Knocking berated Eli away from his book and off of his bed. He peeked out his bedroom door under the staircase.
“Hey-” he opened the door fully - “Nora, what are you doing here?” he asked, with a smile tugging on his frown as he saw a woman in a blue slate skirt suit.
“I can’t come see my favorite nephew especially on a day like today.”
“I’m your only nephew so far. And I’m not in the mood for company.”
He tried to close his door but her hand interviewed. “I know this is your first year without Tyler… Sorry… I wanted to give you your birthday present. We… she picked out.” She handed him a small white box wrapped in a red bow.
“Thank you, Nora-” he took the present - “You don't understand what this means to me.”
“I might… She had a present for me picked out for my birthday last month. Open it. Please.”
He pulled hard on the ribbon letting it fall to the floor. The box soon followed. Only a small wooden box remained. “What does it say?” he asked, running his fingers over the engraving on the top.
“Elijah in Hebrew. It’s just a keepsake box. She saw it and thought of you. She put some things inside for you.”
“How do you open it!” He tugged on the lid.
“Well, now-” she started walking away, “isn’t that a puzzle.”
Eli opened his mouth but it slid into a smile as he closed his door.
Two days later that smile had vanished like a bunny in a magic act.
“I can’t do this!” He pounded on the dining room table.
Miles lowered his book, “Out of the Silent Planet” by CS Lewis, he explained, “She wouldn’t have given it to you if you couldn’t solve it. She always had a plan.”
“No this is revenge for leaving all those sudoku puzzles laying around the trailer!” he barked, laying his chin on the table.
“Okay-” Miles tossed his book aside and pushed back his chair - "How well does Vincent know you since he adopted you?"
"I guess a lot."
"And how well do you think I knew Tyler after adopting her?"
"Not as well as I did."
"Well, you might've got me there. But I doubt she would have ruined your 14th birthday by giving you a box you couldn't open. And she wouldn't drive us crazy with anticipation of finding out what's inside of it, unlike Vincent who's a half-hour late for dinner, again."
"I wished I still had your faith," he said, leaning his head against his hand and flipping the box with the other.
"Come here." He pulled Eli's chair closer. "Let me help."
Eli hugged the box. "I don't know…"
"She got it after you moved in. If she didn’t want us to help, she would have left instructions. You know how much she loved here ordering us around.”
Eli sat back in his chair, two sizes bigger than himself. “Especially after she learned to read and write. I would find notes around every turn.” he laughed. “Even if she did want me to figure it out by myself, I’m closer to using George’s hammer on it.”
“Well, give me a try, then we can go find it together… Have you tried this button?"
“Yes. And tugging on the lid, sliding it, pushing on it. I’ve shaken it. Dropped it. Banged in on the counter. Used a knife to get the catch. Used one of Margot’s scalpels - don’t tell her. Please.”
“Huh?” He kept running his finger over the bottom of the box as his head popped up. “How about this notch on the bottom?”
“It’s nothing. Nothing of ours fits in it.”
“But she started wearing a necklace with a leather band and a stone - and she wouldn’t tell us where she got it.”
“I haven’t seen that since …” He couldn’t continue, wiping his eyes.
Pulled out his wallet, Miles said, “she gave it to me that night.”
A few bills fell to the floor as he yanked a leather rope out.
“She would be cursing you right now for keeping that in your wallet.”
“But not before stealing my wallet, I know,” he droned, pushing the thinned lapis disk into the notch.
The lid fell open and a drum solo of thuds hit the table.
"Sorry, I'm late-" Vincent barged in the door - "hey, look, you got it open!"
"Yeah," Eli said, searching through the things that fell out.
Picking up a small metal tube, Miles asked, "What is all of this stuff?"
"They're things from her dad's shop. That's the top of a spyglass cane," he answered, opening the spyglass part.
"This?" Vincent picked up a leather pouch.
"That's the case for this-" he picked up a metal disk - "It's a world war two compass. I was there when this came in. Ya see that strip on the lid," he said, running his finger over it, "you line that up the target and the compass would tell exactly where they are."
Miles grabbed something out of the box: a black feather.
"I've never seen that before."
Vincent picked it from Miles' fingers. "Looks like a crow feather based on the size."
“Why would she give me that?" He ripped it out of Vincent's hand. "That means no-"
Both men yelled as Eli's eyes rolled back. Neither of them reached the other side of the table before Eli face-planted onto the floor.
When Eli woke up, he was surrounded by tables and tarps of bobbles and thingamabobs. The smell of cotton candy filled the air. The murmur of negotiating was blared out by a single voice.
"Come on, Tyler! I needed to get to my meeting," Nora said.
"One more minute, please," Tyler pleaded, "This is the last table, I promise."
Eli saw a hand with a finger up raise in front of his gaze.
"Alright," Nora sighed.
"Excuse me," Tyler announced to the man at the table, "what does this say?" She pointed at Eli's present.
The man with a long beard and a round black hat. "Elijah, Maydl, after the prophet."
"Eli! Eli! Eli!" Vincent shouted.
"What happened?" he grumbled, still on the floor.
"We think Tyler found another artifact," Miles explained, leaning over him.
"If I didn't know better,” Eli said, taking Miles’ hand to lift him up, “I would say she has a vendetta against me. What was it this time?”
Placing a hand on Eli’s shoulder, Vincent said, “It matters. Did anything happen after you collapsed?”
