Lily pushed on the hatch, then climbed up into the attic and looked around. This was going to be a big job. She grabbed four nearly empty boxes and combined them into one box. Lily labeled the other three boxes TRASH, KEEP, and DONATE. Lily slowly went through the boxes, many filled with dust-covered photos. These she put in the KEEP box, thinking she would go through them all later. Lily put some old books into the DONATE box, and a moldy toy duck into the TRASH box.
As Lily cleaned out the attic, she began to remember. Remembered all the good times she had up here. All the times she’d hidden from bullies. All the times she listened to Mrs. Pennington tell stories. All the times Mr. Pennington reminded her that she was important.
Lily pushed aside a stack of books and dragged another box out from the corner. This one was filled with books and movies, some of which she remembered from her time hiding out in the attic. These she kept, moving them into the KEEP box.
Lily continued cleaning, slowly emptying the boxes. One by one, the boxes got stacked up for recycling. The attic began to feel less cluttered and more cozy, bringing a sense of comfort and of many good times long past. An old velvet chair sat in the corner, and Lily had spread a thin but soft rug across the wood floor. The boxes surrounding the tiny room, almost making it seem like someone was moving in, instead of cleaning out.
Most of the boxes weren’t that exciting. They were filled with keepsakes from twenty-five and forty years ago. Lily put these in the KEEP box, thinking she could give them to the Pennington’s family and friends as memories of the late Mr and Mrs Pennington.
However, one box drew Lily’s attention. It was possibly the most worn box in the room, and was filled with old clothes. Lily began trying on all the clothes, like she was a little girl again.
First she tried on a light blue sundress. She found a string of pearls for her neck, and some small heels to match. Lily walked around, as if she was on a runway with thousands of people watching intently. She twirled, laughing. The only thing missing was a picnic basket and big, crazy family.
Next, Lily tried on a Pink Floyd concert tee with ripped jeans and pinned up hair. She looked like a mess and it only got worse from there. She found a leather jacket well beyond its time and some too-big combat boots. Lily flipped her hair back, trying to act tough. This made her laugh harder than she had in a long time.
Eventually, Lily found the star piece: a long, super fluffy, faux fur coat. It was in surprisingly good condition and just needed a run through the wash. Lily slipped into it immediately. Lily sighed, in complete heaven with the warm fur covering her and tickling her face. She put her hands in the huge pockets, which, to her surprise, had a crumpled paper and a pencil, as well as something that felt like an ornate box of some sort.
Lily took everything out of the pockets. She laid down on the floor to inspect them. The pencil was pretty normal, with teeth marks and a worn out eraser. The paper was very crumpled, but it seemed to have some writing on it. Lily smoothed it out, planning on reading it later. The last object was a small music box. It was blue and red, with detailed flower designs. As Lily studied it longer, she began to notice more and more details. Like the mouse peeping out in the corner or the hummingbird by a freesia flower, or the fox darting across. Curious now about what the music sounded like, Lily searched the pockets again. This time she found a small key with a flower-shaped bow. She stuck it into the back and turned it several times.
Lily opened the box. Although she was expecting the music to be beautiful, what came out was stunning, magical. It combined normal music with sounds from nature, and completely enveloped Lily. She sat there, just listening to the music.
Once it stopped, Lily wound it up again, longing for the music to start again. It was unlike anything she had ever heard, and for twenty minutes, she couldn’t pull herself away from the box.
Finally, Lily managed to close the box and stop the siren music to read the paper. She hoped they would explain the music, which once she stopped to think about it, was very, very strange. Lily smoothed the paper out again, so that she could read it easier.
To the person who found this letter,
I would like to thank you first, for cleaning out our attic, or at least this one box. Lily Cozstar, perhaps? I’m sure you’re doing a lovely job, and I appreciate it deeply.
Next, I’m sure you’ve opened and listened to the music box in the other pocket. Quite enchanting, isn’t it? If not, I advise you don’t listen to it, unless you have a lot of time on your hands. It’s known to hypnotize people, similar to the sirens in Greek mythology.
The music box is an old family heirloom, going back thousands of years. Back to the Age of Magic, I believe. It will need an owner, since I imagine I’m gone if you’re reading this. The box calls to people, causing them to be entranced it. The box then adds that person’s special sound to its music. This can be quite deadly. Please be careful.
The box is called “töfrandi kassi” or “magical box” in Icelandic, its country of origin. I believe that you can become its new owner and protector.
Good Luck and Best Wishes,
The letter left Lily with more questions than answers. Why did kindly old Mrs. Pennington have a magical music box? Where did it come from? What was the ‘Age of Magic’? But most of all, what did Lily have to do with any of it?
Lily decided that it was most important to stop for the day to take the music box home and hide it. She couldn’t let anyone find out about it. Besides, her boxes were getting full.
Lily finished tidying the attic up, looking around one more time. She took the three boxes out to her small red pickup, but placed the fur coat, music box, and letter on the front seat. She was going to get to the bottom of this mysterious magic music box, ready or not.