When an 83-year-old woman found this school photo from her childhood, she got the shock of her life. She found it in her attic, amongst some ancient dusty boxes. It seemed like a normal photo of her and her classmates in 1966. But when she looked closer, she got tears in her eyes. The girl in this picture couldn’t possibly be there…
The funeral of this old man was a sad occasion. He was well-loved by everyone in town and, of course, mostly by his own family. The ceremony was beautiful, and when the tombstone was finally placed on his grave, everyone stared with tear-filled eyes. Everyone except his grandson. Because what he saw on the left side of the grave would shock everyone!
It was six months ago when Kevin’s grandfather Arthur passed away. Today the family gathered once more at his now-finished grave site. Arthur was the backbone of the family and the storyteller of fantastical tales. And that last part resonated especially well with his grandson Kevin. Their imagination would create large-scale adventures. And on this day, Kevin would solve the biggest one yet…
Arthur owned a tavern in town that had been in his family for generations. And that place was the source of inspiration for the adventures he came up with. Local workers and people from far and wide would come in and tell Arthur the weirdest life stories there. And when he came home, he would turn those stories into cryptic missions for little Kevin.
And the biggest mission of Kevin’s life was about to come to fruition. Arthur had planned everything to perfection, knowing that this day would come. He made sure that the first hint was given at his funeral, and he gave the entire family the chance to solve his most important puzzle. But he knew that Kevin would be the one who would solve it in the end…
So when Arthur passed away at the relatively young age of 72, everything was already set in motion. The long nights working in the tavern, even well after his retirement, plus his love for alcohol and cigarettes, had caught up with him. But he didn’t care; he had a good life. And the big surprise he had planned for his family would honor that fact…
It would be a mystery that would take Kevin over six months to solve, but once he found all the missing puzzle pieces, his life and the lives of the entire family would never be the same again. But for the first hint to drop, a funeral first had to take place. And the entire family made sure that it would be a day to remember…
Planning the funeral
Michael, Arthur’s son, took the lead in the main arrangements. And Arthur’s wife Linda and their two daughters did the rest. Music was provided for free by local bands who had played in his tavern over the years, and heartfelt words were written on paper. And the location of the funeral ceremony, of course, had to be Arthur’s own tavern.
The place was cleaned, stripped, and made beautiful for this sad but special occasion. Everything had to be perfect. Yes, the family did everything possible to make this funeral memorable. But what they didn’t know was that Arthur himself had planned something as well. Months before he passed away, he already planted the first seeds of an elaborate ruse. And this ceremony was part one…
On the day of the funeral, it rained a little. The sky was a soft gray color. Many people came to say goodbye to Arthur. Friends, family, and even people who didn’t know Arthur very well were there. Arthur’s box was covered with a green cloth and was signed by all of his loyal customers. When the box was brought into the room, everyone was quiet.
Father O’Brien was the priest for the funeral. He was Arthur’s oldest friend. Father O’Brien told everyone about how kind Arthur was and how he was always there for people. But what they didn’t know was that he was part of Arthur’s master plan. In between his words, there was music. The songs were sad but beautiful, and they made everyone think about how much they loved Arthur.
And as the ceremony ended, Father O’Brien even spoke directly to the family for a moment. And the message he had was a quote straight from Arthur Quinn himself. The message was cryptic, the way only a storyteller like himself could express it. “When the moon is on its 6th cycle and stone is put to earth, look to your left, and the future will reveal itself.”
The family looked at Father O’Brien in confusion. This was typical for Arthur to plan an elaborate mystery around his own demise. But nobody knew the answer to the mystery that the holy man had just put upon them. The tavern was eerily quiet, and many confused faces looked around the room. Eventually, it was his wife Linda who broke the silence…
Just too smart
“Let’s continue with the beautiful ceremony, people; if Arthur does have some big puzzling plan for us, we are not going to figure it out today. He was way too smart for that.” The family agreed, and they continued the final notes of the ceremony. After the funeral, everyone went outside to bury Arthur. It was still raining, but that didn’t bother anyone.
