Bi-Weekly Story Prompts

August 10 – August 30, 2023 Writing Prompt “The Box”

Theme: The box.

You are cleaning out your grandparents’ (or other old family member’s) attic (basement, closet, whatever) and you find an old wooden box.

Curious, you open it. Describe (1) what you find inside (can be anything that fits in a shoesize type box) AND (2) either the significance it had on their life/lives or will have on yours.

Required Elements:

  • a shoebox sized box

Word Count: 1200

Next Prompt to be chosen by Vicki Chvatal.

PLEASE NOTE: I totally forgot I’d be on vacation and won’t be able to tally votes on the 23rd, so I’ve extended it to the 30th.

  • This is the thread for stories as well as general comments. Say hello and be sure to check the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” box for email notifications.
  • To leave feedback/Comments directly relating to a particular story – click “reply” to the story comment.
  • Specific critiques, comments, and feedback are encouraged. If you do not want honest professional feedback, do not post a story.
  • Keep feedback and critiques to a civil and constructive level, please. Please critique stories for construction, style, flow, grammar, punctuation, and so on.
  • The moderator has the right to delete any comments that appear racist, inflammatory or bullying.

Please Note: Comments may be considered “published” with regard to other contest requirements.

All stories are fall under general copyright laws. No part may be reproduced without the express consent of the respective author.

Story Submission Rules:
  1. One story per author. You may post more than one, but only the first story will qualify for voting.
  2. Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.
  3. Stories must fit into a single comment box and must stay within the word limit set for each contest.
  4. You may vote only once.
  5. You cannot vote for yourself.
  • Stories must be posted no later than Wednesday morning at 8:00am PDT / 10:00am CST / 11:00am EST / 10:30pm IST / 4:00pm WET/GMT/ 6:00pm CET/1:00am AEDT (Thursday)
  • Voting starts Wednesday morning at 10:00am PDT / 12:00pm CST / 1:00pm EST / 11:30pm IST / 6:00pm WET/GMT/ 8:00pm CET/5:00am AEDT (Thursday) and you have 24 hours to vote.

See How to Participate for complete rules and disclaimers.

63 thoughts on “August 10 – August 30, 2023 Writing Prompt “The Box”

  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in. 🙂
  • Roy York
    Oh yeah,
  • Carrie Zylka

    Skeleton Key by Carrie Zylka (592 words)

    Milwaukee, September 5, 2043

    Bree stood at the entrance to the home’s kitchen, the dim light coming through dirty windows casting eerie shadows on the old, dusty items strewn everywhere. The air was heavy with the scent of forgotten memories and decades of neglect. Ancient and nearly forgotten memories fluttered in the shadows, she’d been visiting the homes her family had once owned. This was her grandmother’s old house, and she was old enough to remember it when it was bright and lively.

    Her world had been forever changed by the cataclysmic event known as The Sundering. In a world plagued by scarcity and desolation, this house was a treasure trove of long forgotten family relics.

    She’d assumed that most of her family had perished during the Sundering. In her early adult years, she’d been anti-government and had resisted what she considered the gradual takeover of the human race. It began with vaccines that modified one’s very DNA. Then came implants within the body as society transitioned towards a cashless system. Subsequently, there were ocular implants that tragically misfired, sending electric currents into the brains of millions, killing them instantly.

    Very quickly, the world took a very dark turn. While she searched for any evidence of her family, her main goal now was to merely survive. Finding provisions was always her top priority. Communications had been destroyed, food became scarce, and people, well, people did what people do: they became animals.

    As she rummaged through the pantry looking for supplies, Bree’s eyes fell upon a peculiar box, about the size of a shoebox, tucked underneath the bottom shelf. Amid the two expired cans of sweet potatoes, its surface had a faint, metallic sheen. Intrigued, she carefully lifted it from its resting place. She sat on the grubby floor and gently opened it, revealing a collection of old letters, a faded photograph, and a small, ornate key.

    As she picked up one of the letters, a rush of emotions swept over her. The handwriting was familiar; a blend of her grandmother’s elegant script and her father’s more hurried scrawl. Notes more than letters, containing random sentences and directions that made no sense.

    Among the letters was a photograph, its colors muted but the faces vivid – the faces of her father, her grandmother, and her younger brother. They stood against the backdrop of a city in ruins, a stark reminder of the post-apocalyptic reality they now endured. Bree traced the contours of their faces with her fingertip.

    She took out the key, one of those old vintage skeleton keys. Looking closer, she squinted to read what turned out to be numbers engraved along the shank.

    The realization hit her like a ton of bricks.


    These were coordinates.

    Her heart jumped, she vaguely remembered learning navigation techniques in the Girl Scouts, but that was eons ago. And with the ultimate destruction of electronic devices, she couldn’t exactly plug the numbers into Google Maps.

    She sat looking at the key for a long while. Eventually she stuffed it into a pocket and made her way outside. The library was a few miles away, and she hoped it was still somewhat intact. If she was going to be able to decipher the coordinates manually, she’d need an Atlas.

    The world outside was harsh, unforgiving, and riddled with dangers. Yet, the contents of the box had given her something that she’d long lost: hope.

    The hope that some of her family had survived, that they had found a way to endure and thrive amidst the chaos.

    • John Filby
      Love it, love the world you created, like I was there. All the things we take for granted, now all gone. Would people know what a library, an atlas or even a key to be honest. Like the protagonist Bree too, she was a rebel. Cool.
      • Carrie Zylka

        Thank you!!!

    • John Filby
      Hey Roy, I loved the characters and how they all appeared so real, like I knew them. I could relate to some of the characters and the family dynamics, there were some similar memories for me too, with the multi-generational family that I had around me.
    • Carrie,

      Wow, two stories in a row without angels, zombies, beings from another world or werewolves. Although you did sneak in DNA altered humans and set it in an apocalyptic setting in the future, so all is not lost. Nicely told story with a ray of hope, if not for others, at least your main character.

      I really like the new path you’ve taken lately so give your mom a thumbs up from me for leaning on you. Then, there will be that moment when one of your beings from other worlds, spiritual, dimensional, or even galactical will hit the spot and be a new adventure from your now, more gentle writing.

      Lest you think I didn’t like your previous genre, au contraire; it’s just it seemed to be all the same with heroines and heroes pretty much showing up and saving the day, lost child, world, or whatever. This writing was clean, descriptive, and easy reading. Good job.

      A tiny thing, but one you need to be aware of, is similar phrasing in sentences and/or paragraphs, such as long forgotten. I do it myself, far more than I would like, but I’m beginning to spot it in mine, hence, I noticed it in yours.


  • Carrie Zylka

    1st story in….I’m pretty sure that is a 1st for me in the history of this contest!

    • Adrienne Riggs
      Way to go, Carrie! Right out of the gate!
      • Carrie Zylka

        I literally turned off the tv – messaged my team at work “have to run an errand” and pounded it out hahaha
        I should do that every prompt!!

