Do Not Open
By David E. Perry
N ina and Lina Honors did everything together. That’s just the way twins are sometimes. They think alike. They act alike. When in school, they played the same sports and took the same classes. They even at one time dated twin brothers. They broke it off when Lina’s boyfriend kissed Nina by mistake. So, it was no wonder when, just 5 days after their 25th birthday, they moved into the same 3-bedroom house, just 10 miles from home.
Lina, although normally mentioned 2nd, was really a full 1 minute older than Nina. This is because she was a little more outgoing. She was the first to be born. She was the first to walk. It was her ideal to date the twins. It was her ideal to move. She was the one who found the house. She was the one who found the movers. She was the one who left to find out what was keeping them so long. “Nina,” she called, “If the movers come while I’m gone, put my boxes in my room. Do not open my stuff.”
Nina had the habit of opening anything with her sister’s name on it. She figured that Lina wouldn’t mind. Normally she wouldn’t. But every now-and-then, she would have something that was private. Something just hers. Everybody is entitled to privacy. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees it.
Lina called just after an hour. “The movers said they’re on their way. They should arrive in about 30 minutes. I’m headed to the store to get some food and supplies.” At the time, they were both sleeping on inflatable air beds. They had a small microwave, a hot plate, and a coffee maker. The stuff they can fix in their VW Beetle in one trip.
The first box arrived shortly after the call. The doorbell rang, but the delivery person was gone before Nina could answer. At the door was a single large cardboard box wrapped in brown paper. Not too large for her to pick up. Not to heavy. A matter of fact, it was light. Very light. It did not have Lina’s name on the box, but Nina knew it wasn’t hers. Plus, the words, “Do Not Open!” was printed on the label. As she was about to put the box in Lina’s room, she could almost swear that the box started to glow. More like a glowing dust fell from the box. Also, she could almost hear what sounded like a voice. “Just the sounds of a new house.”, she said almost out loud.
As she set the box down, she noticed the full instructions on the box. “Do Not Open. Wait for instructions. They will contact you shortly.”
“What do Lina have in here?”
She wanted to open the box, but she decided to respect her sister’s privacy. She placed the box in Lina’s room and as she was closing the door, she could swear she could see a faint glow coming from the box. She also heard the faint sound of a voice. She could almost make it out this time. “Help!”
Nina’s eyes were wide open. “Help! Someone, something, is calling for help.”
She could not move fast enough to find a box cutter to get the box open. Inside the box was a white case made from an unknown material. It was hard as steal, but thin and light as aluminum foil. The case had several small holes in one side through which a faint light could be seen. The lid to the case was locked. There was no keyhole, just some kind of puzzle. You know the type where you slide the squares to form a picture. Normally it’s made of 15 squares and 1 blank space. This one was made of 100 squares and a blank space. Both Nina and Lina were experts at these kinds of puzzles.
It took her just over 15 minutes to solve the puzzle. When she did, she heard it click. The case was unlocked. Before she could open it, there was a knock at the door. She quickly placed the case back in the box. Taped the box shut and locked her sister’s bedroom door as she walked out. The doorbell rang.
“Coming, one moment”, she yelled. “Who is it?”
“Max Delivery. We believe a package was….”
“Are you the movers? Do you have our stuff?”
“No, Ma’am. A package was left here by mistake. It is vital that we retrieve it immediately.”
“I’m sorry. We haven’t received any of our stuff today. We’re still waiting for the movers to get here.”
This was not a lie. They have not received their stuff. She realized that this box could not belong to Lina. This was something top secret. Plus, somebody was trying to speak to her. Trying to ask for help. Nina didn’t know what device was in this box, but she did not want to turn it over to these shady looking people.
“Maybe someone else got it. Can I speak to someone else?”
“No! My sister has been gone all day getting things set up. I’m here waiting for the movers.”
“OK, sorry to bother you ma’am. Can we use your phone?”
She was not a fool. This has been in movies and on TV millions of times. Delivery guys ask to use the phone. When they come in, they pull out a gun. This was not about to happen to her. She was smart enough to leave the door closed and locked while she spoke.
