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The Jewelry Box

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Alexa lay face up on top of the pastel blue covers on her bed.  It was 1:15 in the morning and she hadn’t slept a wink.  She knew exactly why she couldn’t sleep, but she also knew that it was better to lose sleep than to spill her secret.  With this knowledge in mind, Alexa slithered off her bed and stumbled through the dark to her dresser.  On the dresser lay a snow white teddy bear perched next to a wooden jewelry box.  Alexa opened the box and smiled at the contents.  Inside the ebony box lay her silver bracelet with square pink rhinestones that she had gotten on her thirteenth birthday last year.  Underneath the shining bracelet lay the birthday card that came with it.  Alexa picked it up and read the message inside.  ‘Happy birthday sweetie, we love you! -mom’  Alexa had no idea why, but a tear rolled down her face when she read the message.  Quickly swiping the tears from her eyes, Alexa set the card down and closed the jewelry box.  She was bored out of her mind, and sleeping was still out of the question, so Alexa decided that a snack could do no harm.  With her mission in mind, Alexa crept across the white carpeting and slipped out the bedroom door.  Making sure not to make any noise, Alexa stepped softly into her living room, where she found her parents watching television on the couch.  Alexa looked at them with pure annoyance.
“Why are you two always up?  Watching TV all the time is rotting your brains.”  Alexa scolded them, but it was greeted with silence.  It wasn’t a comfortable silence either.  It was a cold, dead, screaming silence.  A silence that couldn’t even be broken by the static on the TV screen.  At first, Alexa was at a loss for words.  She simply didn’t know how to respond to the deafening silence.
“What are you guys watching anyways?”  Alexa attempted to sass her parents into a response again, but to no avail.  Alexa tore her head from her parent’s blank stares to look at the TV.  All she was greeted with was the black and white fizz of static filling the television screen.  Alexa opened her mouth to speak, but no reaction came out of her.  The silence once again washed over the room.  It was as if silence was all there was in the room, like the air was being sucked away and replaced by a tortured silence screaming in Alexa’s ears.
“If you’re just going to sit there all night then you should at least clean up after yourselves.  Look at yourselves!  You’re bleeding all over the couch!”  Alexa yelled at her parents, trying to battle the silence.  Once again, silence won and took the room in its quiet grasp once again. 
“Fine, don’t talk to me, I’ll be in the kitchen if you decided to start talking again.”  Alexa snapped before stomping through the door and into the kitchen.  Alexa stopped dead in the kitchen, for sitting at the kitchen table was Annabelle, Alexa’s five year old sister.  Annabelle was staring at Alexa with her giant blue eyes and tear stained face.
“Alli, why are you crying?”  Annabella asked her sister, her voice small and scared.  Alexa brought her hand to her face, only to find it soaked with tears.  Upon this realization Alexa also noticed her hands were shaking and she felt as if she would puke. 
“I just stubbed my toe running in here, that’s all.”  Alexa tried to respond with confidence, but her voice came out high pitched and fast.
“Why are mommy and daddy always watching TV?”  Annabelle questioned, peering at them through the open kitchen door.  Alexa whipped her head around to glance at them before turning her attention back to her sister.
“Because they need to relax.”  Alexa told Annabelle hastily before walking other to the kitchen counter to wash the blood-stained knife in the sink.  Her hands were still shaking, and her arms felt numb, so she kept dropping the knife and cutting her hands accidentally.
“Why do mommy and daddy smell so bad?”  Annabelle continued her interrogation of innocent questions while she turned in her chair to face her sister.
“They haven’t showered in a while.”  Alexa returned bluntly, trying her best to focus on the knife.
“Why haven’t they left the couch in three days?”  Once again Anna showed her childish curiosity towards her parent’s strange behavior.
“They’re really tired so they’re taking a very long nap.”  Alexa again responded bluntly, and scrubbed at the knife harder.
“Why are they sleeping so much?”  Annabelle finally asked the question that Alexa didn’t know how to answer.  Alexa dropped the knife in the sink and whipped around to finally face her sister.  Silence filled the room.  This time it was a tense silence, a silence filling the space between the question and the answer.  A silence that bothered Alexa more than the loud silence in the living room.
“Mom and dad were working too much and whenever they came home they’d just sit and watch TV instead of resting, so I made them take a nap.”  Alexa responded, approaching her sister slowly and kneeling down in front of her chair.
“Nobody can ever know about this, it’ll be our little secret, okay?”  Alexa smiled weakly as her sister and spoke in a small, shaking voice.
“Okay.”  said Annabelle smiling innocently and happily at her sister.  Alexa stood up slowly and stumbled through the dark halls into her room, leaving her sister at the kitchen table.  Sighing, Alexa flopped down on top of her pastel blue covers and rolled over to stare at the ceiling.  She knew she’d never be able to sleep, so she brought herself to a sitting position and slid off her bed and once again stumbled through the dark over to her dresser.




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