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The Delivery

The package looked innocent enough, but what did it contain?

By Laura GrayPublished 11 months ago 5 min read
The Delivery
Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

I live in an old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the part of the Appalachian Mountains that run throughout Southern Ohio. From the outside, the house looks like it's one strong wind away from completely crumpling to the ground, and that's how I like it.

I gutted the inside shortly after I moved in, remodeling everything but the heart of the place: the old, brick fireplace that takes up nearly one full wall of the living room. Aside from bringing it up to code, I threatened to imprison anyone who harmed a single brick.

I may have gone a little crazy with the "log cabin" feel, but I wouldn't change a thing. After a full day of sitting in court, prosecuting the worst-of-the-worst, it's nice to come home to this.

My few close friends think I'm insane for living alone in the middle of nowhere, with no husband or dog to protect me... but I'm not technically alone. I have thirty-six cameras dotting the perimeter, and one on both my front and back doors. I'm also no more than a 38-second mad dash away from... other protection.

I sleep rather well.

Today is Saturday in mid-November and I'm sitting on my broad, wrap-around porch (the one exterior upgrade I'd allow), sipping from a large glass of sweet tea. Though unseasonably warm, the temperature is borderline too cool to be drinking iced tea outdoors, but I'm soaking it up before the winter, staring mindlessly at the trees and rocky terrain that make up most of my property. The peak of the season had passed weeks ago, but the trees that still held onto their leaves boasted beautiful oranges, reds, and yellows.

When I'd been promoted to District Attorney five years ago, it didn't take long for me to land the case of a criminal so dangerous, I quickly realized that if I didn't make time for myself, I'd go insane. That's when I made the decision to carve out these Saturdays for sitting on my porch and enjoying the quiet.

When it's too cold to be outdoors, I snuggle up in a plush recliner, light a fire in the old brick fireplace, and enjoy hot cocoa, staring mindlessly into the flames as they dance.

As I bring my glass to my lips, a low hum breaks the silence. I look up to see a drone descending from over the trees. "Those Murdaugh boys," I grumble, reaching for my phone to call their mom.

The first time they'd flown their drone over my property, I followed it through the forest, easily keeping it in sight as the trees had shed their beautiful leaves for the winter. I found myself at the Murdaugh farm and had a heart-to-heart with their mother, explaining how I preferred my privacy. She said she'd have a talk with her boys and I hadn't had another problem with them.

Until now.

Just as I'd gotten her number pulled up, I noticed something in the clutches of the drone's claws.

This wasn't the Murdaugh boys. Their drone was simplistic, without metal pincers.

I set down my glass of tea and rose, walking to the edge of my wide porch just as the drone dropped off a cardboard box no bigger than a shoebox. I watched as the drone flew away, the beginning wisps of fear niggling at the back of my brain.

I stood stock still and listened for the sound of a vehicle's engine but heard nothing. Even the wildlife hushed. It would take me another three minutes of standing still before I hopped off the porch and picked up the package.

The thing weighed at least 10 pounds.

I listened for another beat, then carried the box up my porch steps and into my house.

I went straight to the spare bedroom that housed 38 monitors in full color, and a computer setup that would make the nerdiest nerd cry. My eyes searched every monitor for movement.

Seeing nothing, I hitched the box onto my hip and, using the master controller, rewound the footage fifteen minutes, watching with laser focus.

I saw the drone arrive, set the box down, then lift off.

I watched it fly out of the camera's view.

Nothing else moved on those cameras except for me and a few deer.

I tapped a button on the keyboard and brought all views up to current time, then carried the box to my kitchen. The niggling fear grew as I fished out the box cutter kept in my junk drawer, as well as a device the shape of a tube of lipstick and about twice as long. I set it on the counter.

The cardboard box was wrapped with a burlap ribbon that had been fashioned into a bow. There was a snowflake tag hanging from the bow which, had the icy tendrils of dread not gripped me, would've been endearing.

When I turned over the tag to see if there was a message, I saw my name.

The handwriting turned my blood to ice.

I'd committed that handwriting to memory when reviewing one particular case recently. The prosecution had been given volumes of journals that chronicled the killings in such detail. I spent nearly a week staring at nothing but that neat, printed, handwriting.

I began hyperventilating, as the last thing Cy Parker shouted to me as he was led away to serve his life sentence came back with utmost clarity:

"I'm going to make you pay, Lady. You're going to hurt."

As a prosecutor, you receive a lot of death threats.

But you almost never die.

With trembling hands I slid the burlap ribbon off the box and set it aside, then slid the box cutter through the tape holding the box together. I lay the box cutter aside and picked up my tubular device, holding it in a death grip.

When I lifted the flaps of the box and saw the contents, I screamed.

A powerful wave of nausea slammed into me so hard and fast that I barely had time to get to my sink, a mere three steps away.

"It can't be! Nonono!"

I pulled my phone from my jacket pocket and dialed my twin brother.

"C'mon Jake, pick up!"

The call went straight to voicemail. I tried again. Same result.


I slid to the floor, dialed 9-1-1, then dropped my phone as the operator tried desperately to get the location of the emergency. I hugged my knees to my chest, buried my face in my arms, and sobbed hysterically.


About the Creator

Laura Gray

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.

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  • Gal Mux11 months ago

    Oh, I hope the district attorney will be safe

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