-America Can Write Mission One- Jake's Entry
Posted June 17th, 2008 by JakeS
June 17th, 2008
The dark sky followed by the glowing stars lit the way home. Hi my name is Carly Benton I have curly blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyway enough about me lets get back to the story. Yesterday I found a silver locket necklace. Instead of a picture it, had the words stuck written on it. It was kind of weird but also cool so I picked it up. The worst mistake I could ever make. And this is how it starts....
Before I get into the story, maybe I should take you back to before I found the necklace.
I dismounted my bike, frowning as I pondered what I would find behind the red door before me. Cabbage Pie? Chocolate covered chicken… and I dare say—makeover.
I shuddered at the thought, closing my eyes as my finger embraced the long thin doorbell. A corny melodic tune began to play, quiet steps building to a thunderous roar. Suddenly the door opened, I flinched as Aunt Petunia leaned in grasped me by the cheeks. “Oh your so big!” she cried, rubbing her long bony fingers through my thick hair, and planting a big wet one on my cheek. She pulled me through the door, bouncing giddily like a kangaroo and clapping her hands in excitement.
I will not give details of what happened to me over the next three hours, as it embarrasses me to say; but I will say this—they were the worst three hours of my young adult life.
The clock struck eight o’clock, my heart giving a leap as I jumped to my feet. “Sorry Petunia! Though it pains me to say it… I must go home,” I murmured, grabbing my backpack and walking across the threshold of the door. “Oh do come again!” she shouted hopefully as I slammed the door shut and jumped on my bike. I must say, I was very proud of my acting skills.
It was a short ride back home, the full moon gleaming like a shimmering coin suspended in the sky. I turned my head back towards the ground, my hair swiftly wrapping around my head, blinding my view as I perilously pedaled away. I brushed my hair off of my face… and then I saw it. It was cast across the concrete, glistening in the moonlight. I quickly hit the breaks, it was worth taking a look, even if it was just an old soda can. I picked it up, rubbing it in my hand like a jewel. It was glassy silver, and was shaped as a heart. Perhaps taking the trip to Aunt Petunia’s was a happy mistake, perhaps it was fate; I will never know.
I rushed through the front door of the house, pretending that I had nothing to hide; stuffing my hands under my jacket and trudging up the stairs like a criminal. “Carly, how’s Petunia?” mom shouted, wiping her hand with a wash towel as she walked from out of the kitchen. I didn’t answer, continuing to pretend that I hadn’t heard her. She called again, following me up the stairs persistent in her desire to talk to me.
I frantically ran to my room, jumping on my bed and hiding the locket in my bedside drawer just in the knick of time. This time she burst into the room, grasping her washcloth at her side with one hand and with the other holding the rusty old doorknob in place. “How’s petunia?” she asked once more, smiling as she stared me directly in the eyes. “What are you talking about?” I asked; anxiously attempting to change the conversation and get her out of the room as soon as possible. “You did go see Aunt Petunia didn’t you?” asked Mom, approaching me like a prosecutor. “Oh you mean that Petunia?” I answered, desperately attempting to recover. “Do you know any other Petunia’s?” she asked chuckling. “Yeah there’s a girl at school named Petunia,” I lied as I rearranged my seating on the bed to make things seem more natural. I regret now ever telling that puny lie. “Oh… what’s her last name?” mom asked, seeming to jump on my every word as though she could see right through me. “I don’t know—er—I never asked,” I answered, but such a retort was insufficient for mom. “Let’s look her up in the yearbook,” mom said reaching to grab the handle of my bedside drawer (the very place where the locket had been hidden). I leapt to stop her, grasping her hand as she embraced the silver handle.
“Carly?” asked mother in curious tone, looking me in the eyes like she had figured out the puzzle. My gaze faltered as she stared at me, and I quickly looked at the floor. “Oh I get it,” said mother smiling. My heart skipped a beat. This was it, she had finally pieced it together in her mind, and I was going to be grounded for yet another “glorious” month. “You’ve been writing girly stuff in your yearbook… nothing out of the ordinary, I used to do the same thing when I was your age,” completed mom. This was better than nothing, at least she hadn’t found the locket. Mom pulled my hand off of hers and walked from the room; rather pleased with her quick wit.
