The Box's Pandora part 26

I hate road trips. Once again, I was riding in a car, watching out the window as the miles slowly rolled past. At that moment, I was starting to think that life was just one long road trip, with various stops on the way. Maybe I was getting a bit philosophical, or maybe it was just because I was tired and hungry.

“Are we there yet?” Dave asked from the back seat.

I rolled my eyes, remembering the days when I’d been the one in the back seat, asking that question to amuse myself. Sometimes, that seemed like it had been so very long ago, though it had only actually been a matter of weeks.

“Still hard to believe,” Dave commented. “That magic is real, I mean.”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered in response.

Yesterday, I’d told Dave about magic, my box, and why Kraesse was really after me. I’d told him most of the story of what was really going on, though I still kept a few pieces back. He had no need to know that I used to be a teenage boy, and I was pretty sure that Jake wasn’t going to tell him either. All he knew was that I’d suddenly inherited the box and all the responsibilities that went with it, while Kraesse and his people wanted the box, no matter the cost.

“Can’t you just give them the box?” Dave asked, more curious than anything.

“No,” I answered with a shake of my head, fully aware of the box that was currently sitting in the trunk. “I’m kind of chained to it.”

“Besides,” Jake added. “Those guys are pretty nasty, and I wouldn’t trust them with a fraction of the stuff in that box.”

“Not that we really know what most of it is,” I added with a sigh. “It didn’t actually come with any kind of content list or anything.”

Dave chuckled at that. “Well, at least you’ve probably got a whole arsenal in there that we can use…”

“Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way,” Jake said with a sigh. “It would be nice if it did though.”

“Real nice,” I agreed. “But once something goes into that box, it doesn’t come back out. Trust me, I tried pulling a couple things out just to see if I could, but the box wouldn’t let me.” I shook my head at that, thinking that a fire staff would have been real nice to have.

“Forget the box and everything inside it,” Jake told Dave. “We only have two artifacts that we can use. One is the magic mirror…”

Dave chuckled at that. “Mirror mirror, on the wall… Damn, I never would have thought Snow White was real…”

I rolled my eyes at that, having no idea if there was any truth at all to the Snow White story, or if this mirror had any relation to the one from the story. What I did know, was that when we used it that morning, Dave had watched, and he’d been impressed. In fact, he’d been even more impressed by the mirror, than he had been by my box appearing and disappearing yesterday.

“And we have my magic sword,” Jake added.

Dave nodded at that, and I already knew that he was impressed by the idea that magic swords were a real thing. Jake had shown it off for Dave yesterday, while we were convincing him that magic was real. Watching a sword cut through a cinder block, seemed to have done the trick.

“Are you sure I can’t try that thing out?” Dave asked a little eagerly.

Jake barked a short laugh. “Unless you know how to handle a sword, you’re likely to accidentally lop off your good foot. This blade is sharp, and has very little forgiveness.”

I nodded my head, remembering the lessons that Dora and Cliff had given me with a practice sword, before I’d ever touched the magic one. I’d seen how easily it sliced through flesh, and knew that Jake was correct. Any accidents with that blade, would be messy.

While I was thinking about Jake’s sword, my thoughts also turned back to the magic mirror, which was safely stored in the trunk. I was pretty sure that the box wouldn’t just open up on its own and eat the mirror, but that was always a possibility. Where magic was concerned, anything was possible.

There was one thing that I was curious about, and it was the fact that I still had the urge to put the mirror into the box, yet I hadn’t once felt that kind of urge with Jake’s sword. Maybe it was because the box had already stored the sword at one point, until it made Dora give it to Cliff. I wasn’t sure, since where the box was concerned, there were a lot of things I wasn’t sure about.

“All guesswork and rumors,” I said with a sigh, looking at the invisible tether that led back to the box. It was getting more than a little frustrating.

“It’s getting about time for lunch,” Jake said. “How about we stop to stretch our legs and get something to eat.”

“Sounds good to me,” I responded.

“Ditto,” Dave agreed. “And once we’re done with the noms, we can talk about the plan…or more accurately, our lack of one.”

“We’ll need more information before we can plan anything workable,” Jake pointed out. “The mirror will help with that. Some eyes-on scouting should help too.”

Even from the front seat, I could see Dave rolling his eyes behind me. “Dude, I might have been in the Army, and play a lot of first person shooters, but I ain’t spec-ops and neither are you. And somehow, I’m pretty sure Pan ain’t either. If we’re gonna do this, we can’t charge in with guns blazing like in some movie. Not if we want to get out in one piece.”

