Once alone, Matt inserted the key in the designated slot, opened the door and pulled out the shallow, rectangular box from a wall of identical portals. He took it to the table, imagining he might sense by its weight, mysterious warmth or vibration the secret of the contents. He sat down and stared at the metal lid, simultaneously eager and apprehensive. Is the room monitored by video he wondered? “Get a grip,” he said to himself. What was he going to find inside but the physical manifestations of his father’s drunken delusions?
He lifted the lid.
There were five in all, the biggest about the size and shape of a small potato. The four other nuggets were round and about the size of walnuts. Though pocked and flecked with a few impurities there was no doubt they were gold. Warm and rich, they had an allure that mesmerized.
Matt closed the lid. He pressed his shaking hand down on it as if the misshapen lumps might fly out and escape. “Holy shit,” he whispered. His pulse throbbed in his temple and his breath came in short pants. He had to pull himself together. The contents of this box contained a power that drove men to madness, had changed the destiny of countries. With the current price of this precious metal over a thousand dollars an ounce a find like this could start a modern day gold rush, a rush that would run right over him.
Matt felt for the map in the breast pocket of his shirt right next to his pounding heart. He waited for his breathing to settle down, then opened the box, picked up the nuggets and put them in the pocket of his anorak. He closed the lid, replaced the box in its receptacle and let himself out. He wondered if his face was flushed and wished there was mirror so he could see if he was giving anything away inadvertently by his appearance.
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