  • Robt. Emmett
    Someone named Chevy
    by Robt. Emmett ©2023

    The auctioneer asked for an opening bid of twenty dollars. There were no takers. He asked for a ten-dollar bid, but still no takers. The big box sat there, too large for the helpers to lift, its contents unknown, just waiting for a buyer. A half-smirk on my face, I stupidly offered, “One buck.”
    My wife glared at me. The auctioneer looked at me and whispered, “Thanks, Rob. You’re the last of the big spenders.” To the crowd, “Do-I-heara-two-dolla-bid? Who’lla-givea-two. Anybody? Somebody? Two dollas!” He paused. “Goin’ once.” Another pause. “Goin’ twice. Sold to Cheap-ass for a buck.” The crowd knew me and enjoyed the humor at my expense while my wife continued to glare.
    “What?” I asked her. “I got this big box for a buck. Who knows what great things are down inside it? We came here to get the Stanley number one hand plane, and we got that. You know I needed it. It finishes my set. I have all of them now, number one through number eight. I’ve only seen six number one’s, three of which were counterfeits but still worth two hundred bucks.” Taking the small plane from my shirt pocket, “This number one is in great condition and worth twelve hundred dollars. We set our limit at seven-fifty, and that’s what I paid. So why the face?”
    “That box of junk you don’t need!”
    “It only cost me a buck more.”
    “Big deal! That stuff’ll be lying around your shop a year from now.”
    “Will not!”
    She rolled her eyes, “Will too!” The frown didn’t leave her face. “Right! Let’s go.”
    I paid the seven hundred fifty-one dollars, and we left the auction barn.

    Going to various auction barns and outside auctions in the area was an excuse my wife and I had so that we could spend time together. We bought treasures to sell at our little space in the local antique mall. We considered it a hobby, not the money it was. She enjoyed working with silverware and glassware while I looked for and bought old tools. Although we could have made a lot of money, we didn’t. There were just so many things we bought and couldn’t bring ourselves to sell because we fell in love with them. In a good month, we would break even. The getting away from our teen-aged kids who wanted their space also was the goal, and we enjoyed our time together.

    After taking the box home, I spent my limited free time during the next weeks sorting through the treasures the box contained. The junk covered both my workbenches. Yet the box remained half-full.
    I sorted the various stuff into small cardboard boxes. There were a few pieces of silverware, some glassware, many small wood plane parts, and a Winchester chisel. I put the sorted stuff into my pickup truck on a Saturday and went around to other antique dealers. By supper time, I had unloaded almost all of it. I had made an eight hundred profit unless you counted the money I spent on gas.
    I threw the junk away, all but one item. Baler twine held the three ledger-type books together. What could be interesting in books filled with rows upon rows of numbers? I opened my flick knife. Its tip’s broken because I used it as a screwdriver. We had been friends since second grade. In the springtime, it had made many willow whistles. Despite its nicked wood handle and tarnished brass, the blade’s razor sharpness made it precious to me. In one smooth motion, the blade appeared and severed the baler twine.
    To my surprise, the books were not ledgers from a long-closed business. They were diaries containing personal information about someone who cared enough to write about life. After reading a bit, I figured out the person was a male. There were pictures of two Chevrolets, a black 1959 Impala four-door, and a ‘49 coupe. The ‘59 was a wedding car decorated with tissue paper flowers the way they do in Canada. Was the mysterious owner a Canadian? There were names of streets and businesses, but towns or city names were absent. On one page, a sketch of a place called Beaver Lake. There are seven Beaver Lakes in Canada, but none like the sketch. On another page, I found two unusual names: Springbrook and Aerial Lift Bridge. I knew them. I checked for a Beaver Lake north of the town where these two names were located. There was no Beaver Lake. I spent two days scouring maps until I found the lake. The sketch was quite accurate, but it had a different name. My mystery owner was an American who had lived in northern Minnesota in the 1950s. From his writings, I think he was a young adventurer.
    I lightly edited his writings to make them more readable, but not enough to destroy the flavor of his life. The fundamental facts are all still intact, detailing his life, his loves, his triumphs, tragedies, and failures. Initially, I thought of publishing them as a trilogy.
    Upon reflection, I concluded that the person I called Chevy because of the car pictures could have published the stories in the ledgers if he’d wanted to. He didn’t, and I won’t.
    — Ԙ —

    • John Filby
      Hey Robert, loved the idea of the mysterious auction box. Someone had taken the time to keep these things together. Wonder what happened to him and I wanted to know. This could be a longer story. I liked the banter of the spouses and that they also enjoyed the same thing but denied it.
    • John Filby
      Hey Roy, I loved the characters and how they all appeared so real, like I knew them. I could relate to some of the characters and the family dynamics, there were some similar memories for me too, with the multi-generational family that I had around me.
    • Rob,
      Just read your reply to me regarding tell vs show, which is what I was going to critique about your story. I understand your point, but Steinbeck and company did sneak in quite a bit of more show than tell, but sneaky world famous authors that they are, they don’t make it obvious. I think your tell is a bit more obvious and you had been doing a cleaner job lately of show. I guess it’s a criticism, but meant in a helpful sense. As in all of my critiques, authors are free to completely disagree and disregard any or all of them. Still, I liked the story form the standpoint that it held my interest and a desire to keep reading.


    • John Filby
      The Boxed Gift.
      By John Filby.

      The box arrived six months after my Aunt Mabel’s death. She had not left a will and I being the closest relative to Aunt Mabel, although never having met her, found me. She was my mother’s younger sister. I was the only child of the next generation. I was a daughter to my mother, and a niece to Aunt Mabel, she did not have any children. The trinket box was now mine and I had no idea what it contained or what it would mean to me or in fact to Aunt Mabel who had ensured it survived and to be passed onto another in the family.

      I sat alone in my kitchen, my husband unaware of the significance I put into this situation, he plodded through life enjoying the simplicity that he craved. The box asked to be opened and I needed to respond, I know it would change me, but I did not know the gravity as yet.

      The box was nondescript, but had a severe presence nonetheless. It was metallic and dulled of shininess, but still it drew me in. Before I knew it, my hand had sprung the latch and the box was opened.
      I felt an overwhelming flow of energy through my hand, up my arm and around to every cell of my body.

      Wow, what just happened? It felt like a surge of static, a wave of energy, a minor electrical shock.
      Then it slowed and I attempted to recall what had happened. I did not have to search too hard because the box revealed the answer. Inside was a booklet, ancient and worn, tied with a string. Attached to it, a tag and had written, ‘To the one who needs this and know its power, it will begin’.

      I sure did feel some power but was that really what the cryptic message was implying? Picking up the book and grasping it loosely, I again felt the surge. I needed to understand what it was about. Was I the one who needed it or knew the power?

      Everyone feels they have some kind of gift. I was always able to know if a woman was pregnant even in the first few days or weeks of conception. A little weird gift but it always was true. I was also able to know the gender and if it was a multiple pregnancy, twins or more. This amused many women who may not even know themselves if they were with child.

