Adriana thought about it and Garret was right. She didn’t have to go. She didn’t need a brush with the cops when she knew there was treasure hidden in these woods.
“Sorry, Garret.” Adriana said more to herself than to him. She turned back to the woods and started moving quickly toward the campsite. There should be something there that has clues on it.
Before she reached it, she began noticing something else. There were symbols carved into the bark on certain trees. Her curiosity got the best of her and she left the trail and began following the symbols. She turned at one that was three lines. If she held up and spread her three middle fingers on her right hand, the lines on the tree seemed to line up with them.
The symbol was faded and the brush was thick but Adriana persisted. She could make out another tree big enough to have a symbol in the distance. She fought her way to it. She tucked her skirt up so that it didn’t get caught but her legs felt every twig, thorn and vine as she moved.
Once she was close enough to examine the tree, she didn’t find any symbol. She twirled around. The trail she left was pretty obvious. She was certain she could find her way back but what she was really interested in were the rock formations further into the woods.
She found her way into a clearing in front of the rocks and began searching for any opening that could hold treasure. Her foot caught on a vine and she fell forward into the grass. A terrifying cracking rolling noise began above her. She jumped up and barely moved out of the way before a boulder crashed down on the spot where she’d been laying only a moment before.
The robbers had booby trapped it. This excited Adriana because it meant she must be close to some of the treasure. Garret and Harden were smarter than she’d thought. A slight ping of guilt wafted through her at the thought of them. She mumbled to herself, “I hardly knew them. Garret said they had plenty.”
This was enough to convince herself to keep looking. She surveyed her surroundings with more care as she moved around the rocks. She could hear running water as she began climbing the rocks. She saw the guy’s next trap. There was brush laid over one of the rocks. She moved it to reveal a hole in the stone that had an underground whirlpool below it.
Adriana was fascinated by the water circling in the dark hole but she leapt over it and kept climbing. When she reached the top of the rocks she could see that the other side was a lot steeper. She didn’t think she could get down that side to investigate. But then something caught her eye. One of the medium sized rocks near her had been moved. It was discolored where the mud had buried it all the way around the bottom edge as though there was something underneath it keeping it from returning to its original hole.
Adriana steadied her feet against two solid rocks and tried to lift the rock but it wouldn’t move. She pushed it with all her weight and it wouldn’t move. Finally she went to find a stick that she could use as a lever to get the rock lifted. She steadied her feet again, then placed the stick as close as she could get it to the rock. Then she put all her weight on the stick. The rock lifted to reveal something that caught the low evening sunlight and threw the light into Adriana’s eyes. Temporarily blinded, she leaned back and dropped the stick, covering the shining treasure once again.
She decided she’d have to wedge the stick in and lift the rock at another angle so she climbed to the rocks above the one she wanted to move. She placed her stick and there was no great place to steady her feet so she just jumped up and pushed down on the stick with all of her weight. The rock lifted and then rolled over and tumbled down the hill.
To Adriana’s delight, there was gold and jewels glittering in the hole. With closer inspection she discovered rolls of money and even a gold plated lighter. She filled her little purse with what she could but there was a lot more. So the filled up her hat as well and tucked some of the treasure into her stockings and her pantaloons.
Adriana decided that next time she treasure hunted, she’d need a decent bag. She had enough money for a decent start in a new city and she had no way to carry or hide any more treasure. Not to mention, Garret and Harden were still alive and she didn’t have any ill feelings toward them. They’ll be able to retire without missing the part that she took.
So Adriana followed her path back out to the main path. When when she was near Middletown she saw a huge blaze coming from somewhere and there was a commotion with lots of people yelling. She wasn’t curious enough to investigate. She said, “I hope you two made it out” just to the ever colder air around her. Then she headed north toward the train track. She started west for Fairville and made her way in the cold dark quiet night.
The walk was slow in her dress boots but she was determined to be the treasure hunter that finds the Jarvis treasure. Unlike train robbing, treasure hunting is legitimate work and jail time is not a fear. Adriana pondered on how if there were no robbers, there would be so fewer treasures. It is funny how it was illegal for them to take it but once it is found by someone else, it is completely ok. She wouldn’t have any problems selling or trading jewelry and gems as a famous treasure hunter.
The journey actually finished rather quickly as she walked up to a tiny train station. Fairville was hardly more than a post office and a bar. The few houses that she could see didn’t look very impressive and the only person she saw was the man she bought a ticket from. He had given her a funny look since he didn’t know her and didn’t know where she’d come from but he exchange pleasantries and didn’t ask questions.
