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The Box That Jack Found

by Cereal Oatmeal about a year ago in Horror
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Stupid Box...

The Box That Jack Found
Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

Jack was a modern day latch key kid, the key to the house swinging from his neck as he walked home from the bus stop. The other boys at school would try and take it from him, pulling on the shoestring necklace, joking about this or that. He brushed it off, but really it was embarrassing.

Jack tried not to think about how his crush had laughed at one of the guy’s jokes as he fit the key into the lock. He almost tripped as he walked in and he cursed under his breath.

There was yet again another package at the door, and Jack scoffed and hoisted it up, taking it inside. His stupid dad had gotten some more stupid mail for his stupid job. He set the brown paper wrapped box on the kitchen counter, grumbling even more when he saw it was wet on the bottom. Eugh. Stupid box.

“Alexa, turn on kitchen sink.” He called in an annoyed voice, getting even more annoyed when the device replied with an error sound.

“Alexa! Turn on kitchen sink!” The same error sound came back and he groaned, turning the faucet on manually. He grabbed some dish soap and squirted way too much into his hands, lathering them up. It was then that he noticed the weird reddish brown colour to the stuff on his hands, like the package had been dropped in the mud before being placed on their doorstep. He groaned, realising he’d now gotten it all over the sink tap and the bottle of soap. It looked more like watered down strawberry jam, he thought as he finished washing his hands and grabbed a towel to wipe everything down with, than it did mud.

Stupid stupid box. Stupid dad and his stupid car business. It was probably transmission oil, leaking from inside the box.


If his dad didn’t have the stupid car job then he wouldn’t be gone all day and Jack wouldn’t have to wear a stupid key around his neck to show that no one was there for him to come home to. And if he didn’t wear a stupid key around his neck maybe Axel would actually look his way at school, instead of just laughing at dumb jokes about his parents getting divorced. His eyes stung suddenly, his heart twisting.

Stupid box. Maybe if his dad was actually home sometime his mom wouldn’t have left them. Maybe she would have stayed or taken Jack with her. Maybe he wouldn’t have had to have been the one to bring in the divorce papers from the mail two months ago, a week after his dad had first given him the latch key necklace.

Stupid papers, stupid job, stupid dad, stupid mom and stupid leaking box!

He blinked at the thought and looked on the kitchen counter where sure enough the box was leaking, oozing that watery yet sticky reddish liquid. He snarled in disgust, grabbing his phone from his pocket.

He called his dad who picked up on the first ring.

“Oh, hey bud.” His dad sounded worse for wear, voice gruff and weak over the phone. Jack’s temper flared a bit and he wondered if his dad had been drinking at work. He remembered the first time he’d seen his dad drunk.

It was the same day he had brought in those papers. He had opened them, curiosity getting to him, and his world had shattered. His mom wasn’t “on a last minute business trip” like his dad had told him a week ago. She had left and she wasn’t coming back for either of them.

He remembered his own icy tone when his dad came in from work late that evening.

“Divorce papers on the kitchen counter for you to sign” he’d said coldly, going up to his room before his dad could respond.

He remembered coming back down hours later, hoping his dad had cooked dinner since he had been too sick to his stomach for any after school snacking. It had been hours since he’d eaten anything at school.

His dad hadn’t cooked dinner. He’d just sat down with a bottle of whiskey, staring at the divorce papers. He looked confused when Jack asked about dinner, confused and angry and Jack had left the room and not eaten anything until the next morning.

Jack hated him for it. For drinking when he had a thirteen year old son to care for, for working when he could be home to help Jack with his homework. He hated everything that was happening.

And now his dad was drinking at work too apparently. Stupid.

“Eugh, dad one of your stupid boxes got delivered today and it’s leaking like, transmission fluid everywhere! It’s gross, what do I do about it?” He asked irate. His dad took a deep laboured breath.

“Oh Jack….” He coughed and Jack rolled his eyes, the whiskey was probably causing heartburn. He could hear the sound of machinery and other workers in the background and he wondered what they thought about his dad’s drinking. He found he didn’t care because it was all to stupid for him to care about now. He wanted his mom back.

“Jack listen to me bud… don’t open the box, okay?” His dad sounded like he was falling asleep. It was pitiful, really.

Come to think of it Jack wasn’t even sure if his dad had came home last night. He’d gone to bed to an empty house and woken up to an empty house, which was par for the course the past few months. Maybe he’d stayed overnight and was just exhausted. Even still that was stupid too. It all was.

“What do you mean don’t open it? It’s leaking!” Jack hated messes, something he knew he took after his mom from. This whole family was a mess Jack decided then and there, so he shouldn’t feel bad about hating it too.

“Listen to me bud…. some stuff…. came up at work… just don’t open the box. I’ve got to go.” His dad said in one breath and the dial tone sounded the next. Jack was furious as he called him back, only to get a busy signal. It finally clicked over to voicemail.

“I’m opening the stupid box, Dad!” He shouted into the phone, anger boiling over. “I’m opening it and I’m going to throw away whatever is in it and you can’t stop me because you’re not here! You’re not here and you’re never here so it doesn’t even matter!” He swiped at the end call button and choked back the hot angry tears in his eyes.

He grabbed a knife from the drawer and marched back over to the counter the box was on. It was a standard box wrapped in brown paper packaging. Curiously enough it didn’t seem to have any address or shipping labels on it but Jack supposed they could be on the bottom, wet side of the thing and he wasn’t about to turn it over to check.

He plunged the knife into the seams and tore open the paper, opening the box in a swift motion. The smell was the first thing that hit him. Not the slightly fishy chemical smell of transmission fluid, but the smell of hot decaying meat. Like meat that had sat outside on a humid almost summer day while he had been at school.

Jack retched for a second then calmed down and looked in the box, expecting to find transmission fluid that had gone bad.

He didn’t.

There, inside the box, was a pile of body parts. Fingers, toes, hair with scalp attached to it. And right in the very center, one familiar green eye.

It wasn’t transmission fluid. It was blood. It was blood and viscera and a familiar green eye.

Jack’s own eyes were stinging, but he couldn’t look away, not from the pile of bloody body parts in a box on his kitchen counter. Not from the strangely familiar green eye. He just stared and stared. His eyes started to water.

His dad’s eyes were green.

Jack blinked. And screamed.


About the author

Cereal Oatmeal

Autistic, Pan, Trans

I use all pronouns including neopronouns!

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