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When Charlie Sykes wakes up in hospital in St. John's, he learns that he and his father have been in a car accident and that his father is dying. Charlie inherits little more than the brass key that his father pressed into his hand before he passed away. As far as Charlie knows, he has no family in Newfoundland. But then Uncle Nick shows up and is keen to meet his nephew--not because of who Charlie is, but rather because of what Charlie has: the key. That key will unlock a treasure Uncle Nick began searching for more than thirty years earlier. And he would have found it all those years ago if he hadn't been arrested and sent away for murder. But Charlie isn't convinced he should give up the key. He leads Uncle Nick on a wild chase through old St. John's, across Signal Hill and out to the coast. There, high above the rugged Atlantic, Charlie finally comes face-to-face with Uncle Nick, the treasure, and a family history that will leave him with a new understanding of where he comes from and where he's going.
Deep down I think I say no because I’m scared to try, which would make it brave to try. Right? Or would it be stupid? Can you be brave and stupid, all at once? I think maybe you can. But mostly I’m just scared, so I say no again. “’Kay,” says Frankie. He puts the extra smoke away and bends his head into his hand, flicks the lighter and pulls in that first draw. He lets it out, and the wind takes it past my head. It smells good. “Okay, Cowboy,” he says. “Remember how I said you owes me one? So
of little dots. It’s bright enough I can see the time on my dad’s watch—1:15. I bet I could almost read the Bible if I tried, but I leave it under the pillow, where I’m hiding it now. I reach under and it’s still there, with the tip of the key still there too. I had a good look at the key tonight. It’s as long as my pointer finger, but flat. It’s got three bumps cut in it at one end, and the other end is round, with a hole in it. There’s writing on that end with a number stamped
whiff of salt and fish mixed together, coming off the water in the wind. Then it’s gone, and there’s just the wind and Frankie smoking and the beer cans plonking on the rocks when Frankie and Gerald set them down. “A rare day,” says Frankie, his jacket flying back toward me in the wind like a flag on a pole. “A rare friggin’ day.” FIFTEEN The sun’s a big orange half-eaten by the sea when we start back to town. Frankie opens another beer as we drive, and it’s quiet with the sunroof closed
right, Charlie, b’y,” comes a voice from behind me. “Poor young Clare’s feeling bad about setting up this meeting we’re about to have, isn’t that right, Clare?” It’s Nick, standing two feet from me, blocking the door. He reaches into his jacket pocket, then tosses something to Clare. A pill bottle. “There you go, my girl,” he says. “As promised. And yours, Frankie, is out on the path. Don’t drink it all at once or it’ll be the death of ya.” Clare doesn’t look at me as she walks toward the
pervert. And it worked, b’y. Five years, they give me, the jury practically crying at my story. And I’d a been out in four if it weren’t for that bit of bother while I was inside.” Nick sits smoking for a long time before he says, “Now you knows.” “And what happens now?” “Now,” says Nick, “you gives me a hand, tracking this down.” He taps the map with his claw. “But how can I help find anything? I don’t even know where I am.” “You’re young, you got fresh eyes. You could spot something I