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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #2257118
Silvia felt boxed in at work. It took an unusual dream to alter that fact.
999 WC. Co-win entry into "The Writer's Cramp Prompt: First sentence in bold.

She'd never seen anything like it. “Dreams are supposed to stay dreams.” Her’s woke up when she did.

Silvia Thomas swallowed hard, rubbed her eyes in disbelief. “Mind over matter shouldn’t be allowed to be ruled by the subconscious.”

There lay the small, square red box she’d dreamed up overnight. The glittery red ribbon quivered at her approach, anxious to be untied. “It is real.”

The cracked leather bound journal she’d been reading on far eastern meditation eased back into her hands from where it lay on her bed. The author’s trick had been to merge a self hypnosis technique with a meditation twist offering mind control. “ If I can repeat this miracle, my every wish will be fulfilled.”

Greedy fingers attacked the box. “Empty. I didn’t dream anything in it.” The box itself was not unusual. Cardboard, paste, covered in simple red velvet cloth.

It was impossible keeping her eyes from straying to marvel at its existence. “What’s that? A present? What did you get?” Martha Anderson, friend and coworker, noticed it when Silvia brought it to work.

“Nothing. Don’t touch it.” Silvia slapped Martha’s fingers away.

“Geez. I hope you’re not building some kind of weird religious shrine. Did a pet die?” Martha’s curious nose twitched.

The word spread across the secretarial pool, creating a parade of gawking faces passing by on their way to the water cooler. “What’s going on?” It was Silvia’s supervisor, wanting to know why no-one was working. “Give me that. You'll get it back after work."

Miss Smith’s eyebrows raised in warning. It was either the box or Silvia leaving her desk. “What is that?”

“Just something I dreamed up overnight,” Silvia mumbled, giving way.

“Hobbies are best kept at home.” Miss Smith frowned. “I’ll let this be a warning. Do not let this happen again.”

She reached over to take possession. The little red box scooted away. It shivered and nudged against Silvia’s hand. “Here. Take it.” There was a strange fumbling fight between the box, Silvia’s grasping fingers and her boss’s startled hands.

Titters erupted from nearby stalls. Heads rose to check out the action. The glare beaming from Miss Smith’s black eyes made them duck, bodies scrambling back to work. “Tricks are for kids. Quit acting like one. Stop this instant or you will be fired,” Miss Smith growled.

Silvia grew tongue tied as the red box jumped and settled into the palm of her left hand. Miss Smith would not let go. The box wiggled in protest, tried slipping sideways, then refused to budge. “It’s not me. It’s the box.” Silvia couldn’t pry it away.

“I won’t have this foolishness. You are ruining our workday schedule. Take your belongings and go. I’ll send your last check in the mail.” Miss Smith huffed out of Silvia’s sight.

“You’d better give me what I dream up tonight. I’ve got bills to pay and no job to pay them,” Silvia told her box. It lifted its lid as if saluting in agreement before snapping itself shut. “Weird. I’ve half a mind to throw you away. You may be more trouble than you are worth.”

The box slid, rolling over the top of Silvia’s desk onto her lap.

“What’s she talking to? Miss Smith is gone.” A whisper flew over her cubicle wall.

“That box. It’s alive or enchanted. I think Silvia must be a witch,” an answering whisper replied.

Silvia gathered her things in a hurry, wrapping them in her sweater for easier carrying. There were no offers to help her leave. Miss Smith’s door closed, followed by the sound of the lock. “You’ve boxed me in a corner,” she told her unconscious, hoping it was listening and would do its job that night.

She was too wired, unable to concentrate when bedtime arrived. The little red box lay where she’d first noticed it. Talking to it seemed silly. She’d tried anyway. Nothing happened. “There must be more in the journal explaining this. Maybe, in pages at the end stuck together, I missed.”

There were. They were impossible to pry apart. Silvia spent long hours deep into the night searching the internet without success. “Holding the stuck pages over steam in a pan of water doesn’t work.” That was the best possible solution she had found.

Stress wore her out. Just before dawn, she fell into a nightmare Silvia wouldn’t wish on anybody. Her head shook back and forth. Sweat fevered her brow, washed down her body. Her unconscious escaped into the well learned pattern of meditation and mind control the journal revealed. “No.”

The word vibrating on her lips, shot her sitting up, eyes wide open, lungs gasping for air. “No.” She’d never seen anything like it. The red box had grown man size.

“Talk to me,” she said. The cold sweat stuck her to the bedding. The box shivered in denial. It made the furniture in her bedroom move and jump as if poltergeists were joining this moment of madness. “I’ll go to sleep and dream you away. I will.”

The tied, glittery ribbons began untying themselves. The lid yawned open. Instead of the box talking, the sound of Miss Smith’s voice came alive. “Please. Let me out. I’ll be good. I’ll do anything you want.”

“Shame on you,” scolded Silvia, feeling the same about herself. Her unconscious must have dreamed up this bit of vengeance against her boss.

Miss Smith got on her knees, hugging Silvia, when the box tipped over letting her out. “I’ll give you a raise, make you my special assistant. I won’t say anything about this at all.”

Silvia agreed. That night, she dreamed the box away. She gave up her form of meditation as too dangerous. The uncertain fear in the secretarial pool soon became just the usual mindless form of gossip. Miss Smith transferred, giving Silvia her position and a little red box with a note inside reading "I'll never tell."

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