The room shifted, and Chris lost his balance, teetering to the side, but he caught himself. Tom’s low pitch chuckle gathered momentum as it grew in intensity and echoed. Chris’s vision blurred, then cleared. In the split second after it cleared, he peered at the green glow emanating from the box. It pulsated. With each pulsating reach it grew. Chris’s attention stuck to the glow, unable to divert it. Then the glow snatched him and pulled him in.
Tom stared down at the box which was now closed and with it, Chris. Forever, Chris was now entombed in the green “room”. “That’ll teach him to try and take things from someone. Same as all the others. People like that can’t resist something that looks like a jewel let along something that glows like a jewel. Those people are greedy. Hmph! Serves him right.”
Chris glanced around him. Outlines of what appeared to be other people lurked on the perimeter of a room with hazy mint green walls, or wherever. His head throbbed. “Hello?” he called out. No one answered. “Hello?” he called out again. The shuffling of feet broke the silence, yet no one moved. “Come on I know you’re there. Where am I?”
“You are in the box,” came a disembodied voice.
“What? No Way. That box is too small to fit anybody. It’s the size of someone’s palm,” said Chris.
“Or is it?”
“I think I’ve gone mad. I’m having a nightmare and I’ll wake next to Janie.” Chris crinkled his eyes shut. After a minute, he opened them. Nope still there. He jumped at a touch on his shoulder. A white silhouette with grey swirls throughout stood to his right. The face was there but faded. Chris took one step back and jerked his head around the place he now stood. These white silhouettes came closer, then closer still. The noise of heavy breathing broke the silence. It was his own.
“Come,” said the voice. It sounded like it came from the silhouette on his right, but the mouth didn’t move.”
“No,” said Chris.
“Shhhhh. You are one of us now.”
Chris backed away with shuffled steps and ran into silhouettes behind him. He spun on his heal and jerked backwards moving away from them. He jerked in a circle as they surrounded him. “What? Where? No. Who are…?”
“This is a place for greedy people.”
“No, no. I – I – I was just curious. I swear.”
“You looked back because you thought there was something of value in the box.”
“He tricked me. He He. He played me. He made me think there was something in it, so of course I would think it was valuable, just by how he was safeguarding it.”
“Yes, but one who is not greedy wouldn’t care what is in the box.”
“They would if they were curious whether they were greedy or not.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)