Saturday, April 14, 2012
Blackbeard's Treasure -- EXCERPT
Edward Teach, better known as the pirate Blackbeard, was killed November 22, 1718. Two months before, he purposely ran his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, aground at what is now called Beaufort Inlet.
He emptied the ship of all treasures into his other ship, The Tender, and fled to where nobody knows. Two months later, when he reappeared, he was killed in battle, and his body was tossed into the ocean. To this day, nobody knows where the treasure went.
Legend has it his headless body swam around the boat several times before stopping. Legends also say that his headless ghost roams the beaches looking for his head , always with the same result. No treasure ghost roams the beaches looking for his head.
For years, people have searched high and low for his treasure. It has been said that Blackbeard said nobody but he and the devil knew where it was located.
Cassie Andrews packed her green 2011 convertible Camaro and left her beloved beach house in San Diego to go to Branson, Missouri to empty out her grandfather’s house. Sadly, he had recently passed away. She was the only living family member so it was all left up to her. Not that she hadn’t loved her grandfather, but she wasn’t looking forward to spending months in Branson. She loved the beach.
The drive was going to be long and boring but there was no alternative as she would need her car when she arrived. Besides, she loved hearing those ponies roar from her v8 engine and feel the wind in her hair. Cassie drove for days, stopping over at little motels, until she pulled into her grandfather’s house late that Saturday night.
Cassie got out of her car, popped the trunk and grabbed her bags. I am going straight to bed, she thought. The house was dark but when she unlocked the door and walked in and flipped the switches, the lights came on. That was a relief. The electric hadn’t been disconnected. She took a quick look around. Everything was a bit dusty since it had been a month since her grandfather passed away. It took time to get things in order for her to be able to come out and take care of everything.
She hurriedly undressed and stepped in the shower for a quick rinse off and then went to bed. She had a lot to do in the morning.
Cassie was in the kitchen making coffee when a knock came at the back door. She walked over and opened the door to a dark haired muscular man wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, holding a file full of papers. He looked to be around thirty. His gray eyes shone.
“Can I help you?” Cassie said.
“Hi. You must be Cassie,” he said as he held out his hand.
“Yes and you are?”
“Levi Williams. My father asked me to bring by these papers. He got caught up in meetings. It’s the deed to the house and the copy of your grandfather’s will. Everything you need should be here.”
“Thanks. Come on in and I’ll get you a cup of coffee.”
He walked in behind her. “So what’s your plan? Are you moving here?”
Cassie turned around and tried not to laugh. “Oh no. I can’t live here. I have a beach house back in San Diego calling my name. I’m going to go through everything in the house and sell what I can then donate the rest. Anything that doesn’t fit into those groups I’ll take to the local dump. I hope to have it all tied up within a month or two.”
“Well if you need help with anything just let me know. I work for my father and he told me to help you out with whatever you need. He was friends with your grandfather.”
“That’s great. I’m going to take you up on that offer. Would you like some breakfast?”
Levi rubbed his midriff. “I just felt my stomach grumble. I left before breakfast, so, yeah. If you don’t mind.”
She opened the refrigerator door. “Well, I’m surprised. I was a mite hasty, inviting you for breakfast – I really didn’t know what…”
“Oh, my father made sure the house was fully stocked for when you arrived.”
Cassie made eggs, bacon and bagels. She didn’t always get a chance to have lunch in her busy schedule so she usually made sure to have a good breakfast. While everything cooked she poured them both a glass of orange juice.
As they sat down to eat, Levi asked, “So what do you do back in San Diego?”
“I’m a diving instructor. I teach three classes a day in the ocean.”
“Wow. Really? I love to dive. Around here we only get to dive in lakes though. I would love to go diving in the Pacific. I plan to take a vacation one of these days and try it out.”
“You would love it and if you’re ever in San Diego, look me up. I’ll show you all the great spots.” She stood up. “I need to get started on this place.”
After Levi left Cassie walked around the house, making a list of what would be auctioned off and what would be given away. Her grandfather owned the house for years and it was full of stuff when he bought it from an estate sale. He never took the time to go through the previous owner’s belongings. He always said it gave the house character. Cassie sighed. She had no idea how many generations of character would be up in the attic.
She walked up the stairs to the attic and when she opened the door the sight almost made her want to hurry back to San Diego immediately.
Boxes were stacked from the floor to the ceiling and the entire room was covered in dust. She was going to need a lot of trash bags for this job.