      But was that gift enough? Aunt Mabel had been estranged from the family for decades, way before my birth. She and Jack were never mentioned preferring to live alone and getting back to nature. The rumours of a shack in the woods were true I guessed.

      My gift and my power, I know something happened when I opened the box and touched the ancient book. Did Aunt Mabel have the power? Was this why she estranged herself or was she banished? My mother never had the power, but maybe it passed through to me, the next female of the next generation.
      What was this power? Was it good or evil? The gossip and rumours of Aunt Mabel and Jack were long dead, so too were my parents. I am in my sixth decade and have two daughters of my own. Will they have the power?

      The box had made its way to me. No will bequest had sent it, and no betrothal in a letter or note. Maybe it is just the gift that finds you. I think Aunt Mabel knew I was to be the next recipient of the box. Did she know of me, even if I did not know her? We do live in a small rural town, nothing escapes no-one here.
      I needed to understand my gift and what it means to me and to others. I guess I could put my finger on other powers if I thought about it. I can preempt a call or visit from someone. I know of danger and can warn those at risk. I have the habit of staying home even though I know I would have fun, and then hear that a serious accident or such happened at that same place and time. I just thought these were the gifts that come with motherhood.

      Did Aunt Mabel have these gifts too? Is that why she kept away? Was she just keeping us safe? I don’t want to get all fanciful and think or dream of witches, wizards and fairies but I do believe in something other than what we know. If I had to have a guess, I would say Aunt Mabel was what the gossip-mongers of Atwater would have called a witch, but to me, maybe a white witch.

      Does that mean I am a white witch too? I have never been religious, so the concepts of good versus evil has never been a concern or fear. To me I believe that we are in this life for a purpose. Sadly, most of us never get to know what their purpose is during their life.

      Time to take a look at the book, I am afraid it would fall apart in my hands. But I can see that it has survived for centuries so what could I do to break that cycle. I gingerly remove the book from the box and dare I say magically, I feel the energy through my hands and body once more. How cliche. I am not a doubter, but I have so many questions.

      I take the book in my hands and I feel and see it mending itself. The once ancient ruin has now repaired. The power and one who need it? Me. I have the power. It has begun.

      The book repaired itself after it withered following the death of my Aunt. Now back in my hands it has renewed. Does it do this with each human death? It must also die, until the next giftee touches it.

      I now have that power. What is the power? Do I want it? Will I understand it? I so wish that my Aunt had been around to use it and to show me how to use it too. Maybe that is the power, one holder at a time and you must find it if it is to be yours. Is that my understanding of the tagged message?

      Now I must read and know the contents of the little book? The honour and the power bestowed onto me. Am I truly the best custodian of this power?

      • John Filby
        A idea came and I made the time to write amongst the renovations and movers. A little outside my comfort zone but it is what it is, a quick attempt. I did not wish to miss one of the opportunities to write and share.
  • Robt. Emmett
    The last sentence should read as follows.
    Upon reflection, I concluded that the person I called Chevy because of the car pictures could have published the stories in the ledgers if he’d wanted to. He didn’t, and I won’t.
    Carrie, could you replace the last sentence with the two new ones when you have time?
    • Carrie Zylka

      Hi Robt. Yes I can update it – are you unable to edit it yourself? I have that enabled.

    • Robt. Emmett
      You change it when you can. Thanks Robt.
  • Signing in
  • John Filby
    I will try for a story but just moved in and renovating. Will of course read and vote.
    • Carrie Zylka

      Bummer, I do so always enjoy your stories but I know how stressful a move can be!

      • John Filby
        Hey Carrie
        I added a story but it is out of sequence with the thread. I don’t know what happened there but could you move it?
  • Recognition
    By Roy York
    1154 words

    Holding onto my 4-year-old granddaughter Chloe’s hand, I helped her climb the boarding ramp for our early morning flight. Following her mother, Paige, we made our way to our seats. As soon as we were settled the stewardess asked if I would like anything to drink. “Manhattan rocks,” I replied.

    Paige declined with a “No, thank you,” followed by “Honestly, Mother.”

    “Hey,” I said, “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” and leaned back and relaxed thinking how nice it was to fly 1st Class.

    As we cruised at 38,000 feet, my thoughts turned to the urgency of our flight. My grandfather was terminally ill and I was told there wasn’t much time.

    I looked down at Chloe sitting between us realizing how lucky I was. She was a delightful child and extremely talented. Like me, she was blessed with an excellent memory that would hold her in good stead in school. She looked up. “What’s your Grampa like, Gramma? What’s wrong with him?”

    “He’s very old, honey. Almost 94, and he has lived a good long life.”

    “Will he remember you?”

    “Of course,” I said. Not really knowing how much of his memory the stroke had taken from him. I was just hoping against hope he would know me. Or, for that matter, anybody.

    “He’s never met me. Will he know who I am?”

    “Well, you might not get to meet him – he’s pretty sick, but if you do, he’ll know you from your photographs.” Satisfied, she settled back into her seat and soon fell asleep. Watching her I sat there thinking back to when I was her age.

    One of my earliest memories is sitting with my grandfather playing Husker Du, a Swedish board game that tests your memory. Similar to Concentration, you had to remember where the pictures were and if they matched.

    My memory is legend in our family. I was later diagnosed (if that’s the right term) with eidetic memory. It’s similar to photographic, except it’s the ability to recall events and pictures, not what you’ve read. It certainly came in handy in Husker Du.

    I would beat the pants off my grandfather, yet he would patiently put the board back together and try to beat me again. At first, my father thought the old man was letting four-year-old me win until Grandpa told him to sit down and try himself. I beat Dad, too.

    It was our thing to do whenever the family got together. He always had time for me. My brother and sister couldn’t beat me either but they didn’t like losing and wouldn’t play, so it was ‘our game’, mine and Grandpa’s.

    Of course, as I grew older a child’s board game stopped being the catalyst to bring us together, but still, it stirred fond memories of my childhood and my love for this man.

    After landing we went straight to the hospital but things hadn’t changed much and I really didn’t get to see my grandfather except for long-distance glimpses as nurses crowded around him. After an hour or so, we decided to go home and unpack.

    My brother and sister decided there was no need to go back soon, so after dinner, we spent the evening in the attic looking through old memories, collections of Grandma and Grandpa’s things, and several boxes of musty clothes.

    Finally, I came across a box that rattled. Opening it up, there were several packets of old letters, various collections of cards: anniversaries, birthdays, get well, and so on. Suddenly, I struck gold. At the bottom of the box was the game of Husker Du.

    I brought it downstairs and showed it to Chloe. “This is the game I used to play with Grandpa when I was your age.” I pronounced it for her the way it sounds in Swedish, ‘Hoosker Doo’.”

    She giggled at the name. “Will you play ‘hoosker doo’ with me, Grandma?”

