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Linda felt very bored. Her grandmother had gone to the market with her mother. She was alone at home. She went to her room and began reading. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the box. She put her book down and went to pick up the box. Suddenly, she had an idea. A very interesting idea which include some magic and unearthling creatures. Oops, did she give the details out to quickly? Maybe not. ‘Pandora Box,’ she thought. Yes, that is the name of the box. A box full of secrets and wonders of the world. A box unknown by us, the human beings.
It was also the very same box she is forbidden to touch. Her parents had refrained her from doing so because the last time they entrusted her with the box, she released our Perses, the Greek Titan God of Destruction from the box an almost destroy the Earth... twice. However, the news reported it as the terrible blizzard in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2005 Kashmir earthquake. That was way long before she started school and her mind filled with fashion, boyfriend and new gadgets in store.
Anyway, that was all in the past. Now, here she is overwhelmed with boredom and a sense of anxiety regarding the presence of the Pandora Box. Who can stop her right now from doing what she is thinking? Anybody? Perhaps, nobody. She moved her fingers touching the rim of the box while her eyes admiring the fine details of flowers carved on the silver box. Okay, this is it! In just a split second, she indiscreetly opened the box and flashes of blue and golden light came out of the box. Her face is filled with expressions of surprised and delighted.
When she heard her mother and grandmother ring the doorbell, her heart pumped even faster. She could not wait to carry out her plan.
She arranged the Japanese sea deity, Mizuchi or dragon god into the aquarium with her goldfishes (which looks very startled with the arrival of a new member in their peaceful habitat). Who would have ever expected that Mizuchi, the Dragon is so small that it could be fitted in a small aquarium? Neither did she. Anyway, she just hoped that the 3000-year-old cute-looking Mizuchi did not eats the goldfishes and make friends with them.
She could hear footsteps coming toward her. Mother and grandmother had just finished unpacking the groceries in the kitchen since she heard the sounds of plastic bags in there just now. She kept her fingers crossed and hoped everything..... yes, she meant everything happened as planned.
“Linda, Linda..... Where are you? We’re home...,” she heard her mother calling. She tried not to make some noise before she made sure everything was in its place or it would expose everything that supposed to be a surprise. “Where on earth is that girl? I hope she is not racking out some hideous trick of her again.....”
“Annette, please... she’s your daughter...,” Linda heard her grandma backing her up and smiled.
“I know but you know how she’s like...” said Linda’s mother, looking at her mother with her eyebrows twitched. “She’s always causing troubles.”
Grandmother sighed and said, “Maybe, she’s in the living room asleep.” Annette got her mother’s message that she wanted to stop talking about Linda and both of them made their way toward the living room. Along the way, they passed the nice Monet painting, one of the Woman with A Parasol collection – Sunlight Effect under the Poplars hanging on the red painted wall; the music room where a classic 18th century piano made by a Viennese woman named Nannette Streicher and a German, Anton Walter along with other modern instruments near the ten-foot large white-painted wooden window and a collection of Japanese traditional wooden doll on the table which they bought at around RM 3000 last year.
As soon as they arrived on the living room.....
“Oh my God!” her grandmother cried in shocked and fainted. Anyone would be fainted at the sight of dragon swimming around the aquarium; the Iban legendary giant snake, Nabau staring with its red fiery eyes from outside the windows and was ruining her mother fine garden on the yards; the famous pharaoh, Cleopatra VII using her magic wands to fill the living room with sand and lastly but not least, Linda in the middle of the living room looking innocent.
“Linda!” her mother called her name furiously. She stared at Linda like a lion aiming her prey with no mercy.
Linda shrugged her shoulder and said, “What? I thought you and grandma would like a little surprise.”
“A little surprise!?” said her mother repeating Linda’s words. Her mother looked around and said, “This is your LITLLE SURPRISE!?? You’re going to get it!”
Her mother was rushing towards her and Linda thought she better run now or never. Before she could do it, she felt the ground started shaking beneath her. Her mother stopped as if she could feel it too. Suddenly, something green and long emerged from the underground and broke the wooden floor between her and her mother. Her mother opened her mouth widely in an ‘O’ shape in shocked and so was Linda.
“Now you’re really going....” before her mother could finish her words, a boy in blue clothes crushed against the glass window with an axe in his hand and was running towards them. Linda and her mother ran for their life. Unexpectedly, the boy cut the green, long thing until it broke into two and a giant man crushed on their yard on the large snake.
“What the heck!?” said her mother.
“It’s Jack and the Beanstalk,” I told her.
After what seemed liked ages, her grandmother came around. Linda heaved a big sigh of relief. She was terrified when her grandmother passed out. Her mother was in panic too. They did know what to do. Linda was sent to her room. She was not allowed to come out until her father returned from home that evening.
In her room, Linda paced back and forth in her room. She thought of what she could do to defend herself in front of her father. Perhaps, she could pretend to be asleep at 12:00 in the afternoon so that her father could not question her. Or she could say that the unearthling creatures were screaming to get out and she was just trying to help.
She gave up the idea and rummaged through piles of books and boxes next to her bed to get her new Arena Comic vol. 12 which she had just bought recently. She read them while laying her stomach on her bed with her feet on the air. There was no way she could prevent herself from getting into the lion’s den, mostly after what she had did but for now, she better distracted her fearful thoughts with some entertainment while waiting for Hell to approach.
From her room, she heard the house main door clicked and shoes being put in the cupboard. Her father was home. She could hear her mother footsteps; quick but soft coming to get her dad. ‘I’m going to be dead-meat,’ she thought to herself.