“Sorry. My cell phones dead and the house phone has not yet been set up.”
This was a lie. But they didn’t need to know that.
“Sorry to bother you Ma’am. You have a nice day and be safe.”
The got into the truck but didn’t go anywhere. Not right away. When they did drive off, it was only down the street. Nina could easily see them. After about an hour and a half, the finally drove off. Shortly after, Lina shows up with the movers right behind her. Thing are unloaded quickly. The house is full of boxes. Before Nina could say anything about what took place, the special box is mixed in with all the other boxes.
“Lina!”, Nina called out. “Let me tell you what happened!”
“You wouldn’t believe the day I had. The movers went to the wrong house. I had to go to 10 different store to get supplies. I still didn’t get….”
“Lina! I’m trying to tell you something.”
“… groceries. I have no clue what we’re eating tonight. I…”
Lina stops talking after being interrupted by a loud sound. She sees Nina holding an air horn.
“Lina. Something strange happened today.”
She tells her sister everything. About that box and its content. About the glowing dust. She tells about the call for help and the men trying to get it back. She also tells how it was placed in her room.
Lina seemed to believe that her sister is joking. That is something that they would do. They would often tell a story or place an object in the other persons bedroom just to try to scare the other person. Practical jokes were done often while growing up. They once had an alarm clock shaped like an 18-wheeler truck. When the alarm sounded, it had the sound of a big truck’s horn. Just as loud. Also, lights would flash as bright as the sun. This truck would find its way into somebodies’ bedroom in the middle of the night. They would awaken disorientated, trying to turn off the alarm. The one who played the joke would always have a big laugh. That is until it was done to them.
“Lina, I’m not joking. Something strange is going on.”
“OK, Nina, let’s find your strange box.”
They start pulling out all the boxes from Lina’s room. There were boxes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Soon they came to the box wrapped in brown paper.
“That’s it!”, Nina said.
Lina grabbed the box. “This is light.”
She opened the box slowly. She didn’t seem to notice any glowing dust. There was no voice. Nothing strange but the weight of the box. She pulled out the case with the puzzle for a lock. She was just about to open it but then noticed the symbols on the side.
חפש מודיעין חוץ-ארצי
“What is this?” said Lina. “Wait. I know this. This is Hebrew text. Let me get my phone.”
Lina grabs her phone, using a translation app, she takes a picture of the text.
“Omg!”, she says. “OMG! OMG!”
“What! What is it?”
“Nina! I got to go. Don’t do anything. Do Not Open that case. Wait to I get back.”
“What do it say?”
“Do Not Open that case!”
Lina leaves without saying anything else. Nina uses the translation app on her phone.
Look for foreign intelligence
“Looking for foreign intelligence? OMG! Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. SETI. This box is not from this planet!”
At that moment, the faint glow returns. “You must help us.”
“What can I do?”
“Let us out. No! Not yet. They’re watching.”
The doorbell rings.
Another package was left at the door. This one was a padded envelope with the letters L F I printed on it. It also had no addressee just like the box. Nina opened the envelope. The letter inside read:
Open case before the sun sets. Contents must be exposed to sunlight.
Nina received a text from Lina:
“I’m on my way back. Don’t open it until I get there.”
Again, the voice came. “Please. Help. We’re dying.”
Nina took the case into the backyard. The sun was still shining strong, but she could tell that it would soon be setting. She figured that the backyard would have enough privacy to hide what she was doing. She slowly started to open the case when Lina jumped from the side of the house.
“Ha! Busted! I knew you couldn’t resist!”
She pulled out a 2way radio. “Help! We’re dying.”
As she spoke, the box started to glow, and her words came out.
“That’s for placing that truck in my room. It’s a Walky-Talky.”
“That was you the whole time!”
“Yep! Pay back.”
Nina could not be mad at her sister. This was the types of games that they would play with each other.
“You know that this is not over. Let me see the inside of this case.”
As Lina opened the case, inside was a tiny unknow creature. It flew away leaving behind glowing dust. As it flew out of sight, it said, “Thank You.”
This Is not The End!