The evening went by and everyone settled into bed for the night leaving the house quiet where the cracks and pops of the old abode were audible. Raina lay with her face toward the wall and occasionally, she sent a few text messages to Derek while she lay there.
Amelia’s closet doors were closed, but from within the closet, something strange happened. It sounded like something fell in the closet making a thumping noise. Having heard the thump, Raina dropped her phone and jerked her head toward the closet and locked her deep brown eyes on the closet door.
Raina decided though it was odd, that it was nothing. After she got back in bed, she heard a thump followed by a strange, whispering of several voices that seemed to overlap.
She sat straight up in bed and darted her eyes to Amelia, who stayed in her deep slumber, having only moved to change sides to sleep on. Raina left her bed and walked toward the closet where she put her ear to the door to hear the whispers, which suddenly stopped. After a momentary pause she turned to go back to bed, and once again the overlapping whispers were not only clear. They seemed louder.
Raina turned around, walked back to the closet, and she opened it, hoping she wouldn’t wake Amelia. After the door came open, the whispering remained, but the volume of such an odd noise subsided a bit, only giving a small clue as to where the whispers came from. Raina’s eyes looked upward to the top shelf where she remembered putting the odd box earlier that day.
She stood up on her toes to reach for the box when Amelia tossed and turn appearing to wake up, so Raina brought her arms down and closed the closet door.
Before the two doors met one another, one intelligible voice in a whisper said,
“All can be yours if you will it to be, open the box, and set me free.”
Raina closed the door, and most people would have been frightened by such a thing, but not Raina. With her fascination with the mysterious side of life, hearing such a strange request only fueled her silent curiosity.
The next morning, Raina was already and set before Amelia had even opened her eyes. Amelia sat up and ran her hands through her messy black hair and yawned. “You are up early.”
Raina smiled as she was collecting her things, “Yes, I will get to Nevoc early, and then to meet with Derek. You never showed me those things you kept from Esmra’s closet.”
Amelia, got out of bed and while she pulled the closet doors open she said, “Oh yeah, I found a lamp, but the neatest thing I found was this old box, check it out,” Amelia handed Raina the box, “I can’t find the key to it. I will look for it in the closet later. I won’t have time today.”
Raina held the box pretending like she never saw it before, “Yeah, this is neat. Wiccan for sure, but there are symbols on it I don’t understand.”
Amelia took the box back and put it on the shelf, “That is all I kept. I think I will ask Esmra about the box and what it is.”
Raina smiled, “Ahh, what is wrong with a little mystery? Maybe you can go back in and find it later?”
Amelia shrugged while she was putting on an old sweatshirt to go downstairs for some morning coffee, “Sure, I can wait, that may be fun.”
Amelia jogged downstairs with Raina right behind her. Raina took off to her soon to be business leaving everyone engaged in the normal daily conversation of the house first thing in the morning. Raina only went for a few hours giving time for the others to clear out. Knowing that Esmra had an appointment in town for the morning, she did some snooping and made it back to the house where she started her search for the key.
With a quiet and empty house, Raina’s search began and there she stood in the large closet that Amelia had not done the best of jobs cleaning. Raina sifted through the shelves on the walls and pushed around old boxes and containers that didn’t appear to hold anything important. As she shuffled for around fifteen minutes, she made it to the very back where Amelia located the box. In the back corner, behind a bunch of old stacked sweaters, was an enormous purple vase. Raina reached back, having to get up on her toes to reach for the vase, and her fingertips wiggled the vase to the edge of the shelf where she could reach it.
She held the vase in her hand, looking at the chips from years of wear. The dust was moderate on the surface, and as Raina dropped her eyes downward to peer into the vase, some old change remained visible, stuck down at the bottom, mostly old pennies. She tipped the vase over and emptied its contents. After a few flicks of her finger through the loose change, something else bronze stood out amongst the change. With a few more flicks, she uncovered and an old key.
With no hesitation, Raina put the vase and the old change back into the vase and ran out of Esmra’s closet through the still and vacant house where she made it to her bedroom and charged straight for the closet.
Raina held the box in her hand, and she was foaming at the mouth to see if the key fit. With a pounding heart and scant breaths, her shaky hand lifted the key, inserted it into the keyhole, and became excited with the audible click as she turned the key. There the box was unlocked. Taking a hard swallow, Raina walked to the doorway to make sure not a soul was home.
She locked the box back and threw it and the key back into her purse and left to go back to Nevoc. After she arrived, she ran through the bar, not saying anything to anyone working and went back to what was Esmra’s office she shared with her for the time being.
