028 - matchsticks
The wind rushed through the trees with a sense of urgency, and the sky kept getting darker. The two men had spread out in the forest, but never separated beyond shouting distance. Decked out in the best hiking gear, they too moved with a sense of urgency.
"Come on Mac, we gotta find it before the weather turns again. This might be our last chance for a while," one yelled at the other.
"I know, I know, it's around here somewhere, I'm almost sure of it," the other replied.
Mac could feel the pressure dropping and water in the air. It wasn't storming yet but it would be soon. He kept moving, in no particular direction, over felled logs and worn stones. The forest suddenly gave way to a little clearing.
Standing at the threshold of the little circular area of meadow, he had a strange feeling.
"Hey...Tom...?" he started. "Hey. Tom!" This time a little louder. "I've found it, I...I think I've found it." He stumbled forward a bit, taking a few brave steps into the clearing. From the distance, Tom shouted back, "Really? Hold up, I'm coming!"
Mac continued to slowly meander into the grass, with each step his knees felt weaker and his legs trembled a bit more. By the time Tom had reached the edge of the meadow, Mac had almost reached the center.
When Tom caught a glimpse of the meadow, he too was in awe, but otherwise he didn't feel any sort of change. "Hey, Mac, are you sure this is it? It's pretty small, how could they expect us to find it?"
Mac seemed despondent, but after a moment, muttered back, "This is it. I can feel it."
"We can't afford to waste any time, are you certain?" Mac's head nodded in the affirmative listlessly. "Alright, I'll get the sensors out and begin the tests. It will take a little while," he said, as he slung the pack off his back and began to open it up. He pulled out various pieces of electronic sensors and began to dig a few prongs into the ground. "I hope the weather holds."
While Tom had begun doing the tests, Mac had continued to wander. He felt something here, something he hadn't felt before. It was familiar, though. Then, his foot took another step, and suddenly everything clicked.
The entire history of mankind flashed before his eyes. The sum of man's aspirations and hopes welled into an incredible ball of light, and he felt the ball of light sink into him, becoming him but also absorbing him. And then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. He was back in the meadow.
Mac fell to the ground. Slumped in the spot that he knew contained the answer. He felt a few drops of water land on his face. "It's here." Tom looked up from the sensors, "What?"
"Forget the tests. I told you, it's here."