The dark, gloomy, winter clouds of Crimson Hill, New York added to the depressing atmosphere of the orphanage called Misty Manor. On this particular day, however; the children’s home would be filled top to bottom with shouts of happiness for it was Christmas day, and like every Christmas, it was also my birthday. Today was my thirteenth birthday, my tenth year here since I was abandoned on the door steps of the orphanage. It was so unfair how everyone knew who their parents were, but I was the unlucky one who remembered nothing. The orphanage was a horrible place for me, because I had no friends and I learned never to trust anyone. No one liked being around me, so I spent most of my time quiet and shut in my room.
Lying on the cotton, wool bed, I stared up to the endless white ceiling of my bedroom, when I heard the roaring thunder of many feet coming down the wooden stairs. This was the cue for the older kids to get out of bed as the younger kids were probably already receiving their presents from helpful strangers. We all lined up in the vast, entry hall, from youngest to oldest, and a stranger handed out free presents to us children without any family. Soon, I got out of bed, dressed in a red shirt, a purple jacket, and blue jeans. I put on the only personal thing that I had on me when I arrived--a gold chained locket. Unfortunately, I was never able to open it, for there was a small lock keeping it shut. I wrapped it around my neck. I combed my black hair out of my chocolate eyes, and dashed out the door to get in line. All in all, there were about 300 orphans living here, not enough to fill all the rooms, but still a lot that it took forever for me to get to the front of the line. This time, the stranger giving out the present was an middle aged woman. She sat in an elaborate red and gold chair. She looked up at me and instead of reaching into the pile of presents on the ground, she took a small present out of her purse. I noticed that it was wrapped in black wrapping instead of the colorful red, orange, green, blue wrappings I usually got.
“I was told to give this to you for your thirteenth birthday,” the lady said.
Then, she gestured me to leave. I left and went off to sit at the long table in the main room with other children, who were playing with their newest toy. I saw trains, cars, dolls, and balls. What did I get? I tore off the wrapping and in my hand was a jewelry box with complex looking designs. I put the box down on the white marble table. I was curious as to know what was in the box, so I pushed a gold button on the side of the box that made a click-click sound, and the box's lid sprang open. To my surprise, there was not even one piece of jewelry in it, but a single tiny, black key with a little white skull on the end of the key. The key was extraordinary small! The size of my pinky finger! I took the key out and shook the box upside down to see if there was anything I missed inside. A worn-out brown paper fluttered down, and hit the ground without making a sound. The note was too blotchy and torn to see what it was supposed to say. I could only make out key, and treasure? Ooh la la! Directly below the few words I could see, were faded numbers. It was written in a lovely font. One that I have never seen before. Mmmm. What a strange present. I slumped. I did not see any value in the present at all. I soon became jealous of the other boys and girls who actually got better presents. Though I might be able to sell the key.... but I would need to know some information first. That sounded like a good idea!
Fortunately for me, the library closed at four o'clock on Wednesdays, for it was now three o'clock.The library had a tannish color walls and a red shilling roof. Arches shot from the cement ground, all around the library. I hurried into the old, mission looking library. As I entered the library, the fragrant smell of old books reached my nose. I looked from bookshelves to bookshelves searching for a pirate book. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, since the library was pretty large for an average size library. Finally I gave up, and asked the librarian at the front desk.
“ Librarian? Helloo? Do you have any books on pirates?” I asked glumly.
The lady pulled her glasses all the way to the brim of her nose, and looked up at me as if noticing me for the first time.
“Oh. I am sorry,but we only have one nonfiction pirate book, and that little boy over there is reading it,” she said and pointed to a boy, probably a year younger than me, sitting down with his face buried in a thick, coarse, black book.
I grumbled. How could the library only have one book on pirates? Even the antiques store man knew nothing of pirates! Ridiculous! I sighed. I would just have to be “patient” and wait until that boy finished it. He had black hair and glasses. He looked like a smartie pants.
I walked over to the wooden table where the boy was sitting and was going to ask,”Can I borrow that book when you are done?”
That was when I heard the boy murmuring,”I need a key, I need a key.”
That was also when I noticed his dark, tan fingers clasped around a crumpled, old paper. I looked down at my own hand and it was empty except for the key . My note?!
