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Mystery

As he walked up the steps to his front door, Miles noticed a package sitting on the landing. From where he stood on the street, it was a plain looking, brown paper wrapped box about one foot long, six inches wide and six inches tall. His pulse quickened as his curiosity began to spin possibilities through his mind like sugar in a cotton candy maker. He hadn’t ordered anything and certainly wasn’t expecting any packages. It wasn’t his birthday, and Christmas was still months away. What could be inside the clean and proper looking parcel? He took the last few steps quickly and stumbled, almost falling into his own front door. He steadied himself, placing one hand against the house and took paused to catch his breath. He wasn’t in great shape and bounding up a few steps winded him more than he’d like to admit. 

Looking down at the delivery, he noted that it did not have a return address label in the top corner. The label, perfectly centered on the top side of the box, was written in neat and unusually crisp hand writing. At first, he assumed the label had been printed by a machine, but on closer inspection, he could see the places where the pen’s ink had thinned and left tiny ridges of white space within the lines of print. There was no name on the label, only an address: 1357 8th Street. This was not his address. Disappointment washed over him.  The original excitement of a mysterious delivery was now not his, but someone else’s to enjoy. Typically, when the mail carrier dropped off incorrect envelopes, they were for across the street, or a few doors down and Miles would just walk them over to their rightful homes without a second thought. This day, however, the package was quite far off from its intended destination. He lived at 1537 23rd Street which was in an entirely different neighbourhood. But it was a nice afternoon, and, after losing his breath on such a short run up his steps, Miles felt he could benefit from a little exercise. He bent over and picked up the package (it was heavier than he had thought) and started back down the steps to the sidewalk. He could feel the contents shift slightly, weight moving from left to right inside the box. He gave it a small shake and listened to the rattling items but couldn’t tell exactly what it was. While he rounded the first corner, he began to imagine all the possible things he could be carrying.

Maybe it’s something very valuable, he thought. Diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Like a long-lost treasure from the temple of doom. He imagined a beautiful woman answering the door, dark hair framing her pale face in stark contrast to her deep red lips. Lightly nibbling the end of her black rimmed glasses with an archeological manuscript in her hand. 

“Yes, can I help you?” She said, looking him up and down with approval. 

“Your package came to me by mistake, I’ve brought it safely to you” Miles replies, with an uncaring nonchalance, just like Indiana Jones. Her eyes light up and her jaw pops open slightly as she realizes what he has brought her.

“Oh my, you are wonderful for bringing it all this way, please come inside.” She steps aside and opens the door, taking the brown package from him and placing it on a side table in the front hall. 

“It was nothing, really.” Miles smirks, as if beautiful, smart women were always offering him their gratitude. The woman drops her glasses and leans in close. She looks up at him and places her hand against the rough stubble of his cheek.

“You don’t know how much this means to me” She coos as she moves in closer, bringing her lips to his.

*Honk*

Miles is brought back to reality as a car horn blared next to him.  Shaking his fuzzy mind awake, he looks around and sees he has made some progress, but still had a way to go yet. Glancing down at the box, he let his mind begin to drift again. 

A rare carton of reptile eggs that have been smuggled out of central America. These are not just any reptile eggs, but in fact, dinosaur eggs. An elite team of scientists managed to reverse engineer dinosaur eggs from frogs and small lizards in the jungle. Miles was now carrying the stolen fruits of their labour. The eggs had been taken by an animal rights activist group who felt that the dinosaurs would only be used for experiments or to be put in zoos for humans to gawk at. Not wanting these poor creatures to be treated so cruelly, the eggs had to be moved to a safe and humane location. 

When he arrives at the address, Miles sees that the house is quite old and is situated on a large estate. The property backs onto a forest in the foothills of the nearby mountain range. A large brass knocker hangs in the center of an oak door which seems much larger than any door Miles has ever been through. He lifts the heavy ring and lets it drop. The resounding knock echoes inside the mansion, and Miles hears delicate footsteps tapping across a hardwood floor. The door creaks open and the afternoon sun drapes itself across the woman, shimmering as it cascades down her golden hair. She is wearing khaki coloured shorts and a matching top, almost as if she was out on a safari. She looks down at Miles and grins.

“Why hello, what have you got there stranger?” Her blue eyes flutter, hinting at a shared secret between them.

“This package of yours was dropped off to me by mistake. I am here to rectify that mistake” Miles says with a voice much deeper than usual. He passes the package over and she cradles it in her delicate hands. 

Recognition passes over her face as she understands what he has just brought her. She slowly turns and places the box inside the entrance way, gingerly setting it down on the ground.

“You have no idea how important this box is to me! You’re my hero” She breaths out slowly as she says these last words then leaps forward into his arms.  Miles catches her with no difficulty, carrying her fireman style down the steps as she wraps her arms tightly around his neck. Her kiss lands softly on his lips.

“Hey watch it buddy!”

A passing cyclist nearly ran Miles over as he stepped off the curb. Looking around, he grasps just how much his musings have distorted time as he is almost to the address on the box. It felt like he’d only just left the house, but the sun was starting to get low in the sky, he would be walking back in the dark. Or maybe, he wouldn’t be walking back at all, spending some time with the lovely recipient of his delivery? 

The box was beginning to feel heavy in his arms, tired of carrying it in the same position, he carefully shifted off to one side. It was a heavier burden than he had anticipated. He knew the children needed this medicine. It was the only cure to the deadly outbreak that had spread throughout the City. A diseased ocelot was brought here by a rich rap singer who had wanted a fancy pet. Little did he know the havoc his luxury item would cause. Soon, people were dying, and half the population was now under quarantine. The contents of this package would turn the tide on the disease, restoring the lives of thousands of people. But first, the children at Saint Jude’s needed treatment, they had been infected far too long and wouldn’t make it through the night. Miles banged on the heavy orphanage door with purpose and urgency. The nurse came rushing out, her red hair streaming behind her like a comet’s flaming tail. 

“Oh Miles! You’ve made it just in time!” She flung herself onto him and the fell backwards on the soft grass lawn. Her kisses painting a red mosaic across his face. All the children of the orphanage came out cheering and jumping up and down. They were cured. Miles had saved them all! They began chanting his name over and over again.

“Miles! Miles! Miles!” 

“Miles!” A voice next to his ear startled him. It was his friend Allen.

“Oh Allen, Hi.  How are you?”

“I’m good man, I’m good. Hey are you ok? I was calling your name for a while there, you looked like you were in a trance?” 

“Sorry, just daydreaming, I guess. Mailman delivered this box to my house by mistake, so I’m just dropping it off at the right address.” Miles showed Allen the box in his hands. 

“Cool, cool. You’re a long way from home, but that’s nice of you to do. Anyway, see you tomorrow at practice?” 

“Yeah I’ll be there, see ya.” Miles turned back to his task, the house was up ahead on the left. He couldn’t wait to find out what was in the box and meet the person it was meant for!

He walked up the steps, held his breath and knocked three times. He could hear someone inside. His heart was pounding, his body was vibrating, he could barely contain himself. As the door opened, he was grinning from ear to ear. 

“Can I help you?” A small bland looking man with greasy dark hair and wire rimmed glasses looked up at Miles smugly. 

“Oh, um, this was delivered to me by mistake” Miles said, slowly offering the package to the man.

“Of course, stupid mail system, always screwing up. Must be my new orthotics. Thanks.” The man took the package from Miles, turned and shut the door.  

October 22, 2019 19:08

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