Rescued: The Boxes

This is part three of a five part series called Rescued. Click here to go to the previous part, or start at the beginning.

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“Do you want to see truth?”

“Yes.”

As the word left her mouth, the room began to spin.  Colors meshed together and became a moving spiral that blocked her from seeing anything else.  The room tilted, and just as Carrie thought she would fall, a hand grabbed her arm and steadied her.  She looked down and saw Geff’s coffee colored fingers.  The colors stopped swirling, and the room stood still.  Carrie wasn’t in her trailer anymore.

Endless white filled her vision as far as she could see.  The floor she was standing on was white, and at first she thought the walls were white too.  Then she realized the floor was the only solid thing around her.   There were no walls and no ceiling.  All around her stretched a white, seemingly endless space.

“What is this?” Carrie turned to Geff, her eyes wide with panic.  “Where am I?”

“Don’t be afraid.  It’s safe.  There is nothing here that will harm you,” he assured her.  Carrie wondered if he would harm her.  What was this? Some hallucination?  Did he slip her something? Was she going on a bad trip?  Carrie didn’t remember taking anything from him.  He said he was going to show her truth.

This has nothing to do with truth, said her ever-present voice.  This is just some idiot trying to get you high.

“This is truth? A bunch of white.” She wanted to scream at him. “I thought you were actually going to tell me something.  I thought…”  The words “you were really going to help me” didn’t come out of her mouth.  Instead a strangled sounding sob emerged.  Was she so desperate that she was willing to believe this con?

I told you not to answer the door.

Geff  didn’t respond to her outburst.  Instead he stretched out his hand, palm upward, and softly said, “Look.”  There was a row of boxes in front of her that wasn’t there before.  They sat in a straight line going as far as Carrie could look on either side.  They didn’t began or end.  She stepped up to the one closest to her.  It was made of wood and came to her stomach. It was identical to all the other boxes.

Carrie peered inside.  It was dark inside except for a white smoke like substance that swirled around in the blackness. She tuned to Geff.

chaos

“Why are all these boxes here?  What are they for?” Her panic turned to curiosity.

“Each of these boxes,” said Geff, “is one day.”

“One day of what?” This guy was crazy.  What did a box have to do with a day?

“Why don’t you find out?” he said with a small smile, “Pick a time.”

“A time of day?” Carrie said more to herself than to him. She shrugged. She’d play along.  “Ok, I’ve got one.”

“Now put your hand in the box.”

She turned around and did so a little hesitantly.  She had no idea what to expect.  The swirling whiteness wrapped itself around her fingers.

A scene appeared before her.  A small round table sat in the middle of a kitchen.  Its blue paint was faded and chipped.  A little girl stood at the table holding a milk carton in her hands. The girl’s clothes were wrinkly and a little sour smelling because she had to pull them from a pile of dirty clothes on the floor.  Carrie knew this because she knew that little girl.  She was the girl.  They never owned a wash machine, and Carrie’s mother didn’t always go to the laundry mat as often as she should.

Carrie watched her younger self pour the milk into a bowl of cereal.  She felt happiness with her younger self as she anticipated having milk that morning.  She felt the pang of disappointment when the milk drizzled to a stop before her bowl was even halfway full.

As she watched the morning play out, she realized that there was no way this was coming from her memory.  The scenes were too detailed; the feelings too raw.  She felt like she was eight again and experiencing this day for the first time.  Everything was much more vivid than a memory, or even a recording or photo.  She felt, smelled, and heard everything that little Carrie did.

She felt the cold linoleum floor on her bare feet.  She felt the itchiness of the sweater she was wearing. She smelled the mixture of stale beer and cigarette smoke that always filled whatever apartment or trailer they lived in.  She smelled the rancid scent coming from a trashcan in the kitchen corner.  She heard the old refrigerator humming and buzzing.  She heard the groan of brakes and the whoosh of air as the school bus stopped outside her house.

She experienced all of little Carrie’s internal feelings and thoughts also.  Drat, the bus is here already, thought little Carrie and the thought popped into older Carrie’s head too.   Carrie ran to the door while trying to put on her coat.  It was too small for her, and she had some difficulty pushing her arms in, but she forced it on and rushed out the door.   Oh no! I forgot my lunch! Panicked Carrie.

