Carlos was orphaned young and was never adopted out of the group home. He had a cleft lip that had never been fixed and he didn't have many friends.
From a young age he had a passion for puzzles. Video games you had to solve. Riddles. Treasure hunts. Escape rooms. He didn't yet know it but what drove him was a relentless pursuit of the mysterious. He wanted to know the minds that understood the realities greater than he.
And when he was in high school a very mysterious mind became famous. For a long time everyone thought it was an old woman, because he signed his clues "Miss Fitts." But eventually they realized the pun and all of his followers started calling themselves 'misfits.' Miss Fitts called his hunt "Still True North." It had started as sort of an underground treasure hunt, requiring participants to do everything from interview homeless people who carried clues deep within their stories, to take blind leaps into black-as-night caverns.
And this is why it caught on. It tested boundaries of risk and discomfort no one had pushed before. When people solved the puzzles, there was a cash reward, but what quickly drew greater value was their newfound growth, confidence and bravery.
Carlos was good at Still True North. Not because he was especially smart but because something inside him wouldn't let him stop. He could not stop until he knew the mind that understood such great realities. And he had heard Miss Fitts had no children. Maybe he'd want a son.
It had been a very hard few years for Carlos. He had survived a school mass shooting, he had tried to run away but arrested and brought back. He just wasn't good at school. But tonight, Carlos and his group had reached the clue which had stopped every hunter for the past two years. They sat stumped at the top of the scintillating Hollywood hills.
Carlos' closest friend, if he could call them friends, was staring at the clue, absolutely stumped. "I just don't get it. It says 'the key to Corkscrew hike, count five posts as you pedal a bike."
Then a deep, kind voice came from the dark behind them. "The bolts in Bicycle pedals have left handed threads. You have to turn them the opposite way." Someone had been leaning against the rock wall a few yards away, hidden in the shadow of huge tree.
All their heads perked up and stared at the trailhead. Then one of them said, "Corkscrew path curls around to the right. We have to go off the path to the left!" And they all disappeared over the edge.
Except for Carlos. He turned to the dark figure.
Carlos' voice wavered, "Are you--?"
The man stepped from the shadows, nodded subtly, and replied with a smile, "Where did the others go?"
"They just want to win." Carlos took a deep, shaky breath.
The man's smile grew wide and his eyes grew soft. "Carlos, I'm so glad you found me. I've watched you all from a distance but I think I've wanted to know you most. Do you know why?"
Carlos shook his head.
"Because they just wanted the answers. You wanted to find me."
This art and story are based on John 21:1-14 (Jesus appears after his crucifixion and tells them to cast their nets on the right side)
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