A knock at the door. Georgia Douglas is sixty-two years old. She wears a pale blue house dress. Her hair is dark grey. She seems young for her age. She makes her way to the door quickly and without much effort. She looks through the peephole.
“Maurice?” She said.
She opened the door. It was her son, Maurice. He had five inches on her and at least a hundred pounds. He is wearing a leather jacket and jeans. He pushes his way in. Georgia is shocked and confused. Maurice looks on edge, alert, paranoid.
“Maurice, what the hell you doing barging in like that?” She asked.
He looks her in the face. All of the fear melts away. He smiles.
“I’m sorry Momma. I didn’t mean to.” He apologized. She smiles back nervously.
“Is there anyone else in the house?” He asked.
“Is there ever?” She said, confused.
He sits down and invites her to sit as well, she does. He pulls something out of his coat. A Box. He places it on the table and without preamble opens it. Light bathes their faces. She puts her hand to her mouth. “Oh.” She says aloud. She senses something intangible, hidden from view. It’s like the whole world is in this Box. She thought of the Christian hymn, he’s got the whole world in his hands. All of the staggering beauty of this world was in this Box. Including all of its inhumanity. It’s ambivalence, hubris, folly, greed, all of it was in this Box. It was everything. She heard voices, thousands, no millions. An explosion of infinite noise. Georgia put her hands over her ears. It made no difference the noise was being beamed directly into her brain. The voices told stories throughout the ages. How old was this Box? Where did it come from? Each of them found this Box. It killed all of them- Dear God, so many! They can only see the beauty, they can’t see the filth, the death, the disease. They can’t see. Maurice can’t see. She thought I have seen your great evil. Georgia closed the box. It snapped Maurice from his reverie.
His response is total. He stood up and punched his mother closed fist across her face. It knocked her back across the room and onto the floor. He can’t see, she thought, this is not my son! He wrapped his hands around her throat. The voice in her mind was loud. Impossible! This is not my son! She cried out for him to stop but only choking noises came out. The Box is influencing him. She mustn’t hurt him. He’s choking me, I’m dying. Maurice? She had carried a knife her whole life. She’d never had anyone to protect her. It was her go-to if anything ever got out of hand. She had threatened with it. Used it a couple of times. You just never knew. She had the knife in her dress right now. Old habits die hard. How could she have known? Jesus. How could she have known? She stabs her son in the throat right at the jugular. His grip loosened and then folded altogether. Blood gushed from his neck. It fell all over her. She struggled to breathe. Maurice grabbed his neck in a weak attempt to stem the blood flowing out of him. His gaze met hers. There were confusion and fear in his eyes. She stared back. He collapsed on top of her. She held him tightly weeping.
She sat in her kitchen chair, smoking. Her dead son in a pool of his own blood. Blood that was all over her face and body. She looked at the Box. How do I get rid of this fucking thing? I have to take it away. Somewhere no one will find it. No one. Absurdly she thought of cave diving. There is a cavern that goes down seventy stories. But it’s a tourist attraction. But there are undiscovered caves. Great chasms that go on indefinitely. But it’s in Texas. Too many people. It’s too far. She sighed. “Fuck!” She said aloud. She wasn’t one for cussing but this was a special occasion. She had to drop it in the ocean somewhere. Off the Golden Gate Bridge. That might work. No, I’d have to walk to the center. That’s damn near a mile. All at once, she had an idea.
She returned a few minutes later. Clean. She had done what she could with her hair. She had on a new dress and a large coat over it. She needed to do this now. She grabbed the Box off the coffee table. Within seconds it felt like an anvil. It knows! I must put it away! She thought. There is still time. She looked at her watch.
She walked toward the ferry slowly. It was boarding, a couple walked by her without a second glance. The night was cold but she didn’t feel it. The Box was weighing her down like an anchor. She thought it was good she had been relatively healthy in her old age. Or this would’ve been impossible. She was sweating now. She needed to wait a few minutes for the ship to get to deep water. She sat down. The Ship began to move away from shore.
She took out a makeup mirror. What she saw was compelling. Her cheeks had sunken in. Her hair had gone pure white. She had more wrinkles. She had before perceived this to be impossible. She scoffed. This thing means to kill me. She felt a wave of pleasure. She tried to catch her breath. Failed. Then passed out.
She thought of the moment Maurice was born and placed on her chest. Georgia cries from happiness. He was so beautiful. A Wonderful Man. The happiness I feel is limitless. If you could live in this moment. It could sustain me forever. Maurice. But life isn’t one moment. Life is difficult and painful. The pain makes happiness sweeter. Maurice. I killed you. THE BOX!!!
Georgia awoke with a start. How long was she out? A white man was sitting beside her.
“Can you hear it?” He asked.
“Hear what?” She said.
“The most superb music.” He said. He smiled.
She heard no music. She realized what was happening. The Box was trying to escape her. She wasn’t the first person to try and dispose of the Box. She could hear them. This would only work for a time. But she couldn’t question what she was doing. She decided that she could only do her best. The man somehow knew she had it. She coughed suddenly not covering her mouth.
“I have something.” She looked in his eyes.
The Man was put off. He retreated away from her, getting up he crossed the cabin. She struggled to her feet. She walked out of the main seating area.
She walked out into the cold night air. She realized that she must be a strange sight. Her movements were jerky. It was like she was being shot through with electricity. But she was feeling pleasure. She moaned. So embarrassing, she thought. She limped to the edge. She took the Box out of her coat. She held it over the side. It doesn’t want to go. It wants to kill more. God help me. She couldn’t let it go. Georgia, let it go. But she couldn’t. It was Sauron’s ring. Dear God. But this is real. God help me, Jesus help me. She clutched the box close to her chest. There is one way. Georgia took a deep breath. She threw herself over the side. She clutched the Box tighter, bracing as she hit the water. She needed to take it as deep as possible. She fell deep into stygian darkness. I’m dying, she thought.