Treasure (continued 4)

I returned to the little town later and stayed in the same “cheap motel” as it had been so kindly described by what I was now referring to in my thoughts as “my stranger”. I had taken odd jobs here and there, long enough to save money enough to pull up roots and wander again. I had felt unsettled, admitting now that I had felt that way since I was a teenager, and, as inexplicable as it seemed, this was the one place I had lost that unsettled feeling one evening turned to night about one year ago. I picked up the paper in the tiny lobby as I sat down to eat my continental breakfast. As I turned a page, a small obituary stopped my hand, leaving my next bite untaken. It was she, no doubt: the dry, black hair; the harsh, definitive profile; the eyes the color of a turbulent sea.

I felt a hand on my shoulder, and looked up. An overweight man in a black silk suit asked my name and sat across from me.

“Ah. I see you’ve been reading the death announcement. She became very ill a few months ago, called my office and asked that I find you and give you this.”

It was a copy of her will.

“She wrote it in my presence. It’s all legal.”

I scanned the type.

“Everything?” I asked, stupefied, unsure what I would do with worn, clompy brown shoes.

“She had no one. Not after her husband died. Here are the keys to the house. It’s the stone one on the hill. I’m sure you noticed it as you entered town.”

“I only recall a . . . what looked like a large . . . house.” I gave up trying to describe what I had seen.

He nodded. “Moved in as a young couple. Crazy in love, those two. He was away on business when he was hit by a little Honda. She wished she’d died with him. Never got over it.”

Upon those words, I was immediately transported back to the day when, as a careless teenager, driving much faster than the limit, I had killed a man. I felt the blood drain from my face.

He shook his head and then roused himself. “A very large estate indeed. That’s the one.”

He fished out another set of keys.

“Here,” he said handing them to me. “The keys to her cars. The Mercedes is parked in front,” he nodded out the window. “You might call the salvage yard to pick up that piece of junk,” he chuckled as he pointed to my Honda, the only car I had ever owned.

As he rose to leave, I called, “Wait! I . . . I don’t know what to do.”

“Why don’t you go home?” he laughed as he walked out the door.

I found it the moment I entered the house. A note lay on a table in the large entryway of the mansion. It said simply, “Do you wish to play a game?” Then I heard a familiar shriek.

to be continued . . .

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