A Box of Stories
Copyright Mivette Aponte 2017
First Smashword Edition
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Table of Contents
The Light Box
The doorbell rang and we all race to the foyer. We knew that Agatha was going to open the door and it would be our only chance to see the outside. Last time we saw the sunshine was when Agatha had us paint the fence about a month ago. Agatha stomped her way to the door. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was in an orphanage or in the military. What did I do that was so bad, that my parents tossed me here when I was a baby? What did any of us do? We were all good girls. I often wondered
Lindy and Tani were next to me when Agatha opened the door to a salesman. And as she flirted with the guy we took our chances to look at the sun giving off its last lights and the clouds. I noticed a small package on the floor but Agatha didn’t pay any attention to it.
Agatha came inside and shut the door, “don’t you girls have some chores to do?”
“Ms. Agatha, you left a package outside,” I said to her.
She opened the door and slammed it back shut “there is nothing there,” she shouted, “go up to your rooms and get ready for bed.”
I waited for everybody to leave then I opened the door quietly and there was the small box. I wondered why she didn’t see it. I hid the package under my bed and waited for bedtime. There were no markings nor return address on it. I unwrapped the brown paper, unveiling a silver metal box with holes. It was hollow and I could see through them.
“What’s that Suzi?” Lindy whispered in her tiny 6-year-old voice.
“Not sure, but I think it has magic.”
“Oh come on, you really think it has magic?” Lana interrupted. “It’s a piece of junk.”
“It might not take us away from this awful place or make Agatha nice, but Agatha didn’t even see it when it was right in front of her,” I argued “it’s something special.”
“Um, the old hag has bad eyes. She doesn’t even see her face in the mirror. Have you seen her makeup?”
“I believe you Suzi.” Lindy said
“Don’t be fooled Lindy, magic isn’t real. If it were, there is no way it would be here in some stupid orphanage, with a bunch of girls that nobody wants.”
“Don’t say that!” I knew that she might be right but I didn’t want Lindy hear her. She had faith that one day she would escape this dark and depressing place.
I heard Lindy whisper, “somebody will want me, they just have not find me.”
“Why do I hear noises coming from this room?” Then Agatha barged in. “If you girls don’t go to sleep I will take away one of your meals tomorrow.” She looked around, then closed the door.
“Then what does your box do?” Lana taunted.
“I don’t know,” I wished it would make Lana shut-up.
“Guys I don’t want to lose a meal tomorrow; let’s go to sleep.” Lindy cried.
“Fine,” Lana said.
I placed the box on the foot of my bed and tucked myself in.
“If it could take us away, where would you go?” Lindy asked.
“Paris,” Lana quickly answered.
“I don’t care as long as I get to see the sun rise and the stars’ shine,” I said.
“Oh yea,” Lindy agreed “I wish I could see the stars.”
All of sudden the room was filled with stars and space dust clouds that gave the room a pinkish glow.
“Oh, my goodness!” Lindy yelled “Lana look!”
I jumped from my bed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was beautiful, my rags were decorated with diamonds. “look its coming for the box,” I knew it had something special.
“I wish it would show us Paris,” Lana yelled
Then the room changed, we were outside and were the door was now was The Eifel Tower. We stood on a grassy field, saw people passing by and the beautiful day made me forget that it was bedtime. We all started to cry from the happiness that we no longer felt trapped. We saw the world that night and every night. But as we grew older and got ready to leave the orphanage, we lost the ability to see the box and its wonders. It was okay by me, this way it remained where it’s needed the most.
The Trucker and the Girl
The big, loud, red steel made me feel uneasy but not many cars pass by this dirt highway. So, I stuck my right thumb out and prayed that it wasn’t a serial killer. I tried not cover my ears and cough as the truck came to a hard stop next to me.
What the hell is a semi doing in Anoka, Nebraska? Who cares, I have been standing here far too long, and mom will find me soon.
“Where are you going kid?” a voice from inside truck asked.
