Click here to read part one.

So, in my last post I promised to share the crazy idea that I’ve been working on for the last year.

Personally, I feel that I can lay the blame for this whole thing on Devin Montgomery.  See, he conducted a successful Kickstarter (one of my regular internet compulsions) for a clock that hides a secret book.  I’ve always loved stories about treasure hunts, so I naturally wanted to get one of these for my daughters, and use it to kick off their own literary treasure hunt.  But, if you’re going to have a treasure hunt, you need some treasure at the end, right?  Otherwise, what’s the point?

And the only reasonable place to keep treasure is in a treasure chest.

"Carruthers!  Take half my fortune and put it into treasure chests.  Take the rest and invest it in...oh, I don't know...zeppelins or something."
“Carruthers! Take half my fortune and put it into treasure chests. Take the rest and invest it in…oh, I don’t know…zeppelins or something.”

Now, your average treasure chest is locked, naturally, else any fool (or Carruthers) could just wander by and make off with your treasure.  But, I wanted the treasure hunt to be a collaborative effort by the girls, which meant that I wanted opening the chest to be collaborative as well. This meant that I needed 3 keys.

My first thought was inspired by those movies where folks launch nuclear weapons and need to synchronize key-turns in order to successfully launch.  But there were two problems with this.  First, because I wanted the start of the treasure hunt to be a “discovery” (in that they find the secret book, instead of me telling them about it), I didn’t know how old they’d be when they figure it out.  Given that I won’t know their age, I also won’t know how coordinated they’ll be.  I mean, if the oldest figures out the riddle on the clock at age 10, say, that would make the youngest still only 5.  The second problem is that three synchronized keys don’t feel very magical, and I wanted the whole thing to feel otherwordly, like opening the door to Erebor or discovering Platform 9-¾.  I wanted this to foster a sense of wonder.

I’m a child of the 80’s.  (Okay, so technically I was born in the waning days of 1979, but I just did that so I could catch the first Star Trek movie).  I tell you this, because the eighties was one of the greatest decades for movies.  And as I pondered this truth one day, I realized that some of those great eighties movies have a common thread…

  • TRON?  Glowing outfits.
  • Starman?  Glowing orbs.
  • E.T.?  Glowing finger.
  • Ghostbusters?  Glowing refrigerator.
  • Krull?  Glowing star…weapon…thingy.
  • Dirty Dancing?  Glowing skin (hey, that man is gorgeous…).
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?  Glowing crystals.
  • Superman 2?  Glowing crystal.
  • The Dark Crystal?  Glowing crystal.

Wait a second…

“Glowing crystals are magical,” I thought to myself, and that was pretty much that.  I resolved to build a treasure chest that would only unlock when three crystals were placed into it. Naturally, the crystals would have to glow when used.

My highly technical draft blueprint.
My highly technical draft blueprint.

Of course, I had no idea how I was actually going to make this happen.  But fortunately, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from making the whole thing even more complicated.

Next time: Mission creep.