Young Hearts (Chapter 7, page 2 of 3)

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Chapter 7

As he zoomed in with the camera, he noticed something out of place with the rocks around the hill. The snow-topped boulders around most of the hill were all salmon-colored granite except for a round, gray boulder in the center. Someone would have had to push the rock there, but why?

Joseph skied over to the boulder for a closer look. He brushed snow away from the rock and then felt the smoothness of it with his bare hand. The finish was too smooth to have occurred naturally in this spot. Maybe if it had been sitting in water for a long time, but the closest source of water was the ocean; he couldn't imagine anyone rolling the boulder out of the ocean and up the hill.

He braced himself to push away the boulder by stretching out his arms and legs as he did before a race. He spiked the skis in the snow to give his feet a bit more agility. Then he threw himself against the boulder with all his weight, flopping into the snow when his feet slipped.

The 'boulder' sailed away from the opening, landing about twenty feet away. Joseph picked himself up out of the snow and then strapped on his skis to investigate the rock. There was no way he could have moved a rock that size so easily unless he'd gained superhuman strength in the last two minutes.

He reached the rock and picked half of it up, the other half having shattered on an actual boulder. Inside the gray rock he found nothing more than white plaster. The rock was a fake! Curiouser and curiouser, he thought.

Joseph looked in the opening left by the rock and saw a long, dark tunnel slanting down. Time to go down the rabbit hole, he thought. Though he tried not to get his hopes up, he imagined finding a chest full of gold and jewels left by pirates long ago. Or he might find a crystal meth lab and get his throat slit by a drug dealer.

Either way, he had to go down to look before someone on the construction crews beat him to it. He took off his skis and reached down into his pocket for the penlight he always kept on hand. The blue light didn't let him see more than a few feet ahead, but it was better than nothing.

He started down the tunnel, sweeping the light around for any sign of treasure or danger. He didn't see anything but granite until he'd gone about a hundred feet. There along the left wall he found a white stick figure with a snake in either hand. He lifted his camera to take a picture for later.

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