Minding The Box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
If somebody asked you to look after a box for them, and offered to pay, what would you say?

Submitted: September 10, 2016

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Submitted: September 10, 2016

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Minding The Box.

 

What would you do if a total stranger approached you and asked if you would mind a box for them? My instant response was to walk away, to run a mile, without even bothering to give the answer of ‘No thanks’.

 

But this is a little old lady that’s asking. She is short, white-haired, dressed just like my own granny dresses. There is just no way my mind will let me imagine that the contents could in any way be dangerous or illegal. I just cannot picture Granny here as either a bomber or a drug dealer.

 

“Please help me. I have to visit my son for the weekend,” she says in a quavery voice. “There is an emergency and I don’t have anyone else to ask. I’ll pay you, of course. $500, and when you meet me back here on Monday morning I’ll give you the same again.”

 

What the hell! $1000 for keeping a box for two-and-a-half days. She must be crazy – there’s no other way to explain it. I can’t take advantage. “Look, lady, I’d like to help you out but.....”

 

“I know.” She interrupts. “You think you would be exploiting a poor old lady’s insanity.” She looks hard at me and smiles. “If you don’t do it, I’ll just have to ask someone else. Do you really want to turn away such a simple job?”

 

The rent is due next week. I can pay it, but it’s going to leave me short; $1000 would definitely make things way easier.

 

It’s as if she senses my hesitation. She reaches into her bag and holds out a package no larger than a small shoebox. It is securely taped and tied with string. “All you have to do is put it somewhere dark and safe. Inside a wardrobe or a rarely opened drawer would be perfect.” Her other hand is holding out $500.

 

Shall I? Shan’t I? Of course I shall. “You’ll meet me here on Monday?” I ask.

 

“9am sharp,” she says. She knows that she has got me hooked.

 

“Okay. I’ll do it.”

 

She is very trusting. She hands me the money first: I could turn and run, she does not know me, after all. She would never be able to find me again in this city of thousands of people. I don’t run, though, but carefully take the box from her.

 

“Just one thing,” she says, a note of warning in her voice. “Whatever happens DO NOT OPEN IT!”

 

And she is gone, just like that. I see her disappearing into the crowd, moving at quite a speed for someone who just a moment before had been looking so frail.

 

It’s only a five minute walk back to my apartment so I head back there feeling remarkably lucky. There’s $500 extra in my pocket which has eased my worries considerably. And all I have to do is tuck this box safely away and be back here with it after the weekend. No problem!

 

* * * * *

 

And it had proved to be just that – no problem. I had gone back home, carefully carrying that box. I knew of the perfect place for it. There was an empty corner right at the very back of my wardrobe. Where could be safer or darker than that?

 

Lurking at the back of my mind was the idea that there was something evil about that box. That something bad was going to happen. But nothing did. No monsters emerged from the inside of my wardrobe, no demons to take over the world. As far as I could tell, that box just stayed still and silent in that very corner I had put it in.

 

This morning when I go to remove it, there is still the same innocent looking, tightly sealed package. Careful not to jostle it or shake it around too much, I carry it back to the very same spot where I had met that lady before. I am standing in the exact same position as I was on Friday. It is 8.55am. I am five minutes early, but that’s okay. There is no sign of the lady yet.

 

9.05am and still no sign. She’ll be here, I tell myself. This box was so important to her she’s not just going to abandon it. I carry on scanning the street and the crowds for any sign of her but so far I’ve not had so much as a glimpse.

 

I have now been standing here for an hour and a half. I would have given up ages ago but that extra $500 was enough of an incentive to keep me hanging on. It had occurred to me that maybe someone else would turn up for it, her son, perhaps. It would have been someone that I would not have recognised so I made sure to keep that box clearly in sight. But not one person had even looked at me, let alone approached me.

 

I have things to do and I’m seriously running late. I make a mad dash back to my apartment, all gentle handling of the package now forgotten. I toss it on to the table and dart back out again. After all it really can’t be that important to keep it hidden in the dark.

 

* * * * *

 

All day I’ve kept my eyes open for a that lady. I thought I spotted her once, and started approaching her; as I got nearer I realised I was mistaken. Close up she was nothing like her. I was going to miss that other $500 but perhaps it had all just been too good to be true.

 

It is evening before I return home. The sun is slowly sinking its way ever lower in the sky and it is shining straight on to that box. Well, so what. It’s just a box after all.

 

I am sitting there eating a sandwich, casting an occasional glance towards the tv and I swear I see that box move. Not a big movement, but a sort of shuddering or juddering. I must be imagining it. Either that or it’s a trick of the light.

 

So now I’m sitting here staring at it, almost daring that box to go on and make its move. Of course it doesn’t do anything. Nothing at all. And then it does. Quite suddenly, it moves! And there is no way I imagined it this time.

 

Okay, I’m going to have to open it! There might be something inside that needs food or drink. Sure, that lady said not to open it, but she didn’t turn up to collect it. I’d been thinking that maybe there was jewellery inside it, or something like that, but that would not explain why the box has suddenly started moving.

 

I’m going to try to untie these strings gently, quietly. For some reason, some kind of irrational idiocy, I don’t want to let the box know what I am doing. I want to lift up that lid without it suspecting a thing.

 

I pull at the knots, untangling, untwisting, teasing at the string until it unravels. Now the tape. If I tear at it there will be a ripping noise. Scissors will make a snipping, snapping sound. There is no way I can think of to silently remove this tape. I decide that a blade slitting it quickly will be best.

 

Teeth! A set of false teeth nestled on a satin cloth, that’s what’s inside the box. Expensive dentures they must be to make it worth paying me that much to mind them.

 

But hang on. There is something odd about them. I lean closer to get a better look. They start clicking, gnashing together. And they are not like any teeth that I have seen before. They are larger, sharper; they are speckled with blood.

 

‘Put the top back on,’ I tell myself. ‘Do it quickly!’

 

I grab the lid, move forward ready to drop it back on top of that box. And those teeth – they come to life and leap straight at me. They clamp on to my neck with a bite so hard I cannot dislodge them. There is blood dripping everywhere, my blood. My sight is dimming and I know I am dying. And all for five hundred measly dollars!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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