Adriana walked up to the podium. The auctioneer was completely enthralled by three ladies and the gossip they supplied. The auctioneer had held up a floor plan of the house before beginning the bidding. She watched him hand the cowboy the deed but didn’t see what happened to the map. She looked around quickly to make sure no one was watching her, especially the cowboy. There was a line of townsfolk waiting to talk to him and he seemed less than happy about it but he was engaged. She bent down so the podium would hide her if anyone did look up and began searching. She found a ledger with the items sold and the amount they’d been sold for and to whom. She saw some brief notes with some of the anecdotes used during the auction and a pair of spectacles. She’d almost given up when her foot slipped on something. The floor plan had fallen onto the floor. She quickly rolled it up and hid it in her skirts. Adriana took one more longing look at the house before following the crowd back to town.

Once safe and sound in her apartment, she began deciding her next steps. She had to get inside the house and then she had to discover where the treasure was before the cowboy does. It is a bit trickier. Technically the lines between treasure finding and stealing were getting a bit muddled since the property is owned by someone, but she came all this way.

Adriana decided against just breaking in at night or even waiting until the cowboy wasn’t there. She was not going to be a common thief. Then she had an idea. She would offer to be his house cleaner. That would give her access and time to look around without any suspicion.

She pulled out the floor plan and began mentally planning where to look first. She didn’t see any obvious extra rooms or closets on the plans but she examined the plans closely for hours trying to think like Sean Jarvis. Where would she hide her treasure if she were him? She came up with many scenarios and places to look and reasons for being in those places before she fell asleep at the desk using the map as a pillow.

In the morning, Adriana was stiff and had a sore neck from sleeping that way but she was in great spirits. She had a light breakfast and then headed straight for the Jarvis place. She went up the decrepit stairs and knocked on the door. She didn’t hear anything, so she knocked again.

“Go Away!” A man snarled from inside.

“I’ve come to offer my services as a housemaid.” Adriana said loudly and as politely as she could.

“Go Away!” The man shouted again.

“I am not going anywhere. I didn’t come all this way to be treated so rudely.” Adriana said.

“What do I have to do for you people to leave me alone?” The man said as he opened the door.

“You people?” Adriana said, “I am Adriana. I am looking for employment.”

“No, you are looking for a treasure, just like that last five visitors I’ve had this morning.” The cowboy wasn’t wearing his hat and Adriana noticed his blue eyes, dark hair and handsome complexion.

“Well maybe I am here for the treasure, but I would’ve bought this house if you didn’t out bid me yesterday.” Adriana said completely indignantly.

The man looked at her sideways and then looked at her straight on. “What did you say your name was?”

“I’m Adriana. I was coming to offer to clean for you, but really I am starting my career as a treasure hunter.” Adriana was a bit mad at herself for not keeping to her well thought out plan.

“Well, that is a bit refreshing. Where are you from? You do not have the niceness of the townsfolk here.” He said.

“I came from Wilmarks Home for Children and I just started west, looking for treasure, adventure, a new and different life.” Adriana said.

“Well, I am Haily, not that you asked” said the man. “I used to work with Jarvis and I already have the treasure.”

Adriana didn’t know what to say but she knew her face was giving away all her disappointment.

“I am fed up of this place already and I haven’t had any company in a while.” Haily said. “I wouldn’t mind taking up treasure hunting for a bit. I am not in need of any more riches but I certainly am bored. Would you like to go with me?”

“How would it work? I want a good share of the treasure.” Adriana stated.

“Like I said, I don’t need it. You can keep all that we find. Hell, you can even have some of this one.” Haily disappeared into the house and came back with a bag and pushed it into Adriana’s hands.

She opened it just enough to see the sparkle of coins and jewels. She felt the weight and tried to hide her excitement.

“Why would you offer this to me?” She asked.

“I’m bored. Do you want to go or not?” Haily asked.

“Yes.” Adriana said.

They packed up and left Casterdale and became the most famous treasure hunters of their time.

The End

 Go to the Beginning

thomas shellberg

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