Mystery Box

Ronald pulled the small wooden box out of the cupboard to get a better look. The box was light-colored; it seemed to be made of bamboo and its lightness added evidence of that. He guessed it to be about six inches wide and long, with maybe a three or four-inch height. A bright yellow note stuck to the top said, “Please don’t open or else,” was written in elegant, blood-red letters.

“‘Kay,” Ronald shrugged and returned it to its dark corner in the back of the cabinet. Ronald preferred to keep his life simple. A lifetime of erring on the side of caution made it an easy decision. He closed the cupboard and went about unpacking the rest of his kitchen. The rest of the day passed uneventfully and he went to sleep at 8:30 p.m.

The next morning at 5:05 a.m., he wandered into the kitchen to start his day. An open cabinet door caught his attention as soon as he turned the light on; it was the same cupboard that held the box. He walked to it and found the light-colored box sitting at the front of the shelf.

“Huh,” was his only comment as he registered it wasn’t how he left it. He moved to push the box to the back again and caught sight of the written warning.

“Opening this is a bad idea,” it said in a lighter shade of red. 

“Gotcha,” Ronald pushed the box back to its corner and closed the cupboard again. He made his breakfast, coffee and eggs, then went to work. He loved his job; somehow it was reassuring to be one of hundreds of faceless employees. The office environment allowed him to make a living while keeping his head down. After 20 years, he was still considered an entry-level employee by choice. He was an excellent worker but always declined any chances to move up. Moving up entailed more responsibility; something he preferred to avoid whenever possible.

After work, he drove home and found the cabinet door open again. This time, the box was sitting on the counter above the open cupboard. He noticed the note changed again as he moved it back to its spot.

“You shouldn’t open this,” it said in royal purple lettering.

“Not going to,” Ronald chuckled, then closed the cabinet. As he finished his evening, he considered several possibilities. His new apartment might be haunted. The box itself might be haunted. It could be a prank by the landlord. It could bee any number of things, but he came to the conclusion he wasn’t in any immediate danger. And, ignoring things was a way of life for him.

His evening passed normally and he went to bed. The next morning, he found the box on the counter again.

“A small peek is okay,” a new note said. By this time, Ronald had already made a decision to not open the box. He returned it to the cupboard and started his day. After work, the box was sitting on his kitchen table.

“Don’t let him take me,” the note said. Before Ronald could wonder about the meaning, his doorbell rang. Upon opening the door, he found a tall, lean man that reminded him of a lion. The stranger’s lush golden hair resembled a mane that connected to his golden beard. His nose was flatter and wider than average, and his eyes appeared to be somewhat sunken in.

“Yes?” Ronald asked.

“Hello, my name is Regal,” the stranger said. “This might seem like an odd question, but if I’m right, you’ll know what I mean. Have you seen a suspicious box?” Ronald chuckled.

“That does sound odd, but you’re right. I know exactly what you mean, one second.” He left Regal standing at the door and returned to the kitchen. The box was no longer on the table, but the cabinet door was closed. Ronald checked and found the box in there with a longer note attached.

“Please don’t. Anything you want is in here. I’ll behave,” the note said as Ronald pulled it out of the cupboard. He walked to the door and unceremoniously handed the box over to Regal. The maned man glanced at the note and smiled at Ronald.

“I’m sure you have a lot of questions,” he said. Ronald shook his head and shrugged.

“Not really. Thank you,” he said and moved to close the door.

“Wait!” Regal spoke up. “You resisted the temptation to open this box. Without knowing what it is, you can’t imagine how monumental that is. You’re quite special,” Regal said.

“Thank you, have a nice evening,” Ronald tried closing the door again, but Regal interrupted.

“Wait! You’re Uniquely special, and you don’t know how powerful you can be.” Regal made a quick gesture at the air beside him and a tall black portal opened. “If you come to work for me, you’ll see worlds that you’ve never imagined. It’s not just anyone that could resist this box.”

“I already have a job,” Ronald said as he closed the door. “No thank you.”

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