by Steven Craig
Steven had received the box along with a number of other items from his grandmothers estate. She had lived a long time, well into her nineties. In all her possessions were all the things that the family had acquired for over 500 years.
There was a miniature storehouse in her attic, long crammed with every odd sort of item a man or woman would ever be seen to pick up and keep. A family of collectors, they had love for the odd and the unusual, and Steven shared these genes intensely.
She knew of Stevens love for stones and rocks and sediments of the earth, and all the tales that they told him. He had a way about him, to see, to touch, to feel a stone, to know its history, its makeup, its origins, and all that had passed over it during its solid time.
She also did not like him.
They rarely spoke and when he was visiting in her town, he took it upon himself to avoid seeing her if at all possible. There was something about her that he did not like, an anger, a manic drive that pushed him away since he was very young.
Of the great many things that that were to be passed on upon her death, there was a box, made of red wood. It had hinges of bronze, cast as elephant heads, with eyes painted with a red glaze that reflected the sunlight.
It had found its way to Steven two weeks after her death. While many received property or money, olde cars or furs, dusty books or jewels set in old European gold, Steven received, via UPS surface, this box.
He found the cardboard container in his door when he arrived home, and opened it at the table, and pulled out the red box with the bronze elephant hinges and red eyes, and looked at it. Remembering long ago, when he was small, finding his way into a far corner of her bedroom, there had been this same box, sitting on the top shelf of her maple dresser. He was looking at it then with smaller eyes when his grandmother ad chased him away, with anger I her voice, and words he did not understand.
Now, after those long years, he saw this box again, this time in his hands. This time, it was to become his.
He looked for a moment around his living room, and the dining room, pondering where in all the collection of stuff, he would find room, for the box, when he noticed a momentary vibration. Something, was indeed inside.
He looked at the simple bronze catch latch, and pushed the pin to the left, and opened the lid.
There was a smell of old, musty newspapers, the language looked to be Spanish. These he would read later and see what they had to say, for his curiosity was clearly focused now on the contents.
Resting there amongst the papers, even as they began to fall apart from age, was a stone.
It had the look of dirty tan, a stand stone or mud stone from a swamp. Tiny sparkles here and there glistened in the sunlight though the front window, as he moved the stone, picking it up. It was then that he noticed, it was in two pieces.
Two stones, perfect halves, and taking each in a hand, he pulled them apart to look at them. Cast on the interior sides, was a fossil, like that seen of fern trees of some 350 million years of ago.
They felt heavy, denser than normal stones, but looked new and fresh, sharp edged, for such old stones, so perhaps it had only been split recently, revealing the treasure inside.
That fossil was darker in composition, not quite brown coal, but the relief of the plant was intense and compelling. The fern leaves were in 5 rows, he like to think they were vertical, and on a short central stem, was see some sort of insect, crushed against the stone pedals in its final death agony.
He held the stone, so he could feel the relief of the fossil, and in particular, that of the ridges of the long perished insect. He would feel the gritty sensation against his thumb, almost like a freshly opened plastic comb.
As he held the stone pair in his hands, and an odd thought to mind.
He voiced it softly.
Evil, evil, I command you. He said it with a slight smile on his lips, the sound from his voice barely audible.
There was a hint of a flash just outside the window, followed by a long, slow, deep roll of thunder, like from a passing summer cloud on a late hot summer afternoon.
He went to the door, still holding the stones in his hands, and looked outside into the clear blue sky before he realized there was no thunder cloud passing.
He looked at both the stones he held in his hands, and an odd, cold chill came over his body, up the skin of his back, rising though his neck, to the top of his scalp, where it lingered for a moment, tugging at his hair.
He walked back from the door and again, just slightly louder, uttered the same words, almost in dis-belief, that such a thing could ever happen.
Evil, evil, I command you.
The window looked just a little darker on the outside for a moment, perhaps a glint of sun reflected off a nearby window as the chill set in once more. The thunder rolled again, from the sky over head, right to left, and back to the right again, high in the sky. The chill rose stronger on his shin, crawling up his legs this time, up his back, his neck, across his checks and ears, again gathering like a pulling circlet around the top of his head, his scalp tingling, his cheeks beneath his eyes chilled and feeling like cold sparks were present on each eyelash.
Steven remembered this sensation, form once 30 years ago. He was visiting Frankfurt, Germany, and there in a house that he stayed, an old woman had brought out a set of table ware, hidden in a box. She handed him a table knife, and it felt so cold, so heavy. He looked at it and saw stamped deep in the hilt, the mark of the NAZIs, a swastika. He carefully held the knife in his hand, and an odd chill rose in his body and up his skin, crawling, pulling, nearly scraping as it rose to his neck, to the top of his scalp and was felt to be pulling, tugging, relentless.
He held the knife, and looked at it, cold and polished metal, evil and filled with anger and rage. He gave the knife back to the old woman, who rolled it again in old paper and placed it back in the box with the others. He never quite forgot the event, it was like being dying, being totally alive.
Now, he held these two stones in his hand, and the same but even more intense feeling was there, the chill, the feeling of a kind of horror, evil, hatred for living things. The cold stones had grown warm with his holding, much warmer than just the transfer of a little heat from his hand to them. Steven mused lightly if there might be some neutron activity in them when they came close together, which would be very odd and cancerous as well.
But there was a odd feeling in his mind as well, one described only as power, the power to make the thunder sound at his direction, this command, at his control.
He smiled, as he considered wrapping them again in their papers and putting them back into the box for later examination, but the urge was there to say the words that the mind felt needed to be said. He looked at the stone in each hand and weighted them as he thought, and brought them together expecting a spark or something different, but there was only the clink of the two stones.
Again, as he separated them and looked at the fossil, he smiled. Once last call to the thunder would be enough for the day.
He took the stones again, tightly and aligned them so they fit together on the fossil cast, and raised the stones slightly above his head and said aloud what the minds voice pleaded for him to say
Evil, Evil, I summon thee.
He felt the intense chill begin again, but had little time to understand its intensity. The sky had simultaneously grown dark, there was a brilliant flash of light as a lightning bolt burnt though the roof of his house, penetrated the ceiling of the upstairs, passed along close to the chimney and cut him in half in explosive intensity. The stones went flying in different directions in the violence, as the thunder burst aloud to ones crush one's ears, were he still alive to hear it.
Most of the next day, the fire and arson investigation team combed the smoking derbies. The fire companies had passed three alarms to control and put out the blaze that totally consumed the olde house. They found scattered bones and teeth to be used for identification of the deceased, and looked for signed of explosives or accelerates. Police detectives combed the neighborhood, asking questions, seeking answers, and found precious little. Only one distant family that thought they had heard thunder a few times, but looked outside to see only the clear blue sky.
Unsolved, the mystery would fade with ashes of the house before the cleanup finally began months later. Beneath the investigators feet, hidden by the ash and twisted pipes and melted wires, were two stones. Had they seen them days before, whey might have realized that they had grown a little larger than they were when Steven had opened the box.
Posted on 01/13/2008
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig