“Why wouldn’t you tell Harper?” Daniel asked with mystified anger.
“Because Liv was gone and out of her hair, and I didn’t want to worry Harper about there being another siren,” Gemma hurried to explain. “I thought I’d tell her this weekend, when she’s home, so I can make sure she doesn’t freak out.”
“Well, you should have told her sooner,” Marcy said. “Liv was a total psycho. She like trashed the room and attacked Harper.”
“What?” Gemma asked, and it was her turn to sound shocked. “When?”
“What are you talking about?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t know. I think … Tuesday or something?” Marcy shrugged. “You guys really need to talk to each other. This whole keeping-secrets thing is bullshit.”
“I’m not trying to keep secrets,” Gemma said. “She’s already under so much stress, I just don’t want to add anything on top of it.”
“Why didn’t she tell me about it?” Daniel asked no one in particular.
“Probably for the same reason you haven’t told her about Penn’s visiting you,” Gemma said.
Marcy sat up straighter, and her blank expression seemed to brighten. “I just realized that I’m the only one completely in the loop. I know everything that’s going on around here.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not true,” Daniel said.
“Wanna bet? Try me,” Marcy said.
“Okay.” Daniel thought for a minute before asking, “Where are more papers from Thalia?”
“I don’t know.” Marcy raised one shoulder in a half shrug. “In some secret hidden space.”
“Thanks for illuminating that for us,” Gemma said dryly. “It’s really helpful.”
“No really, what if there’s a secret space that’s not out in the open,” Marcy expounded on her earlier statement. “You bend a candlestick to the side, and a door pops open, or you move a book, and the bookcase twirls around to reveal a hidden chamber. That kinda thing.”
Daniel crossed his arms over his chest. “Since this is a one-bedroom cabin, and not a mansion, and every square foot is accounted for, I don’t think that’s an option.”
“Then try under a loose floorboard or something,” Marcy suggested. “That’s where I hid all my personal items when I still lived at home with my parents.”
“Are there loose floorboards?” Gemma looked up at Daniel.
“I don’t know.” He shook his head. “I guess we’ll look.”
The three of them split up to search for loose floorboards or any kind of “secret” nook they might have missed in the house. Marcy attempted to take Daniel’s bedroom, but he shooed her out and suggested she try the living room.
Gemma went into the bathroom and tried to peel back any loose tiles. She didn’t find anything, but she did manage to break a porcelain tile in half. She was on her hands and knees, looking for any loose boards in the kitchen, when she heard Marcy swear.
“Did you find something?” Gemma asked, and she instantly got to her feet so she could look over the kitchen counter.
“No.” Marcy was kneeling beside the couch and scowling at her fingers. “But I got a splinter trying to pull a board up.”
“I don’t think there’s anything under there.” Daniel sighed. He came out of his bedroom and shook his head sadly. “I haven’t noticed anything loose or creaking, and I think this is a dead end. And you have to be at the theater soon for the play.”
“Dammit.” She’d forgotten, and she dug her cell phone out of her pocket to check the time. “I have at least another ten minutes before I need to leave here. Let’s just keep looking.”
Marcy stood up. “Is there anyplace we haven’t looked?”
“I don’t know.” Daniel glanced around his living room.
“What about that?” Marcy asked. She’d started sucking on her finger, presumably in an attempt to remove the splinter, but she pointed to the fireplace with her free hand.
“What?” Gemma asked.
“In the fireplace.” Marcy took her finger out of her mouth so she’d be easier to understand. “That stone’s a different shade of gray.”
The whole fireplace was done up in large river rocks. Most of them were varying shades of light to medium gray, smoothed and polished to look nice. But one stone near the end of the mantel was a very dark gray with a bluish tone to it.
“Did you replace that stone or something?” Gemma asked Daniel, but she could already feel her heartbeat speeding up.
“No, I didn’t.” He shook his head and walked over to the fireplace, with Gemma right at his heels.
Slowly, almost gingerly, Daniel touched the stone. He started to wiggle it, and at first, nothing happened. Then he started pushing and pulling at it harder until it finally began to budge. As he started to slide the stone out, Gemma held her breath.
“Here.” He handed it to her, then he reached into the dark hole left in the fireplace and began to dig around. “I found something.”
“What is it?” Gemma asked.
“I don’t know. I think…” He let his sentence trail off as he pulled out a small, leather-bound book. “It’s a book.”
“Oh, my gosh.” Gemma nearly dropped the stone trying to take it from him, but Daniel caught the rock and set it on the ground. He stood behind her, peering over her shoulder as she flipped through it.
As soon as she saw the words, she knew. The small, delicate cursive matched the handwriting on the back of some of the pictures they’d gotten from Bernie’s house.
“‘On June 16, 1961, I married my one true love, Bernard McAllister,’” Gemma read aloud. “This is it, you guys. This is Thalia’s journal.”
“I told you I know everything,” Marcy said.
“Does it say anything else?” Daniel asked. “Like anything about sirens?”
“I don’t know.” Gemma flipped through the pages with trembling hands, scanning the faded ink on the yellowed pages. “It seems to be a lot of day-to-day stuff. Their garden. How much she loves Bernie.”
Then Gemma flipped to the back, and her heart sank.
The journal had been divided up into three sections—a calendar at the front, the journal pages in the middle, and a “notes” section in the back, for important information, like birthdays and addresses.