Flash Fiction by Deborah Dunkerton

The box lid was smooth, the once rough timber polished by generations of hands lovingly caressing the wood. Even the thick iron nails buried deep into the wood had been smoothed to a dull grey shine.

Arthur had been sitting next to the box for most of the day. Cars had passed on the dusty road but nobody had been curious or brave enough to stop and ask if he needed help. Now the sun was lowering in the sky, the ruddy late afternoon light heightening the honey coloured wood and showing little shadows where the box had been damaged and warped over the centuries.

Sitting cross legged next to the box Arthur shifted his weight for the first time in hours to dislodge a pebble digging into one ankle bone, as if in response to his movement the box shifted on the ground, just a small movement, if he hadn’t been watching for it he wouldn’t have noticed.

He froze in place again, carefully settling the crow bar into his lap with the barest of movements. The box moved again, just the barest shift to his left, leaving a tiny drag mark in the dust as if to prove it wasn’t his imagination.
The feel of the metal crow bar in his white knuckled grip was the only thing that kept him calm. A bead of sweat trickled slowly down his cheek, the tickling tempting him to wipe it away but he ignored it.

Finally as the sun slipped below the tree line and the shadows began to creep from the forest edge, he drew a shaking breath and stood up. In response there was a distinct thump from the box. It was time.

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