I reached from across my bed, opening the drawer and pulling from it the silver locket. It was now clear in the light of my bedroom that the front had been neatly engraved with what seemed to be a persons initials.
I stuck my fingernail in the crack that would pry the locket open, and with several minutes labor had finally opened the locket. Inside the locket was what seemed to be a tattered, torn, and wrinkled piece of parchment. I swiftly unraveled it, careful not to tear it. It did seem to be just any sort of piece of paper… but instead it was a note. The note read as follows.
The conditions from which I am writing this note are not comfortable. It is raining outside, and the cell in which I sit is cold and uncomfortable. The only light that I have is coming from an old wax candle that doesn’t smell good and my clothes have not been washed in weeks. But this however, does not put a damper on my spirit… for I have almost uncovered the cipher that has sat before me since I was brought to this place as consequence for my previous failure, but still again this does not damper my spirit. Tomorrow I shall be released, and when interviewed before my exit I will be asked if I intended to do this again… my obvious answer shall be “no” and I will pray the lord’s prayer, and I will walk out of here with my chin held high like a soldier. But the true purpose of this note is to forward the information that I have uncovered from the cipher.
The six letter keyword is: locked; and from this keyword I have uncovered the sentence that is ‘The cat perches at Lockwood Birches’. Of course Lockwood Birches being capitalized and meaning that it must be a name. Now Lockwood Birches was an old butler who went on to write a series of proverbs that we now use in the city of Cocksville.
But among these famous proverbs comes one that stands high above the others, the most famous of his quotes—‘The tower is built of strong bricks and concrete, so must you be built of bricks and concrete to face the challenge.’
But as a conspiracy, I believe that this quote was not intended to be a life lesson; but instead a hint that would point us to the end… to the very thing that we have been searching for. You see, Lockwood’s home can be found in the city park, it has now since his death in 1882 become a historical museum; this plantation is most famous for it’s bell tower; also made of bricks and concrete, which brings us to connection with the quote. But now I’m sure you wonder what he has to do with the prize.
Back in 1879 Lockwood came into an enormous sum of money…known effectionally by reference as the ‘Lockwood fortune’. I believe that Thomas Houston (the previous owner of the treasure that we now seek) realized that some people were looking for him and he desperately needed to find someone who could keep the money until he had returned. Thomas was a good friend of Lockwood, which I believe can give us the connection between the two. Meet me tomorrow at the Lockwood Plantation at three o’clock sharp… I’ll be waiting.
In your partnership,
I quickly folded the note into a neat square and shoved it into the locket, closing it and pondering. There were many questions I could ask myself, which I wish had been included in the note. He was sitting in a jail cell? What did he do that got him in jail?
These were all questions I pondered as I stared blankly at the creamy colored ceiling. By the sound of it these men were going to try and steal the Lockwood treasure… a treasure that was greatly invested into the roots of the city. And the worst part about it was that no one else knew except me. The police would think I was playing jokes, and my parents just wouldn’t believe me. Come on, I couldn’t just sit there and watch these men take away something that was historically entrenched in our city; what would you do?
My clock struck seven o’clock in the morning and I leapt quickly to my feet. An early start on the day would ensure that I was ready when the men had come. I rushed downstairs, mom trying to convince me to at least take a bite of breakfast before I headed out. “No thanks, I’m not hungry. And besides, I don’t have time,” I said turning and smiling as I sprinted out the door.
I could now see the Lockwood plantation out in the front of my view. It was beautiful… made of both bricks and concrete just as the note had said. Of course, this was not the first time I had been there. In the second grade we had gone on a field trip there. I remembered in the back of my mind, eating drumstick ice cream with the whole class on the benches out front. But now was no time for memories of pleasure, I had a mission.
