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The Golden Box - A short story.

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    Dragon Slayer

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She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled. After a month of searching, a month of wandering, of scrounging and fighting for food in dangerous places, it was finally in her possession. She did not trust herself to let the box slip away again, and kept her hand in her pocket, resting it on the pleasant-feeling golden surface during the entire flight back to New York.

The Amazon had not been good to her. Alice had entered the jungle with a group of no less than twenty-five others. Supplies were carried in backpacks and rifles were carried by most of the group. Mosquito netting and other necessary steps were taken to insure that disease did not hinder the exploration.

Alice and the party of explorers sliced through the thick vegetation of the rainforest. They traveled for days and days, every man and woman knowing what there was risked and what may be gained. It took them a full month to reach the ruins. Twenty or so of them were left, Alice recalled. Before them was not so much a valley but a crater, no less than five hundred yards in depth. The explorers were prepared for such a descent, and climbing down was an easy feat; all of them were in tip-top physical condition.

At the bottom of the hole was a circle of tall, stone figures. In their hands were spears and bows. Each mask-clad representation was easily eighty feet tall, and their brown-gold pigmentation was beautiful standing out against the overgrown plants that filled the interior of the massive cavity.

In the center of this ritualistic circle was a pedestal. It shined like the sun, gleaming gold as if it was just polished. The explorers knew, however, that this shrine to the tribal gods had not been touched in thousands of years.

Strapping on rifles in favor of their machetes, the troupe marched forward into the circle. Alice, as the leader and the fastest of the group, reached the pedestal first. Sitting majestically on a throne of sorts was a little, golden box. Greed flashed in her eyes; she could not resist the call of the precious treasure hidden within the container before her. She reached out her hand and grabbed it. This was a mistake, she thought in hindsight.

The second she lifted the box off of its proper resting place, a great rumbling noise was made. The pedestal shot into the ground, leaving an unnatural, gaping hole. She heard screams from behind, and whipped her head around. From the edge of the circle of statues to the wall of the crater, the stretch of fifteen yards where her comrades had been standing moments before had collapsed. Stepping to the edge of the island of sorts, she peered down into the abyss.

But it did not matter now, thought Alice. She had the box, which, she reminded herself, had been the point of the mission. Area 8 would be pleased with her.

Later that day, Alice arrived back in New York and took a taxi straight back to the mission control center.

“Bravo, Agent 6.” said the Sergeant, who was sitting behind a large oak desk.. “An astounding feat, finding the package in under a month!”

“It wasn’t easy, sir.” Alice replied with just a touch of modesty. The Sergeant didn’t appear to be listening, and instead lowered his voice into a much more serious tone. The change was unnerving, and sent a shiver up Alice’s spine. Something wasn’t right.

“Have you opened this box since you found – or rather, retrieved, it?” he asked.

“No, sir.” responded Alice.

“Has anyone else?”

“No sir,” Alice repeated.

“Are you absolutely sure?” asked the Sergeant, “Are you completely and utterly positive?”

“Yes sir. That box has not been opened.”

“Good,” replied the Sergeant, straightening up. He reached into a desk drawer, and Alice heard a faint click.

“What was--?” Alice began, but the Sergeant cut her off.

“Goodbye, Agent 6.” He pulled out the now cocked government-issue Desert Eagle pistol. The noise of the gunshot was muffled by the soundproofed walls of the dark, metal room, and the massive round tore through the body of the weary explorer. She fell to the ground and blood pooled on the ground around her.

The sergeant reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. Quickly dialing the number, he placed a call to one General Adrian Thompson of Area 8.

“Good news, sir. I have retrieved the package.” said the Sergeant.

A door behind the desk opened and the General walked in. The room was dark, and he didn’t notice the body low on the floor.

“Well done, Sergeant. A quest to the Amazon, successful in under a month. Now, tell me: Has this box been opened in the time you have had it?”

A drop of sweat ran down the Sergeant’s brow. “Excuse me for a moment,” he said, reaching into a desk drawer.

He grabbed the still-warm weapon and cocked it again. The General, who unlike Alice, was armed, heard the noise and withdrew his own firearm. The two shots were simultaneous. Both men lay dead upon the floor. They were found by police the same day, and the box was revealed to be empty.


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    Ice Giant Melter

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I'm not going to bother pointing out grammtical errors or give c/c in how you could make it better. Just asking, but what is this, really ?

Whats the incentive behind each of these characters doing what they do ? What was inside the golden box ? Why did they try to find the "box". The suspension of the story that you created at the beginning fizzled out. There was no plot, no motive, no incentive. The imagery and the buildup is far too great for this to just end abruptly. It didn't leave the reader hanging in wonder or shock it just ended without a reason.

I suggest you read N0M's Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them (It's a Guide)

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    Scorpion Pit

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Their greed was so great that they did not even realize that the gleaming box was nothing but a hollow promise of wealth and treasure.

They'd killed each other, never collaborating because they wanted it all for themselves.


We are creatures of avarice.
But I don't want to go among mad people!
Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here..."

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    Editorial Panel Member

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Oh, I understand what's going on here, but more exposition couldn't hurt. Like what was supposed to be so special about this golden box. Even if it's something like "no one knew what it contained, only that it was unimaginable riches." I suppose that was sort of implied, but the story is a bit too sparse with details. It gives the ending less of an impact. Something as simple as inserting a bit of backstory after the sentence, "They traveled for days and days, every man and woman knowing what there was risked and what may be gained" would help a lot.

"A drop of sweat ran down the Sergeant's brow" is a good use of the "show, don't tell" rule, works well.

I have to ask what the police would be doing in a top secret government facility, though. And why one would be able to simply take a taxi there.

This sort of reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe, specifically "The Cask of Amontillado." I really don't know why.


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