'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 . . .