A flash fiction story by Brian Robinson.
“This really is a lovely house, Georgian of course, full of character, and full of history too. It has so many stories to tell. In the nineteenth century for example, Robert Louis Stevenson was a regular visitor. His close friend lived here in Shepherds Bush and he often used to stop-over as he travelled down from Edinburgh to Europe.”
“How interesting! Treasure Island was my all-time favourite book as a child. I remember writing a story for a school project. It came out exactly like Treasure Island. I got a ‘D’ for imagination.”
“You can see the garden from this bedroom. It’s huge. I think this house will be perfect for you and your family.”
“Yes, I love the garden. And that tree near the bottom, it’s so imposing.”
“There’s a story behind that too but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that.”
“No, please tell me. I’m seriously thinking about buying this house, so I really do want to know everything about it.”
“Well, way back in the nineteen fifties twin boys were born here. They were known as the Jenkins twins. When they were about eleven they discovered what they thought was a priest’s hole in this very bedroom. Here I’ll show you. This wide floor board lifts up and as you can see there’s quite a large compartment underneath. They used to play hide and seek in here but their parents never knew anything about this.
Now we know it’s not a priest’s hole because the house is no where near old enough. I can only assume it was used to stash valuables? Who knows! But here’s the interesting bit. I’ll just shine a light and you’ll see what I mean.”
“There’s something drawn on the wall down there. It looks like a plan of the house and garden.”
“That’s exactly what it is. Now look at the garden bit carefully and tell me what you see.”
“Well, just opposite the tree I can see an X and the letter T.”
“Yes, ‘X’ marks the spot, and ‘T’ stands for treasure. It could even be that this is where the inspiration for Treasure Island came from.”
“Did they find their treasure?”
“Well, according to the story they did. They dug up a chest exactly where it was marked on the plan and inside they found two smaller containers. On one was written ‘The key to riches’. And on the other was written ‘The key to eternity.’ Each twin made their choice.”
“Go on, don’t keep me in suspense. What happened?”
“We know that in the early nineteen seventies one twin found his way into banking. He then went on to own a huge shipping company and made more money trading in commodities. He really did become fabulously rich.”
“What about the other twin? What happened to him?”
“I thought you might have guessed by now.”
“I don’t understand.”
“My name is Jenkins. I am the other twin.”
“That’s impossible. You said the twins were born in the nineteen fifties? We’re now in the year two thousand five hundred and sixty two…!