Chapter 1

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The first thing you should know is Gramps was twisted.  

He wasn't cruel or anything, but he had a very weird sense of humour. He nearly killed me a bunch of times. But that's okay. He was already dead at the time, so I to let that go.  

He had only been dead a few days when it all began. The family flew in from all over the country, buried the old guy and headed up to his farm to figure out what to do next. That's when the arguing started.  

They had been at it since we arrived a few hours ago. Mostly it was my uncles, Ross and Mitch, arguing with my mom. Nothing unusual about that, but it all felt so sad without Gramps to weigh in and settle everyone down. This year there would be no family barbeque. My uncles wouldn't argue over the best way to burn a steak. No games of hide n' seek in the barn with me buried under a pile of moldy hay, hiding in terror from Rod, my eldest cousin with fists as hard as cement.  

"Get your nose out of that key hole, Pinky!"  

I jumped at the sound of Rod's voice.  

I was so busy listening to my mom and uncles argue in the other room, I didn't even hear him coming through the front door of my grandfather's old farmhouse. 

He wasn't alone. My other cousins gathered around Rod like a gaggle of baby ducklings following their mother. Sinister baby ducklings that would swarm you on command. I was the smallest of the lot. Even my younger cousin, Marissa, was bigger than me. That's what I get for being born nearly a full month premature.  

Little Marissa stepped out of the pack and pushed me aside.  

"He said move it, Pinky."  

She stuck her eye in front of the old style keyhole. Calling Marissa "little" is like calling a lemon sweet. But that's what Gramps called her. Marissa was half my age but twice my size. She was Rod's younger sister, which could explain her size. What they feed kids in the suburbs? Hockey pucks and donuts? 

She also had a talent for giving nicknames. When we were younger, Gramps kept a toy chest in the front room of his house. It was filled with cool stuff like toy trains, pirate swords and other junk little kids like to play with. The chest was amazing but, according to Rod, it had one problem. It was pink. And it had a smiling pink unicorn on the lid. Pinky the Unicorn we all called it. The chest belonged to my mom when she was a kid. I never had a problem with the colour and I still don't. But my cousins did. Last summer, Rod decided the chest was lame and my cousins being good little ducklings all agreed. They avoided the chest like it would turn their skin pink. Except for me. I didn't care. That is until Marissa caught me rooting through the chest last summer for a board game. She called me Pinky and, like all bad nicknames, it stuck.  

"They've been in there for over an hour," Nate said. He was a few months older than me and, you guessed it, much bigger. "What's taking them so long?"  

"They're trying to figure out what to do with the farm, moron." Rod slapped Nate on the back of the head.  

I moved to the stairs and let my cousins snoop at the door. My uncles were talking so loud I could have heard them from the roof.  

"You listen here, little sister!" Uncle Ross' voice boomed through the heavy wooden door. We all froze like frightened fish. Except Rod. He puffed out his chest and grinned at the sound of his father's shouting. "We are selling this dump of a farm as fast as we can." 

"There's a land developer arriving first thing tomorrow with money to buy this place." I'd recognize Uncle Mitch's voice anywhere. He was Nate's dad and his words were always slow and measured. In a way, that was scarier than Uncle Ross' yelling. "We sell the farm, pay off Dad's debts and forget about this place." 

"Those developers will turn the farm into another strip mall." I sat up straighter at the sound of my mom's voice. Her words were even and firm. "Just give us a chance to find it."  

"Don't start with that nonsense again, Jo," Uncle Ross said. "Gramps was an old dreamer." 

"All that time tinkering with machines and computers in that barn, got him nothing but deeper in debt," said Uncle Mitch. "And those tales of buried treasure here on the farm were just the ramblings of an old man."  

Rod's eyes nearly popped out of his head.  

"Buried treasure!" Marissa whispered. Her eyes went wide and practically flashed dollar signs.  

"Gramps was a sly old coot," Nate said. "I remember him saying something about treasure here on the farm. I thought he was just making it up."  

"I could see him hiding a stash of treasure around here," Rod said. He had a far off look in his eyes like he was thinking hard. It looked like it hurt.  

"I wish I'd listened to his stories when the old fart alive," Nate said.  

Rod slapped a meaty hand on Nate's shoulder. "Don't sweat it. Those stories were a total snoozefest. Now that the old man is gone, it's time for the next generation to take over." A sly grin spread across my cousin's face. "We are going to find that treasure."  

They all started talking at once. Marissa blathered on about how she was going to blow her millions on new clothes. Nate and Rod argued about the best way to divide the loot when they found it.  

The moment Uncle Mitch mentioned treasure my stomach went tight as a fist. Now that my cousins knew about Gramps' secret, they would tear the farm apart looking for the loot.  

If they really wanted to find Gramps' hidden treasure, all they had to do was ask me. I already knew how to find it.  

Gramps told me earlier that morning. The old guy was dead and buried, but he still talked to me.  

You probably think I'm crazy, but I'm telling the truth.  

Gramps talked to me through my newest video game.

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