She threw the box on the desk and crammed the key in as fast as she could, and upon opening the box, she dragged the top open and hesitated to look inside. Once she peered inside, it appeared to be empty. However, with a closer look, there lay an old set of papers bound that formed a book and an old satchel filled with something.
Raina picked up the old strange-looking book and set it aside and then opened the satchel and the box floated into the air and spun in a slow circle until it reached level with Raina’s eyes, where it hovered in one place. She reached her hand out to touch the box and it didn’t waver. Examining the satchel, she opened it up wider to explore the contents. All that appeared was dust, but this dust had a bluish-purple tone to it. She pulled the old worn paper out to read, and from the looks of it, the words were more like symbols she didn’t recognize. She tilted the satchel over her hand and shook out the dust.
In the light, it sparkled bright blue and purple specks making her forget the strange book like a set of papers that came with the box. After a careful examination of the new wonder, Raina cupped her hand to shake the dust back into the velvet satchel where some powder didn’t quite make it in the pouch, falling down into the floor, where it went unnoticed by her.
With the box down on the desk, Raina snapped a few pictures of the box and then put it in a drawer in the desk. From there Raina left the bar soon after without saying a word to the other workers.
Raina walked down the street a few blocks and up to a house where she knocked on the door and waited several minutes before it opened.
There stood a guy, long brown hair, and blue eyes. “Raina, what brings you by? Do you need someone to fill in a shift at the bar?”
“No, Gabe, my visit has nothing to do with work,” Raina said as she pushed her way in and sat at his messy kitchen table.
“Oh, man, I am thankful. I have already put in overtime, and I am exhausted. So, what’s up?” Gabe asked as he went to the fridge to get bottled water out to drink, and while he took his swig, he handed Raina a bottle.
“No, I am good,” Raina said as she dug in her purse for her phone and the mysterious paper.
Gabe watched Raina with curiosity and a smile. “So, are you bringing me a present?” He snorted.
Raina cut her eyes up just as she pulled out of her purse what she needed and said, “Uh, no. I need your help. You love symbols, and you study unique symbols, maybe some from other cultures?”
Gabe pulled his head back, “Well yeah, but it is a hobby, my degree is in math, and I am still working on finishing that for teaching.”
She pulled her phone out and showed him the pictures of the mysterious box that Amelia uncovered. “I found this box, and I wanted to know what these symbols mean,” she went for the paper and handed it over to Gabe, “Here more similar types of symbols, but these words, I don’t understand them. Do you think you could figure it out for me?”
Gabe looked at the paper in confusion, “Well, I don’t know. What is this for?”
Raina shook her head. “Don’t worry about that, can you figure this out?”
“I can try Raina, but I don’t know if I can or how long that will take me. I am off the next few days, so I can try to figure it out for you.” Gabe got up from the table to walk Raina out. “Can you email me those pictures?”
Raina nodded. “Yes, doing it now,” she said as she emailed the photos over before she left to return to Esmra’s.
Raina left Gabe to figure out the mysterious writings on the box and the scroll-like paper, and she walked into Esmra’s as though it was just an ordinary day. “Hi Esmra, so how did your appointment go?”
“It went okay,” Esmra said while she sat down at the kitchen table and seemed to be busy, “So Amelia was looking for you.”
Raina’s eyebrows flashed, “Okay, well, where is she?”
Esmra kept her head down and said, “Upstairs, I think.”
Raina jogged upstairs to find Amelia digging in the closet, “Hey, you needed me?”
Amelia pulled her head out of the closet, “Yeah, remember that box I showed you? Well now it is gone, have you seen it?”
“Well, yes, I took it.”
Amelia was incredulous. “Why? That was mine?”
Raina plopped down on the bed. “Oh, well, I took it to Gabe, to see if he could translate everything. You know, as a surprise for you.”
Amelia’s face lit up, but then she rested her forehead on her hand. “Oh, okay, I am sorry. I wanted to show Esmra, but I guess it can wait.”
“I thought you were meeting Derek. What came of that?”
“Oh, I still am, the day is young, I have to get to Nevoc and get to work. So, I will see you later? Hopefully, Gabe will be finished in a couple of days, I will bring the box back.”
Raina made it back to work for her shift, and just as planned, Derek showed up to pick her up from work, so they could get to know each other a little better. They went to a coffee place in town she liked to go to.
