• Published 1st Sep 2012
  • 1,776 Views, 21 Comments

The Box - alexmagnet



One cool, late-winter afternoon Rarity receives a strange visitor, and an even stranger box.

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Rarity's Journal

The Box

From the Journal of Rarity

7th February

Today, a stallion appeared in my shop shortly after closing. He seemed to have an urgent air about him as he approached me. I couldn't say for certain what it was, but there was something that made me mistrust him the instant I saw him. However—not one to turn away a customer—I said nothing and allowed him to enter. I cannot say that he was an attractive stallion, though neither can I say he was unattractive. He seemed to be of slim build and he wore a tight-fitting suit. His charcoal mane was slicked back, and his gray coat seemed to shine with a dim inner light. He was a unicorn. I always find that I deal with unicorns better. Perhaps it is because we think alike.

At the time of his arrival I was still working on my newest piece—Bourgeons Rose—so I spared him only a cursory glance. I was interrupted a few seconds later when he appeared in front of me holding, or rather, levitating a box. It was a strange thing, this box, it was so simple, wooden—likely cherry or something of that nature—roughly hewn and with a heavy iron padlock passed through a loop that held it closed. There were no designs or markings of any kind on it, though it appeared to be quite old. How I knew I cannot say, but I felt that it was very old indeed. Despite his urgent air he was calm in speech, and well-mannered at that. He spoke very briefly and only to tell me that he was giving me the box to keep until he returned. I could hardly believe it. What sort of stallion shows up unannounced and starts handing out mysterious boxes? It was all very strange. When I explained to him that perhaps a bank or some other such entity might be more suited to his needs he insisted that I be the one to keep it. He would not say why, nor would tell me how he knew me, he just kept insisting that I take the box and keep it safe for him. I tried asking him for details about the box, such as what was inside it, or where it came from, but he wouldn't answer. In fact, he wouldn't speak at length about anything related to the box. He would tell me just this—I will try to remember exactly what he said, if for accuracy's sake only—

“I cannot tell you what is in this box, for that would be too terrible a burden to bear. I can only humbly ask you to be its keeper, in my stead, until such time that I should return. This box holds a dark and awesome power, and it cannot be made to fall into the wrong hooves. I must ask that you trust me—though you do not know me—and know that when I say that you must never open this box, nor speak of it to anyone, I mean it in the sincerest way.”

I found myself strangely unable to refuse him, despite my mistrust. There was something in his eyes—a pleading perhaps, I cannot say for sure—that made me unwilling to turn him away. After a time I did the only thing I could do, I acquiesced—reluctantly—and took the box from him. He thanked me profusely and left saying that he would return in short order to retrieve his box. With assurances that he would only be gone a few days at most, I shut the door behind him and returned my attention to the box. It lay on the desk, perfectly still and more than a little eerie. I felt a mild curiosity and almost wished to open it—he had given me the key after all—only to recall what he had said. I thought better of it and decided that it would be best if the box were put somewhere I wouldn't see it all the time. Out of sight out mind, as they say.

9th February

Today was rather uneventful. I only made one sale; though, it was to a high-born Canterlot noble. I shouldn't even be bothered to write this were it not for the box. I find myself oddly attached to it. Throughout the day my thoughts would drift to it. I would scurry across the room to make sure it was still there, always finding—of course— that it still was. It all feels rather silly really. I'm beginning to think that I've been made a fool of. This has all probably been the clever ruse of some crafty colts. I doubt this box even has anything inside of it. Though, I dare not open it. The warning the stallion gave me was far too grave to be part of some practical joke. Still, I shan't worry all too much about it. Undoubtedly the owner will return in a day or two to pick it up, and then it will no longer be my problem.

Addendum

I have decided to move the box back into the open, that way I won't have to keep dropping my work to go check on it. I have placed it on my desk again for safe-keeping and easy viewing. I have also placed the key in the drawer of my bedside table—just to make sure not to lose it.

