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Rolfin's Orb
Book 3 - Pearl
Chapter 2

            “We need to go shopping,” Elspet said. “We can’t traipse around a tropical island in these clothes. I smell like the sea and I need a hairbrush too.”

            “Okay. That sounds good to me,” Fiona said. The three of them took the elevator down into the lobby. “See the man at the desk? Wait until he’s distracted and then we can sneak past. I don’t want him bugging me about my parents.”

            They didn’t have to wait long. A young couple, obviously newlyweds, went to the check in desk. “Now.” Callum and the girls walked at a brisk pace across the lobby. “That wasn’t easy to do you know, Fiona. I wanted to stop and look at everything again.”

            “We’ll wait till he goes off duty and go back to the lobby and you can spend as much time as you want there,” Fiona said.

            Once out on the main road they looked for shops. They peeked in each window, not paying attention to anything but what they saw on display. A man stood in the middle of the sidewalk counting money. Callum didn’t see him until he bumped right into him. He grabbed Callum by his collar. “Watch it punk,” Drayton said. “Are you trying to steal my money?”

            Callum was terrified. “Sorry sir. I wasn’t watching. I don’t want your money, no.”

            “What are you two looking at?” He snarled at Fiona and Elspet. “You got a problem?”

            “No. Please let go of Callum. It was an accident,” Elspet said.

            “Oh, you’re a brave girl, aren’t you?” Drayton threw Callum back. He tripped over himself and landed on his bottom. “Watch what you’re doing you sniveling wimp. As for you two, I’ll be watching you. Stay out of my way if you know what’s good for you.” He walked away laughing.

            “Did you notice he had an English accent?” Fiona pulled Callum by one arm. Elspet grabbed the other.

            “He’s nothing but a bully. Let’s watch out for him and make sure there are no more run ins,” Elspet said. “Are you all right, Callum?”

            “Yes. I thought he was going to punch me,” Callum said.

            “Come on. Let’s do some shopping.” Fiona grabbed each of their hands and they skipped down the street. Fiona bought herself a pair of pink shorts with a pink top that had embroidered starfish across it.

            Elspet bought blue shorts with a white top that had the word SEYCHELLES embroidered on the pocket and a new hairbrush.

            Callum, not wanting to be flowery like the girls, bought pale green shorts and a white tee shirt with a palm tree on it. Each traded their shoes for a pair of leather sandals. They rushed back to their hotel room and changed, leaving their old clothes on the beds.

            “This is much better. I’m much cooler,” Elspet said, “and I feel clean now.” They walked out of the hotel into the tropical humidity.

            “We need to rent a boat and we don’t want to go with a tour group to Silhouette Island. I read a brochure that listed men who we can hire to take us on private tours. Let’s  find the concierge and have him reserve it for us,” Fiona said.

            They booked their private boat and had an hour to waste until departure. “I have a good idea,” Callum said, “let’s eat.”

            “That does sound like a good idea.” Fiona agreed. A small café near the hotel caught their attention. “It’s not as bright and pretty as the other one, but we don’t have time to look around.” They feasted on king-sized shrimp with a dozen different dipping sauces, served in a huge half shell. “What in the world comes in a shell this big?”

            “I don’t think it’s real,” Elspet said.

            “It looks real and feels read. Maybe they do have clams and seashells this big,” Callum said.

            “That was good.” Fiona wiped her mouth and hands. “It’s almost time. We need to go to the dock and look for a boat called the ‘LA PLAGE’.

            The pilot of the small motorboat stood waiting for them. “Madame Fiona, I am Jacques Monet and I am here to take you and your two guests to Silhouette Island. If you will please come on board.” He reached his hand out and helped them climb in. The wooden planks on the bottom were covered with a half an inch of water.

            “This boat doesn’t look as nice in real life as it did in the brochure,” Elspet whispered to Fiona.

            “Why is there water in the boat?” Callum lifted his feet up and down, his sandals splashing and absorbing the water.

            “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. The boat isn’t leaking. There’s always a little water in these types of boats. Whenever I start the motor and we move, a little sloshes over the sides, that’s all,” Jacques said. “It’s the waves.

            “I hope so,” Callum said. “I don’t feel like drowning today.”

            “You speak English very well.” Elspet lifted her feet up and laid them on the side of the boat. Water dripped from her soggy sandals into the sea.

            “Yes, I learned English when I was very young.” A cobalt blue hat covered his suntanned face and dark brown hair.  “Perhaps you might introduce your guests.”

            Fiona said, “This is Elspet and this is Callum. We’re cousins and we’re from Scotland.”

            “Where are your parents? You surely didn’t come to the islands alone?”

            “Our parents are at the hotel swimming pool. They didn’t want to come with us, but said it was okay if we went by ourselves,” Fiona said, thinking quickly.

            “What hotel are you staying at?”

            “We’re staying at the Seaside Fantasy Hotel,” Elspet said.

            “Oh, that’s a very nice hotel. Your parents must be very wealthy to stay in such a hotel. They must be very nice to let you go off alone and with so much money.” Jacques eyeballed the money sticking out of Callum’s new shorts.

            “Callum, hide your money,” Elspet whispered.

            “It’s not very much money, just enough to go to Silhouette Island. Some of it is your tip, so if you want a big tip, you should make sure you get us there and back safely,” Fiona said.

