The Treasure Box

I put them in a box.

It was a small box, so small I was both amazed and relieved when it all fit. So perfectly the arched wooden lid shut, no pushing or shoving to get the carved wood shut and the clasp locked into place.

My fingers were small, and they easily wrapped around the small box as I pulled it into my chest, cradling it there. I clutched it there in the darkness of my room for a while before deciding it was time and walking down the flight of stairs that felt more like a mountain. The hem of my hand-me-down nightgown trailed behind on each step. I trotted out and into the yard, out the metal link fence, across the concrete parking lot careful not to step on the starry night pieces of broken glass sparkling in the light of the moon.

Across the street that was always dead, and cars always seemed to ignore, I walked through the muddy field to the perfect spot before dropping down to my knobby knees.

The ground was soft, the dirt loose. My small fingers dug easily, reaching deep down into the earth for the perfect spot. Satisfied as the yellow eyes glowed, staring at me from the bushes, I placed the box into the hole and slowly covered it. I packed the dirt tightly, knowing just how precious its contents were.

What a treasure it was.

This treasure would have no maps. It was a treasure meant to stay buried.

I stared down at the buried treasure, at the dirt beneath my feet that looked slightly out of place, and the similar dirt caked onto the front of my pale lavender nightgown.

Squaring my jaw and stiffening my upper lip, I said a silent goodbye and made my way home.

Back at the front door of my house, I stood there on my porch. The screen door seemed like it would weigh a thousand pounds when I tried to pull it open, my heart ached at the thought. Pursing my lips, I tried to keep them from quivering as a whimper caught in my throat.

Desperation clawed at me, like an animal in a cage that could see the latch to the door but had no idea how to open it.

Letting out a sigh, she slowly pulled the screen door open, careful not to make any noise as I stepped back inside and closed the door behind me. Turning the lock, I let out a sigh. I could get back up to my room before anyone knew-

The thought was knocked from my mind as I slid across the floor and into the kitchen. Lightning exploded behind my eyes as agony filled me to the brim. I didn’t call out, I knew better by now. There was no one in this world that would hear me, no one that would admit to it anyway.

On my side I tried to fill my lungs with air. No matter how I gasped, I couldn’t get enough air in to breathe. I couldn’t get enough breath to push myself to my feet and run from him.

The air above her reeked of whiskey and body odor as her hair was pulled up. Her scalp was on fire as she winced, pushing herself up to minimize the torture she felt. On her knees, she felt the thick tears rolling down her cheeks, but she said nothing. There was nothing she could say to him. She knew that by now.

Fire erupted in her cheek as she was knocked back down to the floor. He mumbled something angrily at her, incoherent ramblings of a drunk. She no longer tried to make sense of his words anymore.

Her body lurched as his foot connected with her side. She could taste the sour metallic taste of her blood in her mouth as she rolled onto her back and looked up at the ceiling. Stars dotted the ceiling as she lay there and let her mind wander.

In her mind she was in that field across the road looking down at the mound of dirt that now buried her treasures. She could feel the cool air kiss her skin, the breeze wrapped around her like an embrace she welcomed. In her mind, she turned and looked at her house for only a moment before walking into the field. She would walk further and further until her house couldn’t even be seen anymore and then she would keep walking.

The rich soil went up between her toes, caking the bottom of her nightgown.

Holding her arms open, she let the feeling of freedom carry her to a different life.

Gasping, the ceiling shot before her eyes. It spun and spun, around and around. Her father appeared before her for a moment before she heard his heavy steps retreat. He was stumbling, back into the living room. He would collapse on the couch like he always did and she would lie here until she could summon the strength to get to her feet.

But her lungs were still empty, her mind was coming and going and she found herself stop struggling, stop fighting.

Closing her eyes, she could feel the worn out photograph of her mother in her hands. Her mother had been so beautiful, so loving, and so wonderful. If she closed her eyes, she could still hear the soft, songbird voice of her mother, still feel the warm lips on her forehead as she tucked her into bed.

Would they find that worn picture, the only one she had left of her mother in her treasure box? Would they find her journal, the one that told the story of her hell? Would they read it with tears in her eyes for the little girl who had been unlucky enough to end up within reach of a violent father, who’s judgement was clouded by alcohol, who’s humanity had been buried along with his late wife?

Her leg was twisted painfully at an unnatural angle, her tears burning her swollen eyelids. She could feel the hot trickle of her blood dripping down from her hairline. She was broken, physically now as much as she had felt emotionally all this time. Her heart had broken completely so long ago.

Taking in her final shaking breath, she wished she could have put herself in that box. Buried herself in that ground where he could never hurt her again. If only her little feet could have taken her far enough, she would have buried that box right next to her mother. Had she fit inside that box, she would have been exactly where she belonged.

I put them in a box, hoping with all that was left of me, that he couldn’t destroy the last bit of my heart.

30 Days- 1. Mallory

I would be lying if I told you the thought slowly crept into my head. It had been there for years. At first it had been a whisper, over the years it had become a shout, one that was louder than my own voice at times.

This morning it had been overwhelming. Rolling out of bed, I looked at the same clock I had been looking at for years. I watched as the minutes passed, sitting there and waiting until 7:00am when the alarm would sound.

Why did I do that? Why didn’t I just turn it off when I woke up at 6:47am every morning?

Sighing, I got to my feet and picked up my cellphone.

Tapping on my best friend’s Ruby’s phone number and opened up the messages. Hey, can you come over this morning; I want to talk to you about something.

The three dots appeared almost instantly. Hey Mal. C U @ 8:30?

Great.

Letting out another long sigh, I walked into the bathroom and got into the shower. My mind wandered as the water poured over me. I kept thinking about how I would phrase our conversation, what words would make things easiest for her to comprehend what I was going to tell her today.

The hour and a half before Ruby came over flew by. Before I knew it I had two cups of coffee on my small kitchen table and was sitting across from her.

Ruby was beautiful; she was the kind of girl who caught everyone’s eye. On top of that, she was also one of the nicest people I had ever known. Taking in a deep breath, I figured I should just start talking and hope for the best. “Hey Ruby?”

Sipping her coffee, she smiled at me over the rim. Her brown eyes warm and inviting, urging me to tell her anything I had to say. “Yes.”

“Have you ever thought about killing yourself? Not like in the way people do when they want to avoid doing annoying things, or difficult situations, but genuinely thought about it?”

Her brow furrowed. “No.”

Before she could say anything else, I continued. “Well, I think about that every day. Every single day, constantly for about the last ten years.”

“You think about killing yourself every day? For ten years?” Her words were halted as she tried to figure out what to say, her mind still trying to wrap itself around the words. “You’ve thought about killing yourself every day since you were eleven years old?”

The words should sound strange in the air. They should be the jab I needed to wake myself up, pull myself out of the shadows of my mind and realize I could push through. They didn’t though. All they did was remind me why I was here, sitting across from Ruby.

Sipping my coffee, I waited. I could tell she had something on her mind, something weighing on her chest that she needed to say. She was important to me; she was all I had, which was why I had invited her over. I owed her an explanation for what would come next.

When she said nothing, I continued. “The world is a crazy place. It’s filled with people driven by hate, by greed, people who wallow in their own dark thoughts until they are pushed to act. And I have decided I no longer want to be a part of it.”

Eyes wide, Ruby looked at me. “What? What does that mean?”

Taking a deep breath, I said the words I knew I needed to tell her. “I am going to kill myself.”