11th February

The strange stallion from before still has not returned. I have kept my tireless vigil on the box—as promised—and I have taken to carrying it around with me. I find that having it close is a comforting thing. My thoughts have started to revolve around the box; I think about it almost constantly, and I have grown rather attached to it in these short few days. One of my friends came to visit today and I nearly let slip mention of it. As I have been keeping it with me, when a knock came on the door I had to hide it. He did say that I shouldn’t speak of it to anyone. I feel I might have seemed rather rude to Twilight when she came inside. I was very curt with her and sent her on her way as soon as I was able. Fortunately she only wanted to borrow some sewing materials; so, I was able to shoo her away fairly quickly. I returned immediately to the box, eager to see that it was still safe. The relief I felt upon finding it was uncanny. I cannot explain it. However, he did warn me to keep it safe. I suppose it is only natural I should worry about it.

12th February

I awoke this morning to find the box by my side. I must have fallen asleep whilst still clutching it. This does not bode well. I have decided that I shall go back to keeping the box out of sight, I am finding that it is distracting me from my sewing. I will return to my work and do my best to keep my mind off the dreadful thing. On another subject, I made several successful sales today. I am quite proud of myself in that regard as the horrid box has not impeded my salesmanship nor my ability to sew.

15th February

These past few days haven’t gone as well as I would have liked. I have had trouble keeping to my work and I haven’t made a sale since my last entry. This thing is always in the back of my mind. I feel like it is calling out to me, but I continue to refuse it. I will not go back to carrying it with me, I sense that can only lead to trouble. Besides, it would not due for to be seen with it. I may not have made a sale, but I still get customers from time-to-time and the occasional visitor. My sister just visited me today in fact. I had a difficult time of it, keeping her away from its hiding place. I had to make up all sorts of excuses to keep her occupied. She is a curious girl. She must have taken notice of my odd behavior since she asked me what I was hiding. I assured her that I wouldn’t hide anything from her and I asked if she had seen anything unusual around that would make her think I was hiding something. She told me that she hadn’t found anything. After I convinced her that I was fine, and that I just needed some rest, I sent her on her way. I was becoming paranoid that she had been lying to me and that she had found the box whilst I was distracted. I rushed over to the cupboard and threw open the doors, my heart racing. It was still there. It was as if a weight had been lifted. She had not found it. After today I am sure that this thing must remain hidden, no one must find it. I will continue to keep the box in the cupboard, safe from prying eyes—even my own—until he returns to collect it.

17th February

It has been well over a week since he gave me this box. I fear that something awful has befallen him, or that he has caught ill. I am becoming more worried with each passing day. Why, just this morning there was knock at my door and I practically flew across the room to answer it. Unfortunately, it was only the mailmare delivering a letter. I must have looked quite the sight, opening the door in such haste, and without even making sure my mane was in order. What a mess I have become ever since that ridiculous box showed up. I have managed to keep myself from looking at it every couple of hours. I'm down to just little peeks here and there, once or twice a day. It sits there in that cupboard taunting me with its secrets. It is only through extreme willpower that I am able to keep my mind on my work and not let my thoughts drift to such dark places.

Addendum

I have resolved to rid myself of this evil if he does not return within the week. I won't play host to such dark things, not here in my home and certainly not so near to my sister.

18th February

In my anger yesterday I foolishly neglected to read the letter I received. When I found it on my desk this morning it startled me as I had forgotten where it had come from. Upon recalling its origins I immediately opened it and read the contents. Inside was a letter from him. Do not ask me how I know it was him—as he never gave me his name nor did he put it on the letter—but I knew. I will reprint the message here.

I regret to inform you that I will be unable to return as soon as I had

hoped. I have urgent business that needs attending and I will be hard-

pressed to claim the box from you anytime in the next couple of weeks.

I am dreadfully sorry about my delay and my rudeness in not returning

in the time promised. However, I must ask that you continue your watch

over the box and—as I said before—under no circumstances are you

to ever open the box. I cannot stress enough the importance of that

statement. Keep strong and fear not, I shall return.

His letter gave me little comfort though. He said he wouldn't return for several weeks. I am not sure I can keep this ghastly box in my house another day, let alone another week! I have made up my mind. Tomorrow, I will see that this box meets its end—one way, or another.

