Hal went on, “nothing in life that is worth having can be gained without making some great sacrifice. Whether you give up your time, or something more valuable, the choice is yours to make. The greater the sacrifice you make, the greater the reward. For each person that breaks the rule, the consequences are different. We are all, each of us, constructed from different strands of nucleic acids, so the manifestations of the curse can not be known. Remain true and you can pass on the great wisdom and enjoy the wealth of knowledge for the remainder of your days.”
After stating these final words, Hal returned his hat to his head and made a slight bow, as if to let us know he was finished speaking. There wasn’t much more to be said. It would take some time for all of this to settle into our minds. We had hoped there was more, but as we looked around amongst ourselves we just knew that he was done speaking. Before hopping back onto his horse, he handed us each a small box and requested that we separate from each other before opening them. The box was carefully and delicately crafted of cedar, then painted in a most curious way. Each box had a unique design on the lid and was finished off with a brass-colored latch. We each accepted our gift and bid Hal goodbye.
All that was left of our day could be summed up in a blank stare, but we all knew exactly what we had to do. We parted ways, hoping that our paths would cross again in the future. Here I sit, by myself, hundreds of miles from where my journey first began, about to undo the latch and see what lies inside the box.