I could hear his voice, but the smoke and dust between us made it hard for me to take a good look at him. I made out the shiny, chrome handle and made and pulled myself onto the truck. If I would have known my ride out of this town would it be it semi-truck I would have changed my purple party dress to some overalls and boots.
“Thanks for the ride man,” I said
He repeated his question to me, “where are you going, kid?”
“I just want to get out of this town,” I said.
I honestly didn’t think things through. I left without money, without plans, without anything. I figured that I could make plans on my way to wherever I was going to. Plenty of other kids have run away and been fine, I think.
“Look, I’m not here to help you run away nor am I planning on getting busted for kidnapping. I figured I was just giving you a ride to the next convenience store since this godforsaken town has nothing in it.
“I get it Mr. Truck Driver,” don’t think I should be sharing real names with somebody I will only know for a couple of hours. So, Mr. Truck Driver he will be.
“Can you just drop me off in the next town over? I’ll take it from there,” I said.
“How about you use my cell phone to call your parents and get over your little temper tantrum,” he said to me.
His stupid comment pissed me off. I felt like he was underestimating me without even knowing me. “Can you please just drive. I have no parents and don’t ask me anything else.” I said. I knew I sounded rude, but I didn’t feel like explaining anything to a stranger. Even though, I don’t think he bought it because he just smiled and kept driving.
The five minutes of silence was broken by him handing me his cell phone and insisting I call my parents again. I acted like I was calling, then told him there was no answer.
“Why do you want to run away so bad? Are your parents abusive or something?” he asked.
“Ok, fine. I don’t have parents I just have a mom,” I reluctantly answered.
He responded, “okay, and what’s so bad about her?”
“Nothing, she’s a great mom,” I said
“I don’t get it then, “he said.
“I don’t know. I’m just upset. Today is my 16th birthday, and I thought maybe my dad would show up, but like always he never did.”
It seemed like the conversation took a turn that he didn’t like because I saw him grasping at his oversized wheel and sweating like if he was nervous or something. I didn’t continue the conversation thinking I my story was making him uncomfortable.
“What makes you think he’s not coming still?” he asked me
“Because he never does, I’ve never even seen the guy. But I thought maybe if I send him an invite to my party he may change his mind about being a father, you know. I even did this thing where I sent the invite in a green envelope. Mom told me that was his favorite color and I thought it would catch his attention. He wouldn’t just toss it away thinking it was junk mail,” I explained.
I could tell he was feeling sorry for me. He stopped making eye contact with me after I told him my sad story. All he could say was “I’m sorry your dad turned out to be such a jerk.”
For a moment, there I thought he looked like he could be my dad. I wondered if this is what a conversation with him would be like.
“So, Mr. Truck Driver, what is it like to live on the road?” I was trying to change the conversation.
“Lonely,” he answered. “Makes me regret a lot of decisions I made, especially not having a family.”
“You know my mom told me my dad was a truck driver when she met him then he became a chef. That’s the last she knew him.”
He did this awkward clearing throat thing. “Where do you live?” he asked me
“I am not going to answer that. What if you are a murderer?” I said
“I would murder you right now,” he snapped back.
“True,” I agreed.
“I think it’s time I took you back home. You have blown off some steam, and now you can back to your mother.”
“You are right; this was a bitchy move on my part. But I just hate being in my house hoping my dad will knock on the door,” I explained.
“I get it,” he answered. “And I’m sorry.”
I didn’t know why he kept being so apologetic when he didn’t do anything, but maybe he too has been in a situation like mine. He did say he had a lot of regrets.
I showed him the way to my house, and when we got there, I suddenly felt bad for Mom. Here I was about to leave just like my dad did. I’m an awful daughter.
“Thanks for bringing me back home,” I said. “By the way, what are you doing in this small town? No trucks or delivery trucks ever come by here. You know there is nothing in this, not even convenience store like you said.”
“I had someone to see, but I got lost. That’s when I found you,” he laughed
“Are you going to make it now? I am sorry if took you off your route.”
