A Black Box
By Russ Bickerstaff
It was a simple wooden box that had been painted black. That’s what he thought anyway. Wood. The thing was a one by one inch square box. Would’ve resembled a block of wood had it not been for the fact that it was clearly hollow inside. And it was heavy enough that it didn’t feel at all empty. Either that or it was made of a profoundly dense would that felt ten times as heavy as normal wood should feel.
It was in his mailbox. Kind of quaint to find it there in his mailbox, but it was precisely the sort of thing that sometimes showed-up in his line of work. At first he considered simply tossing it out in the trash on his way back into the house, but he elected not to. There WAS an issue with the fact that it was clearly a package of some sort that had been left in his mailbox that had not been addressed to him in any way and had no return address on it either.
The weird thing of it was that, had it not appeared in his mailbox he probably would not have cared about the fact that there were no addresses on it at all. Such a matter would not have even come to his mind had he simply seen it on the path to the mailbox of even his doorstep. The fact that it was in his mailbox suggests that someone deliberately delivered it there and that made him curious enough about it to bring it back to his home.
He was busy that moment. . . right in the middle of a bit of business he had been conducting and merely between calls for long enough to check the mail. Really he didn’t expect to find am mystery waiting for him there. Just a few bits of mail that he would get to later. Nothing out of the ordinary. But certainly the unexpected arrival of just such an item was going to make it a tad bit more difficult to focus on business matters for the remainder of the afternoon as it was precisely the sort of mystery that would occupy his mind between thoughts and he really didn’t need the distraction as this was a rather tricky, if altogether common bit of business that he was involving himself with over the phone and online between a few different clients and colleagues.
He had been hoping to wrap things up early and get on to matters involved with the box, but as he was so preoccupied in thinking about it, the business in question ended up running even a little later than expected and by the time everything was completely wrapped-up his wife had returned home. He left the box on his desk and went down to say hello to her.
His wife seemed to be in a pretty good mood actually. she had evidently just gotten done with a large project for work that found her moving ever closer to a much more positive state of mind. He could tell. She had been nervous about the whole thing for weeks and now here it was well and fully dealt with an a way that evidently felt very final for her.