“We don’t want to die either,” I pointed out. “Whatever we do, we’ll have to be smart about it.”

“The smartest thing would have been not going at all,” Jake said, giving me a flat look. “And not bringing the box to them.”

I let out a sigh at that. “I know, but I can’t leave Theressa…”

“I know,” Jake replied with a sigh of his own. “Trust me, I understand, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t agree.”

A few minutes later, we pulled into a small diner, which had a few tables set up outside. A half dozen people were already eating at these, so I wondered how many more might be inside.

As we walked past the outside eating area to get to the entrance, a girl suddenly caught my attention, though I wasn’t sure why. She was a teenage girl, a year or two younger than I’d been before my change, with long black hair and light brown skin.

I shook my head and continued into the diner, thankful that this time, I got to be the customer instead of the waitress. Then again, as I looked around, I suspected that there might be some pretty good tips there.

We sat down and looked over the menu, though I still kept thinking about the girl from outside. I didn’t understand why, at least not at first. Then, I realized that I felt something in the back of my mind, an urge similar to what I felt with the Tom’s artifact and the mirror, but different. For one thing, it wasn’t as strong, or as obvious.

“Excuse me,” I told Jake and Dave as I got up from the table.

“Something wrong?” Jake asked, looking around with a wary expression.

“Maybe,” I responded, before admitting. “I don’t know.” I glanced around to make sure that no one could hear, before explaining, “I need to go have a talk with my box…”

“Damn,” Dave piped in with a chuckle. “Do you realize how kinky that sounds?”

I gave Dave a flat look, then went back to the restroom. Once I was sure that I was alone, I made the box become solid, and set it down on the counter. Then, I opened the box.

For a moment, I just stood there, staring at the swirling darkness and mist that filled it. “Okay,” I said with a sigh. “What do you want?”

Now, the whisper in the back of my head was louder, enough that I could actually feel a straightforward urge. Giving into the urge, I put my hand into the box. The moment I did, I was hit with visions and images, which flashed through my mind, leaving me stunned and confused.

“What…?” I started, until I realized that I had something in my hand.

I pulled my hand out of the box and stared at the object I was now holding. It was a feather, which was about a foot long, and it seemed to be made of golden metal. However, there was a strange flickering of color over the feather, which was almost mesmerizing.

“Not a feather,” I said, noticing the tip. “A quill…”

With that, the images that had just flashed in my mind, suddenly became clear. I knew what I was staring at and where it came from. I let out a gasp at that realization.

“A feather from Quetzalcoatl,” I whispered in awe.

My dad had been a professor of mythology, which meant that while I was growing up, my bedtime stories had often been legends and myths from around the world. Though I’d never shared my parents interest in history, I hadn’t been able to avoid picking up a few things.

From what I remembered, Quetzalcoatl had been the feathered serpent god of the Mayans and Azteks. I knew that he was supposed to be some kind of god of wind and learning, but I didn’t really remember much beyond that and a few vague stories. It had been a long time since Dad told me any bedtime stories, and unfortunately, remembering that he would never be able to do so again, sent a spike of grief through my heart.

According to the box, or at least, from what I was able to make out of the visions, this quill was an artifact that had been made from one of Quetzalcoatl’s feathers. And like all artifacts, it was magical, and possessed certain powers.

Not only did I know what this artifact was and what I could do, I also knew that it belonged to that girl. She was the rightful owner of the quill, the one who was fated to use it, just as her ancestors had centuries ago.

“Okay,” I told the box as I closed the lid. “I got the message.”

The box once again vanished from normal sight and floated behind me, though I barely paid it much attention. Instead, I left the restroom and walked back out of the diner, going straight to the outdoor seating area where I’d seen the girl. She was still there.

“I believe that this belongs to you,” I told the girl, who gave me a look of surprise.

“Who are you?” she demanded suspiciously.

Instead of answering, I held out the quill and her eyes were immediately fixed on it. I suspected that she was feeling some sort of connection to it, perhaps even similar to what I felt to the box.

“Centuries ago, this quill was made from a feather from Quetzalcoatl,” I explained. “It is a tool for knowledge and learning, in that it can only write the truth, regardless of whether you know it to be the truth or not. Once, this belonged to your ancestors. Now, it belongs to you.”

With that, I carefully set the artifact onto the table in front of the girl. She stared at it with a strange expression, then carefully picked it up. While she was distracted by this, I turned and walked away, returning to Jake and Dave.

If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
238 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 2047 words long.