“I have some thinking to do Emily, not sure what to do.”
“Go home, like I did,” I smiled and left.
I was happy to be walking back inside my home. I didn’t feel sad or upset anymore. My dad missed out on a good family, not me.
“Emily! You said you were going on a quick walk. That was over an hour! I sent everyone out to get you!” Mom yelled.
“I am so sorry Mom…” my train of thought stopped.
“How did he know my name is Emily?” I thought to myself.
“What? What are you talking about?” Mom asked, but I didn’t answer.
I was too confused. As I gathered my thoughts and questions, I heard the doorbell ring.
“Kevin,” my Mom said in a surprised tone.
Kevin is my Dad’s name. I was even more confused. I turned to look at who was standing at the door and who happened to have the same name. It was Mr. Truck Driver. He was holding something up in his hand. It was my party invitation in the green envelope
A Father’s Gift
Okay, Nate, you can stay out here upset and mope about your father’s obsession with his car, but I am going inside to bring out lunch. You’re going to be more upset if you get inside and there is no more food left,” Clare said as she stood up from the rocking chair.
Nate whispered to himself. “I’ll be right in, mom. Even on my 16th birthday, he pays more attention to that stupid car.”
Nate ate his food as he took peeks at his father through the window. Peeks that only fueled his anger more.
“Okay, everyone it’s time to sing happy birthday,” Clare swung the kitchen swing doors open with her back and waltz in the dining room with a lit, two tier cake. Nate’s friends Mikey, Sam, Tina, and Sara huddled up around the table. “I hope everyone loves marble cake. It’s Nate’s favorite,” Clare said, smiling towards Nate. “On the count of three.”
“No wait, this is bullshit,” Nate yelled.
“Nate, watch your mouth,” Clare shouted in response.
“It’s my sixteenth birthday, and he can spare 5 minutes away from his car to sing Happy Birthday to his only son.” Nate marched outside. “Dad, why don’t you come and sing to your son? How about we bring the party out here, so you don’t have to separate from your precious car.”
There was no response from his father. He was nowhere to be seen. Walking closer to the black, sleek 1969 Mustang, Nate looked inside but the tan, leather seats were bare. In a glimpse of the sidewalk floor, he spotted a hand peeking through the white fence.
“Dad,” Nate ran towards the hand.
His father lied on the cement with a sponge still in his hand.
Within an hour Nate found himself from celebrating his birthday to watching his father lay on a hospital bed. Everything felt heavy. His breath was heavy; his heart was heavy even his last words to his father laid heavy in his thoughts.
“I am going to go and get some coffee. You should sit next to him. He needs company until he goes in for surgery,” Clare held back her tears as she kissed her husband on the forehead.
Nate ambled towards his father stabilizing his steps with the rails of the bed. He sat next
to his dad and didn’t say a word.
“Nate, I have a story to tell you.” His father’s voice was faint.
“Dad, this isn’t time for stories.”
“When I was sixteen your grandfather gave my first car. I didn’t think much of the car. I saw it as another way of him buying my love since he was never around after my mother died. But then I saw your mom has I drove by a high school. We had our first date in that car at the drive-in. I asked her to marry me in that car, and when she was pregnant with you, she went into contractions in that car.”
“Dad, I understand, the Mustang meant a lot to you. I am sorry for being so angry about that.”
“No Nate, I don’t think you do.” Nate’s father placed a leather keychain with a shiny, silver key attached. “This is your car now. I hope it brings you the beautiful things it brought me.”
“I lost my father and mother at a young age, but then I found my family. I found my wife and son thanks to that car.”
“Mr. Clark, it’s time to take you into surgery,” a nurse said from the doorway.
Six months later.
Nate drove up to his dad’s burial site in a black, sleek Mustang. His heart still felt heavy. Even after a year, he couldn’t believe his father didn’t come back from surgery. Mary Julius, Calvin Mars, and Matteo Ruiz were the names he read up the hill until he finally read John Clark.
