THWACK! THWACK! My machete cut cleanly through the thick rainforest
underbrush. Where was it? I've been out here for a week searching for the
ramblings of an old man!
"Ouch!" I exclaimed in confusion. I looked at my phantom and it was
just a broken vine. In frustration I aimed at it and slashed it with my
machete. A wall of green fell down to the ground and I saw a small clear
pool surrounded by rocks. I approached warily and saw a glint of gold. I
gasped as I looked at the two-and-a-half foot high object.
"So it's true," I said aloud, "It's really true," I rubbed my eyes
and looked again to make sure it was still there. The Golden Wishing Harp!
Sheathing my machete I climbed down to the pool and waded across. I
did not seem to be able to get there fast enough, but finally I pulled
myself onto the rock slab the harp was sitting upon, gasping to get oxygen
back into my lungs. Once my breathing regulared, I turned onto my side to
look at the harp. It had a mystical glow that took in everything within a
I slowly sat up and pondered whether or not I should touch it. It
looked so fragile, like a card house. I gradually gathered my courage and
reached out to touch it. When my fingertips barely touched the top I heard
soft singing. I immediately withdrew my fingers and the singing stopped.
"What is this magic?" I asked.
Something took me over and the small harp was in my lap and I was
fingering a strange song, heavenly voices joined in an exquisite chorus. It
seemed like a lovely lifetime before the music ceased and the harp was, as
before, sitting next to me on the stone slab. I breathed laboriously and a
greediness took me over. I carefully wrapped the harp into my bedroll and
strapped in to my pack. I waded across the pool with new exhilaration. I
walked quickly all the way back to my camp and immediately made
preparations to go back home.
* * *
"What a beautiful harp!" exclaimed Mr. Chandler, "Where ever did you get
"I bought it at an auction when I was in New York," I lied, chewing
the end of my black cigar.
"Is that real gold?" asked Mrs. Rittenhouse.
"To be sure!" I said feigning resentment.
The mute music Professor walked over and made hand signs to Mr.
Ravelli, "He wants-a to know if he can-a play the harp," he said in his
thick Italian accent.
"No!" I said excitedly, "No, it doesn't play it's just an artistic
statue," I lied, chewing my black mustache.
I was asked more ignorant questions throughout the evening as the
party continued. I was glad when everyone bade me farewell and left for
their own houses. I finally was able to be alone with my treasure.
I walking into the sitting room and sat down in an armchair, the harp
appeared in my lap and I started playing, as before. I played, and the
supernatural voices crooned. Then, I was sitting in the chair and the harp
was where it had been before I picked it up. I thought it curious that I
never remembered either picking it up or setting it down.
I walked over to the harp and examined everything about it. It was
perfect. then I noticed a flaw. This flaw was so small it was hard to see
with the naked eye. It was thin as a hair and an inch long. A crack!
I rubbed the crack with my thumb. I did not hear the unearthly voices
but a screech like an awful violinist playing on an out of tune violin. I
removed my thumb and I saw the crack was bigger and I no longer had to
touch the harp to hear the screeching noise. I rubbed rapidly and
furiously; the noise kept increasing in volume.
All at once the harp flew into fifteen shards and six-inch high,
winged creatures came flying out. Moving two and fro like autumn leaves in
an enraged wind. Then a larger one of these beings came from the shards and
looked at me with a piercing stare. It advanced and the screech was
unbearable. It opened its mouth and all noise stopped until it spoke.
It spoke like the notes of a softly playing piccolo, "Why have you
disturbed the Golden Harp?"
"I-I-I was t-told it was a w-w-w-ishing harp," I stuttered.
"What is your wish?" asked the dark being.
"To be famous around the world," I answered confidently.
"Your wish is granted," said the being in a sly tone and it vanished
into dark purple smoke.
The screeching stared again and my throat felt like candle wax. I
looked down at my fingers and they were melting, just like a candle. I
cried out as my heart burst and I slipped into unconsciousness.
* * *
"This is baffling!" cried out the policeman.
"He was-a just fine-a yesterday!" said Mr. Ravelli, "I was-a at his-a
The Professor shook his head and let out a sympathetic whistle.
"I just don't know what to do!" exclaimed the policeman, "He's
melted, just like a candle!"
They all looked down and the pile of flesh-wax. the only thing
remaining of Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding was his black-rimmed glasses.