They sat next to each other on the step and pored over the map. There were four crosses and three noughts each over a stone.
“Is this what I think it is?” said Esme.
“No a treasure map, Sebastian.”
“Well it’s a puzzle of a kind,” said Sebastian, “for example, what is the winning move here? It has to be a X doesn’t it because there’s four of those and only three noughts. It can’t be the middle X or the one in the bottom left hand corner, so it’s either of the other two – either top left or bottom right.”
“Looking at the noughts, I think it’s the top left X that’s the winning move,” murmured Esme, “but that stone is well over three metres high, how can we shake it?”
“Well as we are going anyway, let’s see what happens,” said Sebastian, “let the moonlight inspire us. But, just in case that’s not enough, let’s take your searchlight.”
They drove through the cool night slightly faster than normal. With a sense of childish excitement they arrived near the circle and parked. Esme placed the spyglass in her rucksack, grabbed the searchlight and they walked over to the circle. The moon was bright and the shadows of the stones made strange shapes on the surrounding scenery.
“Which stone is our X marked over?” said Sebastian.
“This one,” said Esme patting the stone next to her, which was almost twice her height.
“Should we watch the eclipse first or do you want to shake it?” he asked.
“Let’s shake our stone,” she said, “after all this isn’t real, you can’t move a stone like this, not without some machinery. The eclipse is very real.”
They each stood on one side of the stone, extended their arms, and tried to move the slab of rock. Nothing happened. They both tried pushing but the object was immovable.
“Is this the right stone – are you sure it’s the right stone,” said Sebastian.
Esme shone her light on the map.
“It looks like it – wait aren’t we taking this too seriously – this isn’t a real treasure map is it – it’s a fake – are we seriously expecting the stone too move for us?”
“Sebastian – we are adults acting like teenagers.”
“Esme – there’s a couple of hand-sized depressions on this side of the stone.”
“I just felt them with my hands – parts of this stone are carved.”
“Really – I’ll feel around on the other side.”
After two minutes Esme suddenly said “Sebastian – I think I’ve found the same on this side.”
“My hands are in place – let’s try moving the stone.”
They both pushed and the stone rocked backwards and forwards very slightly.
Suddenly they were heading downwards into the ground.