Lesley stopped at her gate, gasping for air, her body soaked in sweat from the six mile morning run.
She stretched a leg using the fence for balance and noticed a box sitting on her doorstep. She couldn't remember ordering from Amazon but it wouldn't be her first drunken purchase.
Lesley headed up her garden path and realised this was no cheap, cardboard Amazon delivery box. It was mahogany wood with an intricate border design, a skull with horns in the centre and some unrecognisable text at the top.
She picked it up, surprised at its weight, and noticed an envelope underneath. She carried both into the house and placed the box onto the counter and opened the envelope.
Inside was a card, with a small key taped to it, that read: 'Do you dare open me?'
Lesley squinted at the box then back to the card. Her heart was pounding but she didn't know if it was from the run or the creepy box and note.
She picked up the box and shook it, but it made no sound. Who would send such a strange thing? She thought.
She threw the box and card into the trash. If you shouldn't accept sweets from a stranger then you certainly shouldn't accept bizzare wooden boxes, she contented.
But she was still drawn to it as though the box was a magnet and she an unthinking piece of metal and before she knew it, she'd fished it out the trash and sat it back onto the counter.
Curiosity got the better of her. She peeled the key from the card and slotted it into the keyhole on the third attempt, her hands shaking uncontrollably.
She turned the key, steadied herself then opened the lid.
Nothing. The box was empty. Lesley laughed out loud at herself for being so nervous about a stupid wooden box.
But then she stopped laughing. Her heart felt as though it stopped beating.
Her eyes widened as the inside of the box started glowing in an fluorescent orange light that grew brighter and brighter, growing bigger until, she was gone, sucked in by the light. The lid on the box closed.
One year later, Colby sat down at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee and picked up the paper. The headline on the front page read: 'One Year Today Since Nulla Reappeared and Lesley Disappeared'
Colby skimmed through the article and vaguely recalled the story of the woman named Lesley who just vanished, leaving all her stuff including passport in her unlocked home. A proper mystery often only found in novels.
He remembered nothing about this Nulla woman though and read with horror as the article detailed her year long disappearance, and how since her return she'd been in a mental health facility.
No one knew where she'd been and all she could say between constant screaming was she'd been to hell and back and being sucked in by a wooden...
Colby's reading was interrupted by a noise from his front door. When he opened the door there was no one there, but he glanced down and spotted an intricate looking wooden box and envelope.
He sat the wooden box on top of the newspaper on the breakfast table and read the card inside the envelope which had a small key taped to it: 'Do you dare open me?'
Without hesitation, Colby ripped the key off the card.