I dismounted my bike and took a seat on a bench in the front, pulling from my backpack a book that I had been reading and occasionally reading the note… which I had cleverly slipped into the spine of the book. It was a long, boring, and grueling wait; but finally the clock struck three o’clock. Still no one was there, unless these brilliant conspirators were in khaki shorts and Ballner Elementary knit shirts. I though to myself… perhaps they had called it off, perhaps it was bate, maybe this note had not been written yesterday. But there was one thing I knew, only one of the conspirators would show, because who ever the note was to; it never got there because I had intercepted it in the middle. It was another five minutes before I saw a man in a dark brown jacket and blue jeans walk into the courtyard. He did not seem conspicuous, he occasionally looked around at the plantation… maybe he was looking for where the treasure might be hidden… or maybe he was just a curious tourist. He turned his head and looked me in the eye for a second, but afraid that he might suspect me of something I pretended to read my book. He looked at the clock, surely this must be him. He hurried up the stairs and through the large front door, I followed quickly behind.
I was now standing in the foyer, and across the room I could see him standing there. He was leaned against the stairs, occasionally looking up them and then around to see if anyone was looking. I once again hid myself in my book and waited to see what he would do, and within seconds of doing so he had rushed up the stairway. It was now apparent that this man was the one that I had been looking for. I followed again, but cautiously… if he were to see me upstairs he would know for sure that I had been watching him, and he would immediately either run away, or kidnap me. Both would destroy my plan.
When I had gotten upstairs he was standing by yet another set of stairs. However, these ones had an inscripted sign that read ‘OFF LIMITS TO ALL’. But even this did not stop him, he quickly maneuvered himself under the chain and rushed up. I was precautious to follow but then realized that I would surely have waisted my time coming here if I wasn’t going to stop the man. I quickly followed, this time not caring whether or not he saw me… which I now realize was a pretty stupid thing to do. The two of us were now standing atop the bell tower, no room to move around… just a few feet to walk around the enourmous bell which had been engraved with a lion. It was now making sense… ‘the cat perches at Lockwood Birches’. The cat is referring directly to the bell itself, which means that the treasure was somewhere inside the bell.
“What are you doing kid!” shouted the man at me, peering around to bell. “Stopping you!” I shouted, dodging the bell as it slowly rocked back and forth to mark three o’clock. There was a few seconds tussle, as the two of us moved this way and that. “Where’s the treasure!?” shouted the man, trying to scream over the ringing bell. “I’ll never tell you!” I shouted, trying to be brave, but inside my heart was bouncing like a bunny rabbit. I now got on my knees to see if the treasure had been hidden inside the bell, but with a few seconds examination, found that there was nothing in it. “You’re to late anyways!” I shouted at the man, who now stood right over me. “What?” cried the man, his face bending and contorting to show his dissatisfaction. “The treasure’s gone!” I screeched, rocking this way and that to dodge the bell… but on the third ring after having shouted this last remark I took a heavy blow to my side which sent me over the side of the tower. I quickly grasped the mans leg, holding myself up with one hand. And then I realized what was going on… there was no treasure at all—at least not in hundred dollar bills. “The fortune is completely spent!” I shouted, smiling even through my fear. “What are you talking about kid?” the man shouted back at me. “Lockwood had the money made into something new,” I began, my smile now bigger than ever. “Lockwood had the money forged into a bell… this bell. The cat in your cipher is the bell!” I shouted, now regretting having told him I knew about the cipher. “You intercepted my note?” he shouted, bending down to release me from his ankle. I was now more scared than I had ever been. One by one he slipped my sweaty fingers of his boot until finally I was holding on by my index finger… and then it happened I slipped completely, taking a short plunge to the roof below. It was now obvious to everyone around the plantation what was going on… how could you miss a thirteen year old girl hanging from a bell tower.
I looked back up, the man was quickly shuffling through the tower trapdoor. “Everyone! Stop him!” I shouted from atop the roof, everyone maneuvering to have a hand in the capture of this thief. In the end he ended up back in that jail cell, and I was listed in the newspaper as a town hero… assisting in the capture of a dangerous fugitive (Gerald Abner Bradford or G.A.B), and foiling the theft of our cities greatest treasure. I received a metal from the mayor, and was aknowleded in the museum. Just a few weeks later the police back tracked the letter and found the man who should have been at the theft. He too was given a jail cell… however, even through this, and through many high aknowledments by the city; my mother still liked for me to visit Petunia every once and a while, but it was less boring… I guess hearing my story brought out the adventurer in her.
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