A Sea Cave

Eddy and Yuwon were not as wealthy as the Arnaults or the Moores and the note they received indicated the Trashers knew it. It even suggested they ask their friends the Moores to help them meet the ransom demand. Lester and Jasmine would have gladly helped them meet the ransom demand, but Eddy and Yuwon like Peter and Veronica had no intention of surrendering to the Trashers.

"There's only one answer," Eddy said. "I'll find them and shoot them."

The Arnaults and the Blakes now shared a common concern both having one of their children kidnapped by the Trashers. When Eddy invited everyone to their place to discuss what they should now do, everyone was eager to go.

Every adult and every child of the four families, except Brittany and Philip and Freddy's parents, who would having nothing to do with the others, were there.

Lester asked Connor to tell everyone exactly what they had done and discovered.

Connor told them everything, except what Liz, Trish, Naomi, and Freddy had seen from the ground, which Freddy described, with the agreement of the girls.

"What are we going to do?" Eddy wanted to know.

"We certainly aren't going to be able to climb up there and do anything, especially now they know the way Connor and the others got there," Lester said.

The desperation to do something was obvious and some wild schemes and plans were suggested and quickly rejected, even by those who made the suggestions.

"Uncle Anthony's history indicates there was another way to Stove Pipe Hill, like a tunnel. Briana and I have looked for it and except for the route we used to climb the hill, we haven't been able to find anything. It may have existed before the connection between Stove Pipe Hill and black quarry collapsed. I have one more idea I want to try but I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, and it's probably nothing. Before we plan anything more, give us a couple of days."

"Connor has been right so far," Megan said. "No one wants to do something more than I do, but I'm willing to wait if Connor has an idea."

Everyone agreed to give Connor two days, and to resume their meeting then.

"Want to go fishing, Love?" Connor asked Briana the next morning.

"Oh, Connor, why do you ask? Just say what you're going to do, you know I'll go anywhere with you."

"OK. We're going fishing."

"What are we fishing for?" Briana asked.

"Trashers," Connor said.

Briana just looked at Connor without saying anything.

"We've been all around Stove Pipe Hill. There's no tunnel like Anthony described anywhere. If his history is right there is a tunnel, or was."

"The only place left is where the hill comes down to the sea," Briana said.

"You are my brilliant Briana," Connor said.

Connor's father's boat was much to big for what he planned. The Arsenaults were not as interested in fishing and the sea, but had a modest boat used mostly for the entertaining their girls which Connor thought would be less conspicuous. Briana's father was glad for them to use it.

The waters around the cliffs that were the Eastern side of Stove Pipe Hill were treacherous because they were formed when the east side of the hill collapsed. There were channel marker buoys everywhere indicating the dangers of unseen rocks beneath. Briana was a good sailor having been fishing so many times with Connor and she was doing the navigating while Connor scanned the cliffs with his binoculars.

She was familiar with the buoys in that area that were similar to intracoastal waterway buoys, with their little square and triangular yellow symbols.

"I wish we could get closer," Connor said.

"We can if you don't mind ripping the bottom out," Briana said.

"Look!" Briana suddenly said, pointing ahead and to their starboard.

It was a boat, much bigger than their own. It was going very fast and was headed directly toward the cliffs. When it was where Briana was certain it would crash it suddenly disappeared behind some very large rocks.

"Follow them," Connor said.

Briana pushed the throttle full ahead. When they were near where they thought the boat had gone, Briana said, "I never saw a buoy like that before," pointing to the orange-and-white buoy to their port side.

"It's an information or regulatory buoy," Connor said. "The diamond symbol with the cross in it means no boats allowed or simply, 'keep out.'"

"But that boat went in there and disappeared," Briana said. "I'm going in there."

"Go slow," Connor said, and she did.

"When they were past the rocks the other boat had disappeared behind it was obvious they were in a very deep channel that ran directly toward the cliffs of Stove Pipe Hill and when they got close they could see the opening in the cliff hidden by the rocks above. They could easily have sailed into it."

"Turn around slowly and get out of here," Connor said.

"I was going to keep going," Briana said. "Do we really need to go?"

"We'll come back, but we're not prepared for what we'll have to do."

"Of course, you're right." Briana said. "But if that's the way to the Trashers' den, let's not wait long."