Friday, May 3, 2013

The Box

by K, Copyright 2011

She awoke, startled, sweat dripping from her forehead. She heard it again, calling. The winds whispered her name, calling her from the house. She got out of bed, her cold feet landing against the wooden planks. She grabbed her silk robe from the bedpost, wrapping it around her body. She promised herself tonight she would follow.
Soon she was standing before the wooded forest just beyond the neighboring houses. She could hear the whispers, she could feel a presence. The wind wisped through her hair, nipping her nose. She thought she could even smell it.
Her bare feet inched foreward, snapping twigs beneath them. She no longer could feel the pricks and pokes of nature’s debris beneath each step. Her mind was so fixated upon the whispers, the callings. Her heart pounded so loudly she almost had to strain to follow the noises, almost. She continue to walk through the forest. The darkness cloaked the night all around her, the tall trees blocking out the colors of the moon. She eventually found herself looking down upon a wooden box. It shook and rattled against the damp ground. She fell to her knees, knowing the calls that tormented her sleep were coming from within.
She ran her fingers over the beautifully carved box, feeling the grooves of a chiseled masterpiece. She wondered whose craft had created such a box. There were mermaids and griffins, and angels with lutes. She could hear the tinkling now from the magical fingertips against the lute strings. It soothed her racing heart. She touched the lutes carved upon the box, feeling the vibration of the strings, the movements of the tiny talented fingers. She closed her eyes, feeling as though the majestic nature of the box was entering her soul, and slightly tugging her closer.
She tugged on the metal latch, perplexed that it didn’t budge. She tugged again, and again. Nothing happened. The box would not open. She looked around her out of desperation. She had to get the box open.
As her eyes scanned her surrounding, she saw a small golden key on a red ribbon, dangling from a tree branch. She quickly got to her feet to retrieve it and was back on her knees to unlock the magic box. She found no key hole on the latch and cried out to the night in frustration. She tugged and tugged on the latch until the carvings on the lid of the box began to change and shift. Where there once had been a beautiful mermaid beneath a sea and charming angels in the sky, there was a dragon. His scales felt rough to the touch, and smoke rose from his nostrils into the air before her. She watched this dragon slither on the box, wiggling his long body as if trying to find comfort. Once it settled, the dragon’s face turned to stare, opening his large fearsome mouth. She could feel his breath, smell the stench from within his belly. The dragon’s long tongue rolled out of his mouth and remained frozen like a real wooden box should be.
She stared at this dragon’s tongue, frozen in time as if awaiting her action. She instinctively placed the golden key upon the tongue and jumped in surprised as the tongue rolled back up into the dragon’s mouth, key, ribbon, and all. The dragon blew steam and fire out of

his nostrils just before the lid of the wooden box flew open.
Flames whipped from out of the box, lighting up the entire forest. She could feel the heat of the fire. She was so close to the fire that she could see colors within the flames that others could not live to tell. But that was not all that shot from the box in a raging torrent. More escaped the prison of that wooden box within the burning flames. She watched the colors within the flames begin to swirl into shapes. She saw machines of all sizes causing unending destruction. She saw people falling down, dying. She saw bright red blood splattering in all directions. She saw mothers and children tormented by the hands of others. She heard their screams pounding against her eardrums. She covered her ears to block out the noise, but it still battered against her body. She screamed herself as she felt the tears spatter against her face from the images before her. She saw children screaming out in pain with illnesses etched upon their skin and in their eyes. Soon pain was upon her, like the images she watched. She felt excruciating pain deep within her bones. She fell to the ground writhing. Her screams rose above the others she heard within the flames. She felt death and suffering all around. The death and suffering of all races, of all living things. The pain became too much to bear. She struggled to reach for the wooden box that had been so beguiling. Her fingers stroked the ground as she blindly felt for the object. Her fingertips grazed the wooden lid. She reached further, feeling her muscles ripping in her shoulder as she strained to reach with all her energy, releasing heightened screams that shook the trees. Once the lid of the wooden box was in her grasp, she quickly closed it with little opposition. The flames severed at the lid as they rolled from the forest, out of her view. The pain gradually lightened until she was left with only her own injury. She collapsed on her back, staring up to the treetops. She calmed herself while watching the flicks of stars between branches as they swayed in the wind. Her arm throbbed and felt burning hot from the fire that ignited in her effort to close the box. As she laid there in the silence of the night, she heard a light tap against the wooden box beside her. So softly, almost inaudible, she heard "hhhhhh", and listened as it slowly faded away.

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