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For my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a Dark Web mystery box gift. It was a service I’d used several times before, and they had never disappointed, sending heaps of useless, but funny things to my doorstep.

“Happy birthday Trevor!” a note on the box read.

I picked up the package placed on my doorstep, and noticed a letter attached to it.

“There comes a time in every man’s life, where their skills and knowledge has to be tested. With that in mind, I shall set you out on a treasure hunt. Please follow the instructions within the box, and for safety reasons, burn every letter once it has been read, or solved.”

To my surprise the note was signed by Pete, my best friend since childhood. It was a neat surprise, but I was confused as to how exactly he’d gotten involved with the anonymous service. Whether he was just an active user there himself who’d recognized me, or if he’d been contacted by the website, I didn’t know. Nevertheless, it seemed like a cool gift.

My first clue would simply be a piece of paper with two incoherent words written on it.


Could it be a name? Maybe a location? I sat down with it, and contemplated the words in front of me. After just a minute, I realized it was an anagram. The letters just had to be rearranged to form a new meaning.

“MAN CAVE,” was the hidden message.

It was a reference to Pete’s basement. A place we’d frequently spent our Saturday nights, playing video games and drinking whiskey.

I burned the letter in accordance with the instructions, and quickly made my way to the man-cave. There, I used my spare key to unlock the door, half expecting a surprise party. Instead, all I found, was another clue.

An ace of spades, and a picture. Both were pinned to a board with an unfamiliar knife. I removed the knife, and checked out the clues. The picture itself, was of a place we frequently went with friends, to smoke and relax. A beautiful field which no one knew about. It was just a short hike outside the city.

I made my way there in about an hour. Our usual place was hidden in the shade beneath some trees. Once there, I noticed a shovel sticking out of the ground, on top of lay some fresh dirt.

“Spade – Ace of spades. Very creative,” I chuckled to myself.

Without hesitation, I picked it up, and started digging through the ground. After less than a minute, I hit something solid. Expecting another clue, I bent down and brushed away the dirt.

As I put my hand on the cold surface, I immediately retracted it in shock. It was Pete, buried under the dirt, dead from multiple stab wounds to his chest.

In shock, I called the police, devastated by the loss of my best friend. While I waited, I sat down and tried to figure out what the hell had happened.

That’s when I realized…

That I had burned every note, and that my fingerprints were all over the murder scene. From the strange knife in the basement, to the key, and the shovel itself used to bury him.

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