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Pandora's Box

by L. M. Williams 14 days ago in coping

a short story

It starts with a small box.

It's dainty and encased with a thin unwrinkled brown paper wrapping.

It fits in the palms of your hands. It is easy to hide. You wish it was easy to misplace and forget about. But it follows you, no matter where you go. It is as much a part of you as the air in your lungs. As the blood in your veins.

Despite it's forever hovering presence, it is so tiny and inconspicuous that it almost slips your memory entirely what it contains.

Almost.

Near anything can dent the box, can bump the cases, can crinkle and peel the carefully wrapped box. It doesn't take much for the thin membrane to be ruptured and fall away and expose the monsters living within.

Once that protective shield has vanished, whenever something threatens to ding this little cardboard box you shy away and tenderly caress it to sooth the beasts that live within. To quite them. To assure them that everything is alright. But it almost feels like the more attention you give to them the faster they grow and thrive, the larger the box gets until it is straining at the edges, long black fingers tease at the edges, attempting to pry apart the bending and crumbling walls.

The larger the box gets the more strength the demons inside gain, the heavier that box weighs on you and the harder it becomes to contain the beings within, to hide them from prying eyes. From inquisitions that can always be answered with "I'm fine, only tired" when truthfully all you want to do is discard that box. If only you could throw it into the ocean and watch it plummet to the bottom, drowning the darkness inside of it where it can never escape. Where it would never be able to reach you again.

But you can't throw the box overboard. You have no choice but to carry the burden like Atlas holding up the world. If you can't do it, then who will?

Your arms struggle to hold the box, your legs can no longer carry you. Your eyes are heavy with fatigue and you begin to wonder if the weight of it all is even worth the struggle. Why you even attempt to be strong when all you want to do is lie down and sleep. Despite what was once a small contained box is now one the size of a tanker secured with duct tape and rubber bands that are stretched to their max, fraying at the edges, and despite knowing what black-hearted demons dwell within you ponder from time to time if you could just crack the lid, if you could just let out a little of the darkness until the box isn't quite so heavy. Until it is just a little more manageable so you can make it just one more day.

It is times like this when you understand Pandora's curiosity. Why she had to open the box.

The weariness and fatigue as eaten away at your resolve. You start questioning everything. Perhaps this time will be different. Perhaps this time it won't be so scary. Perhaps this time won't be so bad.

So you crack the lid.

But that infinitesimal crack, that small glimpse of daylight is instantly snuffed out as the monsters inside take over. They consume you whole, latching on like leeches to your soul, until you can't even recognize the thing that you have become.

They feed on you day in and day out, draining you of all energy, of all will until they have eaten away all the life in you.

Gorged, they stick around for some time to sluggish to move on until eventually they slowly but surely begin to starve and shrink back into their box for a slumber of an undetermined amount of time.

This tiny little box that fits inside the palms of your hands.

You wish, that with the little bit of strength that you have regained that you could throw that box into a different dimension while the beasts are quite and docile.

But how far can you really throw your mind?

coping
L. M. Williams
L. M. Williams
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
L. M. Williams

I'm a self-published author that enjoys writing fantasy/supernatural novels and occasionally dabble in poetry and realistic fiction. In my spare time I'm writing, a freelance artist or annoying my cat. "Rising Stars" is my first novel.

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