    I hesitated. What part of me was so jealous? Why did I hesitate? Because it was “our game” – mine and Grandpa’s. Get a grip, Lynn, this is your granddaughter. “Why don’t we play it tomorrow?”

    “You promise?”

    “I promise.”

    Then, while getting ready for bed, the call we’d all been dreading came sooner than I expected. It was the hospital. My mom and dad left immediately, and soon after the rest of us followed, except Paige who stayed behind with Chloe who was already sleeping.

    When we got to Grandpa’s room, my father was waiting but stopped us in the hallway. “ There’s not much time. The doctors tell us he has regained consciousness and may seem confused. The stroke has totally robbed him of name recognition. He might know who you are, but can’t say your name. The best to hope for is an association of some sort.”

    ‘Surely,’ I thought, ‘he’ll remember me.’ When I entered the room, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Laying back against the pillow was a fragile, withered caricature of my grandfather.

    Wispy, uncombed white hair tufting against his pillow, drawn and thin cheekbones with stretched, stubbled pale skin sticking above a white sheet, contrasting sharply with how I had last seen him.

    Cursing my eidetic memory, knowing I would remember that scene forever, I crossed the room to his bedside and took his hand in mine. I could sense he felt my presence as I patiently stroked his hand. “Hi, Grandpa, it’s me, Lynn. I’m here.”

    His head turned and his eyes flickered open but he was looking past me. I stood there for a few minutes with him not responding and finally gave up and called for my older siblings to come in as I left in tears.

    A few minutes later I heard the soft sound of an alarm and a nurse rushed in. My sister emerged and motioned for me to come in. “It’s any minute now. I think you should be here.”

    I stood silently as the nurse efficiently checked his monitors, then said “It’s time.” One by one my parents and siblings approached his bed slowly and reverently as if going to his casket instead of a hospital bed.

    Each of them said their final goodbyes, all desperately attempting to pierce that last layer of consciousness and be recognized. Why is that so important to us, I wondered? Why?

    As the youngest in this pecking order, I was last. I got to the bed and held his hand. “Grandpa, it’s me, Lynn.”

    His eyes opened and he turned his head slightly and appeared to look in my direction. I swear he could see me. I squeezed his hand. He whispered something in a low, raspy voice, but I couldn’t make out what he said.

    I leaned over to get closer and then, while it may have only been the death rattle of a dying man as my grandfather took what turned out to be his last breath, I’m positive I heard, “Hoosker Doo.”

    • ilyaleed
      A lovely gentle story Roy. I was thinking how to work out the generations so the grandmother was farewelling her grandmother which would have been Chloe’s great great grandfather. Nice story. 🙂
      • My wife brought up the same question and I simply said, “How old is your brother?” She said, “Sixty six.” “Ummhmm, Sixty-six. And, at sixty-six, he’s also a great-grandfather of two great-grandchildren is he not?” She nodded. I said, “If we add twenty-eight years to make him ninety-four, that would also make the two great-grandchildren he already has, at least twenty-eight years old, of which they are more than capable, even by today’s delayed standards, with a strong possibility of having a four year old child. I rest my case.” She had to agree with me.

        At any rate, thanks for your comment. I loved writing it. I drew inspiration for the story from my daughter, who at the age of four, used to beat my father, her grandfather, regularly at this game, and my attempt was at best, futile. So, like you, I use family situations whenever possible to “write what I know”.

    • Robt. Emmett
      Roy, Recognition is an uncomplicated use of small words to produce a simple, complete generational situation; A snapshot of our future. Three-fourth of the way, I guessed that Husker Du would be in the last sentence —as well as it needed to be.
      • Thank you Rob, for your thoughts. I agree that most readers would be able to figure out my ending, and a part of me wondered as I was writing it, if I should try to take out the parts that telegraph the ending, but decided the story itself would carry the weight I wanted without spoiling the ending. I’m trying to make my sentences clean and simple, with less telling and more showing, but I see I still have a long way to go. Thanks, again.


        • Robt. Emmett
          I always look for a tell (telegraphed).
          “less telling and more showing” I’ve many of the 100 books everyone needs to read. Like: The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger, Frankenstein Mary Shelley, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift , A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens, The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck, The Sleeper Awakes by H.G. Wells, The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, etc.
          (I’m through aggrandizing myself)
          I’ve found that most of these famous works are of the “tell” type and little of the show type.
          I get more out reading the works of the non-world-famous writers on this site than reading the OLD Masters. I truly wished there were twice as many of yous guys. Good write, Roy.
    • Robt. Emmett
      Oh, Roy, I forgot to mention (and smoothly done it was, I might add).
      In the past, I think you said you would try to write from the distaff POV.
      Well, there it was, the second paragraph – “… followed by “Honestly, Mother.”
      Kudos, well done.
      • Thanks, Robert. I like it when something I intentionally did is noticed. But, then, her name is Lynn, although I could have made that a little more gender non-specific.


  • ilyaleed
    Pandora’s box Opened
    (1199 words)

    It had been a whole year since Oma had passed into her next journey. Cassie’s mum Lisa had begged her to help clean up the old house. The house her grandfather and grandmother had shared for the past sixty years. Both had died within six months of each other.
    “Please Cass. Just give me the weekend once. I’ll do the rest. The attic will be the worst of it. If you and the boys could …”
    Cassie had sighed deeply and relented. Going through a dusty attic and removing a half century or more of personal memorabilia was not her favourite idea of weekend fun.
    ‘OK, Mum, ok.” At this her mother visibly brightened and she began to flutter around the kitchen tidying up the dinner plates and food.
    “Great! That’s settled then. You and Cam and the boys can stay overnight here Friday and we will start early Sat. Thanks so much.”

    The next weekend came and before Cassie knew it, she was ploughing through boxes and items years old and covered in dust early Saturday morning at her grandparents’ old home.
    It was in a corner of the attic. After they had moved an old cast iron bedstand stacked with all sorts of antique and not so antique items, they found it. It was jammed so tight that they nearly broke a corner of the decorative lacquer on a dark wooden box.
    It was a beautiful piece with a picture inlaid in mother of pearl. The graceful head of a woman with an extraordinary long neck in the two-dimensional Egyptian style was in vivid colours that glowed warmly after Cassie had polished the dust off it.
    The lid was quite tight, and the wood had swollen slightly whether with moisture or age was not apparent, but probably both were guilty.
    There on a faded dark blue velvet cloth was a bundle of letters and some dozen or so black and white photographs. Both these packages were tied with a thin yellow ribbon. Also, inside alongside them was a small brown paper envelope with some dark curls of soft hair tied with a dark blue ribbon.
    Lisa looked over Cassie’s shoulder.
    “Humm, let’s have some lunch. Then we can explore these relics of a life past.” She chuckled. “Come on.” She patted Cassie’s arm.

