“Mom, where’s my brother?”Wendy Lanchaster asked, standing on the table with her fingers in a bowl of cake.
“Your brother probably went off to the old attic upstairs……maybe you can go and find--- Wendy! Get off the table!” Maria Lanchaster yelled from the kitchen. “And wash your hands before putting your fingers in the food!”
Wendy rolled her eyes and lightly jumped off the steel table, causing her mom to scold her all over again.
“Geez, mom……Why do you always scream at me never at my brother?” Wendy complained. “You know it’s not fair for me to be the only one still be scolded in my whole class. It’s so embarrassing.”
“Well, maybe you should behave properly young lady.” Maria said, coming out of the kitchen with a bowl of soup in her hands. “Your brother knows not to get into trouble, unlike someone.”
“Yeah…..yeah….Whatever…..” Wendy said, unwilling to submit.
“And Ms. Lanchaster Junior, hands off the food! You know today is your brother’s birthday.” Maria said, stroking Wendy’s curly light brown hair. “You won’t want to make another mess would you?”
“Okay, okay!” Wendy answered with hunger in her eyes as Maria settled the soup on the table.
“That’s my girl!” Maria gently petted her and headed back to the kitchen.
“But mom, why do you cook anyways? Why don’t you let the robots do it like others do?” Wendy asked just as Maria disappeared behind the kitchen door.
“Because, only the food I cook could have a way better taste than any of those mechanic stubs…..and…….” The rest didn’t reach Wendy’s ears. She now tiptoed to the table, quietly opened the lid and reached her hand into it.
“Wendy, are you listening?” Maria voice sounded from the kitchen, almost making Wendy jump.
“Yes mom!” Wendy yelled back, plucking a mushroom from the hot soup. She wasted no time to drop it into her mouth and rushing to the stairs just as Maria opened the kitchen door.
Now with her tongue satisfied, it is time to poke some fun with her brother.
Upstairs, in a dusty and darky attic, Jerry Lanchaster was enjoying the time of his life.
It is rare to have a visit to their old cabin, passed down by his grandfather a long time ago. This house somehow survived the destruction of the invasion and stood firmly in the City Center. There are a lot of neat things that is both unique and mysterious.
“Ah, an old binocular!” Jerry exclaimed as he pulled out a pair of dusty binoculars, probably from around the beginning of the twenty-first century. He played it for a while then rested it in a heap of other antiques he found.
“What’s this? A map?” Andrew asked as he pulled out an old and dusty paper with pictures on it. Sure enough it is a map, but strangely drawn. There were hundreds of countries labeled on there with different colors instead of just seven big continents. He once heard his dad say about the world before the Kalalusians invaded. It is divided only in seven continents; each continent uniting itself for financial and resourceful reasons. He did remember that his dad said that the world a hundred years back then is still divided into hundreds of smaller countries. Could this be the map of the world back when his father was talking about?
“Greece….Italy…..Canada…..China…..Egypt…..” He read to himself as he tried to figure out the strange text. He always mixes up the Kalalusian language with English.
Losing interest of the map, Jerry turned again to the “treasure chest” he was searching. He scuffled out old clothing, pictures of people whom he does not recognize and oddly covered books made out of paper. But more than anything else; tons of dust.
Just as he was about to get up and head back downstairs, a streak of white light caught his attention. It was simply just a flash, but Jerry was sure that something is not right. He froze in his spot, trying to wait for its return. After a few heartbeats, he could feel that the air around him is changing. It is becoming…..unspeakably cold…..or more accurately, chilling. He was sure; he was not alone in this room.
“Wendy? Is that you?” Jerry shouted, hoping to see his sister coming out of the darkness. He was wrong.
“Mom...Dad?” Jerry was getting a little panicked. No one answered. In fact, he couldn’t even hear a sound. Not the sound of the cooking pots in neither the kitchen nor her sister’s screams and shouts downstairs……. Just absolutely nothing.
“Grandfather?” He yelled without thinking. Wait, Grandfather was dead way before I was born. How could it be him? He scolded himself for his stupidity. But this kind of feeling wasn’t really a new experience for him. He could recall many times feeling uneasy and uncomfortable when growing up. Even when sleeping he could see illusions of a figure staring at him.
