The Metal Box
It’s been a long time since Mr. Morrison’s death, but it still feels like he is talking to me in his natural grumbling manner. Mr. Morrison’s story is the only crawling truth that I've ever come across in my whole working life. I am a Psychiatrist by profession and I've dealt with many kinds of mental illness, but Mr. Morrison’s was unique, it literally challenged my education and practice. I hardly remember who referred Mr. Morrison’s case to me, but I owe a lot to him.
My first encounter with Mr. Morrison proved to be a fiasco. As per his wish, we were supposed to meet at a strange, unheard of café at the end of the town. Well, I usually do not start the sessions anywhere outside my chamber, but, Mr. Morrison was an exception. He happened to be a member of the elite-class, and of some billionaire clubs, owned some antique gold pocket-watches, suited in the most expensive linen, owned several Ferraris, Limousines and Rolls Royce. Keeping his aristocracy in mind, I decided to fulfill his wish, but I was dumbfounded when I came to know the venue of the meeting. Why a rich and affluent person like him wants to meet me in an obscure place was the only question that was lingering in my mind. Maybe, he was afraid of being recognized.
When I reached the café, I saw some people pushing Mr. Morrison and trying to get him out of that place, I chose to remain secreted behind one of the huge pillars in the vicinity. After the whole hullabaloo, I asked one waiter about that. He told me that Mr. Morrison was caught red handed while stealing their cup-cakes and donuts. I was amazed to hear why a respectable person, like Mr. Morrison had to steal food instead of buying it. I was aware of his misfortune, of the fact that he was bankrupted, his estate was snatched from him, and how his debts engulfed his nest egg. But though, it was hard to believe that he could go to that extent. I didn’t meet him that evening, and tried to sit back and think about the whole thing.
The Next day, I woke up by Mr. Morrison’s call. He spoke uncouthly in a muffled voice, and told me that he wants to meet me at my place. I agreed. The moment he entered my house, I was surprised to see the change-over in him, he was utterly different from how he appeared at the café the day before. He was very much behaved in a gentlemanly manner; he was attired in a suit, though old but scarcely ruffled. He asked me before he took his seat and then he asked me for a cigar, but I wretchedly satisfied him with a cigarette instead. After releasing the first ring of smoke, he finally started is story.
‘I have a bad past.’ he said, ‘that still haunts me everywhere. I dreams and in reality. It ruined my life, my successful life; I now am nothing but a destitute, penniless, pitiable eighty-years-old.’
That was the time I got to know about his age for the first time. He continued his anecdote.
‘I was almost twenty or twenty-two; dynamic, vigorous and very bright young man when I started to live in New York City for studying. I was always very sharp as a student, so my parents wanted to send me to New York’s best college. My life was very mundane, I prepared my own meal, cleaned my own dishes, laundered my own clothes; the amount of money my father used to send was very little to be invested in restaurant-bills or laundries. I was very displeased with my stereotyped life. But then I met Sally, Sally Moore. Sally was the wife of Mr. Ronald Moore, a well-known business tycoon of that time. He owned a few industries and a luxurious palace at the outskirts of New York. Though Mr. Moore was at his late sixty’s then, but Sally was only 22. Sally and I were classmates, we were friends, and gradually we fell in love with each-other. We used to hang around, chat and have our meals together. She took care of me a lot, lent me money whenever I needed, fed me, cleaned my dishes and laundered my clothes like a committed ‘wife’. Any of us had no guts to marry or live together, because, at that time, Mr. Moore was at the peak of all powers. He had the money, the palace and the supremacy to kill both of us. So, we waited for his death, which was expectantly not so far.’
He stopped suddenly, stubbed out the remainder of the cigarette and asked for one more. I hurried to look for another one as I was so excited to know the final part of his story. After lighting the second cigarette, he started again.
‘Where was I? Oh, yes, Mr. Moore did not exactly know the reality but he doubted me a little bit. Whenever I went to his house, to bring my books or notes, he asked several questions in a distrustful manner.
One day, in Mr. Moore’s absence, Sally invited me to her house. That was the first and actually only day when we came so close; I got to know her from every dimension, Sally was too close to me. We slept together, chatting and caressing. Sally draw out a metal box from a chest underneath her bed and placed it in front of me. When I asked about it, she said that her father gave her that box when she got married. The box was full of some precious ancestral jewelry. She had never told me that before. And, also she said that after Mr. Moore’s death, we would not touch any of his valuables, we could happily run our family only with that box.
Then, all of a sudden, the door thudded and opened. Mr. Moore was standing all reddened. I thought it might be my last visit to Sally, he might kill me. But, strangely he let me go. After that day, Sally did not come to the college for a long. And, one day I got a phone call from Mr. Moore, he wanted to meet me. I was worried as well as excited to meet him. When he told me, what he wants from me, I was astounded. He wanted me to kill Sally and grab that metal box, which Sally had hidden from him for a long, for him. And, he also offered me a huge amount of his fortune and a palace to live in. I staggered for a few hours after he left. Then, I brutally decided to go for the fortune rather than love.
At the very day, I blindfolded Sally and kissed her, then thrust the sharp blazing knife into her chest vigilantly. Her gown drenched into blood within a few seconds. As per Mr. Moore’s command I took her deceased body to the woods and carefully buried her without any trace of the betrayal.’
‘So, this is how you become what you are now’, I stopped him, but he didn’t say a word in reply and started again.
‘Now, it has been almost fifty years, I have almost forgotten about the days I left before. But she has not forgotten me.’
‘Who she?’ I asked.
‘Sally, she is back, and she is haunting me all over. A few months back, I got that Metal box at my door. All of this started after that. I am about to become insane. I lost all my riches in drinking. Please save me, she will kill me. Every night she calls me by the name she gave me, ‘Billy’. She leaves everything that I gave to her on my bed-side table; a red scarf, piles of letters and a few dove-feathers. Please save me, save me.’
I was not so amazed to hear his problem; I met several people every day with the same problem. But what made me amazed was his story of gaining the Royalty. I knew it was nothing but his hallucination, maybe because at this point of lonely life and over-age, he was repenting on his atrocious deed. Maybe his conscience badgered him. I gave him a few anti-depressants and told him to plan a vacation. But, he didn't give the time to go for a vacation. The next day, I got to know that he got a cardiac-arrest and passed away. I felt sorry for him; he was a very noble man, apart from the heinous crime that blackened his past.
I was invited to his funeral. Many aristocrat, ministers and socialites were there to pray for him. I was zealously moving around his house and suddenly I saw something at his bedroom. There was a metal box, aged but still dazzling, a red scarf, a pile of letters and a few dove-feathers lying on the floor.
This story has been posted to WriteupCafe as an entry of the contest, IBL. I have written it for my team Coup d'East. Please 'like' it here if you like this story. Any kind of opinion, positive or negative, and reviews are welcome. Please do comment because this is my first try to write a short-story ever since I have started writing. Thank you.
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