    Downstairs with some sandwiches and cups of tea on the old dining table that had hosted many a family gathering over 50 years, Cassie and her mother pored over the photographs before reading the letters.
    All the photographs showed a dark-skinned boy from a baby to six years of age. Sometimes he was alone playing with toys. An old wooden horse. On a swing pushed by a woman who Lisa identified as her mother, Cassie’s Oma. Also, several family photographs of Oma with the boy and several older people who Lisa said were her grandparents and a great uncle Richard.
    “Who is he?” Cassie asked.
    Lisa shrugged. “I don’t know. I can ask Oma’s younger brother in Perth. Maybe the letters will give us a clue. Let’s read the letters later tonight.”

    Much later in the evening after a grand dinner with dessert and sweet rich coffee with cream – Vienna coffee just as Oma used to make for them, they sat down to read the letters. All the envelopes had a “return to sender” stamp inked on them.

    9th June 1944
    Dear Jules
    I have brought him home since the past fortnight. He was six pound six ounces at birth and quite a long baby the nurse said. He looks like your father, dead set. Same eyes and he is a very old soul. Wise beyond his years. He is a good baby. I have called him Sean Jr after your father. Your mother was very happy that I did that.
    Mother and father are not happy. Yes, for now I have moved back in with them. I rented out our house to a family. It brings in some income and allows me to work a few days at the soft drink factory. They look after Sean for a few hours, but I am afraid to impose on them more than twice a week. I do give them some grocery money which is only right. It means that father can relax a little. They are so very frugal, and Mother gets so upset if I buy anything too extravagant like Bushell’s tea for example. She thinks I should use scrap paper to write to you on.
    I shall so look forward to holding your dear sweet face close to mine once again, one day. With Sean in our arms the future is bright.
    I will send you some photos next letter.
    Your darling wife
    Maggie XXXXX and son Sean Jr XXXXX

    Lisa frowned.

    “That is my mother’s name but…I did not know that I have an older brother or had…” She looked uncertainly at the letter in her hand and then the photographs again, spreading them out over the table.
    Together Lisa and Cassie placed the letters in order of their date stamp.
    They read through the letters to the last one dated 30th May 1946.
    There are some adoption papers signed by a Mr and Mrs Wilkinson with an Adelaide address. There is a letter with the document. It is taped to the back.
    By this time Lisa has tears streaming down her cheeks. With trembling fingers, Cassie unfolds the letter from its envelope.
    She reads aloud.

    My dearest Sean
    Please forgive me. I never wanted to send you away, but Mama and Papa have said you and I will have a better chance at life as will you if I give you up for adoption. You will have a family with a Mummy and a Daddy and I, I will have the chance to meet someone new unencumbered they said by another man’s child and particularly a coloured child. You will be adopted by a family with similar background, and you will forget me. I will never forget you. I hold you hidden in my heart. I will think about you every day of my life. Wondering and aching to know you are safe and happy.
    Your grandparents never liked Jules your father. He was a very decent man who died before he could see you. I wanted you to go to his family, but my mother and father would not allow it. They said better you had a fresh start.
    One day we will meet again. I am sure of it.
    Your loving mother
    Maggie XXXXX

    “Ring Uncle Richard, Mum. Let’s find out what he knows.”

    Lisa rang her uncle. The conversation was brief, but confirmed what they had discovered about Lisa’s half brother Sean.
    Cassie heard her mother arguing.
    “But WHY wasn’t I told?”
    “We weren’t told we had an older half-brother!”
    “No that’s not right. I’m going to find him.”

    “No, I don’t care that he is black.”

    (A LONG SILENCE then she hears her mother cry out.)
    He is still my brother. Our brother.”

    The sound of sobbing erupts. Cassie goes to her mother who is clutching her mobile phone and crying over a faded photograph.

    • John Filby
      I liked the reality and the ordinariness of the story and dialogue. I too write from real life, maybe not my experiences but from people I know or meet. I guess I am the narrator in my stories, piecing together fragments and making a mystery of them. I see that you do that too. I did enjoy the build up and the character development. They seem like people I know and love.
      • ilyaleed
        Thanks John. Doing realism is difficult because you have to dig into people’s psyche and often you don’t like what you find. There is often malice, pettiness, cover ups, deceptions and all sorts of things that drain you and you take on the hurt and anguish of many people often without understanding what it is you are writing and why.
        I deal with some very interesting and upsetting people. Shyte people do to their kids that makes your hair stand on end with the horridness of it all. Shyte that they do to each other and yeah, I cry at the cruelty that we see from day to day and I wish I didn’t and I was stronger and did not care, but while I know and understand that I cannot fix the bad in this world, I can record it and show it for the shyte it is. People often do not like that.
  • I have mixed emotions about this story. It’s written almost like a play or a treatment for a movie. I liked the story, and knowing you for as long as I have, I am fairly sure it is taken from real life because the dialogue is so realistic, it’s as if you had a recording and copies of the letters. Good story, Ilana. I just think it needs a little polishing and some sort of ending htat pulls it together, although there’s nothing wrong with leaving us handing and wishing for more.


    p.s. I was wondering where you were.

    • ilyaleed
      Hi Roy not really from real life but I do listen and specialise in realistic stories. Because of my profession and the taxi driving I did years ago, I have listened to many sad and joyful stories.Often people still today, tell me their life stories and I have an excellent memory so I remember them. They are not necessarily taken from my life per se. In fact, mostly not. I am a thief who catches and gathers stories like gemstones, then I try to shape and polish them into a story I then own which has either a didactic or reflective purpose. I am fascinated by people and often see through them way too much. I get these gut feelings about people who lie and tell untruths or have ulterior motives and sadly find myself going distant from many who I begin to distrust because I remember too much about them.
      I had the choice of this story I doctored a bit and fleshed out, or another story from 21 years ago about a boy who at 15 years old discovered the person he thought was his aunt, was his biological mother and the two people whom he thought were his parents were actually her older sister and her husband. His uncle and aunt, in fact. The mother was only 14 when she gave birth and made the decision to give him to her sister who could not have children because she had been born without a uterus.
      The world is a funny place. To be a good writer one must put aside the self and focus on the audience and the people one is writing about, to make them real. One cannot write about one’s own life unless you are famous and it is a memoir. I am pretty sure I am not famous, so ….
      I will polish this as it does need it.
    • ilyaleed
      Where I was, I was simply at home. Last two months have been frantic. I teach five days a week. I have 16 goats of whom three are in kid. I have a son with a disability who I need to nurture and encourage to succeed in his life. I had covid in late May and early June. Then I had to deal with some idiot who tried to steal my goats and was charging me $100 a week agistment and could not keep them secured and contained. A person who lied and lied about a number of things. On every account, I proved them wrong and liars.
      Grist for some good stories but not now too raw. The idiot and his malicious wife have mates and relatives in the Maryborough police, so they made up some stories and took out an IVO against me and that meant I had to go to court. Malicious wife screamed at me, “I will see you in the gutter and you won’t be a teacher after I and J have finished with you, bitch. We have proof of the damage your goats have done.” Lawyer told me, goats should have been secured for payment of $100 a week and they were the ones at fault. I had to accept the IVO and make no admission of guilt. You see, it suits me. He will I believe probably break his own IVO in an attempt to get me to breech it. Because their intention is to try and get me on criminal charges. Long story. But they are boring stupid people who think I do not see through their manipulations. They just wasted my time and took my money and I shall rely on Karma to pay them back. Call on the universe and do my job and look after my son and goats as per usual.
  • Phil Town

    Look at this mess! He was an untidy ol’ bugger. And the dust! I don’t think anyone’s been up here for years. Wish I’d put my old skirt on.

