Treasure Hunt Chapter 2: Cheryl’s Den

October 14, 2011

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Cheryl sighed, and pulled herself out of the soothing bubble bath.  If she stayed in the bath much longer, the wrinkles in her skin would become permanent.  She dried herself off and changed into a pair of comfortable sweat pants.

This was the life, she thought.  She didn’t have to wait tables, didn’t have to waste time putting on makeup, and could sleep in as late as she wanted.  All she really needed to do was kill time while the rich boys tried to figure out where Nate has stashed her.

Where had he stashed her?  That was a good question – and one that Cheryl didn’t have an answer to.  Toward the end of the long plane ride, she had been blindfolded before being shuttled to a secret location.  While she had been getting comfortable in her new home, Nate made his escape … but she had no idea how.  She hadn’t been able to find a door, nor were there any windows.  She was essentially trapped within the building.

It made sense, she admitted grudgingly.  If she could just pop out and waltz around town, it would destroy the integrity of the game.  She would be forced to spend the duration of the game inside.’

The freezer was stocked with food.  Not just TV Dinners and frozen pizzas – although Nate had included some her favorite junk food items.  The bulk of the freezer contained meals that could be popped into the oven with no prep work.  Defrost for a day in the fridge, pop in the oven for 45 minutes, and she had a nice “home cooked” meal.

There was no internet in the house, since this would be an easy way for Cheryl to cheat by contacting one of the players.  Cheryl admitted that she could probably do without Twitter for a little while – especially with the amount of money she was being paid.  There was a TV, but no cable connection.  She was limited to watching DVDs.  This wasn’t as much of a hardship as it seemed, as there was a massive collection of movies.

Finally, Cheryl had brough about a hundred books with her.  She’d been trying to catch up on her reading for years.  This seemed like an optimal opportunity.  She lay down on the couch with the book she had been reading.  With any luck, she could stay in the same position until she was hungry for another meal.  Whether the next meal would be breakfast, lunch, or dinner was up for debate.  After a couple of days, she had tossed her watch into a drawer.  Time was of no consequence here.

The light in the corner of the room flickered before turning a bright red.  This was an indicator that the video cameras would turn on in a minute, unless she reset the timer.  Cheryl got up from the couch and set the timer to 180 minutes – the maximum allowable time.  If she failed to reset the time, the video cameras would be activated and Nate would be able to see her every move.  The exception, naturally, was the bedroom, where the time could be set to ten hours. 

Cheryl knew that this was a safety mechanism, alterting Nate to possible trouble she may be having.  Cheryl wasn’t sure how much good it would do to alert him three hours after a heart attack, but sometimes life had risks. 


Treasure Hunt Chapter 1: The Game Begins

October 7, 2011

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“The problem with money,” Lawrence Peters opined, “is that the ability to buy anything you want takes away the thrill of the chase.”

The others at the table nodded their agreement. None of them had yet reached forty-five years of age, and all of them had wealth measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars and growing steadily with each passing year.

Nate Bolton took a long sip of his Irish coffee before responding. “You know what I enjoyed as a kid? A treasure hunt. It’s too bad they don’t have treasure hunts for adults.”

Barry Julian snorted. “And what would the prize be? A car? A house? Some cash? That doesn’t seem like much incentive.”

“I could be the prize,” came a voice from behind them. Cheryl set down fresh cups of coffee and cleared away the empty ones. The four men gazed at her as they tried to absorb what she had said.

Marc Billups was the first to recover his composure. “What, exactly, are you proposing?”

Within an hour, the idea had been fleshed out. The young waitress would become a pawn in their game. The goal would be to hide her somewhere within the continental United States. One of the four men would pick a location, stash Cheryl there, and develop a treasure hunt that would lead the other three to the location. If everyone was stumped by a particular clue, the answer would be revealed one week after the clue had been given. The first to arrive at the destination would get three weeks alone in Honolulu with Cheryl.

For her part, Cheryl would be well compensated. There was a $250,000 signing bonus just for agreeing to the deal, and a salary of $1 million per year, deposited into her account in monthly installments. Her hideouts would be designed to be very comfortable – a luxurious bed, fully stocked kitchen, and cable TV among the amenities. The only limitation was her contact with the outside world. Cheryl would be forced to remain within her hiding spot, and she would only be able to communicate with the organizer of that particular game – to avoid her tipping off any of the players.

Cheryl would get six weeks in Hawaii at the conclusion of each game. The winner would leave after three weeks, setting up the next game.

Cheryl made it very clear – she was no prostitute. She was being paid for her companionship and for her time in isolation as the game’s prize. The four men readily agreed with her.

A month later, the game was ready to begin. Cheryl had been sequestered in a hidden location, and Nate Bolton was ready to kick off the great treasure hunt.

“OK, guys. The first clue is –“

And he promptly dropped dead.


 This is the first story in a new series.  New chapters will be added periodically (and I’ll include a table of contents once there is more than one chapter).  Where is Cheryl – and how long will it take the guys to find her, now that Nate isn’t around?