Contest entry: True Happiness
By Emily Seiser
Age 16, York
Thoughts flowed through my head as I enjoyed a relaxing sunrise walk along the beach. The sun had just begun to shine its brilliant colors across the clear morning sky. Not a sound polluted the beach, except that of the seagulls and the waves. The cool morning breeze glided over me as my eyes eased shut. The chilly water gently kissed my feet. I was drawn out of my relaxed state when something bumped into my feet. When my eyes opened, there was a bottle that had washed up onto the sand. No, it was more of a … jug.
Eagerly and curiously, I picked up this mysterious jug and opened it. Inside was an old, paperback diary. I carefully ran my hand over the worn cover, worried I would damage it. Slowly, my fingers turned the delicate pages. The first page held my undivided attention.
March 15, 1765
Only with dire need do I depart from my beloved Edwin three short months before our wedding. I must bury my fortune far away, for Edwin cannot know I am a princess. For him, I will give up the life I lead. I will leave behind my ornate palace in my beautiful Scotland. I will leave all this for the one I truly love.
The princess’ story was so beautiful, it touched my heart. Something else, though, intrigued me even more. She had set off to bury her fortune, meaning there was buried treasure to unearth! Without thinking twice, I ran home and hurriedly packed my bags, excited to start my adventure. My first step was to tour her castle.
March 18, 1765
While on the journey, I’ve had lots of time to think. The thoughts I had the most were of Edwin. I will never forget the day I met him. I was on a trip with my mother to visit her aunt in Ireland. After visiting, we stopped by the market. He was running a store with his father and when our eyes met, I felt an electrifying feeling that I knew was love at first sight. To this day he only knows me as Scarlett and I do not foresee myself telling him I am a princess.
The castle was even more beautiful than I imagined it. I could practically see Princess Scarlett walking the halls and even stumbled upon a room that was probably hers. After the stunning tour, I rented small boat for the next morning. From the time my eyes gazed upon the gorgeous castle to the time my head hit the pillow, I couldn’t stop dreaming about the adventure that awaited me.
The next morning, I woke early and went to where my boat waited with my modest bag of supplies and turned on the motor. The soft rumble of the engine penetrated the still silent morning. With that, my adventure began.
With a doodled map and written descriptions from her diary, I was able to find a path that was roughly the same one Scarlett traveled. The sky was a brilliant cerulean blue and the waters were calm, so I took out a sandwich and had lunch. All was going exactly was planned.
Suddenly, a loud boom resonated through the sky. The sky was beginning to turn an ominous shade of black. Knowing a storm was imminent; I quickly threw the journal in my bag and began to frantically search for the rain jacket I left in my hotel room. The air smelled of rain. The first rain drops fell hesitantly and then the skies broke loose. Thousands of cold raindrops pelted my skin. The ocean waves angrily rocked my little boat back and forth. I clutched my bag tightly, knowing its contents were my only hope of finding the treasure. Waves began to crash onto the boat. The taste of saltwater filled my mouth. Through sheets of rain, I saw hope: a small island. It was only a mile away. I prayed I would make it. My poor little boat tossed and turned until there was a slight bump. I had made it to land!
I grabbed my bag, jumped out of the boat, and ran. The cold rain stung as it hit my skin. I ran faster and faster, until I reached a forest, my legs on fire. I slowed to a walk and observed the forest. It was filled with a plethora of bright colorful flowers and exotic animals. There was even a tribe of monkeys!
The leader jumped down from its tree and barreled at me, the others following. The eyes of the monkeys were filled with unbelievable rage. I took off running. Thorny plants pierced my legs as I ran by, sweat dripping down my face. The monkeys made a high pitched, screeching sound and were coming much closer now. I saw the edge of the forest and pushed myself to run faster. I continued to run even after I cleared the forest until it was definite the monkeys had stopped.
My legs felt like jelly underneath me and I fell onto the cold, wet ground. The rain had finally stopped. I was drenched with sweat and rain; my hair was plastered to my face. Suddenly, I saw a shipwrecked boat in the distance! With every last ounce of my strength, I crawled to the shipwreck. My knees scraped the coarse, wet sand as I reached the boat. Then, something appeared out of the corner of my eye. Startled, I turned to find a skeleton! Next to it was something that resembled a journal entry.
I have been here so long; I no longer know what day it is. I failed Princess Scarlett. I was not able to navigate the boat safely through the treacherous storm. Before my boat crashed upon rocks, Princess Scarlett was carried away by a wave. The last I saw of her, her gorgeous strawberry blond hair flowered onto the surface of the water before she disappeared into its murky depths.
I sat on the beach dumbfounded by what I read. Princess Scarlett never got to marry her beloved Edwin? Tears began to slide down my cheeks. Then, I saw it through my tear-blurred vision. There was a brilliant speck of gold in the boat’s dilapidated bottom. I frantically dug at the damp sand. Little by little, I uncovered a shining gold chest. Carefully, I scraped the sand off of the brilliant gold, jewel encrusted chest. I stared at it in wonder. Then I realized, in all of the excitement, I had forgotten about the last entry. I opened up the diary and read.
March 19, 1765
After ages of travel, we have finally spotted land. It is a sight for sore eyes. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing the right thing, but every time I remember Edwin’s deep blue eyes, or charming smile that always melts my heart, I know I am. If I kept it, I’d have to tell him about it and then would he be marrying me for my money? Sudden wealth can do strange things to a person. It can make one greedy or cold hearted. Even though it pays for everything one could ever desire, it doesn’t ever bring true happiness. I would never want anything to change Edwin from the ambitious, compassionate man he is. I am doing this because I love him. I am going to lock my diary inside before I seal it so no one else will be corrupted.
I ran my hands over the chest, smooth from the abrasive sand. The lock on the chest was open in anticipation of the diary being added. After removing the time rusted lock, I slowly and gently opened the lid. My eyes widened at the sight of its contents. Inside were sparkling diamonds, blood red rubies, sapphires bluer than the sea, and more gold than there were drops of water in the ocean. With this I could get anything I’ve ever wanted. I grinned with all the prospects of how I could spend it. Along with those thoughts, a part from the diary entry resonated in my head. Sudden wealth can do strange things to a person. It can make one greedy or cold hearted. Even though it pays for everything one could ever desire, it doesn’t ever bring true happiness.
I picked up the worn diary and gently laid it in the chest on top of the fortune. I shut the lid slowly and sealed the rusty lock onto the lid with a click. When my hands lifted the chest, the heaviness made my back bow. Ever so slowly, my feet moved across the sand. With a sad smile, I lowered the treasure in the hole where it came from and watched as the sand wrapped its arms over it, covered it, and took it back into the earth where it belonged.