Estelle Jackson

April 13th, 1977, England
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The Box

A rattle; a shudder.
I turn and face... nothing.
For a fleeting moment,
Confusion reigns.
I pause, then pick up
The threads of today.
A life - infused with colour,
Discourse, demands and distractions -
Drowns out what I know deep down is real.
Later, in the stillness,
It beckons me again,
Only this time in silence.
A presence rather than a sound
Draws me back towards the box.
It's been a while;
I'd almost dared to hope
Its grip on me had vanished;
That the power within had died.

When those weary days were done,
I placed them all inside the box.
Their minutes spent; their hours full -
Too full to hold inside one mind;
Too intense for a mortal to contain
Their colours rich and dark
As images swirled and merged and pooled like blood.
Summer scenes of countryside and friends
Turned ghoulish on the pages
As the ink spread out to reveal
The images of nightmares.
I picked them up and folded them together,
Their burnished edges catching at my fingers
Even as I gently folded the pages,
Stroking them closed
As though to calm the horrors within.
I placed them in the box
With plenty of space to breathe.
I sealed the box with steely threads
Fashioned from Determination and Will,
Then tucked it away on top of a cupboard
Where it would now remain
Quite pacified; no longer volatile.
And then, with time,
It grew silent, still.
The pages' fractious energy was spent -
Burnt out -
And life could once again resume.

I stand, and pace the room
Face upturned to survey the box.
Its contents draw me inexorably:
They will not rest
Until I reach inside
And view them once again
In the fresh light of today.
I tremble now, unsure what I will find.
Have the colours mellowed with age;
The images composed themselves
With the benefit of hindsight?
Or will those pages once again unleash
The horrors they once held?
One thing I know for sure:
I will crack open the box
And peek through cautious fingers at the pages within
Before they burst their shackles
And explode from the box all by themselves.

So this is how it goes:
All that is left to do is be courageous
And to play it out.
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