    Let’s see … Maybe I’ll start on th– OW! Dammit! What’s that bloody box doing in the middle of the floor?! OWOWOW! I’ll have a bruise tomorrow, that’s for sure. Give it a rub … mmm … that’s a bit better.

    So, what have we got … apart from the general mess?

    Newspapers! Must be hundreds. Let’s have a look. Umm … Blimey! The Coronation! What year was … 1953?! That’s, what? … seventy years ago! Jeez! No wonder there’s so much dust. Papers. Papers. More papers. What’s this?

    Oh, magazines. Let’s have a … no, let’s not. Dirty ol’ bugger. Mum did say there was something about him.

    Wonder how she’s getting on. Gave herself the easy job, of course – clearing the kitchen. It’s a bit dirty too, but not as much dust at least.

    So, what other secrets were you hiding up here, Uncle Theo?

    A load of … bathroom tiles. Over here … tins of paint … brushes. An old … I don’t even know what that is! Bloody hell! Why didn’t you just throw this stuff away? Empty wine bottles. Couple of broken chairs.

    I suppose I could start taking some of this down. Straight out to the bins. Load of old rubbish. Except … that box!

    Hmmm … nice bit of wood. Give it a blow. Aaargh! kof kof kof I’m going to need a kof shower after this. Hang on! There’s a label. ‘DO NOT…’ Bit faint. Take it over to the … light …

    ‘DO NOT OPEN UNDER ANY CIRCENTSES’. Great speller, Uncle Theo! Now, that’s odd. A kind of … throbbing. Coming through the wood. Or is it just me? Maybe the traffic? But … no, nothing coming through the beams. Just the box. And …

    … well, I’ll be…! Sounds, too! A … what is that? Moaning? Yeah, tiny moaning. Ooh, that’s creepy! I’ll just leave you … here!

    Now, what else is there? Ooh, that looks–

    “Dora! I’ve made some tea. Come on down.”

    That’s a relief. I’m gasping for a cuppa after all this dust. Careful where you tread. Suppose I’ll have to come back after tea. Don’t fancy it, but there you go…

    … ‘circentses’, though. Silly ol’ bugger. I suppose he meant ‘circumstances’. Wonder why he put that on the box. ‘Not under any circumstances’. Hmmm…


    Ah man. I’ve got to have a look, haven’t I? Just a peek.


    Can’t do any harm.


    • Roy York
      Phil, short and sweet. Great story that mixes both 1st person and third person fluidly, and with good effect. Nice twist ending with no telegraphing the surprise. And, I’m sure most people will already know the parable of Pandora’s box. If they do know the story well, then perhaps there’s still hope for us. I wish there was a time stamp of some sort in the story so I could blame a lot of what is going on in the world – Covid, Ukraine, Lahaina, 9/11, global warming and so on and when it all started. Really like what you did here.


    • ilyaleed
      Ah Phil LOL. Neat Story
    • John Filby
      A quick story and a few giggles too. Reality and humour together, sometimes hard to get both in the same story.
    • John Filby
      Thank you Marien. I enjoyed the build up, the characters and the somewhat familiarity evne though it was not my story. I felt comfortable in the story. The simple things always the best.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Hi all,
    Sorry to have been MIA, I’ve been slammed with work. I have my story written but need to cut it down to meet the word count. I’ve read the stories so far and it looks like stiff competition! I love it! I’ll work on my story this weekend if I get a chance.

    Tonight, I am going to my dream concert! My son gave me tickets for my birthday. I am going to see ELVIS!!! I am SO EXCITED!! I can’t wait! I am hoping to go to Graceland again in December. I’ve never seen it with the Christmas lights up. My son took his girlfriend there last week and he sent me a picture of Lisa Marie’s grave. It’s so sad to see it there.

    I’ve got my Elvis shirt washed and ready to wear tonight. ELVIS will be in the house – LIVE and IN PERSON! I feel like a schoolgirl again!

  • Carrie Zylka

    Back in the saddle again!
    Glad to be home and back to normalcy. I probably won’t have time to comment on them all, but will definitely read.
    Looks like a great crop of stories!

  • marien oommen
    The Ol’ Folks At Home

    by Marien Oommen (1198 words)

    There is a kinda hush all over the world tonight. They are all asleep but for me.
    The only sound you hear are deep snores of lovers in love.
    My Appacha and Koymama- devoted sweethearts to the end of their lives.
    You know what I mean.
    This was a flashback moment for me. The sight I saw each time I visited this lovely old home. The nights I crept into their room just to look at them asleep in absolute peace. Their teeth, carefully placed by their bedsides. The worn out bible, safely tucked away near the teeth.

    This time I’m undertaking a voyage with a purpose. Sleep had been evading my eyes and brain ever since I got here last week. Going through with the infamous jetlag.
    I traveled all this way alone to this Kerala countryside- surrounded by palm fronds, friendly folks and paddy fields. For I knew if I didn’t come this year, maybe I would miss out on something most dear to me. So I made some ‘me-time’ for myself. What women fight for and agonize over all over the world, the time to recharge their batteries.

    It was the last year that my grandpa left this world to a better place he knew without a shadow of doubt, he was heading too. A deeply spiritual being, he knew the Bible well and everyday held family-centered prayers at noon for all the sick, frail and battered he knew. We, younger grandkids, resented this deep because all we wanted was to gobble up our lunch. Why would we want to pray for Liz aunty’s knee pain, or Chacko’s back trouble or Ely’s misbehaving appendix when our stomachs were growling?
    But faithful granma sat through it all, making signs for us to hush, her one eye open.

    Grandpa was a prolific writer, beside being the district court judge- a position he held with utmost honesty and dignity. Made us all very proud to be his line. He wrote his thoughts in volumes of diaries from daily news to the flow of the River Pamba to their bowel habits. Interspersed between the ministers he met, or the bishops that stopped by to see him. I could check out the exact time I was born and what pains my mom was having on the day of my birth, what they did… all recorded in his diary. The day my parents got married- how and where. Everything was recorded for our eyes.
    And the saddest day of all, that day in May 1971, when my father took off for his heavenly home in the sky.

