Was it really the same box or was my sleep-deprived mind playing tricks on me? And if it was the same box, how could my grandmother be connected to all of this dark web stuff? These thoughts plagued me the rest of my shift and while I was driving home.
It was just after 6 a.m. when I entered Grandma’s house through the mudroom door, escaping the bitter morning air. Sleep beckoned me, but I fought off the urge to crawl into bed. I had to find that box. I had to know for sure it was the same one. The question remained: What would I do if it was the same box?
I took my boots off and crept through the house, careful not to make any noise. The last thing I wanted was to alert the aunts I was home. If they heard me, I’d be subjected to another inquisition.
“Any celebrities die on your shift, Louisa?”
“Why do toxicology results take so long, Louisa? On television they only take ten minutes.”
“Are you married yet, Louisa?”
I made my way inside the attic, shutting the door behind me. The maze of boxes that sat in front of me was overwhelming.
“Where was it?” I sighed, trying to remember which column of boxes was hiding the small, antique table that held Grandma’s mysterious telephone-shaped pill box.
A soft glow in the back of the attic was all it took for me to remember. The table was in the back of the attic, near a small window. I wove in and out through all the stacks of boxes until I reached the back of the attic. One small step lead up to a raised platform.
Vintage clothes hung across the platform on an old clothes line. A plastic tree sat underneath the line and next to it was the small, antique table I was looking for. Even from a distance, I knew something was wrong.
“What the?” When I reached the table, I saw a small, rectangular-shaped void in the middle of a thick layer of dust.
The box was gone. Somebody else, besides me, was in this attic in the last 24 hours. But who? Grandma’s back and knees weren’t in the best shape. I couldn’t imagine her climbing up the attic ladder.
I snuck out of the attic and back down the hall. As I passed Mart’s room, I heard hushed voices coming from inside. I stood outside the door, trying to hear what was being said.
“…..Louisa……more careful…….” Mart’s voice trailed off. I couldn’t make out the rest of what she said.
“….Mart…..” It was hard to tell but I was certain Myrt was the other voice. “….the box…..She doesn’t know anything…….Jānna….”
Jānna? Did she just say Jānna? I pressed my ear against the door with more determination than ever.
“It works better if you use a glass.”
I jumped away from the door. Grandma was standing right behind me with her arms folded across her chest.
(To Be Continued)