Cassie spent hours going through boxes in the attic, throwing things away right and left. She had never seen so much junk in one house. It was unreal how many years of things were stored in the house, and to think that her grandfather had no interest in going through this stuff.
She picked up a small, rusted metal box, its hinges barely still in place. She started to throw it away but could tell it wasn’t empty. Inside, an old book with brown tattered binding grabbed her attention. Cassie sat on one of the boxes and looked through the book, an old diary. Who it belonged to or when it was written, she didn’t know, but soon became lost as she read:
My mother died today and even though I have my wonderful husband, my mother was my whole life. The only way I know how to cope with my loss is to write my thoughts down in this journal.
The words brought a tear to Cassie’s eye as she thought of her parents, who died in a car accident years earlier. She could feel the pain of the person that penned those words as she missed her own mother dearly. She closed the book and carried it downstairs. She’d been in the attic for hours cleaning and was starting to get hungry. The diary seemed interesting and she planned to read some more of it later.
She fixed a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup. As she sat at the table eating, she couldn’t resist the urge and opened the diary.
The only thing I know about my father is what my mother has told me over the years. Although I never met him he sounded like a great man. I am proud to know that my father, Edward Teach, was a well-known fisherman and worked hard his entire life before dying in a fishing accident. My mother must have loved him more than anything. I remember visiting his grave at the small wooden church every day
It wasn’t until later that I learned my mother actually had the church built in honor of my father, a place for her to visit him. To know a love that unconditional was a gift to me. I wish I had known my father. He must have done well with his fishing because my mother never had to worry about money. I was blessed to have a house to live in and food in my stomach.
Cassie closed the diary and went to her bedroom and laid it on the bedside table. She had too much to do right now to get interested in a story. Levi would be here in a day or two to pick up things she was donating to charity.
Cassie made several calls throughout the day, planning the estate auction for the furniture. She would have a good ole yard sale for all the smaller items. It would take way too long to auction off every little thing in twelve bedrooms, four bathrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room and a full attic.
She didn’t necessarily care if the auction or yard sale made any money because she knew that the sale of the house would bring in a good sum. She already had a list of buyers interested, once it was emptied and cleaned. She couldn’t show it to anyone in this condition.
Cassie heard Levi’s car pull up. “You’re just in time,” she said as she opened the door. I’m about to start dinner.”
“Well how about I take you out instead?” he said.
Cassie glanced down at her dusty clothes and back to Levi. “Can I jump through a quick shower first?”
“Sure. I’ll just watch TV.”
She turned and ran up the stairs.
Minutes later, she was back, showered and shampooed, with her hair in a ponytail, and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Levi was wearing jeans so she figured they weren’t going anywhere fancy.
“So where are you taking me?” “To a steak house down the road It’s rustic but they have the best food in town. You’ll love it.”
“Sounds good.” She grabbed her purse from the counter. “Let’s go.”
After the waitress took their orders, Levi looked at Cassie and smiled. “So how’s the house cleaning coming along?”
“Too slow.” Cassie laughed. “I can’t believe my grandfather kept all that stuff. You know the history of that house?”
Levi shook his head. “It was there long before I was ever born. All I know is what my father told me. Apparently, it was empty for years and taxes weren’t paid on it so the house went up for sale on the courthouse square. Your grandfather bought it, and everything in it. Mainly because the city didn’t want to spend the money paying somebody to clean it out. They left that up to your grandfather. So he never cleaned it out either?” He chuckled.
The waitress brought their tea.
“It’s full of so much junk it’s unbelievable but I did find something kind of interesting, an old diary. I just glanced at the first few pages. So I don’t know who it belonged to, but the woman talks about her mother and father. She said her father was a famous fisherman named Edward Teach. It looks really old. Maybe it will be worth something to somebody.”
Levi looked confused. “That’s strange.”
“Well, the Edward Teach I’ve heard of wasn’t a fisherman. I remember from history lessons. Edward Teach was a pirate.”
Cassie laughed. “A pirate? That’s ridiculous.”
“No really. Ever heard of Blackbeard?”
“The name is vaguely familiar.”
Levi sat up and took a drink of his sweet tea. “I loved pirate stories when I was growing up. Story has it that Blackbeard was killed in action. His head was cut off.”
He nodded. “There are a ton of legends and stories. Movies are made all the time about Blackbeard and of course a lot of it is exaggerated, but the basic story is that he was a pirate and he buried his treasure and it was never found.”