Although Jerry is a teenage kid with many fears, he decided not to run this time. Instead, he tried to relocate where the flash came from. He had a feeling that the answer to everything that bothered him these past years lies in this creepy attic. Now, he is ready to get to the bottom of this story.
He walked slowly around the attic; examining each object and looking behind doors and windows. He blew dust off the old objects and wiped the surface of everything he came into; searching for any kind of clue that might foul his sharp eyes.
Finally, after removing furniture and equipment away, he was face to face with an extremely large painting. It was as big as the side of the wall, reaching from the top to bottom. The dust layer on there was so thick that if one corner of the painting had colors and frames, he would just ignore it as a wall. Jerry wasn’t very interested in this moment to admire some ancient arts, but the signs of clues have run into a dead end. In the end, the facts were clear……He tricked himself into a wild goose chase once more.
He sighed, picking up a cloth and began rubbing it. This painting is the only antique left uncovered in the attic. Might as well clean it and see if it can offer some hints. Jerry was ready to laugh at himself once more.
As the colors began to reappear under the dusky surface, Jerry could make out dusky images in the painting. The choking dust however, seemed endless and no matter how hard he rubbed, the picture still remained a blur. Jerry was beginning to get impatient. He wiped even harder and faster every time, hoping that the dust would give in. After a few more minutes of sweeping and dusting, Jerry threw the cloth on the floor and stopped to catch a breath.
He cleaned the entire picture now, but still can’t find any clues. Although he began questioning himself for being overactive against these “strange” feelings and senses, he still felt that there was something wrong with the blurry painting in front of him. Yes, it was only his feelings once again.
Jerry looked up once more at the painting. The patterns of colors seemed similar to him though the painting itself was unrecognizable. Lightly and carefully, he leaned his hand onto the surface of the painting. It was incredibly smooth even with all of the dust on its surface. He touched, knocked and even scratched some parts of the picture. But nothing interesting happened.
“The image on the top right corner….” Jerry murmured raised his right arm to touch the top of the painting and pushed the spot he was staring at with his middle finger
“This part…..this image…..it’s…….wait! It’s the---?” He didn’t have time to finish.
His right arm suddenly gave away, causing him to loose balance. Before he can react, his entire body slammed onto the painting. Or, he thought he would bump into the picture. Instead, he grasped into a handful of air as the picture turned aside, three hundred and sixty degrees and sent him charging into another place behind it.
After a few seconds, he was back on his feet again, slapping dust off his pants and clothes. When he looked up again, he didn’t see darkness. Instead, he saw a ray of white light coming from a hole on the roof. It was in fact; better to see in this room than back in the attic.
In the darkness of the Technobiole, Andrew sat face to face with Cassiel. It has been almost half an hour and neither said a word. Both of them sat silently in total darkness and the only sound came from the vehicle’s wheels scraping faintly on the ground beneath it.
After another few moments of awkward silence, Andrew reached into his pocket and pulled out his Smartphone. He opened it, casting a bright ray of light that pierced through the darkness like a spear. Cassiel’s pale face reflected off the light, making her skin look ghastly like a phantom; at least a beautiful phantom.
In an instant, Andrew suddenly remembered something. That silver box with mysterious carvings. He wanted to look it up close.
“Cassiel, can you give me the silver box?” Andrew asked, pretending not to be curious. “I want to have a look at the working materials.”
Cassiel gazed at him for a few moments and handed out the silver box, which was resting in her lap. Just as the box was about to land on Andrew’s palm, Cassiel suddenly remembered the time before the professor left, he told her that this box contains something of great importance. Although this Professor Lanchaster seemed to have saved her, she still couldn’t trust him fully. She pulled her hands back quickly before Andrew could touch the box.
“What’s wrong?” Andrew was very confused. “Why won’t you let me see what’s inside that box?”
Cassiel didn’t answer. She knew by heart that Andrew wasn’t a bad guy, but she still couldn’t make up her mind to declare to herself that he is a trustworthy person. Besides, she doesn’t know what’s inside the box either.
“It’s okay if you don’t feel like giving it tom me now.” Andrew forced a smile, trying to seem relaxed. “But if it has something to do with my work, then your understanding will be greatly appreciated.”
Cassiel nodded, feeling that she has no reason to refuse that request.
Andrew sat back and began fidgeting the phone. He thought for a while and then sat back straight again.
“Cassiel, will you at least open the box and see what’s inside?” He looked desperately at Cassiel.