    All his 14 grandkids wanted the diaries now that he was gone. I was deputed by the family, scattered around the earth, to make a fair division of the diaries.
    Nobody wanted the land, jewelry or the grand home.
    Just the diaries. That’s the kind we were.

    Suddenly there was a knock at the door. I opened the front door with a bit of hesitation. It wasn’t easy to converse with the villagers or a random passerby.
    Besides, it was pretty late. Who’d be coming at this hour?
    “Who’s there?” I asked.
    “It’s me, Thomachen. Happened to pass by and saw a light. I heard you were visiting.”
    “Hey Achayan, it’s good to see you. How’s Ammai? Keeping well?”
    “Oh! She’s resting now with a bad disc problem.”
    “I’m sorry to hear that.”
    “I came to give you a key to the attic. I don’t think you would go up there. But Appachen gave it to me for safekeeping. There you go, now I am handing it over to you.”
    “O thanks achayan. Catch me going up now. Must be full of mice, rats and marapattis. Not me.”
    “Appachen told me he had some stuff up there for his grandkids. So maybe check it out tomorrow when the sun shines. Now be a good young lady and go to sleep.
    Remember to say your prayers, okay? Byeee.”

    “See you around sometime,” I waved him goodnight as I shut the heavy door.

    Next morning, I climbed up to the attic. The staircase was a curvy wooden one and I was quite amused with the intricate railings. Felt like standing on top and calling out, “Romeoooo, whither art thou Romeaooooo?”
    Except there was no Romeo anywhere in sight.
    Instead I hear Peto, the Pomeranian wail.

    Some of the best childhood memories were spent here. When Koyma, my granma called me from games, ‘Come home, it’s suppertime.’ Now their banquet table was ready for them on the golden shore.

    The place was strewn with unbelievable stuff. Carved easy chairs, tables, shelves and what was that??
    An ornate box, what seemed like something out of a royal home. With burnished brass corners.
    The key was then for this box.
    Tremorous, I put the key on the keyhole. And turned it. It didn’t budge.
    I blew into the hole and tried again, this time turning it with a hanky.
    Krrrrrkkkk… It made a strange sound and the box was open. But I still couldn’t figure out how to snap it open. With all my strength, I pressed on and suddenly the thing opened in my hands. The contents lay inside. It wasn’t the queen’s jewelry or the empress’ new clothes. Just a file of notes.
    What an irony. After all the build up, just some papers in a file.
    Wait, it was a child’s scribble.

    O my goodness it was my own notes, scribbles, poems and tales.
    What I had penned from the time I was 9. Grandpa had kept them all safe.

    I took one sheet out. It started falling to pieces in my hands.
    It was my poem written in June 1971. The month my father had left for his heavenly abode. The shattered heart of a 14 year old, clearly delineated.
    My essay when grandma left us. A bitter note about my paranoid uncle.
    The essay written after the mean nun shouted at me in grade 10, because I had asked rather loudly in the Moral Science class, Ms what is sex?
    She said it was a gift given by God for the procreation of mankind. The novice was beating about the bush, turning red, trying to explain the birds and bees to a class of 15 year olds with hormones skyrocketing.
    ‘What is that gift?’ The girls had chimed.
    Nobody seemed to know.
    The mean nun reprimanded, cruel to the core, “ Child, your father has just died last month. His spirit is hovering around and you ask such questions?
    I didn’t believe this midair motion notion, not a bit… but fresh tears rolled down my cheek as she mentioned my dad.

    Grandpa had preserved all my notes and I never realized they were still around.
    He did love me very much, being my father figure when my dad left us.
    But to keep all my childish prose and poetry!! And nobody else’s!
    It thrilled me and also made me sad.
    Sweet Appacha. He departed before he could show me all this.
    I was then his favorite granddaughter whatever the other cousins might say.
    Even among my own siblings.

    Not a chance have they. Yay Yay!

    • Marien,

      Great story. I have grown to love and look forward to your poetic lines such as: Some of the best childhood memories were spent here. When Koyma, my granma called me from games, ‘Come home, it’s suppertime.’ Now their banquet table was ready for them on the golden shore. Enjoyed it, and I have no quibbles, except for maybe how you spelled Grandma as granma. But, granma is one of those colloquial things and perhaps that’s the way they spell it in your neck of the woods. Anyway, good job, Marien.


      • marien oommen
        Thanks so much, Roy, for your kind words. The thoughts just flowed from memory. The box bit was made up of course to fit the prompt. Gwa’ma is what my granchuns call me now!
        I’ve been really caught up with travels… sorry for not commenting. Yours was the best.
  • Carrie Zylka

    I totally lost track of time until just now – so without further ado here is the voting link!!
    So sorry for the delay.
    You have 24 hours from the timestamp of this comment to vote!

  • John Filby
    Hey All,
    Just voted and it was a difficult one this time. All submitted great stories and I found it hard to rank them. Well done.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    I didn’t get my story cut down to size in time. If I do cut it down, I will still post it. These were great stories! It was hard to vote!! Well done, everyone!
  • Carrie
    Not rushing them since I posted the voting ink so late, but just waiting on Ilana and Marien’s votes.
    Once I receive their votes, I’ll tally them up!
  • ilyaleed
  • Carrie Zylka

    Hey everybody!
    Here are your winners!!

    1st Place: Recognition by Roy York
    2nd Place: Skeleton Key by Carrie Zylka
    3rd Place: The Ol Folks At Home by Marien Oommen
    4th Place: Someone named Chevy by Robt Emmett
    5th Place: Pandora’s box Opened by ilyaleed
    6th Place: Under No Circumstances by Phil Town
    7th Place: The Boxed Gift by John Filby

    Story with the favorite character: “Grandpa” from Roy’s “Recognition”
    Story with the favorite dialogue: Recognition by Roy York

    Congrats to all!!

  • Phil Town
    Congratulations, Roy … and all!
  • Ilana
    Congratulations Roy well deserved
  • Roy York
    Thanks, I’m chuffed. Against some great stories. Congrats to Carrie and Marien. On to the next story where we start all over. Roy
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Congrats Roy!! Top rating in all categories! Way to go! Congrats to Carrie and Marien as well. The stories were all great.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Lost Love

    By: Adi Riggs

    Jasmine sneezed, her blond hair falling into her face as she reached into another box.

    “Mom, why are we doing this? I have a date later today.”

    Amanda stood up and stretched her back muscles as she looked at her 16-year-old daughter.

    “You know very well why we are doing this. My grandmother asked that we clean out the house before it is sold, and this is the last area to be done.”

    “But it is so … dusty and dirty!”

    “Aren’t you a little too old to be whining?”

    “Wow! This is great!” An excited shout came from behind some boxes. “Mom, look at these great old toys!”

    Eight-year-old Bobby had found the games and other toys from Amanda’s childhood when she and her brother, Robert, had spent time with their grandmother. There were even toys from her mother’s childhood here.

    Bobby dragged a large box to the center of the room to see better. He pulled out a pair of metal items with wheels. “What are these?”