Addendum

A few friends—my sister among them—came today, shortly after I had finished the letter. They seemed to be in high spirits. They told me they were going on a picnic and they invited me along. I refused politely and I told them I had work to do. Disappointed though they were, I could not leave the box alone. I can’t imagine what would happen if someone were to steal it. It must be destroyed.

20th February

I spent yesterday trying to dispose of this awful box. First I threw it into the fire, assuming that since it was wood it would burn away. Sadly, once the fire burned out it was still sitting there, in a pile of ashes like the sole survivor of a holocaust. It frightened me to no end to see it there. It took all my courage just to pluck it from the fireplace. Once I did I saw that it didn't even appear burned. It was seemingly the exact same as when it entered the fire. There were no scratches or black spots, or anything anywhere on it for that matter. After my initial attempt met with failure I devised another plan. I would simply destroy it with a quick magical blast. Such things aren't exactly my forté, but I figured I should have sufficient magical power to destroy it. It may be fireproof, but that does not mean it is magic-proof. Or so I had thought. My efforts met with more failure as the box suffered not a single scratch from my attacks—no matter how much energy I poured into them. Tired, spent magically, and more than a little frustrated I decided to rid myself of it in a simpler way. I reasoned that I did not necessarily have to destroy it, I just needed to remove it. I stole away with it in the night; I was fearful of being seen with the box. I hurried towards the lake. Fortunately, it was not far. Using a bit of rope, I tied a rock to it and cast it into the water. I watched it sink just to be sure. My work done, I returned home and slept peacefully for the first time in days. My peace was ruined this morning however, when I rose from my slumber and came into my office only to find the dreaded thing sitting on my desk. It gave me such a start that I nearly leapt out of my skin when I saw it there. I could think of nothing else to do so I placed it back in the cupboard. I earnestly hope that he will return soon. This thing will be the death of me.

23rd February

I’ve had trouble sleeping these past few nights. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, filled with the desire to see it. I can’t rest without laying eyes on it at least once before bed, and even then I do not feel satisfied. Then, every morning the first thing I do is hurry to the cupboard to make sure it is safe. I haven’t properly groomed in several days, I haven’t even thought of it until now. I have closed my shop as well, shutting out anyone that might try and steal it from me. Several of my friends came today—after I had already locked my doors—and they knocked for what felt like hours. I ignored them, they were persistent though. After a time they began to plead with me. They said they had not left the store in weeks and they were beginning to worry. I pretended to be out, I pretended not to hear them. But they wouldn’t leave. Their incessant knocking and pleading angered me. I yelled through the door, telling them to go away and not concern themselves with my affairs. That only served to increase their concern—apparently—as they knocked harder and pleaded louder. I ran to the cupboard and retrieved the box. I hid under the covers of my bed with it, wrapping myself in the linen. I was safe for now, they couldn’t reach me in here. For a long time I sat in the darkness, only me and it. Finally the knocking stopped, and their voices faded away. I slowly left the bedroom and peered out the window. I saw them walking away and I rejoiced. Reluctantly I decided it would be best if I returned it to its home, so I placed the box back in the cupboard.

25th February

I am consumed by thoughts of it. I can't keep my mind off of it. I no longer wish to destroy it. I have become quite attached to it. He did say it had great and terrible power. Perhaps I could use that power for myself. Maybe I could open the box just a little and peek inside. Maybe the power could be mine. I should think that even if he were to return today I would not give it back. It is mine now. He had his chance to get it back, but that chance has long gone now. The box will stay with me. I have taken it out of the cupboard again and I carry it with me at all times. That is the only way I can be assured of its safety. I must protect it.

26th February

My word, I don't know what came over me. I have re-read what I wrote yesterday and I can't believe that was me. I must sound mad. Is that really me? I need to see a doctor, this box is devouring my life. It is a parasite. I can't even focus on my work anymore; I haven't made a dress in over a week. I must seek help—from someone, from anyone. This awful, dreadful, evil thing has made my life a living hell. Everyday I wake to see it sitting there, staring at me. I know what it's thinking. It wants me to open it, but I mustn't. No, he was very clear on that. Under no circumstances am I to open it. But, I can't help but wonder what's inside. The curiosity alone is enough to drive someone to the edge. I fear I am there already; standing on the precipice of insanity. I must get help.