“Okay….” She whispered, putting her right hand onto the silver box. She tried hard to open it, but it just won’t budge. No matter how hard she pushed and pull, the lid of the box remained firmly on it.
“Here, let me have a try.” Andrew said reaching out his hands again. Cassiel froze for a full moment, and then she made up her mind and handed it to him.
In the next five minutes, Andrew also tried various ways to open the lid. But everything proved useless.
“This box must be locked.” Andrew declared, panting heavily as he put the box onto his lap. “There’s no way to open this with only human strength.”
“But I don’t see a keyhole or a keyboard to enter a password.” Cassiel argued, leaning forward to examine the box again.
“Right. But why can’t I open it?” Andrew exclaimed. “There’s got to be a problem with this box.”
“Perhaps your strength isn’t well enough to open it.” Cassiel assumed.
“I don’t want to argue.” Andrew responded, turning on his Smartphone again. “If I can’t reveal what’s inside the box, then let me find some clues outside the box.”
Andrew was anxious to see the strange markings on the surface of the box. Just a glimpse of it when they were outside the laboratory reminds him of some antiques he uncovered lately. If the markings are the same, then the thing inside the box perhaps would have an answer.
Under the light of the Smartphone, Andrew examined the markings carefully. Many carvings were pictures that Andrew did not recognize. He guessed it must have been some sort of Runes; ancient characters he uncovered lately. And there was the mysterious language. They were similar indeed and he was sure that it has something to do with the antiques he found. But only one thing is quite different. The antiques he found had markings carved into the surface. But the odd thing about this box is that it had carvings bulging out of it.
Both Andrew and Cassiel were totally focused on the silver box and when the vehicle came to a sharp stop, they almost fell over. The door opened and Shoji the Kalalusian guard appeared from the front of the Technobiole.
“Professor Lanchaster, we are now at your apartment.” Shoji reported, giving Andrew a military salute.
Andrew nodded and stepped out of the vehicle. A grand skyscraper stood in front of them; well-decorated and flourished. But before he could make one move towards the building, his Smartphone rang unexpectedly. Shoji jumped into position as if attacked, his hands already on his laser gun.
Andrew shook his head as he took out his Smartphone. Kalalusians were always on their nerves. The screen opened and showed a text message from Maria Lanchaster.
Dinner is ready and we are all waiting for you! And don’t forget your present for our seventeen year old son! Maria J
Andrew rolled his eyes wearily. Great! He has totally forgotten about his son’s birthday. Not only he did not prepare a present, but have to bring some stranger home with him. Worst of all, they are currently in the old house where his parents used to live on the other side of the city. What a great day! He thought as he stormed back to the Technobiole.
“To the old house…..East of the City.” He grunted as he passed Shoji. “We are going to miss my son’s birthday.” He headed back inside the dark vehicle, closing the iron door behind him.
“You….have a son, Mr. Lanchaster?” Cassiel asked as the vehicle started at full speed once again.
“Yes…..I have a sixteen….wait…..seventeen year old son. Sorry not to mention earlier.” Andrew replied, leaning back to his seat. “And I have a nine year old daughter, too.” He added.
“Oh……that’s a…..lovely family….” Cassiel exclaimed, falling back to her seat the first time during the ride. She seemed more relaxed, with most of her worries and fears about him gone.
Andrew couldn’t help but to smile. What could she be worrying anyways?
Jerry rubbed his eyes slightly with his clean left arm. He turned around just to make sure he can go out again. The back of the picture was made out of hard wood and he easily pushed the painting sideways, making a narrow passage between the two rooms. Then, he turned back to examine what he just found.
He figured out he might have discovered a secret room that he never entered before. It’s small, but well-designed. If his father’s stories were true, then the house should be his Grandfather’s and this room must have been some sort of study or a private room for him once.
He came upon an old wooden desk with a layer of dust and hundreds of spider webs covering it. It sat silently in the back of the room facing the door; it’s once fine wooden surface rotten and out of color.
The desk was so dirty that if Jerry didn’t look careful enough, he might not even notice an old lamp and a weird-looking sandglass on it. With great cautiousness, he slowly picked the sandglass up and examined it. The glass was broken from the side and surprisingly, there was still a bit of white sand in it. He tried to pour the sand out, but even with glass broken, the sand refused to come out. Jerry shook his head and placed it back on the table.
