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I was clearing out the space in my new apartment. It was a little closet, the ones under the stairs, where I found a small abandoned box. The box wasn’t very big at all; it was about the size of a mailbox. I took it out, to see if there was anything useful. I carried it to the kitchen table, and opened it. Inside was an album, a few old and tattered toys, a locket, and a jewelry box.
“Why would they leave this here?” I pondered, examining the contents of the box.
I looked at the album and it was dated 1996. What coincidence, that’s as old as I am. Then I looked at the locket, and in the back it had an inscription to a girl named Ava Smith. I had met the previous owner not too long ago. so I didn't think it was his.
On second thought, I really shouldn’t open this, it isn’t mine.
However, curiosity got the best of me, and I told myself I’d quickly look over the album, then I’d give it back to the owner.I dusted off the cover, opened the clasp, and lifted the cover. The first picture was of two baby girls, each hugging a teddy bear.
Awwww, that’s so cute, I thought. I looked through the album,and I continued to see more pictures of the two girls growing up, until they were in high school.
Something seems off about these pictures. I looked back and didn't find anything. I continued on and noticed that only one of the girls ever appeared in the pictures. It was as if… the other girl just didn’t exist anymore.
”Why would only one of them be there? Why would the owner leave something so precious behind?” I decided I would call Mr. Wo, and ask him. I scrolled through my contacts list, found his name, and called.
I put the phone on speaker, I didn’t like the phone being so close to my face.
“Hello? Who is there?” He answered his English heavily accented.
“Hi. I’m the new owner of the apartment you used to live in,” I replied.
“Ah. Yes.Yes. Yes. Your name Eva, right?” he said.
“Yes, and I was clearing out some of the stuff in the apartment. I found an old album in the closet under the stairs,” I replied. “ I was wondering if you know anything about it?”
“Ahhh, you talking about old box? I saw it when I moved in, but never touch it,” he said.
I could see that he wouldn’t be able help me. “Ok, thank you. See you later,” I said and ended the call.
Sigh. I guess I have someone’s old album now. I went back to the kitchen, and looked through the album again. “They’re so cute,” I murmured as I flipped though the album once more.
I didn’t know why I was so fascinated with the album. Then I examined the other things in the box. It looked like box was for the childhood things of a woman. I thought, who was the owner of these things? Why did she leave her stuff here? I assumed that one of the girls in the picture was the owner. Was she still alive? Would she look the same as in the pictures with her blond hair and blue eyes?
I continued to unpack my things and clear out my new apartment, it was old, but sturdy and there seemed to be no problems. That’s why I bought it; because it was cheap and workable, affordable a the poor college student. I had lived in college dormitories but my roommates and I did not get along. Thoughts of the album haunted my mind all day as I worked. My stomach growled. I microwaved a lasagna and afterward I decided to retire and sleep in the new bed that I just set up.
I opened my eyes. The room was still dark. I rolled to my side to look at the clock on my nightstand. I squinted. the dim light of the clock was as bright as the sun in this darkness. The time was three am. That was strange. I didn’t normally wake in the middle of the night. I got out of bed and trudged toward the kitchen. I floor creaked in the eerie silence. Knowing me, I probably wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. I turned on the lights to the lowest setting, and the lights still glared at me. I looked out towards balcony, the city lights were still on and I could vaguely hear the cars honking in the streets; as expected of an urban city like Chicago. I went and looked through the fridge and cupboards looking for a midnight snack. I found a hot chocolate packet, made hot chocolate,and reheated the leftover lasagna. I walked towards the temporary desk I set up on the kitchen island.
I looked at the box. I decided to look through the album again. I carefully looked at each picture and took some of them out their pockets, some of the pockets had two or three pictures. I flipped to the back of the pictures, and I realized there were descriptions on the back. 12/8/73 Alicia’s 2nd birthday it said. I began to frantically pull out all the pictures and read the back. One after another, I read them, and even though there were two girls, they was only one ever mentioned, Alicia.
Creak. I jumped. But the floor was tile,right? Hello, nice to eat you, I heard. I checked. The sound wasn’t from my computer, and it wasn’t outside the door. Where was it coming from? You know what, I might just go and get Looney, my stuffed bunny. I walked back to my bedroom to get Looney, my phone in hand acting as a flashlight. Then I was walking back to my computer, up the stairs, past the tiny closet underneath, when I felt a chill go down my spine. And then, with my vision blurring, I passed out.