27th February

I do not need a doctor. I am fine. I can be so dramatic sometimes. I am probably just getting worked up over nothing—mountains of molehills and all that. How terribly silly of me. This poor little box has done nothing to me. I don't know why I should hate or fear it. In fact, it brings me happiness just being near it. I must keep it. He shan't be taking it from me. He wouldn't know what to do with it anyways. I'm the only one who can care for it now.

28th February

My friends—if I can even call them that—came again today. They only want to take it from me, I know it. Well, they won’t get it. I was able to hide myself in the dressing room, safe from their thieving hooves and malicious eyes. They think they can trick me into leaving so they can have it for themselves. They are all selfish, but I won’t fall for it. I hid myself in the dressing room with it. With all the blinds pulled down and the lights off they would never find me in here. I am safe. I waited there until they left, for how many hours I do not know. I’m not even sure it’s still the same day.

1st March

They came again today. Why won’t they leave me alone? Why can’t they just let me be? I must protect it. I have cast a spell over this house to keep it safe. No one can get in now. But, I still hear their knocking. I still hear their pleading. Why won’t they leave? Why won’t they leave?

2nd March

I have taken to hiding myself in the washroom. It is the furthest from the front door and I can barely hear them knocking now. I feel safe in here. The box will protect me.

5th March

They haven’t come for several days. They must have given up. That is just as well, I haven’t left this room in a long time. Maybe it’s safe to come out now? I will check. I need to make sure that there is no one around; no one that can hurt me, or take my box. It is mine and I must protect it. Wait. I can hear them again. I can hear the knocking. I hear it! Why won’t they go away! Leave me alone! They’ve come to take it away. I know it! I have to keep it safe. But I can’t keep it safe. Not with them around. Who are they? Why are they always knocking? Why won’t they leave? Go away! They won’t go. I have to hide. I can’t let them find me. I can’t let them find it. Leave me alone! Why won’t they go? Why can’t I make them leave? I have to hide. I don’t want to hear them anymore. I have to make it stop. I have to—

6th March

How many weeks has it been now? Two? Maybe three? I cannot remember how long it has been since I found it. For all I know I have always had it. I can’t remember. I don’t remember anything anymore. What was my name again? Why am I here? Why do I feel compelled to write in this journal? These thoughts race through my head as I write. I looked at the beginning of this journal I'm writing in and it says my name is Rarity. At least, that's what I think it is—assuming this is my journal. I don't know why I am writing this. I am lost. The box found me. It is my savior. It is my—

7th March

It has been maybe two weeks since I have written in here. I cannot keep track of time anymore. Days and nights bleed together. Nothing is real. The world is fake. But I have the box, and it has me. We will be together forever. Forever.

Today

Today is the day I finally open it. I could not find the key for the longest time, but this journal told me I hid it in the drawer; how silly of me. Now that I have the key I can open it! I've waited so long for this. I must open it. I must. I must. I must. I must. I must. It is mine and I will open it. I must open it. I must.

-----

From the Journal of Rainbow Dash

9th March

This pegasus with a dark black mane showed up at my house today. He gave me a small wooden box. I tried to turn him down; I didn’t even know who he was afterall. But, when I looked into his eyes, I couldn’t refuse him. I can’t really explain it well. He said that he would be back in a few days to retrieve it, so I wasn’t too worried. Maybe I’ll talk to Twilight or someone about it, just in case? Oh wait, he said something about that. What was it again?

“You must keep this box safe. I can’t tell you what’s inside it—you wouldn’t want to know anyways—but I can tell you that you must never open it. Not for any reason, nor under any circumstances. You must also never tell anyone of its existence. It holds an awesome power that cannot be unleashed upon the world, nor be allowed to fall into the wrong hooves.”

That’s right, he did say it had an ‘awesome’ power. I wonder what’s inside it? He was very serious when he said that I shouldn’t open it, or tell anyone about it. Oh well, I suppose I’ll just hold on to it for awhile. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s just a box.

