I tried to sleep in my old familiar sleeping bag, but rest would not come. Even five drinks deep, I could not shut off my fears. I tossed and turned until I opened my eyes and starting scanning the wooden headboard of my bed. I saw the marks I had carved into the soft wood for each year I had come back to sleep there, but something other than a simple line carved into the dirty wood caught my eye. Something freshly scratched into the wood.
Under your mattress, Kevin
I almost instantly broke out in a sweat inside my toasty sleeping bag. I snuck my arm out of the cover and reached over underneath the mattress. There was something there. I grabbed hold of it and swiftly ripped it out and shoved it into the cover of my sleeping bag, hoping Jeremy couldn’t see if he was awake over across the room.
I pulled the item to my face to see it was an old Playboy I remembered storing out in the woods all those years ago. I laughed a tiny bit to myself, maybe this was a joke Jeremy had planned or a note I had left for myself years ago and just never noticed.
But then something fell out of the magazine. I scrambled around the sleeping bag until I found it and pressed it up to my eyes in the near dark.
It was a hand-drawn map.
The map crudely outlined The Shack, the a little fire pit outside the building and a tiny outhouse behind the thing. Next to the outhouse was an identification for a landmark that only would make sense to Jeremy, Daniel and I.
The Frog Graveyard.
One of our favorite activities when we were kids was to search for frogs in the creek and then build our own zoos for them to live in the front of The Shack. Unfortunately, our zoos weren’t the ideal habitat for the frogs so they frequently died in mass. When our frog friends passed, we would give them a proper burial in front of the mini-shack in our Frog Graveyard which was complete with mini headstones we made with rocks we tagged with our departed amphibian friends’ names.
Below the marker for the Frog Graveyard on the map was a note:
Dig here, don’t tell Jeremy