A Cardboard Box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

A short story inspired by a One Word Prompt from the Imaginarium House.

Submitted: September 08, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 08, 2017



A Cardboard Box.

Just another morning heading to the bus stop. There’s four of us meet up here Monday to Friday; rarely do any of us miss a day, and rarely are we joined by anybody else. Half way there I’m joined by John, who is on his way to the hospital to start his shift as porter.

"Not a bad day!” he says as he walks along beside me.

"No. Let’s hope the weather holds for the weekend when we can actually enjoy it,” I answer back, half in jest.

Monica is already standing there with her shopping bags placed neatly beside her. Every day she gets the bus in to town. She doesn’t need to but it is a way for her to get a bit of company, to go out and meet people.

Frank is hurrying along in the distance. That new puppy of his is being a devil to train; it must have held him up again.

As John and I get nearer, we both notice something.....different. There is a package, a parcel of some kind, on the ground right next to the bus stop sign. Perhaps it belongs to Monica, but why she’d put it down so far away from her is a mystery.

"Morning, Monica,” I say.

"Morning Brian. Morning John.”

"I’ll give you a lift with that when the bus turns up,” offers John, nodding his head towards the parcel.

"Oh, it’s not mine! It was there when I got here.” Monica looks at the box then back to us. “I don’t know what it is, or who it belongs to.”

I thought pops in to my head.....beware of suspicious packages. But surely no one would plant a bomb out here, just out of town. It’s not even a very big town itself. The idea doesn’t like to let go though. “Do you think....?” I ask John.

"No! Can’t be!” He has obviously been having similar thoughts to myself. “No one would put a bomb here.”

Frank finally joins us. “What’s with the box? Someone’s got a big parcel to post.”

"But that’s just it, Frank,” Monica says. “It was just here when I arrived!”

Frank doesn’t seem to be at all wary of it. He walks right up to it, looks all around; the top and all four sides. “If I lift it, one of you have look for a label underneath.”

"Wait, Frank! Do you think that’s wise? What if it’s a bo.....?”

"You’re right, Brian. But a bomb? Here? I doubt it.” Frank has another walk around it, prods it with his foot. “The bus’ll be here in a couple of minutes anyway. Come on, it’s now or never.”

Frank firmly but carefully gets hold of the package and lifts it, keeping it as steady as possible. “It’s very light,” he says. “One of you just take a quick look underneath."

"Nope,” John say, straightening back up. “No label, no writing.....nothing.”

Frank gets out a penknife from his pocket and starts to slip it through the tape holding the package closed.

"What are you doing?” asks Monica. "It isn’t yours!”

"True, but it doesn’t seem to belong to anyone else either.” Frank pulls the two pieces apart and we all peer inside. What do we see? I’ll tell you; absolutely nothing. An empty cardboard box, that’s all it is!

And then the bus comes in to view. We’d all been holding our breaths, not completely convinced that there would not be a big ‘BANG!’ Now though, we just walked past it, didn’t keep our distance at all but just left it sitting there, all on it’s own at the bus stop.

I’ll tell you what though; when I came back later that afternoon, of that empty cardboard box there was not even a sign.


Inspired by the one word prompt -- card.

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