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By Hannah Kay Orf

Rachel normally would have knocked but she was too afraid that her pursuer would catch her if she delayed another second.

She tried to open the door but it was locked. Her brother never locked his door! Rachel had once scolded him for leaving it unlocked, but now it was locked and she regretted ever trying to discipline him!

Rachel pounded on the door, pleading under her breath. The pursuer was closer now… walking faster… only twenty feet away! Rachel wasn’t positive that he was after her, but according to her chaotic life she was sure he was out to get the secret that she held dear.

He wore a black trench coat and a dark hat that shaded his eyes so she couldn’t see his face. Rachel fumbled in her purse for a safety pin (that she carried everywhere with her).

Rachel, hand shaking, stuck half of the safety clip into the key hole and wiggled it until she heard a clicking sound. Luckily she had been in many predicaments where she had needed to break in or out of a house.

The door opened and Rachel ran inside, slamming the door behind her and locking it. For a moment she stood still, listening and barely breathing.

She could hear his footsteps coming closer and then he tried to open the door. Now Rachel knew he was after her! She had to escape. She ran up the stairs of her brother’s house and dug around in his drawer.

Her fingers brushed against an old journal and a torn sheet of paper. Rachel grabbed them and then her heart froze… she heard footsteps coming up the stairs!

  “Oh dear Jesus, please protect me.” Rachel breathed as she tore the sheets off of her brother’s bed and tied them end to end. She opened the window and lay the long rope of sheets out the window.

The door handle turned… he was coming in! Rachel ran and hid inside of the closet. Leaving a crack so she could see out.

She held the secrets of life within her hands… the small journal and sheet of paper. Woe to her if this mysterious man got ahold of them!

The trench coated man walked into the room. He leaned out the window to see if Rachel had climbed out and in that instant, she ran from the closet and down the stairs.

Once she was on the street she ran as fast as she could. For a moment she blinked hard to remove the fear and then she ran straight into a tall dark figure.

Rachel felt like she hit a brick wall as she fell to her back on the sidewalk.

 “I’m sorry, are you okay?” the man asked, extending his hand to help her up. Rachel blinked and let him help her off the ground.

 “No, it was my fault.” Rachel stuttered.

 “Here,” the man said, kneeling and gathering the journal and sheet of paper that she had dropped. “I’m Nathan Crofter.”

 “Uh, thanks.” Rachel felt relieved that this man was just a sincere commoner, otherwise he would have known the journal when he saw what was on the cover. Rachel tucked it in her purse hastily. “I’m… uh… Rachel Walter.”

 “May I ask where you are going in such a hurry, Rachel?” he smiled, his blue eyes twinkling. Rachel decided that she could take this man into her confidence.

 “That man, he… he was following me.” Rachel breathed, feeling sick when she noticed that the trench coated man was coming up the sidewalk toward them. Nathan’s eyes were wide and for a moment he settled his gaze on the man.

 “Come with me, quickly.” Nathan said, grabbing her hand as the two ran down the sidewalk.

 “What are you doing?” She demanded.

 “Just trust me.” Nathan shouted.

 “But I just met you three minutes ago!” Rachel defended. There was a beautiful black Ford pickup truck that Nathan unlocked with his key and the two got into the seats.

Suddenly a gunshot fired and both of them ducked. The back window shattered!

 “Who is he?” Rachel demanded.

 “He’s after the same thing you are. And I am too.” Nathan revved the engine and stepped on the gas pedal.

 “What!?” Rachel almost screamed, realizing that the trench coated man was now in a green jeep and pursuing them while holding a pistol out the window.

 “The treasure that you and your family have tried to find for two hundred years.” he shouted back, taking a sharp left turn. Rachel swallowed hard. She shouldn’t have trusted him.

Luckily it was the fourth of July and most people were out at the lake watching fireworks, but the pursuer had friends. Up ahead, were three other jeeps and Nathan was sure they were associated with the pursuer.

Nathan stepped on the break, pulled Rachel out of the truck and into the nearby forest.

Gunshots rang out behind them as they ran deeper into the forest.

 “So you aren’t just a nice guy trying to help out? You are planning to rob me of my only possession.” Rachel asked as they slowed down.

 “I’m like you, Miss Rachel, a treasure hunter. You can’t talk to them, you can’t pursued them and you especially can’t trust them.”

Rachel felt heat rise up her neck.

 “I have the map and the clues, you have nothing and so… goodbye.” Rachel planted her feet and spun to walk a different direction.

 “I have something that your family was missing and that’s why they could never find the treasure… Rachel, you can’t find the treasure and neither can I… but we both have something that will make it possible.” Nathan breathed.

 “What do you have?” Rachel demanded.

 “The last clue to the treasure’s whereabouts, but I need the rest of the clues in order to piece the whole thing together.” Nathan said desperately. Suddenly the sound of voices rang out behind them in the trees. Rachel had to make a decision.

 “I’ve made a choice to trust you, Nathan Crofter… don’t disappoint me.” Rachel dared. Nathan smiled.

 “My uncle owns a cabin about a mile from here, we can get my car there.”

 “You have a car too?” Rachel asked as they ran onward. She knew that she had to keep running, or the men behind her would catch them. But a new hope was budding within her.

Nathan held the last clue! But in order to find the treasure, they would need work together. I’ve always liked working alone, but I guess it’s time to learn a new profession!

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