Another object caught his attention. It’s on the center of the desk piled with at least three thick layers of dust. Its shape is kind of like a cube or a rectangle; perhaps a box. Jerry picked up a broken plastic club and pocked at the object.
The sound of metal echoed back into his ears.
With his nose covered, Jerry began to stir away the frightening spider webs, possibly with hundreds of dead spiders in it. It took a while, but when the object revealed itself, Jerry was astonished.
In fact, there were actually two objects; one on top of another. In the bottom, lies a brown hard-covered book. Jerry could tell by the dark-yellow pages that it is old, maybe even ancient. On top of it sat a gleaming metal box. Its colors and decorations were brilliant and a long time ago it must have been even more beautiful. There were strange carvings on the surface of the box, which Jerry does not recognize. Probably a very old language, he thought.
The box was surprisingly light as Jerry removed it off the table. He guessed it might be made out of silver because of its color. Jerry’s heart began beating very fast. What kind of treasures lay inside this fancy box? But when he eagerly opened the lid to look what’s inside, he was disappointed. No diamonds nor sacred stones nor antiques. Not even a single bead of dust. Just absolutely nothing.
Feeling extremely annoyed, Jerry tossed the box aside and turned his attention on the book. Perhaps he can find an ancient spell that can turn people into cats as his dad told him once. Or it might reveal some secrets that his dad might not even know.
When he flipped open the first page, he thought he saw light coming out of the book. But this thought quickly passed through his head. The pages of the book weren’t as badly damaged as Jerry thought. In fact, it was very clean and tidy. Jerry wondered what kind of paper this book uses to last this long.
There were words in this book. Actually, there were a lot. Jerry scratched his brown hair as he tried to figure out the language in the book. The writing was messy as if done in a hurry and the characters were not familiar to Jerry. All of this seemed nonsense to him. As he flipped through the pages, the painting passage behind him made a creaking sound. Someone was coming in!
Before Jerry could turn around, a pale hand grabbed onto his shoulder.
Inside the Technobiole, Andrew was having a conversation with Cassiel.
“Please tell me Cassiel……Is Professor Pateman really your father?” Andrew asked with full curiosity.
Cassiel shook her head violently causing her smooth dark hair floating in the air.
“Then….who is your real parents? And did you live with Professor Pateman?” Andrew didn’t care about personal privacy now. He’s got to solve one of the mysteries that just popped up in a single day. He wouldn’t be able to sleep with so many questions left unanswered.
“I don’t know who my real parents were…..” Cassiel began, brushing her hair back in place. “I was abandoned in the streets when I was seven. The memories before that seemed to be lost.”
“Lost?” Andrew was a little confused.
“Yes……lost…..somewhere” Cassiel continued. “I was found on the streets of Capitol City on a cold winter night. I guessed either it was too late or no one had pity for me…..I laid there, unconscious and sick for a very long time……I think……Then, finally, I felt temperature again. And light came back into my eyes. The first vision I saw was the moon……bright and beautiful…..Then, the stars and finally…..I saw the face of an aged man.”
“He was…..Professor Pateman?” Andrew couldn’t help but to interrupt.
“But why would you see the moon and the stars? It would be impossible to see those things since there were always clouds blocking it.” Andrew argued.
“I don’t know…..but I am sure I was not dreaming at that time.” Cassiel replied. “I still have that vision till this day.”
“And Professor Pateman took you to his home and adopted you?”
“Yes.” Cassiel answered, looking a little uneasy. “He found a slip pinned onto the blanket that covered my body that time. It showed my name and some other information. But some of the information wasn’t revealed to me……for my safety.” Cassiel finished, taking a deep breath. She wanted to mention about the purple box which was also found with her. But she swallowed the words down before it came from her lips.
The two of them remained silent for the rest of the trip. When the Technobiole finally pulled in front of the old house, Andrew was sure, something big and unspeakably dangerous thing was about to happen.
When Jerry got to his feet once more from the dust attic floor, his sister Wendy was laughing her head off.
“Wendy, you little dork…….I…….” Jerry was still terrified from that prank and he could hardly speak because he can’t catch his breath.
“Oh……Everyone now see….our hero….Jerry the Great, been scared to the ground and can barely stand…..by his little sister…..Wendy the Invincible!” Wendy taunted and teased.
