“Oscar, do you know how far-fetched this story sounds?” His mother spoke when Oscar paused. “I hope you don’t expect us to believe this.”
Oscar looked toward his father, who was silent. “Dad, honest, I’m telling the truth. Here, look at what I have.” With that, Oscar took the folded map from his pocket and laid it on the table.
“Well, it looks like it’s been wet, and it does appear to be quite old.” His father unfolded the map as he spoke. Soon it was flat on the table in front of him. He looked closely at the hand-drawn sketch that seemed to show the location of the hanging tower and the ravine Oscar told them about. It also showed the water’s edge and another island far out in the open lake. “What’s the story with the other island?” he asked.
Oscar hadn’t even noticed the other island when he looked at the map before.
“I don’t know. I wonder why that’s on the map of the hanging tower?” It seemed to Oscar there must be some significance for it to be included in the map.
“Well, this is all very interesting, but it hardly calls for contacting the police, Oscar.”
“Look at this, Dad.” Oscar pulled the keys from his shirt pocket, his fingers grasping the broken one. “This one broke when I tried to open the door.”
Oscar’s mother wasted no time in reacting to that bit of news.
“When you tried to open the door? What door? Don’t tell us you were actually going to go into that unwelcoming house, Oscar. After all the times we told you to stay away from it, you were actually going to go inside?” She was beginning to get a bit worked up.
“Wait, Mom, look at this other key.” Oscar lifted it from the drooping chain. “This is the one I used to open the metal box hiding the map.”
“You’re in deep trouble, young man. First you go where you know you’re not supposed to go, and then you lie to us, and then you tell us you tried to go inside that awful house.” She was definitely getting worked up.
“Can I see that, Oscar?” His father was taking the news far better than his mother was. Oscar placed the chain with the keys in his father’s hand.
“I suppose you forgot the metal box.”
Oscar could feel his face turn red. He HAD forgotten the metal box. It was where he hid it before Larry woke up. He could tell that his father was not quite buying into the whole story. He was close, but still not there.
“Dad, if we go there, I can show you the box. I’m not lying. It’s there, and I can show it to you.”
“Well, even so, what makes you think we need to call the police? What can we possibly tell them as a reason for our call?” It was clear to Oscar that his father wanted to believe him.
“Dad, we need to call somebody besides the local police department.”
As he spoke, he stood and reached again into his shirt pocket. “This is why we need to contact someone.” With those words, he opened his hand, and the pin fell on the table in front of his father. With great care, his father picked it up and read the inscription: FBI. He turned it over, and in very small letters, it said:
“To David—Love, Dad.”
“Don’t know if this is the real thing or if it’s a hoax. Either way, I’ll see what I can find out.”
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