Born of Treasure

By: Jordan Elizabeth

 (Treasure Chronicles Book 2)




For Anthony, who is my romance.





lark eased the door open enough to peer into the closet. Scratch that, make it a ballroom. Faded curtains with moth-chewed holes were fastened to the walls to display a stage. Forgotten props leaned against the back, a mixture of painted shrubbery and constructed balconies, as though the musty room couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.

This would be fun. He’d never come across a rundown, exotic hideout in the desert. Clark tucked his lock-picking kit into his jacket pocket and nudged the door shut behind him. His breath sounded too loud in the still room, but no ghosts appeared to haunt the memories. Dust motes floated in the sunbeams coming through the windows near the ceiling. One window, of stained glass, sent a distorted image of the late king onto the hardwood floor. Clark pictured the theater where he’d grown up back in Tangled Wire, a space in the corner of the saloon where alcohol hadn’t puckered the floorboards too much. Sometimes, the saloon owner had made his mother dance with the younger Tarnished Silvers.

“Mum would’ve shone on this stage,” Clark whispered. She could’ve worn her favorite green dress, to go along with the emerald shade of the curtains.

Tables covered what remained of the room, littered with piles of gears and cogs. Broken clocks glared at him through their cracked faces.

“Check near the stage.” The spirit of Clark’s father appeared beside him. Perfect, the ballroom needed a ghost. Black holes peered out instead of eyes, matching the space in his chest where a bullet had stolen his life. At last, a ghost to match the dismal space.

“Your inventions show up in the weirdest places.” Clark stepped over a heap of clock keys, but one crunched beneath the heel of his riding boot.

“Senator Horan never got this one, and he’s looked. Trust me, he’s looked. See, it was stolen right from my jacket! Never trust a girl wearing too much lip paint. She’ll slip her hand in your pocket and you’ll never see your watch or billfold again.”

This had to be the point where a son grew tired of his father’s rambling and zoned out. He’d seen it enough on ranches, especially when the father wanted the son to follow in reluctant footsteps.

Clark grinned. He could listen to his father, Eric, all day and never grow weary of his words. His mother must’ve felt like that, getting lost in Eric’s passion.

“Senator Horan wanted to buy the pocket watch right after I finished it.” Eric waved his hands. “Nope, I told him. You’re too late. A pretty Tarnished Silver made off with it. He didn’t believe me, swore I was lying. He tried to pay me another small fortune in land.”

Clark lifted the corner of a striped sheet thrown over a table, revealing glass plates for clock faces. “Don’t worry, your time travel device is safe.”

Eric floated closer. “I told you, son. It’s not time travel.”

“Right,” Clark teased, drawing out the word. At least if the pocket watch had to have been stolen, it hadn’t been tossed down a privy with other garbage. A clock collector—obsessed fellow, more likely—turned out to be a great alternative. “If I was going to collect something, I would definitely keep it in an old railroad station.” Not that he’d ever had the luxury of collecting anything. If he managed to own a second pair of shoes, he felt like a king.

“It’s a magnificent workspace,” his father said. “Pity I didn’t think of using an old ballroom. Perfect light from every angle, lots of room to spread-out.”

Clark studied the table closest to the stage. Pocket watches of various sizes ranged from thumbnail small to fist-size large, most dented. A polishing cloth had been thrown over a triangular-shaped one.

“This was the first train station in Hedlund,” Eric rambled. “All they had here was a mission and a few shacks. The mountains were just starting to be mined and the king was encouraging farmers to come out here to the land. They wanted this station to be the hubbub of life. A great encouragement to the weaklings back east.”

“Like you?” Clark lifted an oval pocket watch with diamonds on the front. The spaces of missing stones reminded him of a face scarred by the pox.

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