The train pulled up and Adriana was happy to once again be boarding a train with a ticket. But as she stepped on, she noticed the ticket seller talking to an attendant. The attendant pulled out a wanted sign. Adriana didn’t have to know what it said to know that she needed to hide. Instead of sitting down in the coach car where she entered, she went straight into the next car, which this time happened to be a dining car. She passed through that one and through first class and passed the sleeping quarters. All of these had been connected for people to walk through. The next led to a big metal connection outside but she could see into the next car and it was luggage. She couldn’t get into this one from here. She had to jump down and go around to the side, slide open the luggage door and slip in.
Luckily the train had not begun moving. She hid in the corner behind a pile of luggage and waited. It seemed like forever before the train lurched forward. They must’ve given up looking for her. Certainly they had searched coach, first class and the dormitories but she was right to think they wouldn’t look in the luggage car.
She let the train movement lull her to sleep and awoke as the train pulled to a stop. She waited to see if she could hear where they were. The doors opened and a few more bags were thrown onto the car but none were removed. Adriana decided they must only be at Newton. She assumed more people would be getting off at the larger city of Casterdale.
When the train began chugging along again, Adriana thought about what she would do when she arrived. She’d need to find a place to stay, buy some more clothes and figure out how to get into the Jarvis house to find clues to the location of the treasure. She was thinking about herself opening up a giant chest of gold when the train slowed again.
When the train stopped and she heard the call for Casterdale, Adriana slid open the door she’d snuck into just a little. She could see people bustling back and forth. There was no way that she’d be able to sneak out unseen. So she opened the door on the other side. There was a brick wall but there was room for a person to walk as well. She gathered her purse, her hat and checked her holsters. Once satisfied she had everything, she slid out of the car, shutting the door just as an attendant opened the other side.
Adriana looked both ways. To her left, she could see more tracks and station. To the right, she saw at the end of the brick there was green grass and open sky. She hurried off to her right and found herself outside of a maintenance building. She began walking into the open grass when she realized she should find the town. She had money for boarding, she didn’t have to hide in a woods.
The train blocked her view of the station so she calmly waited until it moved on. She counted the fifty three cars as they crawled past her, gaining speed toward the end.
Adriana walked across the tracks and onto the bustling cobblestone in front of the station. She watched the people moving all over with baggage and tickets in their hands. She walked through these people and along the length of the station. Behind the station there were roads with homes and shops and a sign that read, “Welcome to Casterdale.”
Adriana walked into the general store and bought some soap and other necessities. Then she asked the cashier where she could find decent boarding. He told her there was a nice bed and breakfast down the street but she said she was looking to stay a while. He told her his sister had a room above the bookstore that she was looking to rent out for a reasonable price. He even rang his sister and told her to expect Adriana.
When Adriana entered the bookstore, she was amazed to see all the books in one place. She’d only read two in her life and didn’t realize so many existed. The cashier’s sister, Elizabeth, greeted her and showed her the room. It was much nicer than the one she’d had at the orphanage and she paid her two months in advance. Adriana’s muscles ached from being cramped on the train and the bed looked so inviting. She washed up and went straight to bed. She dreamed of treasure in caves and trains coming off the tracks.
In the morning she rose early and bought a few outfits and had her gold dress cleaned. She also bought a paper. She read that a train robber, Harden Antilade was apprehended and imprisoned in Middletown and that there was a failed attempt to break him out which ended in the capture of another robber, Garett Spiney. They are awaiting trial.
Adriana thought about the caves, she could buy supplies and go back. But she did just commit to Casterdale for two months. She went to the local diner for breakfast and listened for any mention of Sean Jarvis. She’d finished eating and was about to leave when finally a conversation caught her attention.
The waitress said, “No one found anything up at the Jarvis place?”
A man said, “I went up there myself. The place is as clean as a whistle. The town already auctioned off all his possessions. The house will be auctioned today.”
“Oh, that’s right. What time was that again?” The waitress asked.
“One pm, today.” The man said.
“Are you going?” The waitress continued. But Adriana paid for her food and walked out.
She went to the town hall and inquired about the location of the Jarvis place and the time of the auction. The gentleman working there gave her a map and confirmed that the auction was at one pm.
Try to buy the Jarvis place?
Go back to search for more cave treasure?
Stay in her room above the bookshop and look for clues to the Jarvis treasure?