Pandora listened to the silence as it filled up the room. Curiosity drove her. Her fingers trembled as she took a step forward. The wooden floors creaked under her foot. With every step, the air grew colder. She passed her hand through the nightstand. She touched the golden vase over then nightstand and moved down with her hand. Her fingers found their way to the drawer. She could feel her pulse all through her body. She breathed in and held the air. She wrapped her hands around the knob and pulled. She let go of her breath.

Red fabric spilled out of the edges. It filled the drawer to the brim. She dug her hand into it. The fabric wrapped and tugged at her hand. She pulled away and kept searching. Her fingers touched a rough edge. She grasped it and pulled it out from the fabric.

It was a box. Black and yellow diamond patterns covered its sides. The top had nothing but a carved flame. It seemed that box had been made for her. Taunt her. Entice her.

She ran her fingers through the sides and slid one of the lines of diamonds to the side. She heard a click and stopped. Sweat ran through her forehead. A cold chill crawled through her veins. She turned her head and looked at the door but she was still alone. She pulled her fingers back for a moment. Guilt filled her. She could not escape it. The constant cold of the sweat against her skin trapped her. She wiped the sweat and shook off the feeling.

She grasped the second row of diamonds and slid it to the left. The click echoed in her ears. She didn’t know why she thought it sounded like music. Her attention went to her fingers, slim, long, and clean. Perfect. Her beauty, she knew, had been disguised as a gift. Her intelligence too was a stab to the heart disguised as a blessing. It wasn’t meant to be a stab to her heart, but it felt like she had been caught in the aftermath. Created to be perfect, that was all a lie. All emotion escaped her. Her heartbeat grew steady. She was numb.

She moved the third panel row until she heard the click. The sound brought her back. She covered her lips to not scream. Her body trembled. Her skin grew hot. She thought of what it was like to feel void for an instant and it scared her. She asked how that was perfect. If she had been created to be perfect, how could she feel void? How could the beating of her heart hold such power over her? It was clear to her that she wasn’t a perfect woman. She had always known it, but the weight of it had never hit her until that instant. She wondered how hot the flame on the box was. The real one. The one that should have never been stolen. The one that was the real she existed. She wondered if it felt as hot as her blood. She grabbed the vase and threw it into the wall.

It shattered into pieces of clay.  Sand fell out of it. It spread over the floor. Wind blew through it. It rose and pressed against Pandora before flowing out the window. With it, her anger.

Tears began to form on her eyes. The fire inside of her extinguish in an instant. She clenched her fists as cold returned. She clawed onto the nightstand and let the tears run down her cheeks. She understood she had no purpose but to exist. She was a shell. She wanted to scream but that wouldn’t do anything. She was a dagger and there was nothing she could do to change it. Desperation filled her. She pressed her eyelids closed and let the pain expand through her body.

She opened her eyes. The box only had one last panel. Perhaps the box could give her an answer or a reason to live. She knew it the box contained her last chance. She grabbed the last panel and slid it. She heard the click. The lip popped up. She wiped her tears away and placed her hands on the lid. She pulled it open.

She held the fire of the lid against her chest and dared look inside. Her heart stopped. Inside, a single red leather notebook and a piece of graphite. She reached into the box and wrapped her fingers around the graphite. She smiled. She understood. She laughed.

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