Derrik gazed at the gazebo, hands in his pockets. He marched up the steps and said, “It’s a little strange to put such a fancy clock in a gazebo, especially a gazebo in the middle of nowhere. Don’t you think?”
Thomas climbed up behind his older brother. “Yeah, I guess. The whole place seems weird.”
“Well, it’s definitely creepy,” Derrik agreed, peering closely at the clock. He removed the clock from its hook and turned it over. The hands of the clock had long ceased to move, frozen in their positions, no longer ticking in constant rhythm.
Carefully, Derrik pried open the back of the clock. “Woa,” he gasped.
“What?” asked Thomas, stepping over to look into the clock’s mechanics. He echoed Derrik’s gasp.
Bright, multicolored gems gleamed in the interior of the clock. The precious stones were flat and variously shaped, fitting together within the clock like the pieces of a puzzle. Thomas’s eyes grew as round as the tops of two light bulbs. Derrik whistled lowly.
“No wonder the clock isn’t working,” the older boy said quietly. He pointed at the gems and explicated, “It looks like all the gears and stuff were taken out to make room for the jewels.”
Leaning closer to examine the gems, Thomas saw that Derrik was right; the inside of the clock was empty of all machinery, containing only the gems.
“Lookit,” Thomas said. “There’s one missing.”
Derrik glanced at the empty space in the gem puzzle, then scanned the gazebo floor. “Maybe it fell out when I opened the clock.”
The two brothers searched the gazebo, but with no success. Thomas hopped over the railing and sifted through the fallen leaves around the gazebo. As he circled the perimeter, Thomas began, “I don’t see it….” Then something sticking out of the earth caught his eye. He bent and drew out the half buried object. It was a blood red, palm sized jewel that glinted in the sunlight. Thomas held it up victoriously and exclaimed, “I got it!”