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The Sliver Box
The sliver box stared up at her, calling. Faint whispers drifted through the air, urging her fingers to lift the ornate lid. She had the key; the instrument laid heavily on a black cord around her neck. Temptation beckoned. The girl bit her lip, fingernails biting into her palm leaving red crescent moons on her ivory skin. The key laid cold against her chest.
Her fingers trembled and she remembered her father's warning. His voice had cracked like thunder in the sky with his instructions. She flinched, remembering it. Carefully, she hid the box away and climbed back into bed with her husband.
Years passed slowly. The whispers grew louder by the day, seeming to follow her everywhere. She dreamed of the box, of lifting the delicately carved sliver lid and finally discovering what it concealed. Her fingers itched every time she passed the room where the box was kept. The key seemed to grow heavier, an iron weight between her breasts.
Her husband was little help. He brushed off her wonder with little more than a passing thought and warned her away from it. Still, the box called her, an irresistible want, so she waited for night.
The moon was just reaching her midnight peak when Pandora stole from her bed to where the box was kept. Her ebony hair blended with the dark shadows as she crept down the corridor. The whispers turned to lovely crooning, and her slippered foot entered the room.
She knelt beside the box, her white dress pooling around her like the feathers of a swan. A moonbeam glanced off the lid of the box, illuminating the room with slivery light. The croons started to hum sweetly.
Yet, her fingers hesitated. The lock seemed heavier, more forbidding than before. She shook her head, glossy lips forming a smile. Childish fancies; nothing more. She untied the black cord around her neck.
Her blood raced in her veins, the humming filled her ears with beautiful melodies. The key went smoothly into the lock, and, fingers trembling, Pandora opened the lid.
Her frail body slammed against the wall. Pain arced through her shoulder, a sensation she had never felt before. The box skittered noisily across the floor, belching a river of darkness. The humming was gone, replaced by mad cackling. Demons escaped through an open window.
Pandora scrambled to her feet, blue eyes wide in horror, taking only a moment to comprehend her deed. She dove for the box. Spirits mocked her effort, prickling her skin as the box moved away. The torrent of blackness was already beginning to thin, but perhaps, somehow she could still manage to cage the last of the demons. Her nerves screamed anew as she lunged again.
It took three more tries before her fingernails scraped the lid of the box, temporarily numbing with the impact. Her fingers felt like they were being torn from their sockets. Pain trickled up her arm, resting in her shoulder blade and her skin pustuled with purple and red bumps as demons passed her. Grunting, she wrenched the lid downward as the last of the demons fled into the night.
Tears fell slowly down her face and sobs wracked her body. Through her screen of tears she barely recognized her husband standing in the doorway, his face pale and mouth agape. "What happened?" he whispered, disbelief echoing in his words.
His wife merely shook her head and pointed an ivory finger. Slowly, Epimetheus knelt beside the box, fingering the sliver lid. A small buzz was emitted from the box. Pandora whimpered. Epimetheus stroked his wife's hair gently. "What more evil could be unleashed upon this world?" he laughed bitterly. He had seen the blemishes on Pandora's skin and knew the evil that had been unleashed. The sliver lid opened.
The buzzing grew louder as a small, white moth flew out from the box and landed on Pandora's shoulder. Pandora blinked in surprise, feeling her heart uplifted. Do not despair, it whispered, For I am Hope. The moth fluttered out of the window.
"For though there is now evil,” Epimetheus whispered, “There is still Hope."