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Unexpected Trials

by Douglas Troy Landers 9 months ago in fact or fiction

The journey of treasure

“Am I the only one who can do this work,” I wondered. It was the third consecutive day of me staying four hours later than everyone else, but this isn’t uncommon. It seems to be happening more and more but with my financial burdens, I can’t look for anything better. My days seem endless to the agonizing pain of working for nothing. “Thank you Salary,” as if it’s the cause of all my problems. Finally, I am able to leave the confinement of this prison-like establishment we call work.

“Ding,” the elevator sounds as I reach the ground floor. My eyes focused on the door like a sniper waiting for the perfect shot. I walked calmly to the front door. “Have a good night!” The security guard greeted me as I took long strides towards the door. “You as well,” I replied as I thought how happy I was to leave this place and he was stuck. Stuck there as I had been all day. The doors open and I’m met with the noise of the traffic and movement of the city. Skyscrapers carve into the clouds, vanishing behind the blanket of fluff.

“Three blocks until the subway,” I keep telling myself to build up enthusiasm for finally being off for the weekend. Passing by the people and cars seemed relentless, but it’s the only way to make it to the comfort of my abode. Down the stairs to the subway, instruments in the distance from the street musicians trying to make some money doing things they love. Jealousy. The only word to come to mind to describe them. They enjoy what they do day in day out. Yeah life is hard but there is a bliss to what they do. A meaning of being free and making a living their way. Oh the jealousy.

“Screeeeeecccchhh!” the grinding of metal from the train coming to a stop. I step on and get ready for another 30 minutes of stop and go from the multiple stations between me and my exit. Joy begins to consume me the closer I become to my destination. “Greed,” the old man across from me blurts out randomly. “It’s the destruction of our souls. Can you see it!” The old man staring at me with pale grey eyes. “Don’t let it destroy your soul as well. There are always places where treasure hides. You just got to find it!” Directing all his messages towards me. “Two more stops,” thinking to myself trying to ignore the intense nature of the man in front of me.

The train stops and the doors slide open and a sigh of relief flutters out of my mouth. The old man gets up continuing to preach his life lessons. Even though I have been waiting all day for this moment, I pause to allow the old man enough time to get on his way out of my life. I exit the train and I see the old man walking slowly towards a pillar holding up the world above.

“Ugurrrggggg,” the old man grabs his heart and falls backwards behind the wall out of sight. As I hear the grunts and groans, I quickly rush to make sure he is alive and doesn’t need any assistance. I turn the corner with the intent of helping him to my fullest, but he was gone. A little black book laid on the ground where he would have fallen. I look around. “Hello. Sir.” I called out loudly trying to hear any feedback from this old man who seemed to be having a stroke, but no one replied. I look at the black book and slowly pick it up, expecting a trap.

“Boom!” I twist around expecting something big to attack me only to see a toppled trash can. A silver fox darts out of the trash and skurries out of the subway tunnel. “And now a fox down here of all places?”I think to myself of these crazy events happening so close together. I let a sigh of relief out as I put the book in my jacket pocket. “Finally, I can go home.” I say to myself and start to ascend the stairs to the surface.

Errrrreeeek, the door creaks open as I successfully make it home and enter my house. “I really need to oil that,” I express to myself as the loud door announces my arrival. Sluggishly walking to my room turning lights on then back off as I make my way through the house. “Finally,” I plowed my body into the bed after this exhausting day has drained every inch of my energy.

Darkness. My eyes crack open to see the dark room lighten slightly from the ambient light outside. I stare across the room at my jacket hanging from the chair. ”I wonder what time it is.” And then I noticed the book and remembered the crazy events that happened the day before. I get up from the bed and walk to my jacket. I grab the book and turn on the lamp next to the chair and table. I sit down and stare at the book for a moment and the voice of the old man begins to hallucinate out of the book itself. I shake my head to see if I can shake the voices out. And it works, or so I had hoped. I slowly open the book waiting for something to fly out as if a spell that releases a monster is on the other side. My mind was trying to prepare for anything and my senses were heightened. The book is completely open now but only to find out that there is just one price of paper left. It seems as if someone ripped all the pages out and left one, the first one.

40.7665074 -- 73.9748415

The first things written on the piece of paper. “What do these numbers mean,” I think to myself. My eyes continue down the page to read the only line below the numbers.

“Under the largest tree, X-marks the spot.”

Unclear what anything meant I decided to do the one thing I knew that would help clear things up. I grabbed my phone and began to look up the phrase on the internet. After searching for a few minutes and only coming up with pirate terms and lumberjack sports. I decided to refocus my attention on the numbers. I typed in the numbers onto the web browser and it took me to the maps. “Coordinates.” It was in the middle of a part not too far from me. I gather my shoes, jacket, and the little black book and make my way to the door getting dressed as I move.

Walking down just four blocks I come to the park that the coordinates take me. As I walk through the park I watch a little squirrel gather as many acorns as he can.

“Caw!” A crow wing flatters rapidly as it takes off. I jump back grabbing my chest. “Whew. That was unexpected. “ I tell myself to help calm down and relieve my anxiety.

Finally the biggest tree closest to the coordinates. I creep around the tree. “There you are.” I found the x carved into the base of the tree. I begin digging right at the base of the tree. A few digs in and my shovel hits something. Hoping it wasn’t just a root, I began digging faster at the chance of a chest.

“Yes!” Induced in an excited rampage I pull the chest out of the dirt. I unlatch the chest and inside I find $20,000 dollars and a piece of paper that seems to have been ripped out of a book. I look at the paper and see another set of numbers and another message under it. And then hallucinations of the voice of the old man pass through my thoughts briefly.

“Greed!!!”

fact or fiction

Douglas Troy Landers

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