Fifteen steps north from old man Barner's shed is an almost unseen path leading into the woods. I never would have noticed it if I hadn't seen the X on the map. Patting my pocket to make sure the map was still there, I stepped onto the path and followed it deeper through the trees. Before he died, the old man told me about a box buried deep in the woods. "Keep it safe and guard its secret," he whispered and then he was gone.
Why me? I was just someone who stopped by every month for the past five years to deliver his medicine. But it was this last visit when he decided to show me the tattered map. I could tell he didn't have much time left. Muttering, sometimes incoherently, old man Barner told me the tale of the Vespars. An ancient tribe who used to live in these woods and guarded the magic they found there. I had a hard time believing what the old man was saying. But when he became agitated at the thought of this mysterious box being discovered by just anyone walking through the woods, I promised I would recover it.
Dried leaves crunched beneath my shoes and sunlight filtered through the tightly woven trees as I counted out the paces until I came across the large bolder shown on the map. Barner said the box was three feet down and the smell of rotting vegetation filled my nostrils as my shovel bit into the dirt. I wasn't even sure why I was here. It's not like I believed the old man's story. It's not like I believed in ancient tribes and magic. And then all I could hear was the sound of the shovel hitting something hard. Could old man Barner be telling the truth?