Following the clues they were given led to a long trek over rocky hillsides. They were told the reward could lead to wealth and fame, but so far, their reward was aching muscles and tired feet. Brenda decided she didn’t want to continue and told Madge she’d wait there for her to come back. Madge wanted to find the treasure so she plodded on, cursing her friend under her breath. She didn’t like being alone in the hills, or to leave Brenda vulnerable, but the man who told them about what he left in the cave seemed so sincere that she had to carry on. She could use some wealth and fame in her life. Working in the hotel laundry didn’t offer much upward mobility.
After two more miles she thought about turning back but scrambling over a big pile of rocks led to a discovery. She found the ruins of an old mining camp and the opening of a cave that looked like it had been deserted for years. She gave the buildings a cursory examination but found nothing of value. Anxious to explore the cave but concerned about what might be living in there, she stood at the mouth and threw some rusty cans in that were laying on the ground. When nothing stirred, she cautiously started in. She expected darkness, or half-light at best, but there was a glow that made it easy to look around. Of course, no chest spilling over with jewels and gold was in evidence. The only thing she could see was an odd-shaped object that seemed to be the source of the glow. The thing was painted purple and green, and as she approached, it began to change shape. Square one moment, round the next, then triangular. Now she was scared. But! She’d come this far so she had to check it out or die of curiosity.
When she got close, she heard a hum that could only be coming from the thingamajig. It continued to change shapes, then grew larger and hummed louder. Finally brave enough to touch it, she felt a tingle race through her whole body. It was warm at first, then grew icy cold, then back to warm. The surface was smooth in some places and rough in others. She didn’t think it was alive but wondered if it was a machine of some sort. It didn’t seem to have openings or a purpose other than constantly morphing. When it shrunk to the size of a softball, she tried to pick it up but it was too heavy. Thoroughly puzzled, she sat and watched it for a while as it changed, then decided to explore the tunnel that had probably been dug by the miners before the place was abandoned. Only, she couldn’t. There was an invisible wall she could see through but couldn’t walk through. Now things were really getting weird. Time to go. Brenda would be worried if she didn’t get back soon. Besides. Force fields meant aliens or who knew what.
She decided to run her hands over the thingamajig one more time to see if she could find an opening. At that point, it was a huge triangle and was barely humming. After finding nothing, she reluctantly turned to leave, unhappy to have not solved the mystery or found treasure. After reuniting with Brenda, telling her about the strange object, and starting for home, she suddenly had a brain flash. The image of an alien family sitting in their home ran like a movie in her head. Now she knew what the thingamajig was. A tinny voice whispered a message only she could hear. When she nodded her head to agree that she’d never tell anyone what it was, she was told where she could find a big bag of pirate treasure. Brenda was going to be amazed