The Sphere – Chapter 1

Sydney Lane, Staff Writer

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Jacky spent the day cleaning out her great uncle’s place. David had gone mad years back, but her mother had only decided to put him in a home last month. His attic was filled with junk like boxes of old photos. Some blurry and black and white or even clear and colorful. It was tedious to open a box, expecting something that she could sell or throw out, only to find another six photo albums of people she didn’t recognize at all. Jacky decided that she didn’t want to throw any of them away in case they were precious to Uncle David. But at this point, there was at least 26 photo albums. All of the other boxes were filled with silverware, plates or old antiques. A lot of that stuff could be sold if she polished them up. The other thing her uncle had a lot of were newspaper clippings. Most of them following one person and their achievements up until the person went missing for unexplained reasons. It was really quite creepy.

Nonetheless, she finished sorting through her uncle’s stuff. The large attic was sorted into three piles of sell, keep, and trash. All but one dresser. The dresser’s drawers were empty. The dresser itself was still in decent shape. She decided that it could be sold which would add a couple extra dollars to her uncle’s estate. She took out each drawer so it would be easier to move, then she mustered up all of her strength and pushed the heavy dresser next to the sell pile, and stacked the drawers beside it.

Jacky turned back around to take in one last look at the musty old attic, prepared to be proud of her work. However, in place of where the dresser once stood, there was a hole in the wall. It was just large enough for a person to crawl through. She walked closer towards the hole to get a better look. Damn was it ominous. The hole led to a smaller room blocked off by the wall so she couldn’t tell how big the space was. She could tell that there were no windows. It was midday. All the other windows flooded the attic with light, but this place seemed as if it just ate the light that tried to enter.

She pulled out her phone, turned on the flashlight and approached the hole. She had heard of stories like this. About people who break into other people’s attics and live there, stealing things from the residents. Once she had heard a story of a man living in someone’s attic and when the wife went in to investigate the strange noises she’d hear at night, the guy living there killed her. The husband and children had put out a missing person’s report on her, but never found her until a foul smell started to fill the house. When they went to investigate the rancid smell, they found her rotting corpse in the attic, along with the man who had been living there.

Despite her better judgment, Jacky got on her hands and knees and started to crawl through the small entrance. Shining her flashlight around the room she saw nothing. It was kind of disappointing to her. With all those stories running through her mind, she secretly hoped it would be something cool. A rotting body or two would certainly kill her boredom. Nonetheless, she started to assess the room and all it had.

There were seven more cardboard boxes and maybe four old looking chests. The room seemed damp. The air seemed humid and moist as she breathed and felt it on her skin. Cobwebs and spiders were all over the place, even birds’ nests in corners. It was also really disgustingly dusty. With particles just floating in the air, they were illuminated by her flashlight. An annoyed sigh left her mouth. She’d have to clean all of this up as well. It was such a tedious task.

She gingerly sat on the old rotting wood boards in front of one of the cardboard boxes. She took out the box cutter again, vexed by her need to use it once more. She swiftly split the tape on the top of the box and opened it with a vengeance.

Inside was an assortment of glass spheres with some kind of colorful fog. “What the hell are these?” Jacky thought to herself.  “More importantly, what is inside? It looked like gas, but how could a gas stay trapped and keep its color?” She wasn’t much of a scientist, but this was weird nonetheless. She opened the other boxes. Each one had glass balls just like the first box. What were they? A weird decoration? A bomb? Was her uncle crazy enough to make a new type of weaponry? No, he wasn’t that crazy, but still, if she were to accidentally break it, would she die? Or release an infectious disease?

She tried to push the thought out of her mind and moved onto the other boxes, the ones that weren’t cardboard but nice-looking chests. She tried to push one open, but it was locked. All the others were too. She hadn’t seen any keys while cleaning the other part of the attic, but if there was a lock, then there must be a key to go with it. Jacky looked around again, going through each pile checking for a key but the ones she did find didn’t work.

“Maybe I can pick the lock,” she thought. She used her phone to look up ‘How to pick a lock with a pencil’, ‘How to pick a lock’, and ‘How to pick a lock with a bobby pin’, but, none of the step-by-step tutorials worked. “Whatever,” she said to herself, “I’ll just ask David when I see him.”

She pushed all of the boxes out through the small opening from where she had come. What pile should she put it with? She didn’t know what they were, and she didn’t know whether or not David found these to be important. She decided to push them to the keepsake pile. The last box was small enough that she could pick it up, so she carefully lifted it. Of course, while she walked to the pile, she tripped and fell.

The spheres went flying and panic filled her as she came crashing to the floor. The balls landed without a scratch. A sigh of relief left her. Thank God, who knows what would have happened should one of them had broken. She stood up carefully, brushing herself off and looking at the mess around her. Glass spheres rolled around, running away from their cardboard prison and human guard.

She looked at one in particular that seemed to be going to the other side of the room. Jacky started to walk towards it, but, after taking only a couple of steps she heard the cracking sound of glass. Looking down she saw her foot atop a ball.

“Damnit.”

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