The Box - by Susan Giles - The box arrives with no return address. Although it is addressed to her, she is hesitant to open it. The box has unusual wrapping - a metallic paper which diffuses light into a chaos of colors.

What wonders must such a box contain! She opens the package and gazes inside expectantly.

Contents reveal only disappointment. Not jewels or treasure, merely sand, without hint of color or even mica shine.

Laughing at her own disappointment, she closes the box, places it on the shelf, and promptly forgets it.

Later in the month her child, Sami, finds the sand and takes it outside to play. She sits cross-legged in front of the table, molding three dinosaurs out of the sand. While she is playing, her dog wiggles up excitedly, sniffs the sand in the box, then quickly backs away, whining. Sami comforts the dog, leaves the sand in the box, and goes inside. Night comes, the sand glows in the moonlight. The yard lies eerily silent as animals give it a wide berth.

The next morning Sami remembers her dinosaurs and asks to take them to school.

While Sami gets ready for Kindergarten, Mom takes a carry bag outside. Reaching toward the box to transfer the animals, she sees that all that remains of the dinosaurs is from the neck up: the bottom half of each is gone. Not dissolved, not blown down; no extra sand lies in the box. There is just nothing there. Hearing a faint whine, she looks over to the corner of the yard and sees their dog cowering there. Each time her hand approaches the box, he whines, louder and louder until the sound is almost a howl.

A shiver runs over her as she turns back to the box of sand. There is now nothing left in the box, except a few grains of sand trailing between her fingers. She hears grains of sand strike the ground and looks down.

Her feet are gone; her legs are now dissolving into a growing pile of sand on the metallic paper lying on the ground beneath her.

1 Like

Oh, I really did not expect this ending! Very surreal and unnerving. Of course the dog was smart enough to realise the dangers and alert his mistress.
Now you have left me shocked and wondering- what and why? Susan, your story illustrates that not all fiction should leave us with a sense of understanding.

1 Like

Oh, Susan I forgot to add that your story reminded me of Lovecraft’s weird and speculative fiction.

The moment we learn of the dog’s reaction to the sand, we are on tenterhooks, Susan! I must admit I was more concerned for Sami than Mom and didn’t see that ending coming! There was definitely a touch of Stephen King in your story. Really well written and, as Margarida comments, very unnerving.

1 Like

Oh no! I didn’t expect the ending, Susan. They are right, very unnerving. I will never wish to receive that kind of box in my whole life.

I’m glad you enjoyed this story, Margarida. Many times, animals are more aware of dangers than are humans. We could learn from them! In response to your second comment, I will now have to go back and reread Lovecraft!
Thanks again for reading and commenting on my story.

Thank you, Linda, for reading and commenting on my story, This is not my usual style, but I did enjoy writing it. I guess we all need to be unnerved once in a while,

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but I wouldn’t want to receive it either!
Thanks for reading and commenting on this story.

1 Like