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Boxed In

Their Reality Was Altered by a Small Brown Box

By Jennifer Vasallo Published 3 years ago Updated about a year ago 10 min read
Boxed In
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

In a charming suburban neighborhood in New Orleans, the Davis family members were packing up their final boxes and getting ready for the big cross-country move. Sam, a marketing representative, was recently hired as a marketing executive for a company that was based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Although Sam was hired almost three months ago, he and his wife Kate waited until summer break so that they wouldn’t uproot Georgia and Jinny from their lives in the middle of the school year. Georgia, the eldest of the two sisters, was friendly, but incredibly shy. Sam and Kate were worried that if they moved the girls cross-country in the middle of the school year, Georgia would probably have a tough time readjusting to the sudden change. After all, freshman year is notoriously known for being the toughest year and Sam and Kate feared that an unwelcomed change on their growing teen’s life would lead to depression and anxiety. Jinny, on the other hand, was still in elementary school and would probably not remember a single detail from the whole ordeal, but out of respect for Georgia, the couple chose to make a long-distance marriage work until school was over. As they were packing, Sam and Kate were reminiscing on all of the memories they had made together in that house. The couple has lived in New Orleans their entire lives, so packing their family’s four door sedan to its gills, locking their doors, and putting up the ‘sold’ sign on the hanging billboard at the edge of their property was a bittersweet moment for each of them respectively.

After several days on the road, the family finally arrived in their new neighborhood. Their street was lined with the most beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow trees, colonial style homes decorated with pumpkins, spooky spiderwebs, festive lights, all ready for the upcoming Halloween weekend. Sam pulls up to their new house, parks the car in the driveway, and begins to silently thank the gods that he was able to purchase a home for his family in such an appealing neighborhood. Kate and Jinny look upon the new house with a bright smile and excitement, but Georgia was not thrilled. Georgia was still upset with her parents for making the move, so the only expression on her face was that of disgust. Through the rearview mirror, Sam saw Georgia’s face and knew that although she was incredibly upset, she would become accustomed to it soon enough and did not pay his daughter any further mind. As Sam pulled in, Kate thought to herself “finally we can start over and create the life that I have always wanted. A dream that I could never achieve back home in Louisiana.” Sam puts the car in park and the two girls quickly get out of the car. Jinny darted out the door and into the front yard with excitement. Georgia seemed to like the property, but it was hard to tell through the expressions of disdain.

Once everything was unloaded from the car and trailer, Sam leaves to return the trailer, with both girls wanting to go with him to see their new town. Kate stays behind to organize things while everyone is gone, but not before waving them all goodbye from the driveway, and taking a moment to admire the sight of people walking up and down the street. Once Sam and the girls are out of sight, Kate turns around and begins walking back towards the house, but as she turns around, she trips over a small, brown paper box. She thinks to herself “was that there before?”. Kate picks up the box, looks inside, and finds it to be completely empty. With a confused expression on her face, she gets up off the floor, walks to their garbage bin, and throws the box away before heading inside the house to continue the lengthy move in process. As she’s walking back into the house, she sees another identical box outside the front porch on the grass. Kate walks over to this box, picks it up and finds it empty like the one before it. “Why are there so many empty boxes when we haven’t unpacked yet? Maybe it’s just the neighborhood kids playing a joke on me or something?”, she thinks to herself. Kate then turns around, throws the box away in the same bin, and carries on about her business.

In the silence of her new home, Kate beings to unpack and make use of the time she’s got without the kids. “Sam really outdid himself this time. This place is perfect for our family. He’s usually not good at these types of things, but it seems like he as completely nailed it with this property.”, Kate thinks to herself. As she is unboxing, Kate spots a large box labeled ‘my bathroom’. She takes the box up into the primary bathroom, and places it down on a space next to the sink. She looks around to admire the new bathroom and thinks to herself, “The devil really is in the details. Hardwood floors, a clawfoot tub, and a stained-glass window. If this bathroom doesn’t just scream ‘relaxing in luxury’ I don’t know what does.” Kate takes a moment to catch her breath before looking at herself in the mirror. She fixes her hair a bit, which has become disheveled from moving so many things around, and behind her, on the bathroom’s toilet, she sees another brown paper box. Kate turns around, walks over to the box, picks it up, and finds it empty. Kate puts the box back down on the toilet, turns around and asks herself “what is going on here?” As she’s questioning herself, she hears Jinny screaming from downstairs “Mommy, we’re back!” Kate turns around, back towards the box and it’s no longer there. She scatches her eyes, yawns, and says to herself, “It’s been a long day. I need to eat something and drink some water. I might just be tired and dehydrated”. She walks out of the bathroom to greet the girls and Sam. All of them look so happy now, even Georgia who was trying not to like the new neighborhood. Sam and Kate’s eyes meet, and although she did not utter a single word, he can tell something was a little off with her, so he asks her “Is everything okay?”, “Sure, just a bit tired from that long trip, I think I’m going to call it a night soon. Maybe we can order pizza, so I don’t have to cook?” Sam responds, “of course, you read my mind! I figured we could all use one of these famous New England pizzas I keep hearing about.”