“I am glad we could get together.” Raina smiled in a way that he didn’t see on their first outing. “I am sorry I wasn’t more open, I just thought maybe I wasn’t your type. I know about your ex.” Raina poured some syrup into her coffee and stared at Derek with a smirk while she stirred.
Derek cowered a bit, feeling a little uncomfortable, he blushed. “Oh yeah, I see your point. You differ from her, but that is a good thing.”
Together they both sat in the coffee house for what seemed like a few minutes to them, but several hours passed. They found out they had a little more in common than appearances would have them believe. They both liked museums, a little history, art, and there were more plans made between them. As they finished up their much better date, they strolled out of the coffee shop more enamored by one another, and Raina even had a little blush to her cheeks, giving a peach glow to her often Gothic style she wore.
Derek touched her hand. “So, I’ll see you this weekend?”
Raina’s smile spread across her face, and what a beautiful smile she had when she did. Her face lit up as her pearly white teeth emerged. Her thin cheeks seemed to swell, and her eyes smiled along with her mouth. “Sure... of course.”
Derek walked away, but he peddled backward, “Okay, I will text you or call you then.”
Raina nodded, and he turned around with a grand smile and jumped in his car and drove away, leaving Raina standing in front of the coffee house. She left her car at Nevoc and enjoyed a walk back to her place of employment, but she couldn’t wait to see if Gabe had uncovered anything unique about the box and the inscriptions on the strange note inside the box.
She jogged up the few stairs to Gabe’s and gave a pounding knock at the door, and with her waiting, she smiled to herself, thinking of the date with Derek.
Gabe swung the door open. “Boy, you don’t wait do you?” He said with a suspicious look on his face coupled with a bit of amusement, “So why do you look... well... um, happy?”
Raina pushed Gabe aside. “Oh, stop it, I smile some.”
Gabe got out of her way and scratched his head. “Uh, okay, whatever you think, but I have worked around you for several months, and smiling isn’t your thing.”
Raina threw her purse on the table and opened his fridge for water and said, “Well, everyone can change. So, what do you think about those symbols, have you had any time to figure anything out?”
Gabe left the kitchen and returned with some papers in his hand that was printer paper. “Here, so this is what I found after looking through some places on the internet. This box has four very well-known symbols as you can see here.” He pointed to the pictures that Raina sent him, and then he sat down at the kitchen table with her.
“The symbol on top of the box is the horned god, which in more current times represents Wicca or witchcraft, however, in other times it could represent the underworld.” Gabe turned the box to the sides, the shortest of the four sides of the box also had two unique symbols. “Here on this side, is the Triskele symbol and it represents life, death, and rebirth. It also can represent past, present or future. Maybe a rebirth.” Gabe switched to look at the opposing short side of the box. “This one is odd to me; it is the sign of Hades. Some would say like hell or in Egyptian times, the ruler of the underworld and last, on the bottom of the box, this is a universal hexagram used in magic, Wiccan and also the Thoth in a tarot card.”
Gabe scratched his head. “Now the writings on the two long sides of this box I will need more time on, but this is what I have. I don’t know where you found this box or what your intentions are, but I would tread lightly. Whatever was in the box, doesn’t seem to have been put there for just a keepsake, but for ominous reasons. When symbols illustrate underworld, death, and hexagrams... well, just be careful.”
Raina stared at Gabe as if she were not sure of what he was getting at. With her body leaned inward, her total silence and her eyes watching Gabe’s hands as he pointed things out to her, seemed to stoke her fire.
“Gabe, how soon can you finish?”
“I don’t know, a day or so. Why the rush? Where did you get this, anyway? I would be afraid to mess with something like this. What aren’t you telling me? In fact, I think I need to know more before I continue.” Gabe said.
Raina crossed her arms and sat back into her chair, crumbling to a slump. With a tight jaw fueled with raw agitation, she said, “Why can’t you just do it and lighten up?”
“I am not doing anymore for you until you give me more information.”
Raina continued to burrow her murky brown eyes into Gabe. With a baritone in her voice, she said, “Fine,” and sat more upright at the table and said, “Amelia found this box. I took it from her closet. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear overnight I heard it talking to me. Please do not tell anyone.”
Gabe sat in silence; his mouth was partially open. He pulled his arms off the table and crossed them over his chest. “What? Talking? Look bring that box and whatever you found in it to me. I think you may have found something that shouldn’t have been found.”
Raina swiped her purse off the table and marched to the door. Without turning around, she said, “Fine. Give me a bit of time. I will be back.”