The men of the family carefully put the box into the hole. It was a sad moment. People were crying, and a final song was sung by a local singer-songwriter. But amongst the tear-filled eyes, you could also clearly see people who were rattling their brains, trying to solve the riddle dropped on them by Father O’Brien. One of those people was Arthur’s grandson Kevin…
After the burial, the family got approached by the burial undertakers and the foundation that owned the cemetery. They consoled everyone for the loss of their husband, father, grandfather, and brother. After that, they told the family that there was only one thing left to do. And that was to pick out a tombstone to put on the open grave.
1st puzzle piece
And that was the first piece of the puzzle. Most of the family didn’t notice it, and they just went along with the explanation of the undertakers. But little Kevin was paying attention. “A stone… Grandpa’s message mentioned something about a stone,” Kevin thought. He snapped out of his daydream and continued listening closely for more clues. And he wouldn’t have to wait long…
Pieces adding up
The second part of the puzzle came pretty much right after the first. Because the undertaker then said the following: “I can imagine it has been stressful to arrange everything about this funeral in just under a week of time. But don’t worry; the tombstone can’t be placed for another six months. So take your time, pick out a great one, and then get back to us.”
“Wait a minute! The message from Grandpa said that the moon needed to be on its sixth cycle. Does this mean that in six months, we will have the answer?” Kevin was dissecting every word the undertaker spoke, and he really was on the right track to solving his grandfather’s puzzle. The downside was that he now had to wait an excruciating six months to solve this thing.
Time Moves On
Six months is an eternity when you’re an eight-year-old. It can feel even longer when you are waiting to decipher a riddle from your deceased grandfather. However, time has a peculiar way of moving on, whether you want it to or not. As the days became weeks and the weeks turned into months, Kevin became more absorbed with the mystery Arthur had left behind.
In those months, his family tried to return to their normal lives. His mother went back to work, and his sister returned to school, but there was a noticeable void that Arthur’s absence had created. His grandmother, Linda, kept herself busy, maintaining the tavern in honor of Arthur. And Kevin would often sit in Arthur’s armchair, looking out at the moon, waiting for that sixth cycle…
And then the day had finally come. The day to place the stone over Arthur’s grave. Kevin was filled with a mix of anxiety and excitement. The entire family was there, dressed in black once again. They watched as the stone was gently put in place, marking the final physical tribute to Arthur’s memory. The stone read: “Arthur Quinn – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Storyteller and Ear to all.
It was an emotional moment, and this time it really felt like a last goodbye. Every one of the family wept, and hands were placed on the top of his marble headstone. But even though Kevin felt sad as well, he knew he was also there with a mission. This was the day when Grandpa’s puzzle would come to an exciting end…
And as everyone kept staring at those well-chosen words that were engraved into his tombstone, Kevin’s eyes ventured to the left. Because that was where the message of Grandpa Arthur told him to look. He recited the message again in his mind: “When the moon is on its 6th cycle and stone is put to earth, look to your left, and the future will reveal itself.”
And that’s when he saw it. There was a large stone lantern next to his grandfather’s grave. A fixed statue that normally would be embedded into the ground, sturdy without any wiggle room. But this statue looked different. It was clearly made out of two parts. The bottom part, that indeed was fixed into the ground. Probably poured into a mold that was fixed to the pavement itself.
But the top part was clearly placed on there. It was a windy day, and every so often, this loose part of the stone lantern would wiggle back and forth. One time when a particularly heavy gush of wind passed by, it even tilted diagonally a bit. Kevin saw that it was hollow, and for just a glimpse, he could peek inside. There was something in there.
“How come nobody is noticing this? Am I the only one who remembered the weird thing Father O’Brien told us at the funeral?” Kevin thought. And apparently, that was the case because, after a couple more minutes and a couple of more tears being patted dry, the group walked away. They turned their back on the grave and walked towards the exit. But not Kevin…
Kevin couldn’t believe it. He shouted to his family as he remained standing by his grandfather’s tombstone. “What are you guys doing? Don’t you remember what Grandpa Arthur said to us?” The family turned around and looked at Kevin with confused looks on their faces. “What is it, honey?” His mother answered. Kevin walked over to the stone lantern and gave it a hard kick with his feet.
