Opening Lines – The Thing in the Box

Posted by: TGST

The things random passersby threw into the gravel pit never really surprised Daniel, until today. It was a small box, wooden, with bits of metal leafing and darker wood inlay. It was a wholly simple and rustic thing, not at all what the groundkeeper expected to find in the construction area behind the high school. For reasons he couldn’t quite explain, or possibly even understand, Daniel felt compelled to pick it up and stuff it in his pocket, not wanting to let anyone else know what he’d found.

That night, after many hours of staring at the box, of running his fingers over it, Daniel finally dared to open it. The lid was heavier than he expected, and he felt the hinges fighting him, trying to keep the box closed. When he finally managed to force it open, a perfect crystalline light spilled out into his bedroom. Peering into the box, he found the source of the light – a shimmering creature, shaped like a human fetus, but infinitely more beautiful and impossibly ancient.

Daniel reached out his hand, slowly, toward the thing in the box. He uncurled his index finger to touch it when there was a sudden voice everywhere at once.

“No! You mustn’t!”

Leaping back, Daniel felt like a choir of lightning bolts was trying to talk to him. His head spun at the sheer force of the warning.

“Who…what are you?” He said, inching back to the box.
“I am Hope.” Colors and thoughts and emotions exploded in Daniel’s head. In his mind, it was more a torrent of an idea than anything akin to a word. “I am the last sliver left in your mortal race.”

The creature opened a single, timeless eye and looked up and Daniel.

“Keep me safe.” It whispered into him.

Another of the 300 word bits from Lindsey’s Opening Lines prompts.

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