The package was simply labeled with crisp, succinct handwriting. Merely ‘John’ followed by the address, no flair, no flourish. The paper was a traditional brown, unmarked and neatly wrapped with creased edges and glued down at the folds; perhaps tape was too untidy. Even the delivery driver was impressed at the craftsmanship of an otherwise unremarkable box. It was a medium size, an un-noteworthy weight and made no sound as it was transferred from the postal office to the delivery van. He didn’t shake the package, he would never shake any packages, that would be disrespectful and should be left to enthusiastic gift receivers, not professionals. He couldn’t deny the temptation though, especially not as it sat, the last delivery of the day, on the front seat of his van, bathing in the afternoon sunlight. So unremarkable. So intriguing. As he continued towards the address, so neatly penned onto the box, his thoughts wandered to possibilities of what could be tucked away inside. With the tidy packaging and simple labeling he was led to consider practical items. A toaster perhaps, or another kitchen item; maybe some nice glassware. The handwritten element determined that it was more than likely a personal acquaintance or a small business that had yet to move beyond the quaint hand-addressed stage. The lack of a title or last name made the latter option less likely though. Businesses would also usually include a label which his curiosity was often thankful for. If he delivered to a place frequently enough, he was often well acquainted with the recipient and able to politely inquire about the contents of their package, but he had never delivered to this particular home before. The length of the drive only helped his curiosity to grow and with it a strange courage. He would see if it felt appropriate but he knew already that he would do his best to find out about the contents of this strangely, seemingly benign, brown-paper wrapped box. His hopes shrunk as he arrived to see the drive was empty and the house with no lights silhouetted in the dusk. He walked slowly, frustrated in his inability to satiate his curiosity but unsure what to do to ease his predicament. He had been in the postal delivery service for upward of thirty years and had never once been so intrigued by a package in all that time. He placed the box on the front step of the quiet house and knocked despite the low probability of an answer. He waited for a beat then turned away deflated. He would not sully several decades of professional service for the sake of curiosity. He tried to tell himself it was probably nothing of note anyway. However, returning to his van he took a little longer to log the delivery, unable to let go of the chance while there still was one. Glancing up one more time he swept his eyes over the scene before him. The box looked strange, waiting expectantly on the doorstep in the dimming light. A brown box, next to a red brick house, surrounded by a dry yet tidy yard. An uneasy feeling crawled over him as he continued to study the suburban house. For a moment he could have sworn he saw a curtain twitch behind the darkened window of the front room. The feeling of unease grew at the thought of that and he started the van, quickly pulling away from the curb. His heart pounded with a rush of adrenaline that had spiked with the thoughts of a stranger hiding in the dark, watching him. His curiosity diminished as the home with that strange brown box faded into the distance and he decided that perhaps it was best he didn't know.
About the author
There are grand things in this world; the unforgettable, the unimaginable, the unattainable, the fathomless. We creators try to substantialise them to make them consumable. It is no easy feat to even get close, and yet we try anyways.