                        Jacques saluted her. “Put on your lifejackets. It’s a rule. I’m sorry if they are uncomfortable, but you must wear them,” Jacques said, his voice a little snappy. He started the boat and they chugged out into the open sea. On the way to the island he told them about the pirates that sailed the seas around the islands. “There are a lot of stories of buried treasure and haunted coves. You must also beware of the giant snails and millipedes and never stand under a coco-de-mer palm. They are the largest coconut palms in the world and if one falls on your head, splat, you’ll die.”

            “We’ll be careful of the palm trees. What giant snails and millipedes? How giant are they and what haunted coves?” Callum began to sweat.

            “Silhouette Island has many strange creatures on it. None will harm you, as long as you leave them alone.” Jacques laughed, seeing how gullible they were. “As for pirates, that island is supposed to have a great treasure buried in one of the caves. There’s a story of a ship, The Trade Wind; the pirates raided her, took all her treasure, and buried it on Silhouette Island. Nobody’s ever found it, but many have died trying.” The boat pulled up close to the beach. “We’re here. You’ll have to get out and walk to the shore. A reef protects the beaches, so I can’t take the boat in any closer. I’ll wait here for six hours  since you are paying me so well. I’ll do some fishing and diving, but do not be late. We must head back in six hours,” Jacques said. “I don’t want to be out on the water after dark.”

            “Why not?” Callum frowned.

            “Pirate ghosts. I’ve seen them myself. Their ghost ship sails around the islands at night. If they get close enough and you see them, you’ll turn to stone.”

            They climbed out of the boat into the water. “I don’t believe you, Jacques. I think you’re just trying to scare us,” Callum said, heading toward the beach.

            “Watch out for sharks,” Jacques called. “They come right up to the beach. If you see a fin, run!” He laughed and rode away in the boat. “Remember, six hours.”

            “Did he say sharks?” Callum looked down at his feet.

            “He said sharks,” Fiona said. As difficult as it was for them, the three of them ran through the water, tripping and falling in the gentle waves.

            By the time they stood on the sandy beach they were soaked. “That wasn’t very funny of him to say that. I don’t think I like Jacques very much,” Elspet said. She dripped from head to toe. “Are those the three peaks you saw in your dream?” Elspet pointed them out to Fiona.

            “Yes, that’s them. This is the right island,” Fiona said.

            “Where’s the pearl then?” Callum took his shirt off and run the water out of it. He threw it over his shoulder, hoping the sun would dry it.

            “Let me sit down for a few minutes. Why don’t you go and find some sea shells, while I think,” Fiona said. She saw a clump of grassy weeds and sat, hoping her mind would clear. She watched Jacques’ boat head toward the horizon. While Elspet and Callum hunted for shells, Fiona closed her eyes.

            “Did you see anything?” A few minutes later Elspet showed Fiona her shell. “I found this for you.”

            “We need to stay close to the beach and walk straight ahead. I’m sure more will come to me the closer we get to it,” Fiona said. “Thanks for the shell. It’s pretty.”

            They found it difficult walking with wet sandals on sand. “Let’s go inland a little bit. There are trees and shade and the ground’s a bit harder. It’ll be easier to walk on than this sand,” Callum said.

            “Good idea.” Thick vegetation grew, wrapping itself among the palm trees. Long tangled vines dangled from branches. “I can’t believe the size of some of these leaves. These ones look like elephant’s ears. They’re huge,” Fiona said.

            Callum’s eyes wandered back and forth across the ground with each step. “The ground is crawling with bugs. Look at your feet. I think I’d rather walk on the sand.”

            Elspet and Fiona looked down. “After walking in scorpions, a few little bugs like these don’t bother me,” Fiona said.

            “You’re not afraid of a few ladybugs are you?” Elspet teased him.

            “Some of them aren’t ladybugs and some of them aren’t tiny. Look at this one,” Callum said, stopping. He picked up a stick and pointed.

            “That’s monstrous in size. What is it? Does it bite?” Elspet said, “I think maybe Callum’s right. I want to walk on the sand too.”

            “It’s only a rhinoceros beetle. I saw something about them on television. They don’t bite. They’re just big,” Fiona said. “We’ll move much quicker by walking in the jungle.” Elspet and Callum noticed Fiona watching where her feet were walking.

            “That’s pretty.” Elspet gazed into a tree. “I’ve never seen a black parrot before.” It squawked and flew to another branch.

            “That’s weird. A black parrot? Aren’t parrots supposed to be red and green and blue and yellow and bright colors?” Callum said, “There’s some more over there on that tree.”

            “Those aren’t black parrots, Callum. Those ones are fruit bats,” Fiona said. At that same moment the dangling animals flew from the treetops, swirling all around their heads. The jungle filled with their screams as they ran back onto the beach.

            “I am not going near those trees. Ick. I hate bats. I hate beetles that are as big as my fist and I hate jungles!” Elspet ran her hands all over her body to make sure no bats were still clinging to her clothes.

            “Maybe we should just walk along the sand for a while. We’re close. See those rocks up ahead. I think the jewel is in there, or nearby,” Fiona said.

            They ran down to the waves and since their feet were already sopping wet, they let the water lap at their legs.

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