Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Story Posts 2 & 3


'Emily you're such a scaredy-cat'

She turned to face the table, hammer still held upright, her smile now transformed into a look of determination. Yet she hesitated.

The kitchen light faded for a moment, perhaps just a passing cloud, and in that instant the box seemed to grow, to take on mass and became this foreboding presence in the room. My hands gripped the sideboard behind me.

'Uncle Dippel would be ashamed to see you now'

'Well Uncle Dippel isn't here now' I replied. 'I didn't ask him to leave me anything'

'But he did, and you know how rich he was. Whatever it is it must be something special if he sent it to you.'

I stared at the box. Our address stamped on the side in large Germanic letters. I could barely make out the return address. Then I noticed the small marks underneath. The three small zigzag lines above the letters B and F. I looked up at my sister and shook my head once.

'For God's sake' She said, and stepped up to the table. Placing her palm on the top of the box, she positioned the hammer's claw over one of the nails. And stopped.

'Emily' She breathed. 'It's warm'.

By Dansk on Blogspot


“What do you mean?” I said. “It can’t be.”

Her eyes narrowed, but they seemed somehow even blacker. Shinier.
“Come here then,” she said. “Feel for yourself.”

I didn’t want to go to her; I didn’t even want to be in that kitchen anymore. I wanted to be outside with all the normal, box-less people, worrying about normal, box-less things. Late buses and low bank accounts and stale sandwiches for lunch. Instead, there I was, back at the table. My thin arm trembling as I reached out –

I snatched my hand away, gasping, long before I touched it.

Immediately, instinctively, I began rubbing at my fingers - although in truth, the heat emanating from that battered lid wasn’t fierce in any way. In fact, it was a strangely soft sensation. Like a fistful of feathers. A wafting sigh. I shuddered.

“Alice,” I began carefully. “Do you remember the stories that Mother used to tell about Uncle Dippel? About his laboratory. His hobbies . . .”

My sister rolled her glistening eyes at me. “Oh, you and Mother and your stories,” she said. “He was just a moneyed old man with too much time on his hands. And, like you, too much imagination.”

“But it wasn’t just the experiments, Alice. He was an inventor too. Don’t you remember? Wasn’t he supposed to be building some kind of literal ‘Dream Machine’? Some contraption meant to grant your deepest wishes.”

Alice snorted. She was playing with the hammer again, licking her plump lips. “And that’s supposed to be a problem? You’re crazy. C’mon. Let’s open it!”

I lifted my pale palms to her, trying to explain. “But you don’t understand. You have no idea. There are things that I dream of -”

I froze then, suddenly wordless. Interrupted by a gentle creak.

Your turn . . .


Dansk said...

wow you chose me! are you sure? I feel honoured. You even left in my bad grammar!

Personally I thought the livejournal one about death was inspired genius...

Megan said...

( :
I really liked your piece. I especially really liked 'Uncle Dippel' and your endline 'It's warm . . .'
But you are completely right - there were so many brilliant pieces, I nearly turned myself inside-out trying to decide.

Eli Regan said...


I gasped.

‘Shhhhhhh’ scolded Alice loudly, excitedly. ‘That creak might confirm your crazy schemes’

We sat quietly, although Alice’s every bone was ready to spasm.

Knock, knock

Alice yelped. ‘Should I answer, Em?’

‘No. Yes. Heck. I don’t know’

Recklessly, Alice answered anyway. Predictably, my heartbeat quickened.

‘Can you sign for this packet, ma’am?’

Another packet? Out of the corner of my eye I noticed it was from the same delivery company, although not the same delivery man.

Alice ran towards me, thumping the smaller packet on the table.

‘This puts a spin on things, sis’

I didn’t share her enthusiasm. Alice was always a risk-taker. An opportunist. Twenty years ago, she stole my Reese bars, or cans of Dr Pepper would vanish from my eyes as I finished her sums for her. Fifteen years ago she’d steal my gorgeous emerald dress, as every man in the club gawped at her, dancing, and I sat quietly, resentful. Ten years ago she stole my fiancĂ©e, then dumped him at the altar. I somehow always forgave her although now and then, her old misdemeanours would make me seethe.

‘What do you think it could be?’ Alice’s voice replaced my old anxiety with these new ones.

‘No idea. I’m scared though’

Alice started to mock, laugh, but .... A shaft of mustard yellow light sprang from the first box. We’d become too distracted by the second packet.

Anonymous said...

We turned to face the box. It was creaking and then it was rocking and we watched in amazement as it lifted right off of the table. There was a shadow underneath and shadows in the cracks on its corners too.
“What’s going on?” Cried Alice.
There was a pinging noise. A nail had gone flying across the room.
“Is it opening?”she gasped.
More pings. The lid started lifting. She grabbed my arm. The nails were falling everywhere and then other things started falling out of it.
There were plastic doll’s heads, flower petals, a pair of pants and a chocolate bunny.
“Is THAT what you dream of?” Alice said.

Dansk said...

I thought I'd just add that VV Brown has a new video out which revolves (literally) around a box:

hedgehog said...

"I'm sure Uncle Dippel had far stranger dreams than you could ever have" said Alice. "There was that whole episode with the servant boy. And one Christmas, when Aunt Frieda was drunk she told me he'd worked for the Nazis during the war."

"Don't be stupid. Aunt Frieda's always drunk anyway."

Alice shrugged, and forced the claw end of the hammer between two pieces of wood.

"Wait!" I called out, but her mind was made up.

She yanked the hammer hard and went stumbling backwards as a shower of dust and splinters flew into the air. But she had barely even made a mark. Cursing, she tried again but still made little progress. Her face hardened as she wiped the dust from her face with the back of her sleeve.

"Bastard thing" she exclaimed. "You have a go."

My hand was shaking as the hammer was passed to me. I gulped audibly and moved towards the table.

There was a noise coming from the box, a kind of scratching and rustling. I could barely even bring myself to look at it, let alone go at it with a hammer.

But I didn’t have to. All of a sudden, the lid of the box popped up slightly - as though an internal catch had been undone. Then, in a few clattering movements, it was pushed aside and fell down onto the tabletop.

As I tentatively gazed into the darkness, the first thing I saw was a tiny pink hand reaching up towards me.

"No.... It can't be...." I said.

But so it was - there, lying on a glittering bed of styrofoam packing was a plump baby, no more than a few months old and surprisingly healthy-looking considering it's predicament.

"Hello Alice, Emily." Said the baby. "I expect you thought I was dead."

Megan said...

Eeeehehehe - I love these submissions so much!!! Thank you tons folks. This blog story is now closing, a bit tipsily, for the night. But please come back tomorrow to read the next posts, and to maybe provide our blog story with an ending ...