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Comments ( 21 )

I'm looking at the summary right now and I'm thinking about the movie "The Box"
I didn't like that movie, but I'll read this (I expect to not like it)

EDIT: okay, this isn't based on the movie "The Box", instead it was based of the short story which inspired the movie. My thoughts on this story? It was really great, much better than what I thought I would see. The writing felt realistic; Rarity felt in place and believable, the situation just felt so real, Rainbow Dash didn't feel real though but that wasn't the main point in this story. It was very creepy all the while; especially the ending.

I'm faving this :eeyup:

The RoosterTeeth short "The Box" comes to mind with that title and description.

But in a flash, the humor disappeared, and the real conundrum appeared.

And it was great!

1196358
Actually, I completely forgot both the movie and the short story existed (never seen or read em' either). I wrote this on a whim and based off an idea I came up with while waiting in line at an amusement park. In retrospect, maybe a different name would have been better. Alas, I refuse to change; because I'm stubborn.

Glad you liked it though.

1196464Well, it was the beggining that made it seem like the short story and the end that made it seem like the movie. I do wonder what happens to rarity though (but don't tell us:raritywink:)

This reminds me of something Edgar Allen Poe would write. It's creepy, but very interesting. I am saddened for Rarity though :raritydespair:

Fantastic! Brilliantly written, I was captivated until the moment it ended. You, sir, have earned yourself a like and a follow.

awesome!:rainbowkiss: this is so frickin' realistic!

Wow, this was really good. Kept me captivated the entire time and it felt like watching a movie (never saw the aforementioned movie). Rarity descending into madness was really fun.
One complaint: RD would totally have just ripped open the box.

This was brilliant, I felt like I was reading E.A Poe.

....wut?

Ohk, Slips, I'll read this. I like dark. Heck... I'm the one who wrote Cloud Ten

This is a well written story, It kept me interested from beginning to end :pinkiehappy:

The only thing is I want to know, if there really was anything inside the box...:rainbowhuh:

1340639
People are still reading this? Huh...

Well, I appreciate the comments, and the praise. Whether or not I deserve it is something else entirely, though.
To the folks who, undeservedly, compared this to Poe's works: thanks. I'm glad that you liked it so much. It seriously means a lot to me to hear that anyone liked this, despite its shortcomings. However, this was actually inspired—and heavily influenced—by Bram Stoker's Dracula.

As for what, if anything, is inside the box?
I'll not be telling. That's part of the fun, and the mystery. :trollestia:

A fine fic, Mr. Magnet--but then, I've known that for a while. :ajsmug:

I forget: have you submitted it to EQD yet?

1422771
Aye, I did awhile ago, but it was rejected. Though, judging by the rejection letter it was fairly close to getting in. I've changed it some and passed through TTG for another round of reviewing. But, I'm also considering taking your original advice and making it much longer. Perhaps I'll be motivated to do that for Halloween, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Hey everybody,

we did a live reading of this story and posted the recording here:

Hope you all enjoy, we certainly did :twilightsmile:

Love and tolerance,
TheLiving Library Player Socieety

wonderful story, both you and the strange man deserve an award
a man just goes to pony's houses and ask them to watch a box

2968769 I like how he was a unicorn for Rarity and a Pegasus for Rainbow Dash. As Rarity says that she gets along better with Unicorns because they think alike, I'm sure this is deliberate on the part of the stallion to make it easier to accept.

While I do agree that Rainbow was somewhat out of character, I believe it was justified in this case as the magic of the box and stallion are compelling ponies to keep it with them.

Great story. :pinkiehappy:

:pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp:

I was so compelled to start to finish. I was actually starting to grow mad with Rarity wondering 'What's in the box... what's in the box??' However, the story was not finished with a nice pretty bow of an answer and actually left me thinking about it more then I should have. I absolutely loved it :rainbowkiss:

4634439
Man... it's been so long since I wrote this story. Well, I'm glad you liked it. Yeah, the point of the end was to be ambiguous, because straight endings are for dweebs.

Man that's crazy! What an awesome story!! I hope you write more! ^^

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