Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)
TITLE: A Pearl, A Ruby, and a Real Treasure
By Kristen Hester
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Inside, Pearl Wakefield glanced around her house, then shuffled to the door. She pretended to be surprised by the visit, but she’d been expecting her sister. “Hello, Ruby. What a treat,” she said with exaggerated kindness.
Ruby pushed her sister aside and walked past her into the small living room.
“You look upset, Ruby. What’s eating you?” Pearl asked.
“Very funny,” Ruby said sarcastically. Her eyes moved rapidly around the room. “Where is it?”
“Where is what?” Pearl asked, feigning innocence.
“Don’t play dumb with me,” Ruby grumbled. “I know you took it yesterday when you visited. Now hand it over.”
Pearl’s smiled faded. “Alright,” she admitted. “I took it, but what makes you think it’s yours? Mother would have wanted us to share it.”
“I’m the oldest. It was meant to be mine.”
Pearl folded her arms across her chest. “Well, you should have shared it.” Suddenly, her face lit up with an idea. “I tell you what. If you can find it, it’s yours.” She smiled smugly, confident it was hidden where Ruby would never find it.
Ruby narrowed her eyes at her sister. She stared at her for a moment, trying to gather any clues her expression might reveal. “Well, okay,” she said as she started slowly around the room, her eyes scanning the shelves.
Pearl picked up a Mature Living and sat down on her sofa. She pretended to read as she watched her sister over the top of the pages.
“Your magazine is upside down,” Ruby said as she poked her cane under the worn leather recliner.
Embarrassed, Pearl quickly turned the magazine right side up. For the next hour Ruby made her way from room to room in the small house while Pearl observed her from the sofa. She didn’t think Ruby would be able to find it, but her sister’s determination made her nervous. Pearl had no intention of returning the family treasure. She was angry that her sister had kept it for years without her knowledge. She felt justified in hiding it from Ruby.
Suddenly, the oven timer beeped. Both sisters stopped and looked at each other with wide eyes. Then simultaneously they hurried as fast as their aged bodies would carry them to the kitchen.
“I can’t believe you made it," Ruby panted. "That wasn’t smart, Sister. Now I’ll find it for sure.”
Pearl tried to hide her fear as she removed the dessert from the oven. She placed it on the stove and was momentarily distracted by the sweet aroma. When her sister reached for her cannister of sugar, Pearl yelled in alarm, “Nooooooooo!”
Ruby smiled as she stuck her hand in the sugar cannister, expecting to retrieve what she’d been seeking. Nothing. She dug deeper. Still nothing. Finally she walked to the sink and emptied out the contents, but found only white sugar.
Pearl peered into the sink, confused.
Ruby turned to her sister. “Where is it? I’m tired of this charade.”
“I don’t know. That’s where I hid it, I promise.”
The sisters sat down at the kitchen table, exhausted and defeated.
“I’m sorry I never shared it,” Ruby said after a pause. “The memories of me and Mother cooking it together were special. I didn’t want anyone else to make it. That was selfish, I know.”
Pearl was silent while she pondered her sister’s words. “I guess I understand. But you could have made it for me. You know it was my favorite, too.”
“I know. And now, because of my actions, we’ve both lost something special.”
Pearl reached across the table and grasped Ruby’s hands. “Would you like a piece....as a peace offering?” She chuckled at her joke. “We’ll search for the recipe together after we eat.”
“I’d like that very much.” Ruby answered.
Pearl cut each of them a slice. The two sisters raised their forks. “In memory of Mother,” Ruby said.
“In memory of Mother,” Pearl repeated as they each took a bite of the decadent dessert. When they finished what was on their plates, they got more.
The two continued eating until not a morsel was left, never realizing they were also digesting the sacred recipe. Unbeknownst to Pearl, it had fallen into the batter and was disintegrated by the blender. The hidden treasure they sought was gone, but a friendship was renewed.
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