“I miss you, dad. I could use some advice from you right now. I was driving to the market, and I saw this beautiful girl. I have seen her a couple of times after and I just don’t know how to speak to her. She could be the one you know. Just like mom was the one.”
Nate took out a picture from his and placed it on the stone. It was his father and mother holding a baby boy.
Suzy sat outside in the hotel balcony. She smelt the roses surrounding her and watched the birds rest on the rails. Three hard knocks on the door snapped her out of her daydream making her jump in her chair.
“Come in,” she said, tucking her knees under her floral dress skirt.
“Hey there, little lady.” The man dressed in a navy-blue suit looked around the room.
“My name is Clint and I’m here to meet with Suzy.”
“That’s me. Come out here.”
Clint walked out slowly, still looking around the room.
“I don’t mean to be rude young lady, but aren’t you too young to be here? I mean a smoky, dirty motel is nowhere for a teenager to be. Especially all by yourself.”
“I won’t be here long.”
“Okay, so tell me why you came all the way from Iowa to hire me as your PI?”
“Have you ever been to Iowa?”
“Only once. It was just for business.”
“I left Iowa a long time ago. I left right after my mother and baby sister were murder.”
“Oh, and now you want me to find the killer?”
“No, I found the killer.”
“Who do you need me to find? You must be looking for someone.”
“Can I tell you how my family was murder?”
“Sure, go ahead. I am a sucker for little girl’s stories.”
“Well, my mother left my abusive stepfather and he didn’t handle it well. That’s why I knew he was involved in their murders.”
“How where they murdered?”
“Both my mother and five-year-old sister were shot in the head while they were sleeping. I was at a friend’s house when it happened.”
“So, your stepfather killed them?”
“No, I had to cut two of his figures before he told me the truth. He was full of grief. The hitman he paid $5000 to kill my mother wasn’t supposed to kill his daughter. That is why I left him alive. Do you want to guess my stepfather’s name, Clint?”
“Look, baby girl I am truly sorry. I needed the money and I was doing drugs at the time. But I have cleaned up my act since. That’s why I only do PI work. I am truly sorry.”
“Tell me his name.”
“Yes, that is him. He paid you $5000 to kill my family. You couldn’t even look at them in eyes when you killed them. That’s why you did it in their sleep. You couldn’t look at my sweet, innocent baby sister.”
“I told you I was sorry. I really am. If I could take it back I would.” Clint scratched his head and then wiped his sweaty palms on his pants.
“I don’t accept your apology.” Suzy took her small, silver purse from the back of her chair. She then placed it on her lap.
“What can I say? I have to live with what I did for the rest of my life.” Clint had his eyes fixed on the tiled ground. I thought they were out on the patio.
“No, you don’t,” Suzy said, pulling a black object from her purse. She aimed her gun at Clint.
“Do you see them now? Do you see their eyes in my eyes? I will look at you.”
Two shots left Suzy’s gun and went straight into Clint’s head. He fell back from his chair and blood spread out from underneath his head.
“I forgive you now, Clint.”
About the Author
Mivette Aponte is an author and screenwriter who lives in Orlando, Florida. She is a former radio broadcaster who left her job to earn her BFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. When asked what made her make the change she says “ all my life I have been told that I am too dramatic and that I make up things from nowhere. So much so that I should write novels and star in a soap opera. This was the sentiment of mostly ex-boyfriends. But instead of taking it as an insult I decided to make it into a career. “
Reach Mivette Aponte via LinkedIn
"Box of Stories" is a combination of short stories by Mivette Aponte which touch on different genre and topics. "Box of Light" is about a depressing all girl orphanage that is brought to life by a mysterious box. "The Trucker and the Girl" takes you on an expected ride of a hitchhiking girl and her run in with an unusual trucker. The third story in the set is the heartwarming story of a teenager, his father, and his father's car. The last of the stories is "The Ex-Wife."John's greatest love and greatest guilt was his ex-wife.