I stared out over the inky blackness of the Pacific Ocean, from the rear deck of my newly purchased Moss Beach home. The temperature was a cool 55-degrees, which, having lived in the Snow Belt of Ohio for all of my life, was nothing an oversized hoodie couldn't handle.
Having just moved from the East (or Midwest--I'm not going to split hairs over where you believe Ohio falls), I wasn't quite used to West Coast time. Back home, I woke normally at 7:00am. In Moss Beach this morning? 4-freaking-05am! I tossed and turned and willed my brain to go back to sleep, but after 45 minutes I groaned and pushed myself out of my luxurious king sized bed.
It's a good thing my new home was already furnished with the essential coffee maker.
As I stared out over the ocean I took a long sip of coffee--that magic elixir of water filtered through the ground up seeds of the coffee cherry blooms from the coffee tree, roasted to perfection. The ocean air somehow made the hot liquid taste incredible; I took a deep breath, closing my eyes and smiling.
Life couldn't get any better than this.
My critically acclaimed novel had just surpassed its fifth week on the New York Times Best Selling list, with no sign of dropping off. After the first week, I'd paid off my debts. When weeks three and four came and went, I'd netted enough to afford me the luxury of moving west. And away from a few people I may have pissed off by publishing said novel.
A soft whirring sound followed by a thud sounded behind me, startling me from my reverie. I jumped, turning around just in time to see a faint octagonal object lifting straight up into the dark sky. I stared after it until my eyes convinced me the object was gone, though in reality I wouldn't have been able to see it past the eaves.
It was then that I noticed the outline of a box lying next to my sliding glass door. I stared curiously for a moment, wondering from where the gift came. I suppose it could be a housewarming party, but no one but my agent knew my new address. Plus, drone deliveries were usually made during daylight hours... right?
I turned back to the ocean, taking another sip of coffee, trying in vain to recapture my new Zen. After a few minutes of being able to think of nothing but the box behind me, I turned back to it.
Soft, orangeish sunlight began to peek through the darkness, bringing the box into better view, albeit slightly. I didn't see the familiar blue smile stamped onto most of my delivery boxes, nor was I expecting any deliveries--which surely would've been dropped at my front door--until tomorrow.
Icy tentacles of dread began to grip my spine as I inched forward, hands clutched dangerously around the coffee mug. I forced a lighter grip, afraid of Hulk-smashing it.
The box was unassuming, completely plain with no identifying marks, and tied up with a twine bow. It looked like a quaint, country-esque wrapped Christmas present, except that it was mid-October.
And no one knew where I now lived.
I glanced around, stupidly looking for help. Not to mention that the time was barely 5:00am but my neighbors were a full city block away on either side, which at the time I signed the papers, was the second best selling point of this house. Now, they might as well have been a city away.
I returned my attention back to the situation in front of me. The box, which was about the length of a knee-high boot shoebox, just as wide and maybe two inches high, lay between me and my sliding glass door. If I wanted to get into my house I would have to pick it up or jump over. I side-eyed the steps descending from the expansive deck, down two levels to my rock-garden back yard, but my front and side doors were locked, and my keys were hanging on a hidden hook inside my kitchen.
I'd have to face the box.
I finished off my coffee for encouragement, took a deep breath, and marched right up to the box, stooping down to try and pick it up. It was lighter than I'd braced for which nearly caused me to fall back on my rump.
I nudged the door open with my foot then elbowed it shut when I was in my kitchen. I flipped on the light and carried the box over to my black granite countertop.
With my heart hammering in my chest, I tugged at a loose end of the twine which caused the loops of the bow to disappear, and the twine fell away innocently. Without taking my eyes off the cardboard, I reached over to my knife block and pulled one out, then sliced it across the brown packing tape.
The flaps popped up as if spring loaded, which caused me to scream and drop the knife simultaneously. I reached over to remove another knife from the block, not wanting to take my eyes off the carton. My hand shook violently, and I nearly laughed at how I must look.
I waited a beat, willing my hand to stop shaking, then reached out with my free hand to further push open one of the flaps. I suddenly had a thought of an instance where an unexpected delivery was rigged with a shrapnel-filled bomb and the one woman survived because she stood at an angle. I stepped slightly to my right so I was at the corner of the package should, y'know, anything come flying out.
I lifted the flap closest to me and peered inside. There was no shrapnel shooting out, no incendiary devices. Instead, I stared down at delicate, white tissue paper wrapped around...something.
I had two choices. I could set down the knife and pick up the item with both hands, or I keep the knife and try to remove the object with one hand.
I snorted and gripped the knife more tightly, reaching in with my left hand to lift the tissue paper-wrapped object away. I turned my back to the cardboard box on the counter and set the wrapped object on the island formerly at my back.
With another deep breath, I lifted the gentle paper away from the object.
"When I clap my hands, you will come to."
The sound of flesh slapping flesh filled the air and my eyes sprang open. It took me a moment to figure out where I was. I turned my head and glanced over to the well-dressed woman sitting in a chair just out of my peripheral.
"How did I do?"
"You were excellent, Becca. You almost revealed what was wrapped in the tissue paper this time. I feel that in another session or two, you will be fully aware of the object and we will begin to explore your healing options.
"I would like to see you one week from today."
The in-house psychiatrist rose from her chair and walked to her large, mahogany desk. Her delicate, Louis Vuitton-covered foot pressed the hidden buzzer in the floor, which alerted the medics waiting outside her office doors that the patient was ready to be transported back to their room.
I don't know why she told me of my next appointment; I no longer had control over my social calendar. I ate when food was brought to me, took a shower three days a week, and slept when the lights went out.
The psychiatrist said I have dissociative amnesia, related to whatever it was I uncovered that morning in my kitchen. She says when the memories come back I'll be able to go home, but that when I think about that beautiful house in Moss Beach, I start shaking and sometimes have violent outbursts. I may never return to that beautiful house again.
We've been taking it one week at a time for the last fifty-two weeks, but Dr. Sarah is confident we'll have a breakthrough soon.
About the Creator
Coffee gets me started; my toddler keeps me haggard.
I've always had a passion for writing but fear has stopped me from sharing my work with anyone. Vocal is my push to step out of my comfort zone.