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Sunday

The Strange Box from the Other World.

Swimming.  Swimming peacefully.  Looking for something.  This is what I am doing.  I am looking for the thing that can change my life.  For the better.  I've got to find it.  But for right now, I am enjoying my swim.  I'll find it.  I surface, salt water running down my face.  I take a few deep breaths, and then go back under, deeper this time.  I spot something.  It shines, bright green, blue, and red.  But it's on the sandy bottom of the ocean, still a good twenty feet below me.  I surface, needing more air.  I look at the sun's position.  I have to get back home for today, or Mother will worry.  I start swimming back towards the beach.
                                                        …………………………….
When I arrive back at our small ocean front cabin, Mother wants to know where I've been.  "Oh, out for a swim", I reply casually.  She doesn't believe me, I can tell.  She knows something is going on, although I won't tell her.  There's no reason to worry her, because there's nothing to worry about.  "Well, a note was delivered to you while you were gone," she says.  "It's on the table."  I go into the kitchen, and pick up the small, cream-colored envelope.  There's only one word on it, my name, written in big, loopy cursive: Amelia.  I know who it's from.  It's from her.  Mother is watching me, obviously hoping I'll open it here so she can try to read it over my shoulder.  So I take the envelope, grab an apple. and head up the stairs.  "Amelia," Mother coughs.  "Who is that note from?"  I freeze.  "Oh, it's probably Jane asking if I can come over next weekend or something."  "Well why can't she just ask you tomorrow at school?  Or she could've asked you today."  I can tell by Mother's expression that she doesn't believe me.  "Oh, you know Jane, so unpredictable." I laugh shrilly.  Then I continue walking up the stairs.  Once I'm safely in my room with the door locked, I open the envelope.  Inside is a single slip of paper, folded neatly in half, and 3 small, copper pieces.  They look almost like coins, about the size of pennies, but on each one is engraved a different flower.  One is engraved with a rose, another a lily, and the last, I think, it a daisy.  I wonder what in the world they're for.  I unfold the note and read it.  As I draw to the end, panic overtakes me.  I must find this thing that can change my life.  Because now my life depends on it.  She's tired of waiting.  She's coming to get it.  Ready or not.
Tomorrow evening.  At the big rock.  I have to find it.  I have to.
Someone knocks on my door.  Mother.  I frantically tear the note into shreds, and stuff them under my pillow.  The envelope is ripped in half, and stuffed into the trash can.  The copper pieces I slip into my shorts pocket.  Then I open the door.  Mother looks curiously at me, obviously she hasn't forgotten about the note.  "I forgot to tell you, your brother's coming for dinner tonight.  Shower and put on clean cloths.  He'll be here any minute now."  She gives me one last searching glance, then heads back down the stairs.  Great.  I have to go back and search for it.  Now.  Before light completely fades.  As it is I've only got an hour before nightfall.  No way Mother will let me leave, with Bruce coming.  I quickly make up my mind.  I've got to sneak out.  I slip on a simple sundress over my damp bathing suit and shorts, step into my flip-flops, grab my bag, and open the window.  I look down.  Mother's rose trellis should hold me.  I quickly climb out, climb down, and take off towards the water.
                                    …………………………………………………….
I can't find it.  That glimmer of green, red, and blue, I can't find it.  Nothing but water and sand.  I surface.  I've been out here, fifty yards from the shore, for half an hour.  By now Bruce will be at the house.  Mother will know I'm gone.  Or perhaps she'll just think I'm taking a long time to shower and get dressed.  Did I lock my bedroom door before I left?  I can't remember.  I go back under.  This time I use strong strokes, and go down to where I can touch the sandy bottom.  I look for any glimmer, but all I find is a few shells.  I push up from the bottom, and look again for it.  There!  Was that it?  Or was that?  I need to move further to the right.  But first I need more air.  I surface.  There's barely enough light to see down there, and I need to hurry.  No way Mother will let me skip school tomorrow, this is pretty much my last chance to find it, or-or what?  I'm not exactly sure what She'll do, but that note was a threat.  I look back towards the shore.  Oh no.  Mother and Bruce are on the beach, with flashlights.  They're undoubtedly looking for me.  I take a few deep breaths, and then go underwater, further to the right.  I see it again.  The glimmer, bright green, shining red, and dazzling blue.  I use my strongest strokes, and am soon able to touch the ocean floor.  I dig frantically in the sand until I unearth a small box.  It's made from some kind of valuable looking metal.  Silver is my guess.  And there are emeralds, sapphires, and rubies set into the top.  There's a small lock holding it closed.  I am so relieved to have found it, I open my mouth and breathe deeply, forgetting that I'm underwater.  Choking on water, I swim quickly up to the top, clutching the box.  Once I'm above the surface, I breathe in quick, hurried gasps.  I try to be quiet.  I look towards the beach.  Mother and Bruce are still there, walking further down to the left.  