“Stop calling me that!” Jerry cried with his hands on his chest.
“May we interview our hero Jerry the Great…….did you pee you pants when your sister attacked you!” Wendy pretended to hold a microphone towards Jerry, who pushed it away.
“I said stop calling me that!” Jerry demanded, catching his sister by the arm.
“You came with up with that name yourself.” Wendy claimed, making a face.
“That was…..three years ago….” Jerry said with his face bright red. He was really the one who came up with the name “Jerry the Great” three years ago, when he still had dreams of being a hero and saving the world. But that dream died eventually when Jerry finally realized, he was as natural and normal as everyone else around him. No superpowers or great intelligence…….He was even considered a “Jupiter Goat” meaning a person with great stupidity.
“You are going to pay for this Wendy!” Jerry threatened, trying to change the subject. “You’ll be begging for my mercy in no time.”
“Yeah…sure….Jerry the Great!” Wendy mocked with no fear on her face.
Before Jerry could respond by clutching her hair as he normally did, the sound of the Technobiole and the slamming of doors interrupted him. They both exchanged glances as footsteps sounded from downstairs and finally, the voice of their mother.
“Jerry, Wendy! Your dad is back home! Come down here for dinner!”
Maria did not need further instructions, for Jerry and Wendy were already scrambling from the attic, squeezing through the narrow hallway and racing down the stairs. Jerry, as usual, has totally forgotten about everything that happened upstairs in that secret room he found. All he was thinking is what kind of presents his dad would bring him this year.
Cassiel carefully removed her shoes as they stopped at the porch of the doorway. She was a bit stressed, since it’s pretty awkward to enter someone’s home without a real invitation. She was worried that she’ll be unwelcomed.
A woman with a red apron appeared at the hallway. Cassiel pretended to concentrate on the silver box she still carried in her arms. She guessed that the lady might be Andrew’s servant or something. Women with aprons were scarcely rare in their time. Even servants no longer wear those “ugly” clothing.
“Good evening dear………Glad you are home…..” The woman gazed towards Cassiel. “I see you bought guests……”
“Yes, my dear.” Andrew said hugging the woman and giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I have a lot to talk with you…….but maybe later.” He then whispered some words into her ears and then headed inside.
The sight of kissing and hugging made Cassiel even more uneasy……..or embarrassed. Now she was sure that this lady here is Andrew’s wife. But few couples express their love in this way nowadays. In matter of fact, Cassiel even doubts if there’s any true love left in the world.
“Good evening ma’am…….Sorry to bother you.” Cassiel stammered, standing up straight and making a light bow. It is also an uncommon manner, long abandoned by humans themselves.
“Hello young lady.” Maria said, smiling warmly as she reached to take Cassiel’s backpack. “If you don’t mind, just call me Maria.”
“Thank you….Mrs. Lanchaster--” Cassiel smiled lightly, looking down at the box, frantically searching for a topic. But before she could go on, she was briefly interrupted by an enormous noise overhead. It seemed to be the sounds of footsteps and she was sure that there were more than one people up there. The noise grew louder and was mixed with voices of a boy and girl. Eventually, the sound became a stampede down to the lower floor.
As Cassiel stepped into the house, wandering who might be causing such a commotion, she was just in for a surprise as a human body slammed into hers. Cassiel was obviously a weak girl who cannot stand such an impact. She fell backwards, nearly crashing into the edge of a metal shelf behind her.
“Ha, ha…….I win!” The faint sound of a childish female voice came was the last sound she heard before landing on the ground.
“Wendy Lanchaster, what on Earth are you doing?” Maria shrieked as she lifted the dazed Cassiel back to her feet. “Look what have you done!”
“Sorry mom.” Wendy answered without even noticing Cassiel’s presence. “But my brother and I are having a race. Apparently, I win again!”
Cassiel reorganized her dark, already messy hair as she examined Wendy with full surprise. The young girl, with her side to her, had a light brown hair and possibly, brown eyes. It’s not hard to determine that she is Andrew’s young daughter, but Cassiel was attracted by this “cute” girl, especially by her one-sided ponytail. It’s an uncommon hairstyle, compared to the popular short hair style. A lot like hers.
“Dad, did you bring my brother a present?” Wendy asked eagerly, without realizing that Cassiel tiptoed silently behind her and got up close to look at her brown hair.