“I had a vision,” he stammered, “but it was different. I saw Tyler picking out my present but it was like I was her.”
“Ha!” Miles blurted. “Sorry, but Vincent thought between the name, stone, and feather that it was part of Prophet Elijah’s story but -” He stopped as Eli started to fall.
Like the clicking of heels, the metal tip of a cane repeatedly tapped against a marble floor.
"Ready gentlemen," he said, pulling out the spyglass.
Through the lens, a room from the building next door became clear: The four half-empty desks, the safe, and a man tapping with his pen.
"Ready, Henry," a voice said, drawing the man and the spyglass’ attention back to their room.
Three men clad in black fiddling with empty duffle bags on their shoulders.
Tapping on the window with his cane. “Age before beauty, Harry.”
One by one each member climbed out onto the fire escape railing before lunging to the other building across the alley. The English fog hid them from the passing crowds and hooking cars. The mile-off thunder covered the sound of their entry.
Harry pulled out his weapon, firing two shots into the ceiling. He hit both security cameras and got the attention of both workers.
“Lady and Gent, I must ask you to back away from your desks.”
Neither of them hesitated to back away into the rear of the office.
With a haunting clicking, Henry walked towards the desk. “Miss. Taylor, would you open the safe, please.”
She quickly grabbed the hand of her coworker. “I don’t know the code,” she stuttered.
“I have that taken care of Miss. Please, come up here,” he said, hithering her forward.
When she didn’t move, the last two members moved towards the coworkers. One pulled Miss. Taylor away while the other punched the man in the gut after he tried to protect her.
“Miss. Taylor,” Henry said as his man dragged her to the safe door, “take this as a quick lesson - do as I ask as I ask it and everything will turn out fine for you and Mr. Evans.”
Letting his man back away, he added, “Are you ready?”
When she didn’t answer, he tapped his cane. “Miss. Taylor?”
“Yes,” she blurted.
She spun the dial as he called out his numbers. Her gaze never left the door until the bolt slid out of place.
“Thank you, Miss. Taylor, that will be all,” Henry said, making his man drag her away.
Henry moved, eclipsing the door. He rested his hands on the door. Taking a breath he opened the door.
A volley of dirt flew up through the doorway. A scream drags his attention to the left.
Three soldiers were hacking with their riffles at a caved-in wall of the trench. “Tyler, hold on!” they yelled.
A volley of mortars screeched through the sky. They plummeted down more dirt on the soldiers.
He wiped out his compass. Peering through the glass strip in the lid, he scanned the horizon. He bobbled back and forth until he sat the compass on the top of the trench and picked up his rifle.
His shot was hidden in a song of others.
When the next volley came, a few less mortars hit, giving the three soldiers a chance to move all the rumble.
He lined up another shot.
“You guys need to figure this out. His heart can’t take much more of this!” Margot yelled, staring at a monitor in Eli’s room.
“We’re doing our best!” Vincent yelled back, pacing in front of Eli’s bed. “Nothing is working!”
“Nothing’s going to work if you stay in here!”
“Don’t you think I know that!” He sat on the bed, with his hand landing on Eli’s. “My orders are to stay here and let them handle it. I plan to follow that until I come up with something better.”
“That doesn’t change what I said!”
“We’re not going to lose another one, Margot,” he crooned, “I promise.”
“I can!” Miles interrupted, standing in the doorway, “or I hope.”
“They figured something out?! Vincent exclaimed as they both stood.
“Yeah. But there’s a catch - Crows are the messengers of the Gods and have powerful foresight and so does this feather - if this doesn’t work, there won’t be anything to try again on.”
“What do we need?” Vincent demanded.
“Lightning! You still have Zeus’ bolt with you?”
“Thank God, I only listen to the Chamber when I want to,” he said, patting his pockets. “Now?” He held out a pen-like object.
“Touch the feather?” He held it out by the shaft.
“Wait-” she grabbed Vincent’s wrist - “what if it goes through you?”
“Too many children have died on my watch, I’m not adding another. Do it!”
Wrenching his arm free, Vincent activated the bolt and stabbed it through the feather.
A bright blue ring of light exploded out, blinding the room.
After it faded, Margot darted to the monitor. “His heart rated isn’t going down!”
“Margot,” Vincent said.
“It didn’t work!
“Margot,” Miles said.
“Are you sure there’s nothing el-”
“Margot!” They yelled.
“You couldn’t get this done earlier?” Eli huffed.
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It was a really great story I honestly wish there was a part2 but sadly there's not. lol anyways thx for writing! ...read mine?
Do you have Spotify?
No, I use Youtube
ah, this is a very well-written story! i do enjoy the use of description for the scenery and the characters' actions; well done on that! i love the idea. a little bit of feedback, though. i do notice a bunch of places where the dialogue is rough, maybe try to add the character's name when they are speaking? i got a bit lost while reading that, otherwise it would've been completely smooth. lovely story again. :)
This is an interesting story! If you don't mind, I have some feedback that might help you in your later stories. When you're writing long lines of dialogue, try to make sure you include the name of the person speaking ever so often just so the reader doesn't get lost. Also, when you introduce a character, it helps the reader to picture the person by adding descriptions about them (physical attributes, etc). You don't necessarily need to give them all out at once, but just slight descriptions throughout the story for the reader to get the i...
Thank you. I'll look for more places to do that.