    “Skates” Amanda tried not to laugh at the look on her son’s face. “Those were Nana’s.”

    He was turning them over and over. “Did the shoe part fall off? How does this work?”

    Amanda grinned. “You attach them to your shoes and off you go! They may be a little rusty and stiff, but we might be able to get them to work.”

    “Can I keep these toys?”

    She ruffled his hair. “Sure kiddo.”

    They worked through lunch and had managed to sort through all the items and sent them downstairs marked for “donate”, “keep” and “sell”. The children had already rushed downstairs, to eat a late lunch. They were tired of the dusty attic.

    Amanda looked around one last time, noticing a small door next to the stairs. She opened it, hoping it wasn’t full. To her surprise, there was only one item. Wrapped in velvet cloth, she found a beautifully engraved small cedar chest. Holding its modest weight, she sat on the top step of the stairs.

    “Mom! Are you coming down?”

    “Be right there. Start without me!”

    She brushed a finger lightly over the intricate carving of two entwined roses and leaves on the top of the box and admired the rich look and smell of the wood. The box was locked, but feeling her way around it, she felt something on the bottom and found the key taped to the underside. She freed the ornate key and held it for long moments. Did she dare open it? She felt like she was trespassing.

    Taking a breath, she inserted the key and turned it. Opening the box, she inhaled the rich scent of cedar. At the top of the box, were several letters. She slid the first from its envelope and began to read. It was a love letter to her grandmother. It was sweet and poetic and the young man writing it, professed his love for the young Elizabeth. It spoke of the summer days they spent together working on their neighboring farms and meeting in the afternoons to lie in the wildflowers to dream and talk of the day they would wed. It spoke of the days that they met by the creek to go swimming with their friends and picnic in the shade of the old oak tree near the water’s edge. The letter was signed, “Yours forever, Adam.”

    Amanda sat up straight in shock. ‘Who was Adam?’ Her grandfather’s name had been Allan! Why would her grandmother hold on to these letters from another man from her youth?

    Setting the letter aside, she removed 4 additional letters beneath it. Under the letters, were three velvet pouches. She set the letters with the first one and reached for the smallest velvet pouch. Pulling the string at the top loose, she tipped the pouch over and a gold wedding ring fell into her palm. The metal shone in the light. Amanda held it up and saw an engraving on the inside of the band. ‘E. Forever Yours, A.’ Was this ring from Adam in the letter? This was getting stranger and stranger. Amanda slid it on her finger, where it fit perfectly. She let it stay there as she reached for the next pouch.

    One by one, she opened them, laying their contents in her lap. She found several military medals including one for valor. Her grandfather had been in the military, so she recognized many of them. She found a beautiful bronze pocket watch, with a majestic eagle in silver engraved on the cover, the initials AC on the back. A small envelope held dried rose petals and the last envelope held a lock of light red hair which seemed vaguely familiar.

    She gently replaced each item back into the box. There was only one way to get answers to this mystery. She would take the box and its contents to her grandmother, hoping that she would tell her the story of Adam.

    Going downstairs, she grabbed a bite to eat, cleaned up and gathered the kids, then went home. Once the kids were in bed, Amanda called her mother, Tory.

    “Hey, Mom, it’s me.”

    “Hi, Sweetheart, how did it go today?”

    “It was good. We cleaned out the entire attic. There wasn’t as much as we feared. It is all separated downstairs.”

    “That’s wonderful! Your grandmother will be pleased. How did the kids do?”

    Amanda laughed. “Jasmine whined about her date and Bobby was thrilled with some toys he found.”

    Tory laughed with her. “Did you find anything interesting?”

    “Funny you should ask.”

    “Oh? What did you find?”

    “Mom, did you ever hear of or know anyone named Adam?”

    “No, why?”

    “Did Grandma?”

    “I’m not sure. What is this all about?”

    “I found a box. It has love letters to Grandma and personal items from a man named Adam. I can tell he meant something to her. She never mentioned him?”

    “What? Really? From when?” Tory sounded as astonished as Amanda had been.

    “Based on the letters, from when she was a girl.”

    “That long ago? What type of personal items?” Amanda told her mother what she had found.

    Tory was silent for a few moments. “I say we visit your grandmother tomorrow and try to unravel this mystery.”

    The next day, they arrived, box in hand, at Elizabeth’s room at the assisted living facility.

    “Good morning, Grandmother!” Amanda greeted her with a kiss.

    Elizabeth was seated at a small table in her room. “Join me, my Dears. I see you brought my memory box.”

    Amanda nearly choked.

    The old woman smiled. “I’m sure you are curious. Adam was my first love. We grew up together and always knew we would marry. He was so handsome. We had our wedding planned after high school, but war interrupted our plans. He didn’t want to leave me, but felt he needed to protect our country. He wrote letters of love. Then, he was injured and was finally coming home. I was planning our wedding when the officers arrived and gave me the news. Adam was gone.”

    Her pale blue eyes took on a faraway look. “He’d had beautiful light red hair and the most beautiful sky-blue eyes. He was tall and strong.”

    “Grandma, I’m so sorry!” Amanda reached for her grandmother’s hand.

    Tory looked concerned. “Mom, why have you never told me about this?”

    Elizabeth just smiled gently. “It was old history. I was heartbroken over losing Adam. Over time, I began to heal and later, I married your father, Tory.”

    “How did Grandpa Allan come into the picture after all that, Grandmother?” Amanda watched her closely.

    Elizabeth winked at her granddaughter. “He was Adam’s twin.”

    • marien oommen
      Good story, Adi. Quite enjoyed it.
      Did Allan fit the bill with his moves and voice as Elvis’ impersonators did, I wonder!
  • Adrienne Riggs
    I finally cut my story down, but since the deadline had passed, I didn’t worry about sticking strictly to the 1,200 word count. Posted it anyway just for the fun of it. Enjoy!
  • Roy York
    Great story with good, descriptive writing. Not only plausible, but probably happened more often than you think. My wife found a box of letters after her mother died with love letters from a suitor not her father. Oh, the what ifs. Nicely done Adi. BTW, how was Elvis?
  • Adrienne D Riggs
    Elvis was great!! There were two Elvis impersonators. Victor Trevino did Elvis’ early years and did a great job! He had all of the moves and the voice. He wore the gold suit coat to start the show and later came back in the black leather suit. VERY nice! Shawn Klush did Elvis’ later years and he has Elvis’ looks, moves, and voice and also did a great job!! Victor played to the ladies and gave out kisses. Shawn gave out the famous scarves and also played to the ladies. I sat near the back and with my very bad knee, there was no way I could hobble to the front for any of these prizes. LOL. I’d always wished I’d had at least ONE chance to kiss Elvis (the real Elvis) but since I was 16 when he died there was little to no chance of that ever happening. Anyway, it was a fantastic night of great music and memories. The event was sold out so there was a lot of screaming and excitement. Thanks for asking!!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: