Pandora's Box

This is for the Historical Fiction contest, about a young girl named Pandora who moves to a new state and finds hidden treasures within the attic in boxes.


2. Making Acquaintances

            “A little to the left, please… Little more… perfect! Now for the couch…” my mother instructs the movers from inside. I’m outside with my younger brother, keeping him with me until his bedroom is situated and Mom can play with him there. Sammy is making “small talk” with me, moving his tongue around in his mouth and somewhat singing.

            “Gwuh!” Sammy cries suddenly, pointing to the moving men as they carry in my dad’s hand-carved grandfather clock. I was seven when he made it, and I used to watch as he would whittle flowers and columns into the dark wood. My name is etched into the very bottom of it for “helping” him.

            The analog reads 4:02 PM. I sigh, thinking I’d be waiting for the bus surrounded by my friends. When the bus arrived, I’d be getting onto it with Valerie, Quinn, and Marie. We’d be talking about school and teachers and boys for a solid thirty minutes before it became my stop. I’d be going home to finish my homework, then I’d go hang with a couple of friends at the mall, and then I’d be home. The cycle would repeat at 4:02 PM again every day for five days straight. Now I’ll have to develop a new cycle, and I’m not looking forward to it.

            “Oh my gosh!” a girl exclaimed, running towards me. Two girls followed behind her. They weren’t very fast, considering the backpacks on their backs, but I waited hesitantly.

            “Who is this?” the girl said, cooing at Sammy. Unlike most young boys, Sammy is a total ladies’ man. He stares at the girls and reaches for the cooing one’s straightened dirty-blonde hair.

            “Who are you?” I asked skeptically, pulling my brother slightly away. He whines at me, so I let him back. The girl laughs and looks me in the eyes instead of being eye-level with my chest.

            “I’m sorry! That must have been weird for you; I just love kids! I’m Vivi, and the two behind me are Ellie and Zoey. See if you can guess who is who!” Vivi smiled. I looked between the one in blue and the one in red.

            “I’m Pandora, and this is my brother Samwise. You can call him Sammy.” I said. Vivi started to play with Sammy, so I let her hold him and play.

            “Wow! You guys have such cool names. I bet your parents–” started one twin.

            “–are really artistic!” finished the other in blue. “I’m Zoey – though we look alike, my voice is deeper than hers.”

            “What are those?” asked Ellie, watching my mother begin to hang some things in the trees. I sighed, ready to explain them but not ready to be laughed at like my friends in California did.

            “They’re my mother’s wishing bottles. She hot-glues words on them, spray-paints them different colors, has us put wishes inside, and hangs them in the trees. Mom says that if we break them, the wish won’t come true. We also have wishing bottles to hold candles when there are power outages.” I explained.

            “That is so cute!” Vivi squealed, looking at a few my mother had already put up. Pink bottles with words like “love” and “happiness” were up there. I recognized which ones I had put wishes into, but I didn’t know how to read them. A slip of paper reading I wish we’d never left California rubbed against my left thigh.

            “Hi, honey. Who are your new friends?” my dad called, looking exhausted from weeks-long drive. We never stopped at a hotel; my mom and dad took sleeping shifts and switched out whenever another one started to nod off. We stopped for bathroom breaks and getting snacks, and we spent a few hours sleeping in the car, but hotels cost a lot of money and traveling across the country was just as expensive. Now we’re here, and my dad’s sleepless eye bags had sleepless eye bags. To be blatant, he looked like crap.

            “Vivi is with Sammy, Ellie is in pink, and Zoey is in blue. Dad, have you caught any Z’s since we got here?” I asked. He shook his head, nodding off right there as he rubbed at his eyes.

            “Hi, Pandora’s dad!” Vivi smiled, handing Sammy back to me. His Royal Baby-Fatness whimpered as he left her embrace, but soon found solace gnawing on my shirt.

            “We should probably head out, guys; we have homework and Pandora’s family needs to finish packing.” Ellie pointed out. The other two nodded and started to leave. Vivi rubbed my brother’s hair on her way home, and he giggled.

            “See you at school!” Vivi shouted from behind her. I didn’t dare call back with Sammy’s tired head on my shoulders; if I did, it would be instant screaming.

            “I’m going to rest in the car… if your mother needs me, stand in my place…” Dad said, walking towards the car. He sat in the passenger seat and closed his eyes.

            “Pandora!” my mother called. I put Sammy on Dad’s chest to nap with him and went to Mom’s aid. She finished hanging the last of the bottles for the right side of our house and looked at me.

            “I picked this house because the attic is very big and clean. Teenagers are supposed to get a lot of rest, and with a new baby around the house it’ll be hard if your rooms are side-by-side. Would you like the attic to yourself?”

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