Using a nearby branch, he began to pry the hatch open. A strong, musty, smell emanated from the cockpit as the trapped air rushed out. The interior was pristine. The only visible signs of a crash existed on the dash. The instruments and steering column, as well as the weapons systems, covered in shattered glass, wreaked of melted plastics and charred metal.
Memories of the crash flooded Johnny. He stopped a moment, as he relived those horrific moments.
Gathering himself, he began to search through the compartments, looking for anything that might shed light on his tremors or pursuers. After rummaging through every possible nook and cranny, every hidden compartment, even searching a second time, he slumped over in disgust. At that moment, a gleam caught the corner of his eye. The sun’s rays shone briefly through the overhead canopy and reflected off a small crack in the floor below his feet.
“I think I found something!” He exclaimed. The excitement and anticipation weighed heavily on him.
He reached down, and with a screwdriver, began to pry the hidden metal compartment open. The metal door gave way without so much as a rusty groan.
Inside the compartment lay a small box made of soft, polished, cherry wood. On the rectangular box, engraven in the wood and laiden in chrome lay two letters: JP. Underneath the box, affixed firmly with tape, lay a key, and a folded note. The note simply stated: Open in extreme, dire circumstances.
Well, if ever there existed a time that constituted extreme, dire circumstances, the current situation fit.
Inserting the key, he carefully opened the box. It contained two simple items: a small black book, and a folded up piece canvas with a leather strap tied securely around it.
Perplexed, Johnny proceeded to unite the leather strap, and open the canvas. It contained no words. Only a crude picture, drawn with charcoal. The image represented that of a raven or a crow. No other markings existed on the canvas… (to be continued)
© Alan “Jedi” Zaugg 2018