This clue was going to be more difficult considering she always dreamt of going to Italy. There was no way she was going to fly to Italy just for a damn clue. It was time she called it a night. Morning came and she still had no idea meant. Elizabeth went about her day, on the way home from work, something struck her. If she couldn’t go to Italy, Italy would come to her? There is only one Italian restaurant in town. She quickly made a u-turn and came upon the restaurant. She climbed out of her car and went inside. Upon entering, she noticed the bulletin board had changed. There was a huge map of Italy with a white envelope pinned to Venice. Unpinning the envelope, she grabbed it and walked out, knowing it was for her and no one else.
“5. Skipped rocks fall to their death, which is I am. Can you find me?”
Children normally skip rocks in one place: Lily Hot Springs, where the town got its name. Once she arrived at the hot springs, Elizabeth took a look around, wondering where the next clue would be. She spied another white envelope taped to a pole near the picnic tables. This one said:
“4. Almost there. While I am here. They are all there. The place where couples go.”
The makeout point. Every town had one, even as small as Lily Springs. Knowing right where it was, Elizabeth got back in the car and drove to find her next clue. It was completely dark by the time she got there. With her flashlight, she saw the recurring white envelope was taped to the sign of Hot Spring Hills:
“3. You will get hungry when you see me. I am always fresh.”
A clue fit perfect for the next day. As she drove home, she pondered where this was all leading. Or to whom it was leading. Who was the face behind the clues? The further the numbers counted down, the more she was intrigued by this madness.Her mind ran at a hundred miles an hour; still with no answers. When she awoke the next day, it was Saturday and that only meant one thing to Lily Springs. The Farmer’s Market. She arrived downtown to see everything in bloom; people from neighboring towns, tons of fresh fruit and vegetables. Elizabeth wandered around looking for her next clue. There would be no way she could find it between all these people. Heading towards the apples, she picked up a couple oranges, deciding she might as well buy some food on this clue hunt. A few booths later, she heard someone call her name. She turned, and saw it was Claire, the local farmer’s wife, from the strawberry booth. She waved and knew it was one of her favorites, so she headed over there prepared to buy a couple of pounds of strawberries. Once she was done, she paid and Claire gave her a white envelope with her change. She said her thanks and headed back to her car. Once there, she opened it:
“2. The key you hold is your key to happiness. You shall find it upon Number 215.”
She pulled the key, the one in the original envelope, out of her purse and turned it over. There was nothing written on the back. Nothing written on the front. It was not the key to any house in town, it was too big. Maybe for a lock of some sort. Elizabeth got into her car and drove around town, wondering where it could be. She passed the library, the fire station, the police station, and came upon the post office before it dawned on her. It was for a post office box! She entered the post office, and searched for Number 215. Putting the key in the lock, she turned it, and it had opened. In the box, was another large manila envelope. Inside there were two white envelopes; both written with numbers. She opened the one that was marked ‘Clue 1’:
“You have reached the end. Congratulations. In this envelope, there is a clue, a letter, and another key. Once you get to the last clue, open the letter and read it. Do not read it before you get there. 1. 526 Sandbury Road.”
The address looked familiar. It was a huge, country house that saw a couple miles outside of town. She got into her car and drove to the very outskirts of town in the opposite direction of the Town Hall. The other side of town was hidden through a forest of trees. It didn’t take her long to get there; stepping out, she noticed an unrecognizable car off to the side of the house. She leaned against her Jeep and opened the other envelope, marked 0.
“Oh darling. Thank you for having such a huge leap of faith. You have no idea how worried I was. You always grew up a little scared, and I was afraid you wouldn’t have grown out of it. It means so much to me that you turned out different. I am so proud of you. Here are you, beyond 25 years, and I’m sure you are still as beautiful as ever. Oh, I wish I could see you now. I miss you so much, as I see you outside riding your bike down the street. I know this won’t last long and I want to cherish every minute I can. I am so sorry I left you so soon. It was time, but I will see you soon and it will feel like no time has passed at all. By now, I am assuming you have a boyfriend, or husband. If not, you cannot have this present, and your father was a bonehead for giving this to you. This was the one thing we could actually agree on, for once. I hope you enjoy it with all your heart, and I hope you can find true happiness. Go start your new adventure with your loved one, here. Maybe a couple of grandkids for me? I’m watching over you always.
I love you.
Elizabeth felt the tears fall from her face. She always admired this house as a young girl, always hoping to grow up and have a beautiful home just like this one. She took a step forward, just as Ethan came out. He called out, “Welcome home, babe.”
With that, the sun set in the background behind the house, and Elizabeth started her new life adventure. A wonderful house, an amazing fiance, and the spirit of her mother watching over her.