[4 Min Read]
The rocks under my hand started to shake and give way. Before I could adjust my weight on the mountain’s face, the handhold gave out. Thinking quickly, I tightened my grip on a second rock and was able to maintain my precarious balance. I listened as the dislodged rocks cascaded down the mountainside. My anxiety growing with every tap and crack the stones made.
I dug deeper then I had ever before to regain my courage. Reminding myself of all the sacrifices that were made to get this far. The loss of my team and best friend. I couldn’t let them have died in vain.
My body creaked and groaned with every new foothold. Every inch claimed was a skirmish with the mountain that was narrowly won.
Till finally, after hours of climbing, I reached the cave, and there it was, just as the old man said so many years ago. Atop a stone slab sat an ornate gold-trimmed treasure chest.
I ran my bare hand along the old wood of the box. Savoring every possible moment. Slowly, I undid the latch and opened the relic.
However, when I opened the chest, I didn’t see the piles and piles of riches my team and I were promised. My heart fell through the floor. I stuck my head deeper in the chest and found a small folded scrap of paper. Trembling, I retrieved the paper and opened it.
Translated from ancient Greek, it read:
‘The treasure is the friendships you made along the way.’
My eyes were glued to the paper.
I thought of the perilous adventure I had undertaken. The stealing, the sneaking, the killing I had to do. The friends I would never see again.
For this scrap of paper.
I folded the paper neatly and placed it back inside the treasure chest. Lifted the box with both hands, it was unsurprisingly light, and placed it on the lip of the cave. Then, with my full weight behind it, kicked the chest out of the cave, off the mountain, and into the valley below.
It wasn’t till I heard the crash did it occur to me that a gold trimmed chest could be worth a good amount of money to the right buyer.