I was speechless. How did he get my note? I scrambled for words. I wanted to shout at the boy, but fortunately, I remembered that I was in the library. We had to use our “library voices” here, or that mean looking librarian would zero in on us like a bird catching its prey.
“What, when, where, how? That is my note there, boy,” I whispered furiously.
The boy looked up in shock and stuffed the note into his pocket.
“What! What? What note. Hehehe.. I do not see any note,” he coughed up.
“Stop lying. I mean the note you just stuffed into your pocket. Where did you get it?” I said vehemently.
The boy shifted from foot to foot, and then, he spilled the beans,”Well, umm… okay, okay. I will tell you. I was walking to the library to return books, when I found the.. umm.. note on the ground. I picked it up and... hehe..I dropped my books in surprise at the word treasure. As I picked them up, I… well... looked at the barcode numbers on the books and the numbers on the paper. Since I am sooo smart, I made a connection that the numbers on the note were barcode numbers on a book. So..ya..that is pretty much the story. Oh and if you are looking for this book, it is no use. There is only a story and map in here,”
“A map! Let me see that book,” I demanded.
“ As I said before, it is NO use. The book here says you need a key….”
I wondered why the boy stopped talking. I followed the boy’s eyes, and he was looking at the key in my hands. He gaped, and his eyes were as wide as dinner plates. He opened and closed his mouth, but no sound came out.
“No, no, no..” I continued.
“ Oh, yes, yes, yes!” the boy exclaimed.
I hid the key behind my back.
“Here. Let me make a deal with you. I give you the book, and you give me the key.” he said politely and extending the right hand of fellowship.
“No way. Even I am smart enough to not make THAT deal! If you gave me the map, and I had no key, the whole search is useless! Just like you said!” I argued, starting to raise my voice.
“Well.. I need the treasure!” the boy said, also starting to raise his voice.
“So? I am an orphan!”
"But you get to live in a mansion!”
“ It is actually a manor..”
“ Mansion and manor are basically the same thing!”
People started to stare at us, but I wasn’t paying them any attention. Unfortunately, if other people can see us talking overly loud, that meant that we weren’t invisible to the librarian. She slowly stood out of her chair and came coming toward us. The black haired boy was still shouting, and I wasn’t able to tell him to stop, for the librarian was already on top of us. The boy’s shouting slowly decreased to a complete stop. We were eye to eye with the librarian. We stared our innocent eyes back to her angry eyes.
“What do you think you were doing?” I cried out.
Everyone just looked away and continued reading.
Before we could come up with a response, she hissed,”Out I say, out!”
“Great. Now we are kicked out of the library,” the I complained.
“Thank you, for summing that up,” he responded.
“You know….” the boy started.
“Mmmm?” I answered.
“I could still make the deal. I will give you the map, and you can give me the key,” he said.
“Mmmm? Isn’t the book in the library?” I asked.
“Yes it is, but.. but, I said map, not the book. I have the map. See this trusty notebook?” he asked, shoving the blue spiral bound notebook in her face.
“Yes, how could I not?” I answered.
“Good. Thanks to my brilliance, I drew the map down in here,” he responded.
She tried to snatch it, but I drew the notebook back.
“Nice try, but I want the key first,” he demanded.
Of course I said no. We argued some more and more. Of course there was only one option, to be partners. We actually agreed, but we both were none to happy about it. Then came the decision of who got what part of the treasure. I suggested that I get seventy five percent and he can get the other twenty five, but nooo he wanted the seventy five and told me to get the other twenty five percent. Of course there was also only one option, we would both get fifty percent. I really hoped I could trust him. We shook on it, and exchanged our name. Joe was his name. We went our separate ways and scheduled a meeting tomorrow at lunch here in the courtyard of the library. He got up and left, leaving me on the steps of the library.
The next day, I brought my adventure backpack(that included a flashlight, rope, the key, food, and water). We walked out the library into the rainy day, and sat on a bench facing the courtyard fountain. It was circular in shape. Three circles high. It was broken, so no water was flowing out, but the rain filled it up. I took out my notebook and flipped open a page. It had a strange picture. There was one circle, which was in the middle of another circle, which was in a larger circle. In the smallest circle, I tried my best to draw an angel. Then, in the largest circle were wavy lines, like a kindergartner trying to draw water.The fountain! It was circular. The biggest circle in the middle. A medium sized circle on top of that. A smaller sized circle at the top, and at the very top, stood an angel with a lyre in its hands. The angel’s mouth was wide open as if it were singing along with its lyre. The squiggly lines must have indicated water spewing from the fountain!
