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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: An Empty Box
By Paula Titus


“Get down Stinker,” Addy’s cat pounced from the tattered recliner just as her bottom hit hard. Her knees didn’t bend quite right anymore – which resulted in a short fall to her beloved chair.

Addy shuffled through used tissues and stacks of mail on the table beside her chair until she found her deceased husband’s letter. It was a handwritten letter instructing Addy concerning personal matters. She skimmed it over a few days after Bill’s death but now was ready to take a better look.

In the last paragraph Addy found it, “Ahhhaah! The key to his box.” Addy recalled several arguments she and Bill had over his mysterious wooden box. Never in their sixty-seven years of marriage did Bill reveal his secret.

The letter read:
“…key is in the shoebox with your red shoes. I want you to…”

Addy instantly threw Bill’s letter aside and gave her recliner an impressive rock to assist in shooting her bottom upward. She shuffled into her bedroom, opened the closet door, and looked up to the top shelf. Addy grabbed her cane from beside the bed and began whacking in the direction of the shoebox. She felt satisfied that only three other boxes were knocked down in the process. Shoes hit the floor as well as a small gold pouch.

Addy seized the key and turned to open Bill’s dresser. A spark of excitement made her heart flutter when she opened the drawer and saw the antique, hand carved wooden box. She carefully picked it up and ran her fingers over the rounded edges, admiring the smoothness of the wood. “Been waiting sixty-seven years to get you open,” Addy was elated.

She set the box on the bed, unlocked it and slowly opened the lid. Stunned, she stared into an empty box. Then, Addy heard something that sent her reeling, “Make your wish, silence is bliss.”

Addy regained her balance and quickly slammed the lid of the box shut. “Crazy.”

Several minutes passed before Addy convinced herself she was hearing things. She decided to open the box again, “Make your wish, silence is bliss.”

Five times Addy closed and opened the lid, hearing the box speak each time. The sixth time she left the lid open and spoke into the box as if it were a microphone, “I wish my house was clean.”

Addy shuddered when in that instant her bed was made, the dusty furniture glowed, and the carpet appeared freshly vacuumed. Addy walked into the living room to see the same. She hurried into the kitchen and saw a month’s worth of dishes all washed and put away, “Incredible!”

Immediately Addy picked up the phone to call her sister. “Jenny you wont believe this…”

Addy proceeded to tell Jenny about the wish and after she finished the story – the house was suddenly again filled with dust, strewn garbage and unwashed cereal bowls. “Let me call you back Jenny.” Addy hung up the phone and grabbed the wooden box. “What’s going on?” She was yelling at the box when Stinker entered the room.

Suddenly Addy had a wonderful idea, she spoke into the box, “I wish for a nice cat friend for Stinker.” A fine looking tan cat appeared in the doorway. The two cats purred, rubbed necks and Addy thought she had never seen Stinker look so happy.

Addy looked up to notice her favorite mailman on the porch, “Hi Robby, look at our new friend.” Addy beamed, pointing to the cat.

“That’s a good looking cat you have there Addy.” The mailman smiled and listened while Addy told him the remarkable story about the wishes.

When Addy returned inside she searched the house for her new cat but soon gave up. She retreated to her chair and held the box in her hands, “Stupid box, you must be broken.” Addy tossed the box on the table amid the used tissues and picked up the letter from Bill.

The letter continued:
“… never told you about the box. Early on, I wished for everything I could think of. But soon I realized every time I told someone about my wishes coming true, they’d disappear. After awhile I figured nothing was worth having if you can’t share it with someone. I only made one more wish after that - to meet someone wonderful I could share my life with. I met you that very day.
That’s why I couldn’t tell you about the box, I was too afraid of losing you.

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This article has been read 664 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt02/02/08
Aah.. what a sweet story, and even sweeter husband. This was a fun read - enjoyed it.
Jan Ackerson 02/02/08
I love this! It's a very apt allegory, perfectly on topic, and the ending was just as sweet as can be for a week that practically insists on sad endings. Lovely.
Holly Westefeld02/05/08
I loved this fanciful story, witha cat, and a happy, surprise ending.
Beckie Stewart02/06/08
Oh my. That was so neat. I loved this story. You had me from beginning to end on this one.
Tim Pickl02/06/08
Excellent story! Time to graduate to Advanced. :)
Joanney Uthe02/06/08
You drew me in and kept my attention. Loved the description of her age with the rocking of the chair to get up. Great writing.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
I wish it hadn't ended so soon! This was great! I really liked the whole piece, from beginning to end. It's one of my favorites for this week, you did really good with the descriptions and the ending letter. Excellent writing! ^_^
Hanne Moon 02/06/08
Oh wow, great ending! I love this story. You did very well with this one.
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
Oh, I love this story, very creative. The ending is perfect. Excellent job on topic.
Joanne Sher 02/06/08
Absolutely creative. You swept me away into her world and taught an amazing lesson. Good stuff, Paula!
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
Not sure where this was headed, I absolutley loved the twist. SO CREATIVE. Keep up the good words.
william price02/06/08
Extra unordinary in a very good way. I loved it. I don't really care for dying Bill stories...but this was very good. Made me want more. Very good characterization and creative. God bless.
Pat Guy 02/06/08
What a great story! I really enjoyed reading every word. I loved not knowing what was going on at first and then figuring it out as I read further along. A really fun and great read.
Seema Bagai 02/17/08
Wonderful story. Creative and engaging.