Start your story with a character looking closely at something, or someone. They can't quite decide if what they're looking at is natural, or man-made.
Dennis knew it would be hard losing his mother, he had always worried about the day she would die. How could he not? She had been sick with some illness or another since he could remember. Despite her ailments, she was always a good mother, caring, sensitive, and always available until now. Now, when he needed her the most, she was the only person he could never go to again. Hanging his head down, the tears flowed freely. They flowed for his dead mother and for himself. He didn’t know what life was supposed to be like without her. Now he would have to learn on his own.
Two years earlier:
Martha stood next to her son, peering out over the vast countryside, from the porch of their small ranch-style home. She loved this place but knew that it had only become complete when she had bore her first and only child. Dennis was a special boy and she had dedicated her life to making sure he had everything he needed or wanted. But she was always sick and it tore her up more than the cancer itself. She didn’t want to leave him behind and she knew he didn’t want her to go. But time was of the essence now and she knew it was time to show him what would be his when she was gone.
“Dennis, you know I haven’t been feeling well this past week. I just thought now would be a good time to go over some of the important stuff just in case.”
“Just in case what?” Dennis responded. “You still have a lot of fight left in you and I’m not giving up on you until the all-divine says it’s time.”
“Dennis, I’m not giving up but I am tired. I just want to have a clear conscience that I have crossed all my Ts and dotted all my Is. Please, don’t worry about me. Just come sit and let me start with this list of things I want to talk to you about.”
So Martha and Dennis sat, side by side on the front porch. Dennis had an uneasy feeling but he didn’t want his mother to worry about his feelings at a time like this. He would mourn his impending loss when he was alone.
“I have three different bank accounts. The first is the one your father and I had set up when we first got married.”
“You never closed it? Not even after he died?”
“No, I didn’t have the heart to. I figured it was one thing that I still had that we had done together. Well, one thing besides you! Anyhow, the second account is just a savings account that I opened when Grandma Helen passed away. I figured it was “extra” money so I would put it aside and let it just gain interest. I don’t even know the exact amount now but it will be enough for you to pay the bills for a while. You won’t be rich and you’ll still have to work, but you won’t fall into debt if you play your cards right.”
“Mom, I’m not concerned about what you are leaving me. I will be fine. I mean I have this house and I already have a reliable car. What else could I need?”
“I just want to make sure you don’t have to worry about money.”
“What about the third account?”
“That is actually a safe deposit box. Your father had opened the account and said he put some of his valuables in there for safekeeping. I had totally forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I was going through my desk and I found the key. I haven’t had a chance to go to the bank to see what is in it. When he opened the account we were pretty much broke so I don’t know what he could possibly have put in it. After his mother had died he bought a lifetime safety deposit box with some of the money he got after selling her house. You see, at that bank, if you paid one sum, and this was a long time ago, I don’t think they do this anymore, but you paid one sum and you got the box for your lifetime or until you wanted to close it.”
“And you never opened it? Not even after Dad died?”
“No, I didn’t think about it. We had what we needed so I guess I didn’t go looking for anything else. I had you and I had my home. I was good.”
“Do you want me to go open it so you can see what is in it?”
“No, I’d rather not know. I’ve lived long enough without it. Whatever it is, hopefully, it is worth something, and it is for you. Maybe your dad hid a huge bundle of money and you can finish paying off this house!” Martha chuckled. “Seriously, Dennis, I can’t imagine it is much. It is just the thought that counts as I have always said.”
That night Dennis sat on the edge of his bed, holding the key in his hand, turning it this way and that, curious about this bank box. What could be in it that Dad had never needed it and Mom didn’t seem to care about it? Maybe he would go down tomorrow, just to look.
But tomorrow came and went and just like his mother, Dennis forgot about the key and the safe deposit box. He had his mother to worry about and that took up most of the next six months.
Dennis walked into the lobby of the bank and was acutely aware of how quiet it was. He knew the bank was open but it was almost as if no one was even there. Looking around he waited for someone to ask if he needed help but nobody came over. Making his way to the teller’s window he saw the steel doors that held the vaults and probably the safe deposit boxes as well.
“I’d like to get into my safe deposit box please,” Dennis told the young woman.
Dennis followed a different woman to the steel doors as she began entering her code to unlock them. He went in behind her, conscious of all the cameras pointed at him, recording him, just in case he was a bank robber ready to hold this woman hostage. She guided him to a small room on the left and began looking at the numbers on the boxes, trying to locate Dennis’s box. Once she found it she held out her hand for the key, in which Dennis placed it, and watched her take the box out of the wall.
“All you have to do is put the key in and turn it and the box will open. Once you are done if you want to keep the box, just push it into its slot. If you decide you no longer want the safe deposit box, please just leave it here on the table and bring me the key. I will be in the lobby if you need any assistance.”
Dennis thanked her and watched her walk out the door and down the small hallway back through the steel doors into the bank lobby. He hoped he couldn’t get locked in here if the door accidentally closed. He figured there had to be some safety latch on the inside to keep people from getting locked in. Turning around toward the box, Dennis took a deep breath, inserted the key, and lifted the lid off the box.
In the bottom of the box nestled in a bright blue piece of satin sat an egg. Dennis was confused. An egg? He looked down at it and then back toward the bank lobby. Was this a joke? Why did his father have an egg and why keep it in a bank?
Picking it up gingerly, Dennis noted the smooth feel of the hard white shell and could even see the tiny fracture lines you see after hard boiling an egg. But if this was a real egg it would surely be rotten by now, over 24 years after being put in the box. It didn’t feel like marble or stone. Dennis couldn’t figure out if this was some sort of natural stone, a crazy preserved egg, or something else. Holding the egg in his left hand he took his cell phone out of his pocket and logged in to Google. In the search engine, he typed, real looking hard-boiled egg from 25 years or more ago. The wheel began spinning and Dennis just waited to see what came up in the search.