Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Tredwell Secret; Chapters 3 and 4

Chapter 3, Wolfsden

It so happened one day that Marcus and Theodore were out and about as they often were in the summer, poking about the nooks and crannies of the little forest that surrounded Birdsbeak Pond. The little forest was enclosed by the borders of three properties; the boys’ family’s farms and Kennick Farm; which was owned by the nicest old couple in the whole world. This was Marcus and Theodore’s secret place, and they knew every inch of it, every fallen log, every bird’s nest, every tree with branches low enough to climb. In summer, if they weren’t rustling about in the trees, they were splashing and snorkeling for treasure in the pond itself, disturbing the ducks and duckweed, and howling like monkeys as they jumped off the great smooth boulder that had someone had called Max, cannonballing into the smooth surface of Birdsbeak Pond.

They had a secret name for the little forest; Wolfsden, despite a wolf having never set paw in that place since the end of the first ice-age. They’d built a small fortification from salvaged planks, logs and other found items under the boughs of a huge old chestnut tree, using the unpleasantly prickly chestnut burrs as their first line of defense against invaders. They also kept a nice neat cone-shaped pile by each window opening for ammunition should monsters, or worse, older sisters come a-calling.

This day, they were replenishing their ammunition stash, for only a week before, Carlotta, Marcus’s older sister had the audacity to approach their headquarters to tell them it was time to go home for supper, and they had been forced to use a good part of their supply of chestnut missiles to send her packing. Marcus had his t-shirt pulled out into a makeshift hammock, wherein Theodore gingerly placed spiky ball after spiky ball. It was as if Marcus was carrying around a pile of sea urchins. They didn’t want to put too large a dent in the supply provided by their own tree, so they moved to another large chestnut some ways from their fort. Here the ground was festooned with spiky burrs from many prior falls.

There was a particularly large pile of them near the trunk, and they immediately bypassed all the scattered ones for the much larger cache. As they approached, they stopped and looked at one another. The pile of burrs had a purposeful air to it. They were neatly stacked in a circular shape, much as they had them piled in their fort. Only this pile was much larger.

“I wonder who could’ve done that?” Marcus mused. “We’d know if someone’d been here.”

Theodore nodded in agreement and sighed. “Well they have no business entering Wolfsden without our permission, so whatever they leave behind is fair game for us,” Theodore decided. With a nod, Marcus stooped, and Theodore filled his shirt up until they were piled so high, any burrs placed on top would only roll away. Theodore also began to fill his own shirt as best he could. As they worked, the area underneath the pile began to reveal itself, and when something caught Theodore’s eye. Suddenly their spike-ball ammunition supply wasn’t very important anymore… not when there was something hidden underneath all the burrs.

Chapter 4, The Treasure

“What do you think it could be?” Theodore wondered. Despite having pretty much everything in common, Theodore and Marcus looked very different. One was golden, and the other very dark. Theodore was fair-skinned with a head full of sleek, jet black hair. His eyes were as blue as the sky. Marcus’s skin had a peachier tone than his companion; with a permanent blush on his cheeks. His hair was golden blond, with a slight curl to the shag, and he had a soft spray of freckles across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. His eyes too were the same sparkling blue. Marcus’s sisters were also golden creatures, as was his mother. Theodore’s family all had the dark, straight hair and light eyes; his sister Eugena’s were purple. Both of the boys’ fathers were brown haired, browned-eyed, ordinary-looking sort of fellows. They were also very tall. They stood out like sore thumbs from mass of raven and golden haired heads all around them when the two families gathered, as they frequently did.

“I haven’t a clue. There’s only one way to find out!” Marcus stooped and gingerly brushed aside the remaining burrs that sat on the object. It was a plain box, made of some sort of wood that had long since lost its lacquer. The wood was still strong and hard, even though it was grey from exposure, and stained around the edges by the moist, dark humus that encased it. It was a circular box. Marcus and Theodore both reached in and found the edges, pulling it up. It was shallow, only six or eight inches in depth, and had squat little cabriole feet made of some unknown, tarnished metal. There was a lock mechanism on what they determined was the front, that could only be opened by a combination dial. There were six number wheels next to one-another, imbedded in the tarnished metal latch. They were currently set on 0-0-0-0-0-0. Marcus gave the button a try just for the sake of it, in the vain hope that the latch would just pop open. The button did not budge.

“What do you suppose the code is?”

“How should I know?” Theo snapped. He sat down on the ground and lifted the box, looking underneath it. Something rather heavy and metal sounding moved and rattled inside it as he did, and they both smiled. Then he looked at the underside of the box, and grinned.

“Look,” he turned it full up, and they both cocked their heads to read what it said. On the bottom side, in carved curly letters that had been stained dark, it said:
"The Moon, The Sun
The Night, The Day
One Birth, Then The Next
Then The Separation
Will Give Way."

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Marcus grumbled after reading it aloud at the same time as his friend. Theodore shrugged.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

“We shall go and ask Carlotta. Sisters are always sensible,” Marcus declared with a touch of woe, “especially older sisters.” Theodore pursed his lips for a moment and then frowned. He supposed that was true. His eldest sister Eugena was extremely sensible, which was one of the most annoying of all her irritating sisterly traits.

“Then we shall,” Theodore agreed. He lifted the round box, and they both marched off across the Kennick Farm’s sheep field to do exactly that.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

More please :-) You are such a great writer, m'dear :-)


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