Scene from a Box

My headache is back—blood pounding through constricted veins. I leave the pen and notebook on the table and stand up. I take a flashlight from the top of the refrigerator and walk down the hallway to the bedroom.

The room is empty except for a single throw rug. The walls are bare—no curtains or shades cover the windows—glass panes all painted black. I bend down and slide the rug aside. I lift the trapdoor and step down.

The cellar is damp and smells of mold. As I make my way across the room, I use my flashlight to scan every corner of the concrete chamber.

Outside, the night birds are crying.

When I get to my mattress, I kneel down and roll onto my back. I slide the .45 out of the holster and lay it on my chest. The weight is reassuring. I switch off the flashlight and close my eyes.

Far away, pinpoints of light come and go. My mind cannot hold them steady—little doors opening and closing—vague reflections of half-remembered places—clean, well-lit spaces that I can imagine, but never know.

The flickering fragments drift away. They are frail and will not last the night.



DB Cox graduated from high school in 1966 and joined the Marines Corps right after the Vietnam TET Offensive in 1968. After being discharged in 1972, he spent several years playing guitar in bars, juke joints, and honky tonks across the South. In 1977, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Berklee School of Music where he discovered a thriving blues scene. After thirty years of playing the music he loves with some great bands, he moved back to South Carolina where he writes and plays in a blues-rock band called "PC Red & Almost Blue." DB recommends the Best Friends Animal Society.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 23:17