Five Card Story: The Path to Treasure

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a Five Card Flickr story by Ella L. created Oct 07 2020, 09:55:10 pm. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) bionicteaching (3) Serenae (4) bionicteaching (5) bionicteaching

about this story

The streets in the city are crowded and busy. They always are on the nights of the annual Harvest Festival, Saiphon City throws a bigger and better show every year. The roads fill up with tents, stalls, and pedestrians, echoing sounds of celebration. It is the perfect night for a 12 year-old girl like me to disappear unnoticed.
I walk against the crowd and away from the festival until I reach an old mansion at the end of the road. Directly behind it is Tulgey Woods, but I am not here to get lost in the dense forest. Whoever owns the house at the edge of the city never uses it, which makes sense when you see how beyond repair the building is. The trademark red bricks, which are an identifiable part of the city's old architecture, seem to be the only things keeping the mansion from crumbling in on itself. I scan the street behind me for any people, and find none. Spirits rising, I walk right past the "No Trespassing" sign on the wall of the house and towards the rear of the building, positive that no one will be here to stop me.
I explore the side of the house slowly, even though I know what I am looking for is not here. I didn't anticipate the path leading towards the garden stretching for so long, and soon my legs ache from climbing over brush and building rubble. Looking up towards one of the stained glass windows, I blink in confusion. Did I imagine a candle flickering out on the other side? Surely no one would have been there to light it.
Suddenly, an explosion lights up the night sky above me, followed by a loud boom. I stumble into the woods, frightened by the flash. But it was only a firework from the festival, and I feel foolish for being so jumpy. The dark night is playing tricks on my wits. I gather them quickly and move back to the trail only to fall over my feet again. I see that I tripped on a small piece of wired fence buried in the ground. I bend down to look at it closer and discover the edge of another, long-forgotten trail into the woods. It is marked only by a wire fence on either side. I am certain this is the path I was searching for, the one that is supposed to lead me towards a treasure.
The trail is steeper than the last one and so overgrown, it can hardly be called a path. If it weren't for the wire fence, I would have no idea how to follow it through the woods. Still I flounder blindly forward, motivated by my find and anxious to see where it leads. After walking for about a mile or so, the ground finally levels out and the trees around me thin. Where could I possibly be in the forest? I have lost all sense of direction, but I know I should be nearing the center of Tulgey Woods. After turning a corner, I see a flickering light ahead.
I pick up my pace to a trot, desperate for my adventure to not end in vain. I run out of the trees and into a clearing, just stopping myself from falling into water. The trail has lead me to a small pond in the woods, one I have never heard of before. It appears to glow in the moonlight, like a firefly at midnight. I lift my arms up to the stars in triumph, for this has to be the site of the treasure! I am so caught up in my silent celebration, that I forget about the light at the edge of the pond. A light that has been covered by a hand so I do not see it approaching me. The person who carries it is the same one who created the fenced path.
I thought no one used the house because nobody ever entered it.
I never thought it was abandoned because somebody has never left it.

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flickr photo credits: (1) bionicteaching (2) bionicteaching (3) Serenae (4) bionicteaching (5) bionicteaching

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