Sam steps away and begins looking through reviews on his phone of pizza places nearby. He finds one that looks like a good start and places a delivery order through an app. Sam gets a message on his phone saying that the pizza will be there in about 45 minutes and puts the phone away into the front pocket of his jeans. He looks up and sees the same brown box that has been haunting Kate fixed on the living room mantle. Figuring he could help her unpack, especially since she seems so tired, Sam opens the box. Inside the box he finds a stack of pictures completely covered in what he thought to be Jinny’s finger paint. So much so that in order to even see the pictures, he had to wipe his thumb across the film. He managed to scrub off the paint and was finally able to see the first picture. “How curious”, he thought to himself. It was a picture of their family’s sedan with a large bloody dent on the left side of the front bumper. He looks at the second picture and sees Kate looking completely intoxicated—it clearly shows her kissing another man after a night of partying on the French Quarter. The next picture is of a little boy, no more than five or six, lying flat on a sidewalk dead with his head smashed to pieces. Then, there were several pictures of Kate paying her cousin to repair the dents in the sedan, at the auto body shop he owned. As he keeps looking inside the box, he sees moldy news clippings behind the pictures of a boy. The news clippings read “boy found dead after a hit and run in the Garden District.” Within a few seconds of reading the clippings, Sam’s face was equal parts shock and terror. He realizes that the paint on the pictures, was not paint, and in fact was blood.

Sam takes the blood-stained box up to the master bedroom to finds Kate sitting on the bed. Shaking, he asks his wife “what is this all about?”. Kate turns towards him and sees him holding the same small brown box that she kept finding empty earlier that day. Sam walks towards her and she realizes that the box is no longer empty. Sam hands Kate the box, she takes a look inside, and sees pictures from that horror filled night. Kate begins to feel woozy, and then falls on the floor passing out by the nightmarish sight of it all. Sam immediately calls 911. As the paramedics arrive, they see Kate in a seizure like state, foaming from the mouth, and blood covering her entire jaw. The emergency medical team place her on a stretcher, carry her out of the home, into an ambulance, and Sam instructs Georgia to keep an eye on Jinny so he can ride passenger in the ambulance. The paramedic with piercing blue grey eyes who was tending to Kate asks, “what happened to her?” Sam responds with a sense of discomfort and weariness in his voice,“Uh, to be honest, I have not the slightest clue. I think she is in a state of shock. We just moved here from Louisiana for my new job and the move has been especially hard on her.”

The ambulance arrives at the hospital and Kate has not returned to her normal state. She is belligerent, yelling at the top of her lungs “this wasn’t me; this wasn’t me. The box lied. The box lied. SAAAMMMMM THE BOX LIED”, and proceeds to urinate herself. The nurses hear the commotion and begin to act. Kate is placed in a straitjacket to prevent her from harming herself and was wheeled away through the hospital by an orderly with piercing blue eyes. The orderly wheels her through a door labeled ‘psychiatric crisis unit’, and the door shuts heavily behind them. Kate slips in and out of consciousness, her head leaning heavily towards the right, and still shaking dramatically with her eyes staring blankly into space. The nurses begin to attempt to stabilize her, and because it was so late and she was already in the psychiatric unit, Sam was informed that she will be in room 225, and was sent home by the doctors so that Kate could be observed in peace, and he could rest.

The next morning Kate wakes up in bed still wearing the straitjacket and is handcuffed to the bed. She feels a groggy, pounding headache and body aches but has very little recollection of what happened the night before. She looked as normal as someone could look being handcuffed to a hospital bed inside of a straitjacket. The orderly who wheeled her into the psychiatric unit the previous night comes into her room with a stack of covered food trays. Excited to see that she was being given food, Kate asks “what’s for breakfast?” The orderly lifts the lid of one of the lunch plates, and inside there was another brown paper box that looked identical to the ones found the day before. The box had a letter taped on it. The orderly holds the note it in front of her face. Kate looks horrified, but mages to read the letter. It read: “you may have gotten away…for now, Kate.” Kate begins to scream “THE BOX IS LYING! THE BOX IS LYING! THE BOX IS LYING,” Before she could utter another word, the orderly with the piercing blue eyes sedates her and continues to make his rounds.

Some time around noon, Sam comes back to the hospital to visit his wife. When it was finally his turn to recieve the visitors pass, the security guard at the desk takes his information and proceeds to inform Sam that there is no record of his wife ever being checked in to this hospital. With a deep expression of confusion on his face, Sam asks "what do you mean she was not checked into this hospital? I rode the abulance here and she was sent off with an orderly to the psychiatric crisis unit". "I'm sorry sir, we do not have anyone by that name registered at this hospital.", the securty guard responded. Sam, on the verge of panicking, decided to make a run for it passing the security guard station, and into the psychiatric unit. He made it into room 225 and did not see Kate lying there on the bed as she should have been, but instead, he found a brown paper box like the one he had found the night before. Something was different about this box though. It was noticebly larger than the one from the previous night. With equal parts hesitation and curiosity, Sam opened the box. As soon as he opened the box, he instantly regretted it. Sam threw the box on the floor, began frantically yelling for help as Kate's severed, plastic wrapped head rolled down into the hallway. There was yelling, there was commotion, and there was an orderly finally making his way towards Sam. Sam, crying and stressed, asks the familiar looking orderly to call the police. Instead, the orderly with the piercing blue eyes hands Sam a small brown box and slowly walks away. Sam opens the box and finds news clippings from that fateful night in Louisiana, photos of his wife in thier new neighborhood waving goodbye to the girls, photos of her in their new house admiring the clawfoot tub, and a typed note which read "A debt owed and paid in blood".


About the Creator

Jennifer Vasallo

Educator by day, writer by night. Millennial. Lover of literature, films, taking pictures, surrealist art, cafecito, cultura, travel, making memories, and my familia. Join me on this wild ride we call life from my perspective🖖🏼

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