James lies in bed in the fetal position, he is bundled up tightly in a mound of blankets. It is cold in the mornings as the Cabin had no interior insulation. James was sure he was hearing music, this sometimes happened as he awoke in the morning, despite the fact that he is not musically inclined. For a brief moment he convinces himself that if it became an actual musical composition, it would set the world on fire…
However, this music is different. All at once, he realized that the music wasn’t coming from his brain. He turned his body over contemplating the source. The music was hard to describe, a rhythmic pulsing with a lullaby tune there. The music was very beautiful, possibly the most beautiful piece of music he’d ever heard. He scoffed at such a thought. Hyperbole often? On the other hand, where the hell was that coming from? James stretched. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He grabbed his cell phone on the bedside table. He put it to his ear. The music wasn’t coming from the phone, but he kinda knew that already. The floor was cold, he was only in his boxer briefs. He got out of bed. He is an active sportsman so his physique is fit. Dark black and grey hair peppers his chest. He went to the living room. He went straight to the flat-screen TV. The ON light was red. It wasn’t coming from the TV. James went to the kitchen counter. His Macbook Pro stood open waiting. Like a caveman unsure of how to use technology, James picked up the computer and put it to his ear. Where is that music coming from?
James stepped outside in sweats. He can see his breath in the cold air. Something has changed. He listens. It’s music. It is ever so slightly different. What the Fuck? Still, he was unable to locate the location of the sound. This doesn’t make sense. The Lake was silent. The sun just rising. A lovely day. The water was less than fifty feet from the cabin. He walked to the lake. The music changed again. The chord was anticipatory. All at once, James realized what was happening. He thought the game was called Hot and Cold. You’re getting warmer, warmer, cooling off, ice-cold. Getting warmer. It couldn’t be. Ok. So, let’s just say this actually is happening. Then if I walk back into the house. The music will change back? James walked back into the house. The music changed back. The Anticipatory chord had faded. This is super weird. Outside the chord was back. Something is calling me. He thought.
James went straight for his aluminum fishing boat. He got in and set the Oars, he didn’t hesitate. He began to row out onto the lake. He smiled like someone feeling the apprehension of risk and the unknown. James gets to the center of the lake. James takes off his clothes down to his underwear. He takes a deep breath and jumps in the lake. He swims down effortlessly. The lake is deeper than he remembers. He swims into the stygian blackness unabated. He sees on the ocean floor. Light. Just a pinprick. He realized that he could still hear the music. Weird. He was nearly there. He dug at the light. He found something- metal. A hard edge. A Box. He laughed. A Box. He swam for the surface.
In the Boat. James clutched the Box to his chest. What felt like an electrical shock pulsed through James’ body. His body tensed involuntarily for just a moment. He thought of sex. The best orgasm he’d ever had. This was better. He thought of all the drugs he’d ever taken. This was better. He involuntarily muttered. Jesus, so good. He threw his head back with pleasure. Then, he passed out.
He walked back into the cabin with the box under his arm. He was mostly dry after passing out in the sun. What was in this Box? James placed the box on the counter. He opened it. A bright light came from the Box, it bathed his face. He felt an overwhelming sense of dread as if his very life were in danger from an unseen force. He suddenly felt small. He thought we live on an immense floating ball in the infinite cold vacuum of space, no one knows why. Three millimeters between mankind and minus four hundred and fifty-seven degrees. But instantly the thought was forgotten. The light was beauty. He smiled, it was true love, happiness. He thought suddenly of the painting where man reaches for the hand of God. If I were to feel this happy all the time I would go insane. What incredible wonder. Just as suddenly in his right index finger, he felt a shock, it hurt, first small and insignificant but the pain grew like a blooming flower. Like a charley horse. Fuck! He exclaimed. James lost control of his arm it tensed and curled. He felt as though he was becoming a clenched fist. “AHH!!.” He collapsed to the floor. Suddenly it was over. The absence of the pain was pleasurable in itself. He got up and looked into the Box again. Tears began to run down his face, but he was smiling. His Joy was immense. He closed the Box.
I must share it. With who? His Best friend. Should I call? No, no, this is too important. I should just go. No one can know that I have this.
A knock at the front door. Justin wasn’t expecting anyone. He ran his hand through his dark hair. He blinked his hazel eyes, mildly annoyed. No one just randomly came over anymore. This must be a Jehovah’s witness or something. He tilted his head in confusion. But now he was curious. He went to the door. He looked through the peephole. It was James. James!? He exclaimed. They talked every day but rarely saw each other in person. Justin opens the door. They smile at each other. Completely genuine. James comes in for a hug suddenly. But with only one arm. He holds the Box with the other.
“Everything ok my friend?’ Justin asked. James stops hugging and leans back. Looks him in the face.
“Good, better than good.” James grinned.
“I’d love to hear some good news.” Justin opens the door wider. They go inside.
