Unique Matchbox Puzzle / Problem / Pickle
Participants (characters and readers / listeners) are faced with, presented or experience, an overarching mystery. Most likely each particpant will initially be aware of only one or other aspect of the problem being faced, the conondrum presented, or the encompassing danger, each of which ensue from the peculiar mystery at hand. That individual awareness is the participant's lead-in to the matchbox. a participant needs that matchbox when entering a darkness. (There are several kinds of darkness in these mysteries.)
Quite often, a great wonder and thrill is a reader/listener experiencing beoming a participant.
If you are a level 1 participant, know there are always clues to your matchbox. This matchbox might be right in your pocket or personal space. Or not! At this level, traveling through the ensuing darkness without a viable box of matches, you are screwed; you'll bump into things; whispering voices will scare you senseless; your imagination will do strange things to you. Have fun with that! You will.
If you are a level 3 participant - a mastermind - you learned a) how to discover or decipher the overarching mystery, b) how to use your box of matches, and c) how to create a light even in the absence of a matchbox replete with matchsticks (because you know how to rub sticks or click stones to start a fire). Yes! And there are many sticks and stones in a matchbox mystery.
Notice, we said nothing of level 2! This is not an oversight. Nothing is an oversight!
Matchstick Lit Moments
There are opportunities a-plenty - scratch a match - for lit moments existing throughout the dark. But beware! In the wrong spaces - there are always a few - wind or water can 'out' your light. Lit moments enhance your progression. Journey on.
If you are a level 1 participant, as with everyone else you will probably come upon candles along the way. Of course, you will not want to light those candles a) wherever you are likely to blow yourself and your space into oblivion, b) disclose to the villain or evil one where you are hiding, or c) set yourself afire, except metaphorically (which still isn't pretty).
If you are a level 3 participant - a mastermind - you live for lit moments. You have learned how to search. You have mastered the art of discovery. You are focused on solving the matchbox mystery, i.e., on putting the lit pieces of the puzzle together, as well as, on enriching and enlivening yourself with many 'aha' and 'OMG' moments!
No, we did not forget those of you at level 2! Good luck!
Treasure Box to be Opened
Every matchbox mystery has a treasure trove to be found; you will need its key. Find the key. Open it. Voila!
If you are a 'level 1' and you have made it this far, the key is in your fetched bag of good stuff. Hopefully, you've kept enough matchsticks to sort through your bag of good stuff. You will need to figure from that lot a) the key and b) how to use this key to access your treasure trove.
If you are a 'level 3' - a mastermind - you anticpate the joys and recognize the danger accessing the treasure trove. This is your big moment! Live! Laugh! Love! You deserve it. This far, you have looked, listened and learned well! That's what you came for. Applause! Your eyes will sparkle. Your mouth will drop. You will drool sweetness.
Okay, Level 2, let's throw you a bone. '3!' That is your magic number. Use it wisely.