After the lunch was in her hands and she was seated on the bus, she felt the loneliness that can only come from peers’ rejection.  None of the other girls would sit with her, and at best, they ignored her. At worst, they whispered behind their hands while looking at her, then burst into rude cackling.

She felt, again, the ache of her eight-year-old heart as a group of kids stood around her, taunting her. First because of the missing button on her coat, then because of her sweater which they swore was the ugliest sweater they had ever seen.  Carrie thought, Why are they so mean?  I didn’t pull the button off my coat.  My mother gave it to me that way.  Why do they hate me?  I didn’t do anything to them.  I wish they would stop talking about my sweater.  I don’t like it either, but it was the only thing I had to wear. 

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The tears were still in her eyes as she pulled her hand out of the box.  She angrily wiped them away as she turned to Geff.

“So this is truth huh?  You show me what happened in my life and tell me it’s true because it’s real.  Is this some kind of joke?  I thought my eyes were going to be opened, but this hasn’t been a very eye-opening experience,” she fumed, “I already know what happened in my own life, and I don’t want to be reminded.”

Again, Geff didn’t respond to her directly.  “Who do you think made these?”

Carrie crossed her arms and let out a frustrated sigh.  “Umm, me I guess,” she said not really caring. “It’s my memory.”

“You think so?”  He said eyebrows raised.  His brown eyes looked steadily into hers, like he knew she wouldn’t have remember that day she’d just experienced on her own.

“I don’t know,” she admitted.  “I guess it was too real to be a memory.”

“That’s because it isn’t your memory. It is a record.”

“Who would want a record of my life?  I wouldn’t,” she snorted.

“God,”  he answered.

Carrie was silent for a moment.   God recorded her life?  Didn’t he have better things to do?

Of course he doesn’t record your life.  He wants nothing to do with your life, snarled the black spirit.

“Every day, every hour, every moment of your life is recorded here in these boxes,” said Geff, “from the time you were born to this moment now. Not even a second is missing.”

Carrie continued to stare at Geff, not sure what to think.  Part of her was sure that God was not a bit interested in her or her awful life, but the other part of her wondered what it would be like to have someone—anyone—that interested in her.  Could God care enough to pay attention to her every moment?

“Every thought you’ve ever had, everything you’ve said, every fear you’ve faced, every tear you’ve cried: It’s all right here,” he said gesturing to the line of boxes. “None of what has happened to you is forgotten, even if you’ve forget.”

“Are you telling me that God remembers all of this,” she gestured to the endless row of boxes, “all of my life?”

Geff nodded. “He remembers, because he was there with you through every second. He felt the pain and joy of every moment just as you did.”

That’s ridiculous! Screamed the creature.   He couldn’t feel what you’ve felt.  No one understands the pain you’ve suffered.  

“No one knows what I’ve gone through,” Carrie snapped, “I mean, so what if he remembers every single moment of my stupid life.  What does that do for me?  If he really felt what I was feeling, then why didn’t he stop it?  If he really cared so much about me, he wouldn’t have let so many parts of my life happen.”

Exactly, Snorted the voice.

“If he cared about you, he would send someone to your door to help you find him.” Geff’s deep voice was low and firm.  “If he cared about you, he would want you to see that your life is important to him.  If he cared about you, he would stop the bullet that would have killed you.”

Carrie was dumbfounded.  How did he know that she had a gun to her head?  How did he know that when she pulled the trigger the gun did nothing?  She was silent for a moment. She had assumed the gun was empty, but she never got to look.   Maybe it was possible that someone did care about her.

He doesn’t care.  No one cares.  The voice seemed a little smaller.  Carrie wasn’t listening to it.

“Why?  I mean, why does he care?” she asked, “Why not let that bullet kill me?  No one else would have cared.  Why does he bother knowing about my life—remembering it all?  My mother doesn’t remember to keep enough food in the house for me. My father doesn’t even remember my existence.  Why would God remember me?”

“You are not the first person to feel that way.  Many have wondered why God is mindful of them—why he even think about them. He doesn’t have to, but he chooses to concern himself with the activities of mankind.  Your life is important to him because he created you.  He wants nothing more than for you to know him.  He wants you to be his child.  He wants to be your father.”

A father? She’d never had a father.  She couldn’t even imagine what that would be like.  Could she trust God?  What if this “father” neglected her like her mother or left her like the father she never knew?