“KEVIN! What the hell are you doing?! You cannot disrespect a cemetery like this.” His mother shouted at him vigorously. But before they knew it, the top part of the lantern fell off the lower pedestal and rolled over the ground, revealing a hollow chamber inside. Kevin reached his hand inside the chamber and pulled out a small wooden box.
He had his family’s attention now, and the crowd slowly walked toward the boy until they formed a perfect circle around him. Kevin repeated Arthur’s message one more time. Pointing towards the tombstone and the location of the lantern when it was relevant: “When the moon is on its 6th cycle and stone is put to earth, look to your left and the future will reveal itself.”
All family members now finally understood. It fit Arthur’s personality perfectly to set them up with such a bizarre surprise surrounding his death. They almost felt ashamed that Kevin was the only one who kept remembering his final written words. They all were curious now as to what was inside the box. “Come on, boy, don’t let us wait in suspense any longer,” Uncle Michael said.
Envelope and key
Kevin slowly opened the box, revealing the mystery inside. It was a letter and a key. The key looked old and rusty like it hadn’t been used in years. The letter, however, was reasonably new and sealed off with a red wax emblem that Grandpa Arthur always said was their family sigil. Everyone always thought that the sigil was a fabrication of his stories. But there it was.
Starting to read
Kevin opened the letter by pulling his nail through the wax sigil, thereby breaking the seal. Kevin wasn’t the fastest reader at eight years old, but everyone gave him the chance to read the letter from Arthur. He was the one who figured it out in the end. Kevin started reading: ” To my dearest family, my wife, son, and daughters and of course the little ones.”
Message part 1
“If you read this, I’m probably dead. Don’t mourn me too long; I don’t like it when people linger in the past. Live your life and be happy. You all have given me the greatest life imaginable. I don’t know the exact moment of my death, but I can feel it in my bones. My time on Earth is running out. That’s why I took some precautions.”
Message part 2
“I gave Father O’Brien instructions to make sure you get this box and its contents. A clue will be given by him at my funeral, and I’m sure one of you smart folks will figure it out. Probably little Kevin, that rascal.” Kevin smiled when he read that. “Father O’Brian will then put the box under the lantern so you will find it 6 months later.”
“The key that you will find in this box is to a secret basement beneath the floorboards of the tavern. There you will find a chest filled with gold coins and money. It has been saved up by my family for generations, and it eventually belonged to me. See it as your inheritance. Divide it equally amongst the nine of you. May my death bring forth positivity.”
They couldn’t believe it. What a bizarre twist of events. How come nobody knew of this, not even Linda? They all looked at each other for a moment without saying a word. But Kevin again took the lead on this one. He urged them to come along with him. The little boy held the letter and key in hand and was already walking over to the car…
They went over to the tavern, where they searched for almost an hour without finding anything. The place was set to open later that day, but after getting this bizarre news, they decided to close up shop. Eventually, it was Kevin once again who was able to figure out where to look. As everyone was walking around franticly, looking for a hatch, Kevin closed his eyes and listened…
Because in the center of the tavern, there was a crack in the floor. It was there for as long as anyone could remember. And until this moment, it was thought to be nothing more than wood crying out of old age. But every time a family member walked on the plank, Kevin heard it. It was like a message from his grandpa, urging him to look closer…
He crouched down next to the plank and urged everyone to be quiet and pay attention. He pushed his small, nimble fingers through a gap in the floorboard and was able to remove the plank completely. And there it was. A twist handle that, when turned, made a hatch drop down into a dark basement. Some other planks were removed, and now the family could pass through…
In the basement, they found a large chest. And it was indeed filled with golden coins and a stack of money. And it wasn’t a small sum. It turned out to be a total value of over 12 million dollars. The amount was split equally, as requested by Arthur. And that’s how Arthur’s real-life adventure story came to a rewarding and satisfying end.