The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Emma Philbrook
the Times 

The lost treasure is retrieved, yet the journey is still in peril

 


Had the Curse of the Lost Security Deposit not loomed in the temporal distance, our intrepid adventurer might well have ceased her quest for the Lost Treasure of Apartment 1B rather than brave the belly of the Ford Fusion. Marked as sacred by the Ground Transportation Gods, it was taboo to cause it any injury. But the Fusion shared no such concern for the welfare of its riders, and the labyrinthine streets of South Bend, Indiana, were no willing ally to our adventurer and her mother.

"Turn the air conditioner down!" the latter shouted, struggling to recall all four of the names of the street she wished to turn onto. (The superstitious natives of Indiana give roads many different and interchangeable names, rename them at arbitrary points, and lay them out according to unknowable geometry in order to confuse evil spirits.)

"I'm trying!" cried the intrepid adventurer, bracing herself against the icy blast of the Fusion's six slatted mouths. "I can't read these hieroglyphics!"

"This is a new car!" her mother replied. "You have to read the ones on the tablet!"

"I know, I know, I'm looking!" She reached desperately for one likely marking only to be jolted backwards as the Fusion leapt out of a pothole. "Here, I think that's it."

The Fusion begrudgingly ceased its hissing. What had appeared to be an L – forming the first character of the marking "LO," an abbreviation of the pejorative "Lowly Organisms", which is frequently used by cars to insult their riders – righted itself to form the 7 in "70," a much more agreeable temperature after such an ordeal.

At long last, they reached the velvety new roads of the Valley of the Golden Dome, where ages ago a scholarly brotherhood had established its seminary. Following the brotherhood's decision to expand its offerings to include more lucrative degree programs, and after the passage of centuries, sufficient alumni donations had come in to provide not only for the titular golden dome but for the luxuriant landscaping and tasteful architecture that occupied the surrounding acres. Our heroes stepped out into the tree-lined parking lot of the complex which contained Apartment 1B, and after some trepidation they steeled their courage to enter.

From her satchel, our intrepid adventurer retrieved the keys she had kept with her for long months, keys on which her salvation now hinged. After a few unsuccessful attempts, she finally remembered which of the keys on her ring fit this door and slowly turned it in the lock.

The door swung open.

It was an eerie sight, a place frozen in a distant age. By the front door hung a blue coat whose owner might have left it there only yesterday. Long-dry dishes sat on a rack by the sink. The clocks on the stove and the microwave had never been adjusted for daylight savings time. The odor was only vaguely more horrifying than our intrepid adventurer remembered, and she hadn't left her desk in as bad a state as she'd feared. No, there was no danger here.

There is little to be said of the treasure's retrieval, which was a simple if tedious process. That which could not be sent back to civilization via courier was ensconced within a cave in the great aluminum Valley of Salf-Storaj. Then there was the matter of ritual cleansing to evade the curse, made slightly more difficult as the intrepid adventurer's roommate had beaten them there and taken several of the most powerful relics, including the vacuum.

Nevertheless, by the night before their departure, the place was move-in ready and empty of all but what our heroes could carry with them. The Treasure was won, the Curse nearly defeated, but –

"Good Evening, Ms. Intrepid Adventurer!" snarled a voice from the darkness. "There has been a slight change to your flight schedule."

CONTINUED...

 

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