“He wore a faded brown fedora.”
"What did you say?" The statement grabbed me, pulling me out of whatever hole my thoughts had fallen into. Grasping the stranger next to me by the arm, I forced him to stop, heedless of the disapproving stares of the other pedestrians trying to make their way down the sidewalk. Curfew was coming, and everyone was in a hurry.
"Get off of me!" The man threw my arm off, and started to turn away. I grabbed at him again, desperate. I tried to soften my tone this time, and forced my face into what felt like a smile.
"Please--what did you say about a brown fedora?" The man looked at me, and must have seen my distress, because he softened.
"There was some old guy over on First, wearing one. He had a brown leather jacket and a bullwhip, and kept hollering about an Ark or Covenant," He said. "Do you know him?"
"He's my grandfather," I whispered, my every fear realized. It was my fault; I hadn't realized that the old man was so far gone. I'd only stepped outside to buy some milk before curfew, never realizing that he'd figured out how to open the door by himself.
"You'd better get over there if you want to catch him before the cops do," My reluctant informant moved away, blending into the crowd as if he'd never existed; we were all wearing the same black and gray uniforms.
Mindful of the time displayed on digital clocks everywhere, I hurried the two blocks over to First Street. As I turned the corner, I heard a familiar voice yelling at the crowd to get back. There would be no hiding him now. I pushed my way to the center of the crowd to find my grandfather standing on top of a wooden crate. On the ground around the box were littered the bodies of several unconscious men. My heart sank as I realized that my grandfather had a crowbar. He used it to open the box, jumping to the ground to pull the top with him.
The sides of the crate fell away to reveal another box, made of what appeared to be gold. The crowd fell silent, mesmerized as the last lights of the day were reflected off the shiny material. I could see that there were letters carved into the sides of the box, symbols that meant nothing to me. It may have been an old religious icon, but religion had been outlawed centuries before. I moved to my grandfather's side.
"It's time to go home, Indiana," I told him; he might not recognize me, but he knew his name. My grandfather smiled at me, his eyes radiating a secret knowledge.
"Yes. It is time to go home," he said. Then he pushed the lid off the golden box.