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No Words: Chapter 24

I’m not going to lie: I screamed.

Then I dropped the cape, pressed my hands to my cheeks, and cried, “Oh my God!”

It’s not my fault that this only added to the drama of what most people in the audience thought they had seen: a man disappear before their very eyes. Only those farther down the pier saw what I had—Garrett drop over the deck railing.

And only those closest to the stage heard what I had—the splash as his body hit the water below.

One of those people happened to be Will. As everyone around him applauded Garrett’s amusing trick—and my apparently even more amusing reaction to it—Will came sprinting from his chair and headed straight to the deck railing where I was standing, still paralyzed with horror.

“Did he still have the handcuffs on?” Will asked me as he gazed into the water, looking for some sign of Garrett.

“N-n-no.” For once I was the one who could barely get my words out. “They were trick cuffs. He put them in his pocket.”

Will looked relieved—but only slightly. “Thank God.”

Will and I weren’t the only ones leaning across the railing to peer down at the water where Garrett had gone in. Farther down the pier, others were doing the same thing, pointing down at the cold waves and calling, There he is!

And then, No, that’s just a fish. No, wait, there! No, that’s not him, either.

The drop from the dock to the water wasn’t far—less than seven or eight feet—and the water directly beneath the Cracked deck was lit by harbor lamps so that diners could gaze into it while they ate. The water was so clear that I could see all sorts of different fish swimming beneath the waves, and a variety of sea grass, too.

The only problem was that there was no sign of Garrett. And beyond those circles of light cast by the lamps? Only a vast, literal sea of darkness.

“Do you think he got sucked beneath the dock?” I asked Will worriedly.

“The current here is strong, but it flows the other way.” Unfortunately, Will pointed toward the darkness. “I’m more concerned about him being carried out toward the Gulf of Mexico.”

I swallowed. I wasn’t Garrett’s biggest fan, but I didn’t like the idea of anyone being helplessly carried off by the current into all that black nothingness—especially when dressed only in a pirate costume.

“Oh my God,” I said to Will. “I had no idea. I swear to you, I had no idea he was going to do this!”

“I know.” Will laid a comforting arm around my shoulders. “How could you? None of us did.”

It wasn’t until I felt the warmth from his body seeping into me that I realized I was shivering, despite the warm night air. Maybe what Garrett had done was sending me into shock.

“Hey, you two.” Bernadette came up onto the stage. “Hate to crash the party, but any word on when Garrett is going to return from the spirit world? Some of us would like to head back to the hotel and hit the hot tub. And Frannie’s complaining about missing her Knicks game.”

Will instantly dropped his arm from my shoulders.

“No, no idea.” I pointed at the water. “Garrett jumped in, and now we can’t see him anywhere.”

“He jumped?” Bernadette looked down into the water. “Yikes. That’s a little more hard core than usual.”

Will raised his eyebrows at her. “He’s done this before?”

“Oh, yeah. Well, not the jumping part, but the dematerializing thing. He usually rematerializes sooner than later, though.”

We all looked around. The restaurant staff had apparently decided Garrett’s trick was over, because the boss nova music was playing again and the servers had returned, passing out drinks and key lime pie tartlets for dessert. Members of the audience who weren’t aware that Garrett had jumped into the water had resumed their party chatter. Jasmine and Cassidy were recording dramatic reaction videos of Garrett’s trick while giggling maniacally. There was no sign of Lauren, which was odd. But I saw her mother with the other girls’ mothers over by the bar, so I assumed she was around somewhere, too.

Only Garrett’s most die-hard fans—the children sitting in front of the stage—remained in their places, patiently waiting the return of Professor Eurynomos. . . .

“I’d say it sounds like he’s purposefully pulled another one of his disappearing acts, then,” Will said. “Except that the only ladder leading up from that water is about a quarter mile down the dock. Would Garrett have been aware of that?”

“Hmmm.” Now Bernadette was beginning to share my worried look. “You’d think he’d have researched that beforehand.”

“You would think so.” Will’s dark eyebrows were lowered as he continued to scan the surface of the sea.

“As far as tricks go,” Bernadette said, “I’m not finding anything particularly magical about this one.”

“Neither am I,” I said. “Do you think we should—I don’t know—call someone?”

“Yes.” Will slipped a cell phone from his suit pocket. “The coast guard.”


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