The morning sun had risen on the Wilterson Mansion once again. The unforgiving sun pierced through the slit in the shades and warmed young Konrad’s face. He awoke to the all too familiar smile of his twin sister, Catherine. Her long light brown hair sparkled gold in the morning sun.
“It’s about time you woke up Konrad. I thought you would sleep the whole day away.” She said as she proceeded to jump on the bed until Konrad sat up.
He shook his own messy dark brown hair as he returned her a morning smile. He then looked to the horizon to find the sun barely escaping its touch.
“Not even. I just like to sleep like a normal person.” He said rubbing his eyes.
“Why sleep through the day when there’s so many adventures afoot!?” She said as he stood up from the bed, drawing back the shades dramatically. Konrad protected his still sensitive eyes with his forearms.
“Adventures you say?”
“Afoot!” She answered back, taking on the persona of a crazed pirate.
Konrad leaped out of bed and approached his drawers, pulling out the first clothes he saw.
“No doubt these adventures would lead to precious treasures and glory for the Wilterson family!” He said jumping into his pants.
The two young adventurers scrambled to the door, quietly pulling it open and sticking out their heads to see far down the still hallways. After looking both ways, the two tip toed on. Konrad and Cathy had grown all too adroit at sneaking out of the mansion without being spotted by any help or, more importantly, their parents. They weren’t too keen of them going on ‘adventures’ and wandering the wilds of Khazan. No one ever knew what new and odd monstrosity may decide to one day make the wilds its home. This, however, is what lulled the twins to its very depths.
It wasn’t long before the twins were deep into the jungle behind the Wilterson Mansion.
“What will you buy with your Treasure, Konrad?” Cathy asked as she jumped over a log.
Konrad contemplated deeply on the question. He wasn’t really sure what he wanted.
Eventually, he came to realize he didn’t want the treasure for its monetary value, rather for the glory that finding it would entail.
“I won’t buy anything. I’ll give it to the poor, maybe.” Konrad said, swatting at a low hanging branch with his walking stick.
“Give it away? What’s the point of looking so hard for this treasure if you just plan on giving it away?”
Konrad turned to Catherine and walked backwards as he answered, “Because, then I will be ‘Konrad, The Treasure Finder!’”
“What a horrible title.” Cathy said, but before Konrad could chuckle at his own jest the ground gave in at his feet. The earth opened up to a dark abyss and the mouth of it grew wider, taking in both of the twins in one sinister gulp.
The twins landed hard. They were lucky they didn’t break a bone from the fall. Cathy looked up at the mouth of the hole and estimated that they had dropped eight, maybe ten feet.
“Here, we can climb back up if we grab the roots?” Cathy said, pulling on one of the nearest roots, testing it to hold her weight.
“Not just yet Catherine.”
Konrad looked deep into the darkness. “I believe we’ve fallen into an ancient tunnel.”
“You don’t want to explore it?” Konrad asked, a bit surprised by his sister’s haste to return to the surface.
Catherine reluctantly released the root from her hands and joined her brother as he gazed into the dark tunnel that ran deep beneath the earth. “I suppose so.”
The air was cool within the tunnel. The pliable dirt from earlier had turned to a black, rocky stone. Upon further descent the twins could hear a beating in their ears. Cathy was quick to give this, among many others, as a reason to turn back, but Konrad was very persuasive in his reasoning to push on.
Eventually, a light could be seen emanating from further down the tunnel and the cool air began to warm. Konrad quickened his pace and was amazed when he finally saw the source of the strange light.
“Konrad, Konrad!” Cathy yelled before catching up with her brother and setting her own eyes on what Konrad was mesmerized by.
It was a small pond. And within the pond glowed a rock of some sort. Its yellow light changed the whole pool to its odd hue.
Konrad stepped forward towards the pool, removing his outer shirt.
“What are you doing?”
“Just having a closer look,” He answered before placing the first foot into the cool yellow pond. The rock seemed to brighten from his presence and this did nothing but encourage Konrad to get closer. He pushed deeper into the water and it rose to his hip when he came within arms distance of the yellow rock. Catherine could do nothing but look on with concern from the rocky shore.
Konrad lifted his arm, and then hesitated as his fingertips stopped only inches from the rock’s surface.
He touched the rock.
The tunnel exploded with a blinding light and then suddenly died into pitch black darkness. Konrad could hear his sister’s scream and the splash of water before he fell unconscious.
The distant screams roused the whole Wilterson Mansion. The household looked to the wilds of the backyard to find Catherine, obviously shaken, dragging along the body of her twin brother. The household thought the worst had occurred. The medics were called immediately and the twins were rushed to the hospital.
Konrad woke up in the hospital. At least, he thought he did. He couldn’t see but could hear the constant movement and machinery around him.
He reached for his eyes and could feel the bandages around them. As he felt them further he could feel a soft, warm hand touch his and remove his hand from his bandages.
There was a long pause before the hand to the voice answered back.
"No, honey, I'm a nurse. Your mother is with your sister."
"Is Cathy alright?"
"She suffered from acute radiation poisoning. We haven't been able to stop her from vomiting... We're doing the best we can for her. She’ll be alright."
"I have to see her." He said, fighting to sit up.
The nurse stopped him, placing her hand firmly on his chest as she said, "No. The doctor will be in to see you soon now that you're up. Your sister will be fine. She’s in good hands."
Konrad sat back reluctantly. He worried for his sister, as much as he'd worry for his own health, but his body was weak.
The doctor came in a little later. He couldn’t see him, but could almost feel him as he stood beside his bed. He could gauge where he was standing.
"Hello Konrad, I'm Doctor Solomon. I'm going to need you to tell me exactly what happened in the forest. Your sister is suffering from an acute exposure to radiation and while you're exposure level seems to be much lower it seems to have scarred the inner tissue of your eye. We need to know what happened… "