The Box's Pandora part 5

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I didn’t know where I was, only that it was dark, and I was surrounded by a thick fog on all sides. There was no visible source of light, yet I could still see around me, at least enough to clearly make out myself and the fog.

Then, I began to see images in the fog, shadows that moved and seemed to approach. In moments, they stopped, and I could see human shaped silhouettes on all sides of me, though they were no longer coming closer, and they remained too far into the fog for me to make out any details.

“Hello?” I called out nervously.

I wasn’t afraid. At least, that was what I tried telling myself. However, I had absolutely no idea where I was, or how I’d come here, so I had plenty of reason to be scared. The last thing I remembered before waking up here was…

“I went to bed,” I whispered in realization. “I’m dreaming.”

Though I was now sure that I was dreaming, I was still worried and confused. This was unlike any dream I’d ever had before. Somehow, it felt so real. A moment later, almost as if the figures in the fog had been waiting for this realization, they began to step forward and emerge.

“Aunt Dora,” I blurted out as soon as I recognized the person who stepped out of the fog. It was Aunt Dora, who was even wearing the same clothes she’d had on when she’d been killed, mere hours ago.

Seconds later, I noticed the other figures who’d emerged from the fog, seven of them in total. Eight, if I counted Aunt Dora among them, which I did. After all, each and every figure that stepped out of the fog, looked exactly like her.

I was now surrounded by eight versions of Aunt Dora, each of them identical to her, except for the clothes and hair styles. But as I slowly looked around, staring at them, I realized that there were other differences too, differences in posture and body language.

“We are Pandora,” all eight women said at the same time, in the same voice. The accents and pronunciations were each different, but beneath that, they still sounded like the same woman.

One Pandora was wearing a very old fashioned dress, something that looked like it probably would have fit right in during the renaissance. Most of the others wore dresses as well, though of even older styles, and less fancy. However, one wore what appeared to be a toga, and another was dressed in some kind of leather armor, and held a spear in her hands. But of course, the one my eyes settled on, was the one I’d watched get murdered.

“Aunt Dora,” I said again, my voice catching in my throat. My eyes began to tear up.

“I am but a shadow of the woman you knew,” Aunt Dora answered in a quiet, almost sad voice. “An echo of the last Pandora. I am sorry that you have been chosen as her successor, as she never would have wished this burden on you.”

I stared at Aunt Dora, or at least, the thing that looked like her. Was this Aunt Dora’s ghost? “Who are you?” I demanded. “What are you?”

“We are Pandora,” all eight women answered simultaneously.

“What do you want?” I demanded, feeling more than a little creeped out. However, I remembered what Mom had told me before I’d gone to bed, and the fact that she’d still been holding back something important. “What’s happening?”

“The box has chosen you as the new Pandora,” Aunt Dora explained. “This is blessing and curse. Gift and burden. Priviledge and responsibility.”

“What if I don’t want it?” I demanded. “What if I say no?”

Aunt Dora gave me a sad look. “There is no escaping this fate. You are becoming Pandora.”

I gave her and the other Pandoras a defiant glare. “Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Star Trek. It’s the whole resistance is futile, you will be assimilated thing…”

“The box has already chosen you,” Aunt Dora said apologetically. “The deed has already been done.”

“No,” I gasped, quickly looking around for a way to escape.

I was surrounded by eight Pandoras, and even if I could slip past them, the only place to go was into that dark swirling fog. I didn’t know what they were going to do to me, but I didn’t want to be stuck with that magic box. Aunt Dora and my dad had both been murdered for that thing, so I didn’t want anything to do with it.

Aunt Dora slowly came towards me, holding her hands out to show that she was unarmed. “We will not hurt you,” she promised. “We cannot hurt you. You are one of us…” Then, she reached out to put a hand on my shoulder and stated, “We are Pandora.”

With those words, Aunt Dora moved back to her previous position, and the next Pandora came forward. This was the one in the nice renaissance style dress. “Only we understand the burden you assume,” she said, before kissing me on the cheek. “We are Pandora.”

The renaissance Pandora went back to her position, and a third one came to me. “We are the keepers of the box,” she told me. “Ours is the honor of keeping the box safe and hidden, out of the hands of those who would abuse it and its contents.” She gave me a small bow, then reached out to take my hand. “We are Pandora.”

Seconds later, the fourth Pandora approached me. “We are the servants of the box,” she said. “Ours is the duty of serving its purpose, of safeguarding the shards of magic until their time comes.”

Each time one of the Pandoras approached me, I lost a little of my fear and apprehension. Instead, I felt a strange connection to them, and it only grew stronger with each additional Pandora.

When the last of the woman came to me, she said, “We are a part of you, just as you will become a part of your successors.” And then, as with the others, she touched me and stated, “We are Pandora.”

Once the last Pandora had returned to her position, I knew what was going to come next. As one, they all announced, “We are Pandora,” but this time, my own voice was added to those words.

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This story is 1093 words long.