I start swimming quietly towards the shore.  When I reach the shallow water, I stand quietly, not wanting to splash.  If I can only reach the house without them noticing.  They can't see the box.  I'm going to be in serious trouble for sneaking out at night alone.  But they don't have to know about Her, and the job, and the box.  I hurry up the beach, stopping to grab my sundress.  I'm lucky Mother didn't find it.  Then they'd know where I was.  I hurry to the trellis.  I wrap the box in my sundress, and scurry up the ladder like a squirrel.  Once in my room, I notice that the door is open.  Great.  So they know how I got out.  I close the window, so if they walk back past the house they'll know I'm home.  Next I hide the box behind the books on my bookshelf.  They can't find it.  That's important.  I then change into dry clothes.  Then I sit on my bed, thinking frantically of crazy excuses.  Finally, I figure it would be best to tell them I wanted to go for a walk on the beach.  If Mother finds out I've been swimming in the dark- I'd probably be grounded for a year.  I hear the front door open, and then slam shut.  Footfalls hurry up the stairs.  I jump from my bed and meet Mother and Bruce in the hallway.  Mother stares at me.  "Where have you been?"  Her tone is low and dangerous.  "I-I wanted to go for a walk."  "Without telling us?"  "I knew you'd never let me go when Bruce was here, and I needed to walk.  Alone."  Bruce coughs softly.  "Mother, I was always running off to explore the beach when I was her age.  You know that.  And she's obviously fine.  So let's eat!  I'm starving!  How's it been, sis?"  He smiles largely and falsely cheerily.  "I've been great," I lie, still looking at Mother nervously.  To my great relief, she is much, much calmer now.  "Well, it is a lovely night.  Let me know next time, ok?"  "Okay," I agree.  "Now, time to eat.  Amelia, set the table."  She's acting normal now.  That's good.  Cause after tomorrow, who know what will be normal?
……………………………………….
After school the next day, I sit in my room examining the box.  It's very pretty, and I think it must be valuable.  I wonder why she wants it so badly.  It must have something to do with what's inside it.  And this reward she promised- what exactly is it?  I don't actually expect one.  She seems like she'd cheat.  But I don't mind.  She had lost a box underwater.  She needed it.  I can swim and know the currents.  I am perfect for a job like that.  At five thirty, I go downstairs.  "Mother, I'm going for a walk, ok?  I shoudn't be gone long."  She looks at me, considering.  "Alright," she finally says.  I run upstairs, grab the box, wrap it in my sweater, and head out the front door.  
When I reach the Big Rock, She is already there.  "You have it?"  she says coldly.  "Yes," I say. "Right here."  I hand it to her.  She pulls out a key, turns her back to me, and I know she is unlocking the box. When she turns around again, the key is nowhere to be seen, and the box is locked again.  "Thank you.  Your reward will come later."  Then she walks away.  
I stand there, thinking.  That was the strangest thing that has ever happened to me.  I wait to hear from her, but I hear nothing.  No reward.  I'm happy enough to be done with it.  Mother doesn't look at me strange anymore, and I know I am acting normal.  But I have the strange copper pieces.  I'll keep them forever.
…………………………………….
My daughter and I are walking along the beach.  "Mommy, I'm going to go look for shells by the water!" she tells me excitedly.  I laugh.  "Alright, but stay where I can see you."  I keep walking.  I come to the Big Rock.  I climb on top of it, and watch my daughter playing happily.  Then I turn around.  And gasp.  I look down at the surface of the rock, and there is something engraved into it.  Three flowers.  A rose, a lily, and a daisy.  And then there are three little spots carved right under them. Three spots the size of pennies.  I slowly put all the pieces together in my mind.  "Mommy, I'm going back to Grandma's house!"  "Ok, Honey, be there soon!"  I call back.  
Then I pull out the three copper pieces.  I place them in their spots.  The engraved part of rock disappears.  Under it is a single slip of paper, folded neatly in half, with one word, my name, written in big, loopy, cursive: Amelia.  And I pick it up.  Now the rock magically looks normal, as it has looked since I was a child.  I open the note, and read it:
Amelia,
You found my box when I had lost it.  I needed it to restore peace to a different world, one in a different time and space.  One nobody else on earth has ever heard of.  And because of you, that world is saved.  Thank You, Amelia.
-The Strange Lady of the Other World

I smile to myself.  It doesn't make sense, but I believe every word.  This is my reward.  Knowing I helped to make peace in a place I'll never go or hear of again.  The copper pieces are gone.  It's over, really over.  And I am glad.  I smile again, tear up the note, and toss the pieces out to sea.
And then I walk back to my Mother's house.
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Thanks for reading!  Let me know what you think! :)
-Anna <3

3 comments:

  1. THAT IS AWESOME!!! Now I want to know what happens to Amilia, and who the lady is, and what the box is! :)

    -celia-

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  2. THAT IS SOOOO COOL! U ARE A GREAT WRITER! :) I agree with Celia! :)

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  3. Wow, great job! I really enjoyed this story, Anna!

    ReplyDelete