Adventure Fantasy Fiction

The Great Awakening that brought about tremendous changes to the world came in stages and phases to most humans. Sadly, for many, it came through loss of loved ones and things. Many people died and many material things disintegrated or simply became outmoded and valueless. Steadily transformation occurred through life’s tenacity and humans’ ability to adapt.

Sabrina’s awakening came in both a mundane and mysterious way. One day on her doorstep there appeared without warning a package addressed to her with no return address and no postal stamps. Hesitant, but intrigued, she brought the package into the house and left it on the entry table where mail often landed and awaited opening. She intended to open it after her morning coffee.

When she returned from the kitchen coffee in hand to retrieve it, she was surprised to find the package had opened itself. The wrappings were off and a small, carved wooden box with her initials carved into the lid was revealed. She picked it up without opening it. With one hand holding the lid shut, she turned it upside down and saw a note taped to the bottom which read: “Inside resides your FUTURE. OPEN, if you dare.”

Sabrina stared and sipped her coffee. She picked up the box which was oddly warm and tested its weight with her hand. She shook it, but there was no sound. She pondered. Do I dare? Yes, she nodded, I do. After all, she had dared before. She chuckled remembering the times she had spread out a map, closed her eyes, plunked her finger somewhere on the map, and then ultimately went there. She didn’t like plans because to her planning felt restrictive, limiting. Sabrina hated that feeling. So, she opened the lid of the box. Printed on the inside of the lid was a message: Nothing is what it seems. Fear not. Look deep within.

Sabrina looked deep into the seemingly empty box. Nothing. She sipped her coffee and peered deeply into the nothingness of the box again. A tingling started in her hand holding the coffee cup, so she set it down and held the box with both hands. It warmed both hands. The tingling grew and steadily out of the empty void, a swirling multi-colored vortex took form, faded out, and took form again as a kaleidoscope morphing into new designs as she kept her attention focused on it.

The ring of her phone jolted her, demanding attention. The box immediately cooled in her hands and again went dark. Sabrina set the box down gently, replaced the lid, and answered the insistently ringing phone.

“Hello,” she said, noticing that the read-out on her phone said unknown number.

“Did you open it?” said what sounded like a robocall voice.

“Yes,” she answered.

“Keep looking. Nothing is what it seems.” Click. The call disconnected.

Sabrina was reminded of one of her favorite lines of “Alice-speak” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, “Curiouser and curiouser!” Indeed, this was getting curiouser and curiouser and curiouser. She needed to refresh her coffee and think.

After a while, thought-out and coffeed-up, she again took the box into her hands and removed the lid. She looked within it. This time without any preliminary swirling or heat, a garden scene appeared. She could smell lilac perfume. It surrounded her. She felt herself fading out and then in less time than it took to blink, she was standing amongst a forest of tall, heavily laden lilac bushes feeling intoxicated by the perfume. Her personal awakening had begun.

Two paths appeared before her. One was well worn and the other less so. She peered through the lilacs as far as she could. The words from one of her favorite Robert Frost poems that she had memorized as a child floated into her mind.

                       Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

                       I took the one less traveled by,

                       And that has made all the difference.

Sabrina sighed, and thought, and so shall I take "the one less traveled by." With her first step onto that path the tingling of an energy current began to vibrate in every molecule of her being. Unafraid, she paused and let the vibratory energy current circulate within her. Then, she walked on.

Brightly colored birds perching amongst the garden flora filled the air with their song. Sabrina hummed along with them. She came upon a wooden bench and sat down to drink in the beauty all around her. She breathed deeply to embrace it all. Closing her eyes and taking another deep breath, only silence ensued. Surprised, she opened her eyes. She found the forest of lilac bushes, the garden, and the path had disappeared, as if they had never been.

Sabrina was sitting in her great grandmother’s rocking chair with the box resting in her lap. She felt refreshed, an unfinished now cold cup of coffee on the table beside her. She felt energized. The box lid with its enigmatic instructions also sat on the table. She picked it up, put the lid on the box, and set it onto the table.

Rocking and thinking, Sabrina considered various possible explanations for what had just happened to her. Magic, quantum event, hypnosis, portal opening but none seemed completely correct. She knew she had somehow been transported somewhere else. The faint scent of lilacs hung in the air, Yet, there were no lilacs around her house. She thought, perhaps knowing she had gone elsewhere was enough for now. She patted the box, silently thanked the unknown sender, shrugged her shoulders, and went on about her day. It was Saturday and she didn’t recall any appointments. She consulted her calendar to make sure and noted she had written “Free Day” on this Saturday.

She laughed. “Free Day,” indeed. She laid out a map of her small town and its surrounding areas. With her eyes closed, she turned the map around and around. She traced its edges with her forefinger and then took a “finger-walk” within its perimeter until her fingers began to tingle with energy vibrations. She stopped. She opened her eyes and saw she had stopped on an area marked “The Old Patriarch.”

Sabrina smiled and nodded. She knew the spot. So, she packed a daypack and was about to set off on a ramble when she paused, reached out, and removed the box from the table gently placing it into her daypack. She told herself, “just in case,” though she had no idea about “just in case what.” It was a free day, and she had no clue about what would happen next. After all, clearly things were not what they seemed. She hummed the birdsong from the lilac forest as she closed her door. Truly, only time would tell what would happen next.

November 05, 2022 01:42

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Graham Kinross
03:58 Nov 10, 2022

This left me wanting more. Great story, Julia.


Julia Corliss
00:35 Nov 12, 2022

Thank you for your enjoyment. Julia


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Krista Womack
04:22 Nov 09, 2022

Your story was intriguing and left me searching for more. Great job.


Julia Corliss
00:47 Nov 10, 2022

Thank you, Krista. Happy creating, Julia


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03:49 Nov 11, 2022

is boring


Julia Corliss
00:34 Nov 12, 2022

I'll see if the next one is livelier. Julia


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