Ben placed the envelope on the ground and stepped on it. Then he ducked behind the bush to watch.
“Lie down, girl. Stay.” Freckles obediently rested her chin on her paws and sighed. Ben patted her shoulder and rested his hand across her back, crouching down himself.
While peeking through the leaves that protected them from view, Ben waited to see if his plan would work. He was just about to give in to his impatience when –
“Mack, look. Someone dropped an envelope.”
“Big deal, Cory.”
Cory picked it up. “It says ‘Treasure Map’ on the front. Is that a big deal?”
“Let me see that.” Mack swiped the envelope from Cory’s hand and ripped it open.
As Mack pulled the paper out of the envelope, Cory snatched it from Mack’s hand. “It’s a map and directions. Someone must really be bummin’ about losing this.”
“I wonder what the treasure is.” Mack grabbed the paper back.
Ben grinned silently as he listened to his friends get more excited.
Cory’s rising voice revealed his anticipation. “It’s back on the state land that borders the park. Let’s go to my house and copy the map so we each have our own. I have a folding shovel I can put in a backpack and you can carry some snacks.”
“I’ll bring my compass and meet you at the gate,” Mack offered.
“Too bad Ben’s gone to his cousins’ for the weekend. He’ll be sorry he missed this.”
Cory turned toward home as Mack raced by him yelling back over his shoulder. “Beat ya there.”
Ben felt guilty for a moment about tricking his buddies. I have to do something to make this weekend exciting since my aunt got sick and I couldn’t go visit. I’m sure they’ll laugh with me in the end.
“Come on, old girl. We need to stake out the hiding place near the ‘treasure’. This I have to see.”
Ben went to the place he found earlier to hide between some fallen logs. Freckles settled down for a nap after her long walk to the woods. “Good girl. We won’t have to wait long this time.”
A little while later he heard Cory. “It says one hundred paces north from the hollow oak tree. Then east to the flat rock.”
“There’s the oak,” Mack shouted as he ran to it.
“Let’s count together,” Cory responded.
“1,2,3…98, 99, 100,” they chanted in unison.
“Okay, trusty compass, point us east.” Mack turned clockwise to get their direction and they stepped east until they found a flat rock on the ground.
Cory read the final instruction. “Circle the rock wider and wider like the ripple in a pond until you find the mark.”
The boys ran circles around the rock while watching the ground until Cory halted and grabbed Mack’s arm. They stared at the “X”, imbedded in the ground so well they almost ran by it.
Cory threw down his backpack and pulled out his shovel. His hands shook as he unfolded the shovel and picked the marker sticks from the earth. He dug frantically, breathing the smell of the freshly turned dirt. His shovel quickly hit something hard.
Mack grabbed the shovel and stuck the edge of it under the object and popped it out.
“A bone?” they groaned in unison.
Freckles bolted from behind the log pile, barking, and grabbed her bone as the boys fell to the ground in shock.
“Gotcha!” Ben tackled them, laughing at the expression on his friends’ faces.
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