Don’t let yourself be convinced by this man.  You don’t want a father.

“I don’t know if I want another parent.  I haven’t exactly had a great experience with them you know.  My mother just admitted that she only had me because….” she paused, not wanting to share all the details of her life with this man even if he did seem to know them already, “Well, let’s just say I shouldn’t have been born.”

“But that isn’t true.  You should have been born,” Geff told her, “Your birth wasn’t an accident, and neither is the rest of your life.”

As he spoke the words, the boxes disappeared.  A mirror materialized in their place.

“Look in the mirror,” said Geff.

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Read what happens next: The Mirror

Previously:  The Visitor 

Jump to the beginning:  The Gun

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4 thoughts on “Rescued: The Boxes

  1. I am behind on my reading :$ I’ve had this up for a few days because I wanted to read it, and see how things turned out for Carrie. I’m going to sound like an idiot for saying this, but who is Geff? I looked in the last story and couldn’t find his name. I assume he is the guardian angel?

    My favorite paragraph was the one with the altered perception and swirling colors. I thought it was both imaginative and creative 😀 I always enjoy altered perception in stories, lol.

    The part about the boxes was a bit confusing to me. I’m assuming the boxes were in a line of chronological order? But if that’s true, the box would start with her birth. It might be better to just have like a vast array of boxes as far as she could see. Then it would make sense to start at a random scene. I think in the parts where you say little Carrie and big Carrie, you can just combine it or just describe how big Carrie feels because it has already been implied that they feel the same thing.

    This is something I was critiqued on recently, and I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. The issue is filter words. Here is a good article on it: http://writeitsideways.com/are-these-filter-words-weakening-your-fiction/

    Basically words like, “I felt,” “I know,” “I heard,” can put distance between the reader and your protagonist. For instance if you say, “I felt the floor shake because of the earthquake.” Compare that to, “The floor shook because of the earthquake.” The latter one is more definite. That’s not to say they can’t be used. Sometimes they are needed, but it’s kind of like adverbs. Try to fix as many as you can.

    There are also a few lines that can be cut, like this, “Carrie was dumbfounded. How did he know that she had a gun to her head? How did he know that when she pulled the trigger the gun did nothing? She was silent for a moment. She had assumed the gun was empty, but she never got to look. The gun may have been loaded. Maybe it was possible that someone did care about her.”

    “Carrie was dumbfounded. How did he know that when she pulled the trigger the gun did nothing? She was silent for a moment. She had assumed the gun was empty, but she never got to look. Maybe it was possible that God cared about her.”

    If you want to, perhaps come back to it in a few weeks, and the lines that aren’t as important might stand out to you.

    I think you did a great job with Carrie and evoking empathy from the reader 🙂 It’s easy to see why she tried to kill herself, and heartwarming to know God still cares. I’m prepping for a job interview so I might not get to the last piece of this story before the weekend. But I definitely want to see how it ends for her!

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  2. Geff is the guy (angel) who comes to Carrie in “The Visitor.” She finds out his name here “’I’m sorry, who are you?’ Her tone was a little sharp. It was a little unnerving to be alone while a guy that could be a line-backer stood at her door. The gun in the room behind her didn’t even have bullets. ‘You can call me Geff,’ he said.”

    Hopefully it isn’t too confusing. I thought it would be easier to give him a name rather than refer to him as “the man.” Lol. 🙂

    The boxes are in chronological order, but Carrie is in the middle of the line (well, not direct middle…just a random place), not the beginning. I tried to describe it like this, “They [the boxes] sat in a straight line going as far as Carrie could see on either side. They didn’t begin or end.” I thought since each box was a day, it would be a pretty long line. I imagined Carrie standing somewhere between the box with the day she was born and the box with her present day.

    Combining “little Carrie” and “big Carrie” would have made writing it way easier! 🙂 It will probably make reading it easier too. 😉

    I find that letting something I wrote sit for so long that I almost forget it and then reading it for critiquing purposes is the best way for me to edit. Unfortunately, that could take months. I would never post anything! 🙂 So thanks for shortening that time and pointing out the redundant lines and the issue with filter words. (I’ll be sure to check out that article. It sounds interesting.)

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the story. 🙂 Good luck with your job interview!

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