General Fiction posted May 26, 2013

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Short story to make you say Ah

Granddad's Treasure

by PhilipCatshill

Carol placed the small wooden box, which was shaped in the pattern of a treasure chest, on the wooden coffee table which Mike’s daughters had adopted as their seat. It took only seconds for them to sit either side, eager to see the lid opened and the treasure it revealed.
Mike struggled to place his stroke weakened hand on the lid. ‘Oh, that’s your great-great-granddad’s treasure box; he found it in a cave or so the story goes.’
‘A story,’ enthused Rebecca and even Emma pleaded, ‘Tell us Daddy,’ but added the insistent, ‘please.’
Carol sat beside him and laid her hand in his. Mike, who since his illness, sometimes struggled to find the words, began the yarn which he called, ‘Granddad’s treasure.’

‘When I was no older than you are now, even younger I would guess, my granddad, his name was Michael just like mine, took us in his car. My dad, your Granddad George came with us and he was laughing all the way. And it is a long, long way; all the way to the seaside, to Cornwall with its wild and windswept coast. We walked hand in hand along the sandy beach until Granddad found the cave. It was a huge cleft in the rock, so we didn’t need a torch to see our way.
‘Granddad carried the chest in under his arm and laid it on the floor. ‘Michael,’ he began, ‘my granddad brought me to this cave when I was not yet four. Pirates had told him and smugglers too I believe, that in this cave there is a great treasure, more valuable than gold.’
‘Diamonds?’ I whispered because walls glistened like jewels. ‘No not diamonds,’ Granddad answered, ‘Not pearls, not sapphires nor gems of any kind but treasure, far more precious than any of those. But you must promise me, Michael, if I show you what it is, you will never tell a living soul, nor the ghosts of those departed.’
And Granddad George, well he laughed again and said, ‘One day Michael, you will have children, little ones of your own. And they’ll say to you, Daddy, what’s in this box, just like you have done. It will be my turn then, God willing, to bring grandchildren to this cave. And I will show them granddad’s treasure, like my granddad showed to me.’
‘But daddy,’ Emma placed her hand on top of the chest as if to sense it’s magic. ‘How will we know what’s in the box?’
Rebecca knew the answer, ‘We have to ask Granddad George of course. He has to take us to the cave.’
‘Can we do that, daddy?’ pleaded Emma.
Mike lifted the box onto his lap and stretched his arms to the daughters he adored. Both his princesses, as they were called, jumped from the table to snuggle close. ‘Well, we’ll have to ask Granddad, but he’s bound to say yes. When you are grown and your children say to me, ‘it’s time for us to see granddad’s treasure.’ I will be bound to take them, just as your Granddad will take you. In that cave, when the chest is opened and you see what’s inside, you will see Granddad’s treasure but then you are sworn to secrecy. You must never tell a living soul, that’s a solemn promise you see.’

Carol turned to Mike’s mother; her name is Doris by the way, as they waved their men and the children away. ‘I’ve booked them into a small hotel for a few nights. It will do them good to be away. It seems a long way to go though.’
‘Yes,’ said Doris resignedly, ‘and rather a silly tradition too. It might be a long way there, Carol, but they’ll be closer coming back.’
‘But why? What’s in the cave? What is Granddad’s treasure?’
‘Oh, Carol dear, haven’t you guessed? With Mike having been so ill, I pray every day that he will live long enough to see his own treasure. I’m not sworn to secrecy and nor must you be, so I can tell you what I know. Those children will always remember this time and know how much they are loved. They will go all that way and walk into that cave, expecting to find Granddad’s Treasure. Only to find when they lift the lid…’
Doris hesitated but Carol understood, ‘They’ll see Granddad’s treasure! Oh, Doris,’ and both women laughed, ‘all that way and all they’ll see, is their reflection in a mirror!’

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