The Box

The doorbell rings awaking me from my slumber. I open my eyes and squint at the clock. 5:23 AM, who would be ringing this early in the morning? It must be an emergency I realize and quickly get out of bed.


The doorbell rings twice more as I make my way downstairs to the door. With no hesitation I unlock the bolt and throw the door open but no one is there.


There are no cars on the street and no movement around. I look to the left and right but there is no evidence of anyone walking away. A rustling sound draws my attention to the ground in front of me.


There is a package the size of a shoebox on the porch just inches from where I stand. Upon closer inspection I can see that it is addressed to me but there is no return address and no postage.


I haven’t ordered anything and wasn’t expecting a package, what can it be? As I’m about to pick up the box it moves. I pull my hands back to my sides. Is there something alive in there?


I don’t see any holes to allow an animal to breathe. I nudge it with my naked big toe but it is much heavier than I anticipated. It doesn’t budge. I’ll have to pick it up to bring it inside but the moving box is more than a little unnerving.


Many minutes pass as I gather the nerve to bend down and pick up the box. I take a deep breath to gather myself and stoop down to lift it. I glance around once more but seeing no one I turn and enter the house.


I place the box on the kitchen table and make myself a cup of coffee. I hold the steaming cup and watch the box shimmy and shake around the table. If it’s some kind of animal it will die if I don’t open it and yet I’m afraid to do so.


My eyes are fixated on the dancing object and I have forgotten all about my cooling coffee that remains untouched in my hand. Open it or no? I weigh the pros and cons of each but my racing heart and trembling hands win in the end.


I can not open the package. The unknown can remain that way. I will continue as if it never arrived. I put down my coffee cup and pick up the box. I turn to place it in the trash and hesitate. I can’t throw a living creature away like garbage. But I don’t know for sure if it is a living creature.


This is someone’s idea of a cruel joke, that’s what it is. In a sudden rage I shake the box violently until the movement stops. Ok if it was alive now it is dead. But I still can’t bring myself to put it in the trash.


Movement as light as a heartbeat vibrates into my hands. Damn it! It’s still alive, but not for long. My decision has been made. I quickly run out the back door to the yard. I toss the box into the fire pit and pull my lighter from my pocket. I light the kindling beneath the package and the flame quickly comes to life.


I watch as the box begins to catch fire. Wait! What am I doing? If the box burns whatever is inside will be able to claw it’s way out and come after me.


I grab a long stick from beside the fire pit and knock the package out. My shoes are in the house so I grab a large rock to stamp the flames out. The box is moving with a new intensity.


The flames are out and the package is beaten and yet the movement from within has not ceased. Unsure of what to do next I leave it in the backyard to cool and and go into the house to follow my morning routine.   


After my shower I pick up my phone from its place on the kitchen counter and call out of work. There is much more important matters to take care of today. I grab my car keys, lock up the house and proceed back into the yard to the dreaded package.


“Me and you are going to take a little trip.” I tell the box as I carry it to the car. I place it on the seat next to me and turn up the radio to provide a distraction from the shuffling and rattling noise coming from within.


After an hour we had finally arrived. It would be my new friends final destination. The sounds of the waves crashing on the beach lulled my tension and I take a deep breath of the deliciously salty air.


At the water’s edge I gather my strength and hurl the package as far as I can. It lands with a splash not far from where I stand. A large waves rolls the burnt, battered and now soaked box back to me.


I try again, this time putting all of my muscle into it. But again the ocean tosses it back in a frustrating game of catch the box.


Should I just leave it on the shore? Unsure of my next move and exhausted from the excitement of the day I walk back up onto the dry sand and take a seat in the sun. The sun is so warm and it is so quiet, I lie down and quickly fall asleep.


A few hours later I awaken. Trapped in a box to my horror! I scream, I tear at my prison but to no avail. In a panicked state I must wait to find out my fate.


Copyright 3/20/2016 – The Box by Kerry Milauskas