“Joe. You think too much. The answer is right in front of you,” I told him giving him a shake on the shoulders.
He looked up and his eyes widened. He shook his head and slapped it with the palm of his hands.
“Real?! Why didn’t I think of it?” he shouted.
Joe and I surveyed the fountain checking every notch, ridge, and design. We found nothing. Rain poured on us. I kicked the broken white fountain in frustration. Then, I looked up at the fountain and noticed that something shook a bit out of the angel’s open mouth by the kicking vibration. I thought I was imagining it for it was hard to see through rain, but soon I was sure that there was something in the angel’s mouth. Since I was the tallest, I was to grab it from the angel’s mouth, but yet, I was still not tall enough. I had to stand on the bottom ledge of the bottom circle. It was slippery from the wet rain. I finally regained my balance and stood on the ledge. It was a good thing that Joe is right below me, just in case I do fall. I reached with my hand and groped inside the angel’s mouth. There I felt some sort of lever. I pulled it down with all my might. Suddenly, the fountain started to shake. I slipped and fell off the fountain terrified. The fountain moved to the right, revealing a trapdoor that was once underneath. Joe and I gasped in amazement. I reached over to the trap door and lifted it open. It made a loud creaking noise. A ladder was leading down into endless darkness. I flicked on my flashlight. Eventually, we got the courage to descend down. The trip down seemed endless, but sooner or later, we reached flat rock. It took a moment to get balance on the flat land. I shined my flashlight cautiously. We seemed to be in some kind of living quarters. I very poor, and dirty looking bed lay at the back of the room along with rotting drawers and closets. A torn rug was laid on the dusty floor. A faded picture of a pirate was hung on the wall. A beautifully carved table was sitting in the middle of the room. Cobwebs hung in corners and dust floated about aimlessly. I shuddered in fear. We scanned the room, but nothing seemed harmfull. Soon, we started to explore. We walked toward the picture, and to my surprise it looked just like the lady who gave me the jewelry box for Christmas!! Does she live here??? In one of the drawers we also found a journal. It read:
Horrible news, horrible news! You shall never believe what happened! It is, I believe, devastating. Our ship, the Hot Icey, has… I cannot even say it! But aye, it is true. It has sunk to the bitter bottoms. One cannot say how tremendous it was! I do not know whether or not me fellow crewmates survived. I was found stranded on a deserted island, or I think it is a deserted island, with none of the crew along beside me. Although something did come along shore with me from the ship. Our booty treasure! I had to save it! I hid it and stayed in the cave along the top of some hill. I kissed the key goodbye and threw it away in the ocean. Goodbye, goodbye! I must protect the booty, but if my cabin mates do find this island, I will give them the treasure. They will know how to find it, I hope….. There is a prophecy… that one day a young crew mate of mine will claim the treasure .I will keep my diary here just in case. Crew mate, if you find this diary, the treasure is your locket.
I stood frozen. I looked down to my golden locket. I took it off my neck. At that moment, a light bulb seemed to turn on. I reached into my bag and pulled out the small key. I stuck it in the lock. A perfect fit! I turned it slowly, and pop! the locket opened. With shaky hands, I opened the top as wide as it could go. Inside the locket, was a small rainbow pebble? I took the pebble and held it. Suddenly, a small light shot out of it and a small path of light was leading toward the back wall. Joe and I followed the light surprised and scared. The light seemed to be pointing to a small round hole engraved in the rocky wall. Without thinking, I placed the stone in the hole. Suddenly, the wall started to shudder and vibrate. The wall slid off to the right leaving the stone one the ground. I picked it up and put it back in my locket for safe keeping. When I looked up, I noticed that the wall revealed another room, filled top to bottom with gold coins! Joe and I were overjoyed! Apparently, I had the key to the treasure my whole life! However, someone was in the room with us, the lady who gave me the present! She was standing in the middle of the coins. She strolled across toward me.
“You have found the lost treasure, crew mate! However, keep the rainbow pebble safe, for that is the true treasure. Do not let it go in the wrong hands! Don’t trust anyone!” she exclaimed and suddenly turned to dust!
That may be the end of our present story, but a new one has begun!