“Uh……..I am afraid I--” Andrew starched his brown hair and making a face of guilt. “I didn’t have time to……”
It’s either the smell of Cassiel’s aroma or the sound of her breathing caught Wendy’s attention. She swirled around instantly, coming almost nose to nose with the startled Cassiel.
Then there were screams.
“Oh my Twinkie Winkie…….Who are you?” Wendy exclaimed, retreating behind her father. She had never seen a person with such a white skin and long hair in her life. She always thought that she had the longest hair.
Before Andrew could explain, Jerry trembled off from the stairway, breathing heavily. He lacked a lot of exercise and was totally worn out, even for just a minute of racing down the stairs.
“What’s going on? Why is everyone screaming and shouting?” Jerry groaned as he made his way towards the doorway. He was about to ask for his present, but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Cassiel.
Very much similar to his father, Jerry was first caught speechless of her beauty. Yes, he’d never seen such a perfect person ever in his life. Her looks could only exist in his dreams. Further, Jerry doubts he even have the imagination to create such a person. For a few moments, he just stood there, without any expressions or speech.
Cassiel, on the hand, thought Jerry was as normal as anyone else she has met; brown hair, brown eyes, thin, medium length and with a slight of freckles on his cheeks. However, the expression-less emotion on his face reminds her of Andrew when they first met. But, a strange sense of feeling was creeping into her mind. She thinks she have seen this boy in front of her before. Though she can’t recall exactly where, she was sure they’ve met before.
There’s one thing she just couldn’t understand. Why does every male has almost the same reaction every time they see her. Is she some sort of rare creature or something? She never considers herself pretty, since she was always apart from the majority of the society. She wanted to cut her long silk-like hair short, but Professor Pateman won’t allow her to do that. And to make things even more mysterious, her hair can’t be cut. She tried secretly, numerous kinds of scissors and knives, but none of them could cut through a single thread of her hair. It could be pulled off though, but just can’t be cut. After years of trying, she eventually gave up, not to mention she still wants to try the laser knife.
“Um……Hi…..” Jerry stammered, putting his hands into his pockets. “I am….uh…..Jerry…….Nice……to meet you!”
“Cassiel is my name.” Cassiel replied, forcing a smile. Jerry, just like his father has done before, lowered his head and avoided direct eye contact.
The conversation came to a dead end, with both sides in death silence. Both Jerry and Cassiel were uneasy about each other. Not because any of them were hostile, but just……a strange feeling.
“And that’s Jerry the Great!” Wendy roared, breaking the silence. “And I am Wendy the Invincible!”
Jerry was glad that her sister finally said something useful to both of them the first time in her life.
“Jerry……..the…..Great?” Cassiel asked, with full confusion.
“Ah, never mind that!” Jerry said shoveling her sister’s mouth before she lets out all of their secrets. “And…..uh……Why don’t you come in?”
Jerry has officially entered the Stage Two of his emotions. That is, panic. After Stage One of creepy silence, now Jerry was appearing to be goofy and jumpy. He doesn’t have hyperactivity or something like that. He’s just stressed and couldn’t find anything appropriate to do. So, he just moves unnaturally and randomly to hide his emotions.
“Thanks for your warm welcome!” Cassiel bowed again. “Please forgive my sudden appearance.”
“Uh……yeah….sure……no problem!” Jerry stared up to the ceiling, also trying to search for a topic.
“I…….heard that today is your birthday…..So allow me to--”
“Ah, you are too kind!” Jerry interrupted, stepping towards Cassiel and seized the silver box from her arms. “I never said you should bring a present!”
In normal times, Jerry could remain as calm as a piece of ice. But this day, his energy must have gone up by two hundred percent so he can’t think things the right way. Therefore, before he could realize what a poor decision it was to grab someone’s possession like that. In that moment, he just wanted to skip out of the deadly silence and find something to talk about. He wanted to act as good person in front of such a beautiful lady, hoping to give her a positive first impression. Clearly though, he overacted.
“But, wait! That’s not your present!” Cassiel cried, totally shocked by Jerry’s ruthless actions.
“Don’t worry, no matter what it is, it’ll mean a lot to me.” Jerry responded, still in a form of “coma”.
“No Jerry, that is not for you!” Andrew exclaimed, taking a step to grab the box.
