thoroughly and try to discern if there was one special thing among the treasures." He glanced at her. "Tutankhamun's gold death mask was considered the major find in his tomb. Maybe I missed something like that."

Kat grinned. "His death mask is big. Amanda couldn't have slipped anything of that size out of the water!"

At the hotel, they went to their separate rooms. Kat couldn't help remembering that the doors separating the rooms were ajar, allowing Bastet to come and go between them. She felt much safer than she had the first night; they'd all learned that everyone was in a better position with good backup.

She should have been concentrating on her vision, trying to analyze it and determine what she'd seen with her sixth sense, but…she was human. And she was thinking about Will Chan, about his lean and muscular body and the beautiful warm color of his skin. Even though she was all alone, she blushed. She realized she didn't have to; she was an adult and it was okay to be attracted to a man. It was just that this man was a colleague.

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