It was 11:00PM and I was still wide awake. I needed to sleep but couldn't for some reason. It had been four days of trying but my eyes wouldn't stay shut. I close them, and only after a few seconds they want to open again. It’s also been 4 days since my grandfather passed away from a boating accident. I was starting to think that somehow the two were connected.
He only lived about 15 miles away, so I decide to take a drive over there. When I got there my grandma was still awake but tired. She had been dealing with family all day and had to take care of some last-minute details for the funeral service. We talked for a bit, mostly about Baba, that’s what I called him. I told her I wanted to look around at his stuff in the basement and the garage, she said okay then went to bed. I started in the basement. It was finished with a built-in bar, and over the years he put up a few walls to divide the space up a bit. I went into his little makeshift office where he worked. He dabbled a little in the stock market after retiring as a naval captain in the armed forces and this is where he spent a lot of time. I took a seat in his chair at the desk, then started looking through drawers. It was just a bunch of receipts, pens, pencils and junk from what I saw. I must have spent 30 min down there looking through each room that had stuff to look through. I was about ready to call it and go to the garage but was stopped in my tracks when I heard a voice. I thought it was my grandma, but she was on the top floor and it didn’t sound like her. I thought to myself “Whatever” I Grabbed the bannister and started walking up the steps. Then I heard it again. It was a slow, low pitched tone and i could swear it said, “Find it!” I must admit I was a little freaked out but remembered that I haven’t slept so I must be going delusional or something. There it goes again! “Find IT! Find it boy!” Now that was Baba, he use to call me boy whenever he wanted me to pay attention to something. I started looking around in all directions. I even started calling out his name. Oh my God, was he speaking to me from the dead or was I just going crazy. I ran upstairs and closed the door behind me.
Panting with confusion I stood there with my back to the basement door. I didn’t know what to do. I walked to fridge, grabbed a bottle of water and went and sat down on the couch. I didn’t hear the voice anymore, so I sat there wondering what was going on with me. I thought about going to the garage to look through stuff but instead I went back to the basement, I had to find out if it would happen again. After about 2 minutes of being down there I heard it again, "Find it, Find It...Find it here" I looked around again and then said. “Baba! Is that you? What are you trying to tell me, Find What?” It was silent for a min then he said, “The forest, find the forest… in the forest boy”. I didn’t know what to think. Here I am, sleep deprived in my grandparent’s basement talking to a dead guy about finding something. But I wanted to be there, it felt like we were together. I decided to stay and try to figure out this riddle. I started looking around for what seemed like an hour or so. I was getting so aggravated, how the hell am I supposed to find a forest in someone’s basement. Not even 5 seconds after I had that thought, I saw something that grabbed my attention. It was like a moment of realization. I couldn’t stop looking at it. Was this what he was talking about? Above his desk on the wall was a painting of a child holding a single blue balloon playing in the forest. I took a deep breath, no, several deep breaths and sat in his chair to look at the painting. I think I found what he wanted me to find. What to do now. I hoped and prayed that this was it. First, I needed to relax to a beer or something. There was a homemade wooden bar down there so there must be alcohol right? I was on the verge of an anxiety attack and needed something bad. I went behind the bar and saw at least a dozen unopened bottles of imported vodka in the cabinet. I hoped no one cared which one I was about to open because it was gonna happen. I grabbed the closest one, opened it and chugged a good 2 or 3 shots. Now, I was ready to “Look in the forest”. I walked over to the painting. Looked around it, nothing was out of the ordinary. I jumped onto the desk and grabbed it on either side and took it off the wall. Behind it was a little metal door, like a fuse box would have. I set the painting down on the desk then I reached up to open the door. It made the familiar squeaky sound of rust as it opened. I didn’t see anything. I grabbed a lighter out of my pocket and sparked up a flame at the opening. That’s when I saw a small black notebook along with some small velvet sacks. I brought everything out and laid it on the desk. The sacks were filled with silver bars and old coins. I thought to myself “Cool, I didn’t know he collected coins”. Then I turned my attention to the notebook. Inside were index cards taped to some of the pages. They all had stuff written on them but it didn’t make much sense to me. I gathered everything up to take with me anyway. I tried talking to Baba again, but the voice did not return. I miss him so much.
