Crackles were heard as the fire burned. The wind softly swept the dry sea of sand. It was as if the deserts were eager to whisper out its secrets. The fire’s glow of orange and red diffused amongst the rock and sands of the desert. The entrance to the mine was covered in broken wooden beams and large gray stones. The weakened and aged wood had carvings that were glistened in the warm light. The campsite had been peaceful as many tents were left vacant. “Good riddance. Such greedy jerks, they should’ve worked in banking.”
“Don’t be so bitter, Henry,” a woman spoke while she was gathering up the contents of her backpack. “Aren’t you at least interested in finding things of value?”
“Yes, but there’s more value than gold and silver. Shane, aren’t you interested in what in the world or… other world, this place is?”
“Some curiosity, but I’m here for the journey. The adventure! Also to spend time with good friends.”
“If you find some, let-“ Henry spoke shortly before Shane’s fist made an impact. “Ow,” Henry reacted and turned to look at Shane wearing her readied equipment. “Where are you going?”
“Down, you know, there,” Shane pointed towards the entrance of the mines while she adjusted her headlamp.
“Can’t we just rest?”
“You can!” exclaimed the excited woman as she ran into the mine. Henry quickly grabbed a lantern and ran after her. Upon entering, the old wooden beams shattered and the entrance collapsed. Henry was trapped, stuck in a room of supplies and strange artifacts. An old painting of a king and his court appeared to be mocking him from the corner.
“Greetings,” spoke an unseen voice.
“Who said that?!” Henry exclaimed as he scanned the room. His eyes focused on a silver sword with a golden serpent wrapped around it. “The sword?”
“Sword?! How rude, ignorant even, I am no sword.”
“Oh, yes… The painting… The left eye,” the voice speaks as Henry stands gazing at the painting.
“That one?” Henry asks as he points at the king.
“Not His Highness, the eye of the loyal knight,” spoke the voice. “Come, release me. I’ll show you what you seek.”
Henry leaned over to the painting. There was a gem embedded into the knight’s eye. He placed his fingers around the gem and pulled. The eye didn’t budge. As the voice urged him further, Henry placed his feet against the wall and pulled again. The eye in the painting had come loose, as did Henry’s feet. As he fell, his foot kicked the lantern. The room went dark.
Henry laid in the sand. Shane helped him back on his feet. His vision was blurred. He saw the orange glow of the campfire. His left eye had felt different. The jewel was lodged into it. He rubbed it in confusion but remained very content and calm. A woman spoke, “Henry, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing… It’s… absolutely beautiful.”