James walks to the couch and sits down. Justin starts to move toward the kitchen.
“What are you drinking?” Justin asks.
“Nothing? “ Justin is confused. He turns around. “Water then?”
“Don’t worry about it, I have something to show you. Come sit down.” James smiles.
Justin crosses the room and sits beside James. James places the box on the table. James opens the box, they are hit with that same bright light. Justin is surprised. He laughs. Tears roll down his face. So beautiful. All wonder of creation is exploding out of this box. What the fuck?! Justin thought suddenly that this was a GOD BOX like Pandora’s Box. Maybe this was what the fuck they were talking about. The Box was real. Justin laughed. He thought that maybe what they were staring at was piss from God’s toilet. This made him laugh. James sees Justin unable to control his laughter. They both laugh and cry. James composes himself and closes the box.
“What the hell is it?” Justin asked.
“No Idea,” James said.
“Where did you get it?”
“The bottom of the lake.”
“So you found it by accident?”
James shakes his head.
“It called me. I woke up hearing music. But it wasn’t in the house. When I went out on the lake it got louder. I dove in and found it. James explained.
“You don’t even like music, I think I’m going to need that drink now.” Justin got up.
“You got whiskey?”
Justin heads toward the bedroom. James stares at the Box, transfixed. Justin returns a moment later. He has a metal bat in his hand. Justin swings the bat perfectly, it smashes into James’ head. It knocks him out cold and draws blood. Justin doesn’t stop, he smashes the bat hard into James’ head. It produces a meaty thud and then an audible crack. Blood splashes up into Justin’s face. Justin stands up. James’ skull is broken, his brain and blood and bone spilling in every direction. Justin drops the BAT. James’ hands twitch and tremble.
Justin looks at the Box on the coffee table. He picks it up gently. His hands dotted with blood. The light shines across his face. He thinks the box is calling me. That’s what James said. It was calling him. I must share it. But who with? Sophia. She was always on his mind. He had never stopped loving her, even when she told him she didn’t want to see him anymore. Sophia, the love of my life. Sophia. Maybe I should tell her I’m coming. No, we aren’t on the best of terms. Once she sees the Box she will understand. She has to see. I love her.
He doesn’t remember how he got there. But Sophia opens the door. Her eyes widen. She wasn’t expecting him. She smiles at him, despite everything, she is happy to see him.
“What are you doing here?” She said.
“I just wanted to talk with you.” He said.
“Well, here I am. What did you want to talk about?”
“Can I come in?”
“Okay.” She said.
Justin walks into the house passed her. She closed the door behind him. In the house, Justin goes directly to the couch and sits down.
“Come sit next to me.” He stares at her.
“What exactly do you think is going to happen here, Justin?” She said.
“I don’t expect anything.” He said.
She weighs whether or not she likes this answer. She sits next to him. He smirks like a kid in a candy store. He opens the Box. Light bathes their faces. She looks as she’s about to throw up.
She smelled a sickening stench that makes her feel sick. An odor both with a hazy perfume-like sweetness with a sour sticky stink just under it. How horrible. Disgusting. She felt lightheaded. Suddenly the smell is gone and replaced by an overwhelming Joy. When you marry the love of your life. When your first child is born. Meeting an old friend again after many years. Christmas when you’re a kid, opening presents. It was so good. So much better than everything else. Dear God she said to herself. She remembered when her sister had lied about something when she was just a child. Sophia received the blame and for a while, she hated her sister. What if I killed her? She thought. Her sister had lied, so it would be ok if she died. She imagined her young self pushing her sister out of her bedroom window. She laughed to herself, how depraved. What a funny memory to come back. But then the memory was gone, Sophia was being swallowed by a black hole. Oh God, it felt good. It seemed as though a powerful drug was kicking in. She tilted her head back in pleasure. She was weightless. Fuck she said aloud. She looked at Justin. He smiled and closed the Box.
“I love you,” Justin said. She grabbed him suddenly and unleashed a hungry kiss. They stood up and undressed each other. Justin takes off his shirt and tosses it aside. He unbuttons her shirt. She pulls it the rest of the way off. She unzips her skirt and drops it to the floor. He sits, throws off his shoes. He unzips his pants and has them off in one fluid motion. They are consumed with each other. They make love. The best of their lives… Sophia stands up nude. Her body was shiny with sweat. She leaves the room. He stares at the ceiling. Stuck in his post-coital pleasure. He sighs and closes his eyes. Sophia returns with a knife in hand. She stabs him in the chest. Sophia stabs him again and the energy flows out of him. She stabs him a hundred times.
Later she is in the shower. She cries, she rinses the blood off. She has lost her great love. Why is she married to someone else? Justin was her great love. She just killed him. For the Box…. The Box is worth it. The Box is true love. The Box is infinite beauty and peace. Oh, God. How can this be? It’s too much. She wept again. I have to share it. I’ll show my mother.