I sobered up a bit before making the drive home, went to my room to lay on the bed and just kept thinking about tonight. Next thing you know I’m waking up. I did it! I finally got a good night's rest. It was almost 10am so I took a shower and went to my parents’ house. My dad was there reading the paper as usual. I sat with him and began to tell my story of how Baba came to me and wanted me to find something. I brought everything that was hidden in the wall out on the table for him to see. He thought my story was crazy and probably didn't believe me. He then started looking through the stuff. He was like,
“Wow! Silver. I didn’t know the old boy collected it”.
Then he grabbed the little black notebook, opened it, looked at some of the index cards then looked at me with concerning eyes and said,
“Where did you get this?”
“I told you already, in the wall behind that painting above his desk”
My dad couldn't contain his excitement
“Do you know what this is? Of course you don’t, your too stupid and need to go back to college. Show me where you found this.”
With that, we drove to Baba’s house. On the way there he kept talking about money and seemed elated. We all knew that Baba had a will and were expecting a small sum of money to be distributed amongst us, but this was something different.
When we got there grandma was getting ready to go somewhere. My dad told her to wait a minute because we discovered something. I took him to the basement and showed him where I found it. I was dumbfounded to see that the painting was hung back on the wall in the same place where I took it down from. I'm positive I left it on the desk. We went back upstairs and sat with her at the kitchen table. My father began to speak.
“Mom I don’t know how to say this, but daddy kept something from you, from us.”
He gave her the black notebook. She looked through it and was like
"What is this? I don't get it”
“WHAT IS THIS! This is a fortune. Each one of these cards are worth something, and I can tell you that this one here is worth over 90,000 dollars. These are passwords to accounts and these are amounts in the accounts. The old bird was cashing in on the stocks and hiding money. He came to Jamie last night and told him where to find this. It’s unreal but it’s true.”
My grandma was confused to hell, I myself didn’t know what to think, I had so many questions. Why did he come to me? was the first one. I got the chills then joined my dad in excitement. My grandma said to tell her about it when she gets back, and she left. My dad rushed to her computer and started looking up these accounts and each one was legit. He even started calling the banks. Gloria Chambers, my grandma’s name was listed on all of them. He totaled them up and according to him the combined worth was 564,019. My dad called my mom over and told her the good news. She kept looking at me weird after hearing the story and asked me if I saw his spirt. I answered,
“No, only heard his voice. Sometimes it sounded like it was coming from every direction, other times it sounded like it was coming from within my head, I thought I was going insane until he called me Boy, that’s when I knew it was him”
She smiled as a single tear streamed down her cheek and we hugged. We decided to start boxing up some of Baba’s things while we waited for grandma to return. She came back with groceries and fresh flowers for the house. We were all starring at her at the same time. She said,
“What are you looking at?” My mom returned with “Nothing, we just love you that’s all.” Then my dad spoke,
“Let me show you something mom”
We all went into the den where her computer is set up. By this time he had printed out all the account information from the banks and gave them to her. She put on her reading glasses and began reading. Her facial expression kept changing, then she asked,
“Who’s money is this?” My dad was like,
“It’s yours, well ours if you’re going to share... Who knows why he didn’t tell anyone about it, maybe it was supposed to be a surprise at some point.” She started sobbing while she skimmed through the rest of the documents. My mom gave her a tissue, then my grandma said,
“I can’t keep all of this money. You and Sandy can have it.”
She was talking about my dad and his sister. Then a light bulb must of turned on in her head because her eyes lit up, she got up and went straight to her bedroom and started frantically going through a mahogany chest on the floor. She stopped when she found something and pulled it out. She said, “Jacob told me if he ever died to give this to Jamie.” It was small silver and black box. I slowly opened it and inside was Baba’s Medal of Honor that he received for saving civilians during operation Desert Storm. I was in a state of awe, it was beautiful, it was amazing. Everyone was looking at it with surprise and a little jealousy. I grabbed it out of the box, held it up in the air and Yelled “THANK YOU BABA! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!”
Over the next few months, I did some serious soul searching but finally decided it was time. I did it! I enlisted in the same Naval academy Baba Started his career. He was my inspiration. My parents agreed to let me keep the silver and the old coins. I cashed in the bars and got a whopping 20,000 out of it. Everything was coming together quite nicely. Now, it was time to get my own act together and follow in the footsteps of a secret genius that did so many great things in his 71 years of life. Thank you Baba for everything. Love you always.
About the Creator
Creative writer in the Northeast US who loves the paranormal, mystery, true crime, horror, humor, fantasy and poetry. Take a chance, you'll be thoroughly entertained.
"Life is Love Experienced" -LW