The Box - First Look!
She moved into the living room where she had been sorting some of Liam’s things. She sat down on the couch, determined, now that she would be gone over the weekend, to pack up the remainder of his things and leave them on the front porch for him to collect. She was on vacation until the middle of next week, and she needed to get these things done. Besides, the last thing she wanted to see when she got home from her grandmother’s house this weekend was a reminder of her failed marriage.
She sighed, and the urge to cry was strong. She would have cried too had she not seen something else out of the corner of her eye. This time it came from her left, over by the front door. She felt uneasy and quickly jerked her head in the direction of the door. She closed her eyes, began to count, and chanted: “It’s not real, there’s nothing there. It’s not real, there’s nothing there,” over again until she had counted to ten.
When she opened her eyes, she looked around. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and she breathed a sigh of relief. She didn’t want any of that nonsense to start all over again. It had been a long while since she had seen the shadows, and she sure didn’t want to go down that road again.
Memories of childhood flooded her mind, taking her to another time and place. She could see the ceiling of her old bedroom as she stared at it in the dwindling daylight that streamed through the window. She lay there, unable to sleep, as she listened to her parents argue and fight somewhere within the house. It was there, in her childhood bedroom, that she first saw the shadows in her peripheral vision.
She continued to see the shadows periodically as she grew up, especially when things weren’t going well. As her parent’s own marriage deteriorated and their arguments escalated, so did her anguish, and the presence of the shadows increased. In time, Heidi blamed the shadows for her parent’s divorce.
As she grew older the shadows would return whenever the going was tough, and, as such, she began to acknowledge the shadows with dread. Wherever the shadows were, bad times were sure to follow. She kept the shadows a secret until she was 19 when she made the mistake of telling her mom. Her mom thought she was crazy and committed her to a mental hospital for a month.
When she left the ward, she promised herself two things: she would never mention the shadows to another person, and she would never talk to her mother again. The only good things that happened on the ward were meeting her friend Sandra, who she still talked to weekly, and having Dr. Mansell for her psychiatrist. Dr. Mansell helped her understand that the shadows weren’t real, and gave her better ways to cope with her stress. It’s where she learned to count to ten with her eyes closed and tell herself 'the shadows aren’t real'.