As soon as Annabel, Elmi, Kaylin, and Della had finished ingesting the creamy, not-so-creamy yogurt, they had run back upstairs to finish their puzzle that they were working on before the fire. Annabel was sitting out mostly, reading a book about the barrier current and a travel magazine for tourists that come to the fishing islands.(Arkk, Fuzz, and Kenol) Kaylin was flicking her dark blonde hair around as she gloated of her surprisingly few puzzle building feats. Della was frustrating herself with the 100 piece puzzle (she’s only five) while Elmi kindly tried to give her hints to the next piece.
“Done!” Della squealed loudly when the three had finished the puzzle. It really was a jungle, but the animals and the jaguar especially looked creepily human. Annabel glanced at it quickly and then turned her full gaze on it. “T-that t-tucan…” Annabel stuttered slowly. “Aauugghh!”
“The monkey’s got an old man face!” Della laughed. “The toucan's got a dog snout!” shouted Kaylin. “The Jaguar looks like a bat!” joined Annabel.
Suddenly Grey rushed in the game room. “What’s all the shouting? Is there a fire?” he asked frantically. His hands were out, and his eyes were wide. His little tuft of hair was speeding back and forth. I wonder if it could make a good perpetual motion machine… thought Annabel.
“No, silly!” Della laughed. Elmi thought she was pretty brave to be calling him “silly.” Grey recognized what was going on and dropped to his knees. He immediately surveyed the puzzle. Then, he asked, “are you done?”
“Yes,” replied Elmi.
“No,” he said.
“No?” Elmi asked.
“No,” he repeated.
“You’re not done.”
Elmi gave him a quizzical look. “Here… ah, Annabel,” Grey said, forgetting her name for a bit. “Come, a smart looking girl like you should be able to figure this out.” Annabel pushed up her glasses and straightened her black hair in a bun. Stereotypical! She remarked inwardly. Though, I am the smartest of us four… if I weren’t so to say so myself!
Grey grabbed the box after they had all made a circle around him and the puzzle, and held it out to them. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Well,” started Kaylin. “The box has what’s on the puzzle and the puzzle’s wrong.” Grey immediately replied with: “Precisely. Now, fix it.”
“What?” asked Kaylin incredulously. “Like, draw on it?” Grey shook his head slowly. Annabel peered skeptically at the box. At the corner was a little peel? She reached out and peeled a layer of the box cover. She scraped it to make sure there was nothing else to peel. On the under-peel of the box was a handwritten message: Deconstruct TT (P, D, S, Y, FB)
“Congratulations! You found the first clue!” Grey said. Kaylin smiled cooly. “Are you saying there’s a secret puzzle in this puzzle?” she asked, impressed. Grey nodded happily. Maybe this isn’t such of an easy puzzle after all!
Elmi tried a couple of the puzzle pieces to see if there was anything to peel. Nothing. “Hmm, decon- de…” Della sounded out the word. “Deconstruct!” Then she added: “T T!”
“Tee Tee,” Annabel repeated. “Is this a sound trick?” Grey shook his head. He seemed limited with talking in this challenge. “TT” Elmi murmured. “But what about PDSTFB?” “Oh, that’s nothing,” Grey said. “The storekeeper said it was an old acronym that people used to use, that it was not in the puzzle.” Elmi lowered her face in understanding. Her bright blonde hair fell in her face as she did so, even though she tries to keep it up in a pony.
Kaylin traced her fingers across the pieces, and felt a slight rattle in one. She quickly looked, but her finger had already passed. Now she did not know where it was. Her thoughts referred back the code. TT. It could mean a million things Turning Turret, Teal Tucan. Wait! Toucan! Toucan Tail! Kaylin’s hand lurched uncontrollably to the puzzle piece that the toucan’s tail was on. She wrenched it apart, to find a flat, twiddly metal bit with glass on the tip.
“You got it!” Grey yelled. “TT stands for toucan’s tail!” wooted Kaylin. Grey’s face dropped. “Oh,” he said. “It’s actually toucan tushie… but same square.” Della giggled. Tushie means butt.
Elmi snatched the metal thing from Kaylin and examined it. “I’ve seen something like this before! It was a black light!” She yelled in excitement. Grey smiled, amused by their happy interest in the puzzle puzzle. Elmi flicked a switch under the glass part of the metal thing, and it lit up. She pointed it at the puzzle. Some pieces lit up with letters, and some stayed the same. But, in total, the pieces that were shining read: fceonsu.
“I bet it’s a word scramble!” Della stated loudly. “Good idea!” Kaylin shouted back. They started to say random syllables that would fit. “Sun!” “Fones!” “Ceonfu!” “Confuse!” When Kaylin yelled it, a clunk sound came from the puzzle, and the puzzle faded into a new picture.
There was a big grey cave with stalactites dripping from the ceiling. Moss surrounded stones, and crumpled flowers sat on the floor. Bats clung to the ceiling and a big, brown and white dog lay sleeping in the corner. There was a feeling of softness in the image. “Wow,” breathed Elmi. “It’s a beautiful picture.” Grey smiled and they all laughed together. They had fixed the puzzle. Grey’s laugh was low and stood out of the girl’s tinkly laughs.
“Wait!” Annabel suddenly said after they had finished laughing. “I know what the code means. Grey gave her a sarcastic look. “No, really!” she insisted. She grabbed the box and stuck her arm in. out rolled a glittering nugget of gold. Grey gasped.