She sat, arms folded, in her poodle skirt and saddle shoes, staring straight ahead, looking bored as they drove along the back road.
“Want to hear an interesting story?” he asked off-handedly.
She shrugged, unsure of what they were doing, or where they were going. She’d never been down this dirt road before; there were no streetlights, only the headlights of the car and the stars overhead. There was a wall of trees on either side. They were truly out in the middle of nowhere.
“It’s about this road that we’re on. Its real name is Peace Valley Road. Others call it Heartbeat Road. Many years ago, back when this area was first settled, there were a boy and a girl, a lot like us, walking along this road. They were set upon by a robber on horseback. They started to run. The boy headed off into the woods, and didn’t stop running until he was quite a distance from the road. Minutes later, he heard the hoofbeats as the rider disappeared. He made his way back to the road, and quickly came upon the broken and bleeding body of his girlfriend, palely visible in the moonlight. He rushed to her side and took her in his arms, cursing his cowardice. He put his head to her breast and heard the last feeble beats of her heart as it slowed, and finally stopped. He then hung himself from a nearby tree.”
She had goosebumps on her arms as he paused and stopped the car, turning off the headlights and leaving them in darkness.
“They say,” he continued, “that if you stop along this road and listen, you can still hear the last beats of her heart.”
He stopped talking. There was no sound around them but the faint rustle of the wind through the trees. Then, in the distance... Thump...thump...thump...thump...thump...
She couldn’t tell which direction the sound was coming from, but it was definitely heartbeats.
The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. She had never been more terrified in her young life. Then suddenly, the thumps stopped. She was sure that the ghost of the murdered girl was going to get her! She grabbed at her boyfriend as she stammered, “St—start the car! Get us out of here!” She continued to clutch at him, holding her warm, trembling form tightly against him.
Obediently, he turned the key and the car started. As they went further along the road, there was a jolt as the dirt road turned into pavement again. He could feel her nails digging into his skin, as she urged him to go faster, the car’s frame shaking and rattling.
Finally, they came back to an area that was well lit, and the comforting sounds of car traffic on the highway could be heard.
He parked the car and put his arm around her still shaking body. “Are you all right?” he asked.
She looked up at him incredulously, as he sat there calmly stroking her hair, “D—didn’t you hear that sound back there?!”
He raised his eyebrows for a moment and replied, “Sure. That was the old water pump house. What did you think it was?” He smiled and kissed her on the forehead as she stared at him, stunned.
. . . . . . . .
He grinned and chuckled to himself as he drove her home, his shoulder still smarting from where she’d punched him.
With your back to the door of the Heart, cross Heartbeat Road on a bearing of 320 degrees. You will see a group of four trees. The box is under a flat rock near the leftmost tree.
UPDATE: (8/1/2013) The Heart has been demolished; not even the concrete foundation remains, which leads me to believe it will not be rebuilt. At present, there is a bit of a clearing, but the forest will soon reclaim it. The utility pole which supplied power to the pump house is still there, though, and you may use this to figure out where the box is planted.
·No ink included, bring your own. A red stamp pad or marker is suggested.
·Please reclose the box securely, and rehide better than you found it.