“Ha, ha let me see what is inside this fancy-looking box.” Jerry announced and before any of them could stop him, he reached for the lid and with great astonishment from both Cassiel and Andrew, who spent nearly an hour on the Technobiole wrestling to get the lid open, the lid of the silver box flipped open without even resisting.
Jerry took a step backwards, his mouth wide open as a ray of silver light sprang out from the box. The light pierced through his eyes like a knife as he dropped the box. His eyes were in total blur and he saw strange images and illusions in the complete white eyesight. He also lost senses to his other sense, too. And for a moment, he thought he was floating in the air with faint whispers around his ears.
When he finally regained consciousness, he found himself in the arms of his father. The silver box laid silently on the ground as Wendy went over to examine it.
“What happened Jerry? Why did you lose balance?” Andrew asked, his face full of concern.
“Light, the silver light!” Jerry screamed, pointing towards the box.
“Light? What light?”
“Didn’t you see it? A beam of light……from that box!” Jerry repeated, with his eyes full of horror. He hasn’t fully recovered yet and was still a little dazed.
Both Maria and Wendy shook their heads. “We didn’t see anything when you opened the box.” Maria assured. “Absolutely nothing.”
“I didn’t see anything either.” Andrew said, his voice low.
“It must have been your imagination dear.” Maria explained, gently rubbing Jerry’s forehead. “You are behaving very unusual lately.”
“Hey wait, what about Cassiel? Did you see anything?” Wendy shouted over her shoulder.
There was no reply.
All four of them turned around to see Cassiel lying on the marble floor of the doorway. She laid facedown with her dark hair scrambled all over the place. Her body appeared to be lifeless, as no sign of breathing occurred.
All of them froze for a total five seconds and then Maria cried as she rushed towards the fallen Cassiel. The three of them followed closely behind, each with shock and fear in their hearts.
Maria lifted her pale head to her arms and began shaking her. After a few moments of reviving, color began reappearing on Cassiel’s face. Then, she let out a large breath like a drowned person and opened her eyes again. Before the dark color refilled her big eyes, jerry thought he saw glimpse of silver in her eyeballs.
“What happened sweetheart? Why are you on the ground?” Maria asked softly, helping her to a seating position.
“That……light……from the box!” Cassiel whispered loudly, pointing towards the silver box. “The light from the box blinded me and I must have lost consciousness.”
“You mean, you also saw the silver light from that box?” Andrew questioned, tightening his face.
Cassiel nodded slightly; her hands still trembling.
Jerry and Andrew gazed uneasily towards the box as Maria examined Cassiel. There was nothing in it. Absolutely nothing. So where did this light came from? And why could only jerry and Cassiel could see it?
“Are you sure you are okay dear?” Maria said, putting her hands on her forehead.
Cassiel nodded again; this time, with a bit more strength.
The five of them stared at the Silver Box. It certainly reminded Jerry of the box he found in the secret attic room upstairs but he didn’t feel like speaking of it. And it also made Andrew shiver from top to bottom. If what Jerry and Cassiel say is true, then this box must contain something that they don’t know. Since there’s nothing in it, then most likely the marking might explain the unnatural light.
“Come, children. If everything is okay, then lets head for dinner.” Andrew declared, picking up her box. For some reason, the box seemed a lot lighter than before.
“Are you going to examine the box dad?” Wendy asked, heading towards the dining room.
“Possibly.” Andrew replied, turning to the stairs. “I’ve got a lot of things to do before daybreak and a great deal of things to explain to you guys during dinner.” He then went down to his workshop below, sighing as he went down the stairs.
Maria smiled warily, giving Jerry and Cassiel a pat on the head. Then, she stood up and also marched into the dining room, leaving only Jerry and Cassiel in the empty doorway.
“You……really saw the light?” Cassiel whispered cautiously to Jerry.
Jerry nodded, closing his eyes.
“What do you think it means?” Cassiel asked quietly, biting her lips.
Jerry shrugged and got to his feet. He reopened his eyes and looked directly at Cassiel.
“Whatever it is, we won’t have to worry it for now.” He responded holding out his hand to the still seated Cassiel. “If it is destined for us to find out, then the answer will reveal itself in the future.”
Cassiel nodded, taking his hand. Jerry pulled her up and both of them headed off to the kitchen. But none of them was in favor of food.