Chapter 1

Oscar awoke to the blaring sound of his cell phone’s alarm. It was 6:45 in the morning and Oscar had to get ready now or else he was going to be late. He jumped out of bed and ran to the shower. He turned the water up to a scorching hot temperature and quickly jumped in. His mind began to raise as he fumbled with his shampoo bottle. This would be the third time this week he would be late and he knew his boss, Mr. Rodriguez, was going to be furious. He didn’t have time to think about how mad he was going to be, so he quickly washed himself off and jumped out just as quickly as he got in. He ran back into his bedroom, still dripping wet from the shower. He found a towel on the floor gave himself a quick dry off. He then scrambled to find his bellboy outfit. Oscar realized that they were all scattered across his floor. He sighed and just put on a pair of blue boxers, a pair of black socks, a pair of black sweatpants, and a plain white t-shirt. He figured he would just grab one of the spare outfits when he got to the hotel. He ran out of the bedroom to find his shoes, which he thought he remembered being in the kitchen. When he got to the kitchen he not only found his shoes, but realized someone has slid an envelope under his door. He quickly examined the envelope. There was a yellow wax seal with the letter “P” imprinted on it and no return address. He shoved the letter into his pocket. He put on his shoes, found a jack and threw it on, and sprinted out the door towards his car that was parked on the street. Oscar put the keys into the ignition and began to drive off. He sped, and before he knew it, he was on the freeway. It was 7:08 now. He had 7 minutes to make it work. If all went well, Oscar thought he would be able to make it on time. He smiled at this thought and looked over at the city on the horizon. Pittsburgh: The Steel City.  It’s too bad Oscar never had the chance to explore its many wonders. Maybe one day. Oscar turned his attention back to the road just in the nick of time. There was a line of parked cars right in front of him. Oscar slammed on his brakes and narrowly avoided an accident. So much for not being late to work. Oscar knew that this meant his boss was probably going to fire at him. He sighed disappointedly. Oscar put his hands into his pockets and was greeted by the feeling of paper. He pulled out the envelope that was under his door and opened it. He pulled out the letter inside and read it:

“Dear Traveller:

You have been chosen to participate in our fantastic scavenger hunt across Pittsburgh! There are clues planted all across the area. If you find the item at each location and present them to us at the final checkpoint, you will be rewarded handsomely. Be alert. There are others who would wish to hinder you search. I bid you luck! The first clue is listed on the back of this letter.


A scavenger hunt across the city? Others may hinder your search? What did all this mean? Oscar was a mixture of confused and excited. He turned the letter around to discover a map with a big red X across the back. The map was long street lined with several buildings. Oscar thought he knew where this was. He thought this might be a map of Strip District. Traffic began to move again. Oscar began to drive again and came to an impasse. One way would take him to work, and the other would head towards the Strip District. Oscar thought and quickly turned towards the Strip District. He wanted to take his chances with the unknown. Within a few minutes, he was there. He found a cheap parking spot and quickly took the space up. He exited his car and began to walk down the sidewalk. He looked where he was compared to the X on the map. He was a couple buildings down from where he needed to be. As he walked, he realized the strip was considerably busy despite how early it was. People squeezed their way down the sidewalk. Music of all different genres permeated the air like an orchestra of sounds and the smell of street vendor foods filled the air. He finally came to the building that the X pointed to: Wholey’s Fish Market. A man with an electric accordion played outside and there were several menus attached on the outside windows. A red ‘X’ was taped to the outside window with an envelope on it. Oscar quickly grabbed the envelope and opened it. It was another clue:

“Inside you will find of a fortress of glass. It contains suits of armor ready for slaughter.”

Oscar realized that his next clue was going to be inside. He entered the door. Fortress of glass? Suits of armor? All he could see was shrimp and fish. Oscar was confused as he looked around the store. He was astonished at the amount of seafood they had. There was everything from cod and shrimp to swordfish and shark. They even had a meat section and a whole grocery store! Oscar looked around and started to lose hope that maybe he wasn’t cut out for this. He managed to make his way over to the lobster tank. By dumb luck, he happened to look at one of the tanks and noticed an envelope hanging from the tank. He had a eureka moment shortly after he found it. He opened the envelope. Inside were two things: the next clue and a emerald green rosary. The clue read:

“This Irish patron saint has become a day for partying and pleasure. Go pray to him.”

Oscar knew this one off by heart. This was St. Patrick’s church. His mom had taken him there all the time when he was a kid and still had the faith. He put the church in his GPS and followed the path to the church. He remembered the courtyard with all the statues. He remembered the rustic smell as he walked into the building. He remembered the marble staircase that resembled the Vatican’s and penance. He even remembered how the different colored candles lit up the room with the prayers of those who lit them. He found the next envelope attached to the donation box attached to the wall. Oscar chose not to open it. He kneeled down by a statue of Mary and prayed. He had not been here for a long time, and he wanted to let his mom know that he was here and thinking about her. He closed his eyes, folded his hands, and there was silence in the church.

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