A few minutes later, her mother summoned her to meet her dad in the library. Like a prisoner waiting for a death sentence, her steps were heavy and she kept sighing as she walked past the hallway. When she reached the door of the library, she looked at her mother as if pleading to be released which her mother ignored. She knocked and a voice asking her to come in from inside. She turned the doorknob and entered the library.
Her father sat on one of the chair with his back facing her. She took a seat facing her father. The library room was gloomy and dark with only dim light from the table lamps. Her dad was reading a book by Voltaire, a famous French writer who triggered revolution. Her father slowly marked the page of the book and put it down. He took off his glasses and stared straight into her eyes. His face was expressionless but he was certainly angry.
“Dad, I....” Linda quickly opened her mouth to explain what she did and how sorry she was though she was not before her father explode.
Too late. Her father cut her off, “Don’t say anything,” said he. “I am so disappointed with you Linda.”
‘There it goes,’ she thought.
“Our family, the Salem witches family – Bishop Clan is entrusted to keep the Pandora Box from evil and greedy pursuit. Pandora Box is such a powerful magical instrument as it can grant any wish a man wants or make the wish come true. You saw it for yourself when you were a little girl how from a small box, it unleashed a monstrous destruction to the earth and cost many lives. That is the very reason we have to keep our magic a secret so that people stay ignorance about it and the most important thing is so that we are safe.” He paused for a moment to look at her.
“Our ancestor, Bridget Bishop died in the gallows accused of witchcraft in 1962 for revealing her magic. However, that was not very true. They wanted her dead so that they could get the Pandora Box. They did not care she was a witchcraft. All they care about was the box. Fortunately, the box was 20 miles from Salem in the hand of her relative, Maria Bishop who fled from the town in the search of a new life and protected the box from evil hands. What you did just now could draws anyone attention to us and expose our secrets. And they could endanger our lives.”
Linda was shocked by the truth. She did not know what to say or do. She almost killed her family. Her father rose from his seat and walked out of the library, leaving her there alone. That was it. That was how she wanted it; no yelling, no screaming and no tears but it did not feel right.
Linda went to her room. She was very upset. She did not know that her father would be so mad at her.
Linda sat at the corner of her bed, looking at the sparkling stars through the window. There were a lot of stars on the dark blue sky that night. Under the sky, the city was filled with lights on the tall skyscrapers. It was like seeing double image of the city on the sky or vice versa. What she thought would be an exciting event that day turned out to be a horrifying, terrible nightmare. It was indeed such.... a nasty trick!
That night, Linda had a dream about meeting a lady in the water. Linda was swimming through the water catching after clownfish happily when she suddenly heard a voice. A voice that sounds like music. She followed the voice and there she saw her.... Lorelei, the water nymph which resembles a very beautiful lady with long hair. She was famous for maliciously bewitching men and driving them to ruin.
“Linda.....,” she called me as if singing. Her voice is so beautiful that anyone who heard it will be enchanted.
However, Linda knew what she was and her history that Linda could not bring herself to come closer. Lorelei stared at her and said, “Don’t fear me. I mean no harm to you.”
“Why should I believe you? You killed many men,” Linda said. Upon hearing that, Lorelei looked so said that Linda wished she could choked herself for saying that.
“That was not true. What you heard is just folklore,” said Lorelei. “I was in love with a man. Heinrich is his name. I was sixteen when he abandoned me on a trade to Morocco. Without him going, we will still going to be separated anyway. Our relationship was very complicated. I am going to become a nun and he is trader. He will travel half of the world while I am going to stay wherever I am and not married. That day, he was leaving on a trade again. He did not tell me. On the way to the nunnery, I climbed the rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany to watch him on the ship going to Morocco. However, the earth where I am standing was slippery after the morning rain. I was trying to hold my balance but I fell deeply into the ocean. And I died.... but not my soul.
My soul is still longing for him, my Heinrich. My restless soul embedded itself on the rock where I fell and every single day and night, the rock sounds as if murmuring and lures all the shipmen to me and crashed the ship on it. However, none of them are my beloved, my Heinrich. The news spread out about the dangerous Lorelei and soon, Clemens Brentano wrote a poem about me. That poem reached to Heinrich. Heinrich who had been searching for me for a long time, wrote another poem which said that I am a titular female as a kind of siren luring shipmen to distraction with her singing, who then crash on the rocks in the riverbed. It sounds harsh but that is not what Heinrich was trying to say. The real message is in the poem’s title, ‘Die Lore-Ley’. He wanted me to be free and forget about him.”
“Why are you telling me all this?” Linda asked her, confused though she felt very sad after hearing Lorelei’s story.
“So that you know and you can tell the world about it. So that they can change their opinion about us. About magic,” said Lorelei.
“I understand but why me?” said Linda.
“Because you are her. You are Isis, our saviour,” she said, excitedly shaking my body. “ayou have chosen to be reincarnated to save us all from this painful hideaway.”
“What are you saying?” I pushed her hand away.
“It was long ago....,” said Lorelei. “During 560 B.C., Pythia, the famous priestess of Apollo at Delphi predicted that one day human beings and magic can live together. She predicted it on the seventh day during the nine warmer month of the year. The peaceful bonds between magic and human beings will be triggered by a lady who bear a rose insignia on her left shoulder and it is you.” She looked at me right after she said it.
I knew what she is saying. I had it what she said as the rose insignia on my shoulder.
Suddenly, I was awakening from my dream. Cold sweat covered my face. My ribcage move up and down in a rush. I sit up on my bed and closed my eyes, trying to relax. Then, I remembered what Lorelei said. I unbutton my clothes and slid it through my left shoulder. I saw it. The mark; a rose insignia.
‘Now what?’ I thought, smiling. I looked at the magic pendant my grandmother gave me foy my birthday last year sitting innocently on my study table. That is all the encouragement I need to continue those nasty tricks of mine.