The Box's Pandora part 1

I was debating about whether to release this story as a serial, or wait until it was finished. Serial won out.


“Are we there yet?” I asked from the back seat of my family car, a five year old sedan that Dad had bought brand new.

“No,” Dad answered from the driver’s seat.

I turned my attention back to my DS, and the Pokemon game that I was in the middle of playing. A few minutes later, I repeated the question, “Are we there yet?” This was more from boredom, than because I thought we were really that close to our destination.

“Not yet,” Mom answered from the passenger seat. “We’ll be there in about half an hour though.”

I didn’t bother responding to that. Instead, I focused on my game, trying to divert my attention. After the six hour drive, I was more than a little bored.

“Can I drive?” I asked, for what had to be the fourth time during the drive. I had a driver’s permit, and in less than two months, I’d actually be able to get my license. “I can use some more practice.”

“Not right now, Byron,” Dad responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice. I smiled faintly at that. If I was going to be bored and miserable, at least he’d be sharing in it.

My name was Byron Houseman, and I was a pretty typical sixteen year old boy. Well, technically, I wouldn’t be sixteen for nearly two more months, but I was close enough that it didn’t matter. At least, that was my opinion on the matter. My parents, on the other hand, didn’t seem to share my views.

“I told you to bring your homework,” Dad said with a sigh. “You could have gotten ahead of your class reading, if nothing else.”

“I can’t read in the car,” I grumbled. “I get motion sick.”

Mom chuckled at that. “But you don’t seem to have any problems with playing video games.”

I shot a glare to the back of her head. “That’s different.”

“Of course it is,” Mom replied, in a slightly sarcastic tone.

A short time later, we arrived at our destination, a large, two-story house, that was set well off the main street. The house wasn’t a mansion, though with the fenced property, heavy iron gate, and security cameras, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been.

“We’re here,” Mom announced unnecessarily. “Dora’s house.”

I looked up at the house, having been here only once before, three years ago. My Aunt Dora lived here, and though she came to visit us once every year or two, this was only the second time I’d ever gone to visit her. I liked Aunt Dora, but I could think of more exciting places to spend my spring break, not that my parents had given me much choice.

We had just barely climbed out of the car, when the front door opened and Aunt Dora stepped out. She was a beautiful woman, with long black hair that cascaded down her back and ended at her waist. In contrast to the dark color of her hair and eyes, her skin was smooth and pale, what my mom sometimes referred to as ‘porcelain’, and somehow managed to avoid seeming unhealthy.

Aunt Dora had what I could only think of as, an ageless look. She looked like she could easily be anywhere from her mid-twenties to her mid-thirties, though I knew she was a lot older than that. How old she actually was, I had absolutely no idea, and I was wise enough not to ask.

Once, because of her pale skin and youthful looks, I’d jokingly asked Aunt Dora if she was a vampire. She’d just given me a strangely amused look, and pointed out, “I am standing out in the sunlight, and wearing a cross around my neck. What do you think?”

“You arrived earlier than I expected,” Aunt Dora said with an English accent.

“We made good time,” Mom responded with a smile. “There wasn’t much traffic. It’s good to see you again, Dora.”

“And you as well, Theressa,” Aunt Dora responded with a smile. “Come in, I have tea on the stove.” Then she looked to me and smiled. “Welcome, Byron. Enter freely and of your own will.”

I rolled my eyes at the line from Dracula and grumbled, “I am never going to live that down…”

“Not for some time,” Aunt Dora agreed.

“I was ten,” I protested, pausing to give Aunt Dora a hug.

“Almost like yesterday,” Aunt Dora responded with a smile.

As soon as I stepped into the house, I saw all the antique furniture and décor, and was clearly reminded of how Aunt Dora made her money. She collected and sold antiques and artifacts. The older, the better. In fact, that was how Aunt Dora and my mom first met.

Aunt Dora wasn’t really my aunt, though I’d grown up thinking she was, and had only learned the truth about a year ago. She was actually just a very close friend of my mom’s, and was actually the one who first introduced my parents to each other.

Mom was an archeologist, though it had been years since she’d actually gone out into the field on a dig. Now, she usually stayed close to home, cataloguing artifacts for the local museum. Since Dad was a college professor, who taught classes on mythology, their professional lives were pretty compatible, and often took over the conversation at the dinner table.

After we were escorted to the living room, Aunt Dora said, “I’ll be right out with the tea.” Then she looked at Dad. “And Lucas, I remember that you don’t care for tea, so I made some coffee for you…”

“Thank you,” Dad responded with a smile.

A couple minutes later, Aunt Dora came back with the tea and coffee, but she didn’t return alone. Cliff Roberts was with her. Cliff was probably in his fifties, and had short grey hair that was cut in something of a military fashion. I was never quite certain if Cliff was Aunt Dora’s boyfriend, bodyguard, or both, though she never went anywhere without him.

“Hello, Lucas,” Cliff said in a gruff voice, shaking Dad’s hand. Then he nodded to Mom. “Nice to see you again, Theressa.”

I wasn’t a big fan of tea, but I could handle the stuff better than coffee, not that Aunt Dora had ever offered me any of that. So I sat there, sipping on my tea and listening in as the adults talked. I was already bored, and was considering how long before I could play my DS, without it coming across as rude.

“Did you find what you were looking for in Budapest?” Mom asked Aunt Dora.

“Yes, I did,” Aunt Dora answered with a smile. “It was well worth the trip too, to get that nasty thing out of circulation…”

That caught my attention, because I had absolutely no idea of what they were talking about. I knew that Aunt Dora traveled a lot, due to her business, however, she never gave many details about it when I was around.

“I wish I could have gone with you,” Mom told her with a sigh. “Unfortunately, I have other responsibilities now…”

“Of course,” Aunt Dora responded with a smile. “But you remember the last time we were in Budapest…?”

“How can I forget?” Mom asked. Then, she and Aunt Dora both began to laugh.

Dad gave them a curious look, then said, “Now, I want to hear about Budapest…”

“Me too,” I added, now paying even more attention to the conversation.

I knew that Mom and Aunt Dora had a lot of history together, though neither of them really talked about it much, at least not to me. However, I suspected that there were some great stories that could slip out in this conversation, and I didn’t want to miss them. At least now, I was no longer bored.

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This story is 1369 words long.