Saturday, April 15, 2017

Inanimate Objects Challenge: "A Tale of Two Boxes"-- Deborah O'Carroll

We get to welcome another new Bard to the group this month! Deborah O'Carroll, who has given us a very adventurous story about two boxes that also has a lot of feels. Please welcome her to our illustrious company ;)

A Tale of Two Boxes

By Deborah O’Carroll


Once on a time—which was not now, but close enough to it as to make no matter—there were two boxes.
These two boxes were new to the life of being boxes. Being a box was a very interesting state to be in, but they did not know this, for they had never been anything else—besides, of course, cardboard (which was somehow a very flat and distant memory they could not recall very well, having had no shape at the time), and before that, naturally, part of a tree, although they had not then become themselves yet.
One was a fine young cardboard box of a coffee-ish brown color—the kind of coffee with lots of milk in it. The color was where the box’s similarities to coffee began and ended, for they neither smelled nor (presumably) tasted anything alike.
The other box was a pristine young cardboard box of white—the off-white, faintly-grey, sea-salt-ish color that most boxes which are white have. For all that, it felt entirely unique, knowing that no other box had a personality like it had, and was content.
These two boxes lived—or, perhaps, existed—in a room on a shelf side by side, awaiting their purpose in life. Although their personalities and temperaments were polar opposites, that did not stop them being the best of friends. They often thought friendly thoughts to each other about whatever boxes think about—generally, the state of the shelf on which they dwelt, or the comings and goings of the large beings with names like Jessica and Jerry who would sometimes come into the room and take a box off somewhere.
Sometimes they thought to one another about what might be in store for them wherever The Place Beyond the Door was, if ever they were to venture there. Despite their different temperaments, they could not quite imagine life without one another, and it had never quite occurred to them that they might embark on such an undertaking without the company of each other.
Until one day . . .


One moment I was on the Shelf, thinking to my friend the brown box about a person walking past, and the next moment—taken by a hand and whisked through the door! Well then, this is it, I thought. I was shy and nervous at the idea, but also curious about what The Place Beyond the Door was like. Even as I wondered, I realized that my friend the brown box was being carried off in another direction by another figure in a suit. I felt suddenly lost and confused. Who would I share my thoughts with?
I was soon far too occupied to think about that. One thing I had not expected was how busy it was in The Place Beyond the Door. Life on the Shelf was very quiet save for the occasional person coming in. But outside in these other rooms—! There were sounds and movements and an astonishing amount of people bustling around desks and things. It quite made my top flaps flutter.
The next thing I knew, I was on a desk being filled with stacks of paper with little lines of printed words on them. Then my top flaps were closed and taped shut with squeaky shiny clear tape. Some kind of large white labels—whiter than my cardboard—were stuck on my sides and top. They had lines of figures and numbers too, and I did not know what they said. But I felt quite comfortably full of official-seeming sheets of paper, with interesting labels outside, and all nicely wrapped up and closed. I felt different as a closed shape—it was all very exciting. Out of habit, I thought this toward the brown box . . . before remembering my friend was not there. Another box, which I had never met before, was set on the desk beside me. It heard my thought.
Oh, exciting, do you think? it thought back scornfully to me. Huh. I imagine you’ve not been long out of the storage room, in that case, if you think this is “exciting.”
I cringed at the scorn. My friend the brown box might have been a little roguish and self-important, but never mean like this. Well... I began apologetically, uncertain what to think back. Fortunately, I was picked up with my new load at this moment, and shuffled off onto a hand-cart of other closed boxes.
“Take these down to the mail truck, Fred,” my labeler said.
“And then you’ll meet me in the break room for that coffee you promised, right?” Fred said. This was very interesting, because my friend the brown box had once been called the color of coffee, and the people who came into the room with the Shelf almost exclusively talked about coffee. The brown box and I had decided it was the thing humans found most important. This fact may have contributed to my friend’s ego.
“In your dreams,” my labeler laughed.
Fred winked cheerfully—this human reminded me a little of my friend the brown box—and wheeled us boxes off somewhere else. I was very glad to escape the mean box, but slightly too shy to engage my fellow boxes in thought. They were quiet too. Perhaps they were as shy as I, or maybe taking in the interesting world. Corridors, doors, and— Oh my! Through another door, it was much brighter and there was no ceiling! Only a dim blue something far, far away. It must have been sky, which I’d heard of from other box residents of the Shelf. There was open space and grey-black floor—ground?—with yellow and white stripes on it, and noises, and green things—trees and grass?—in tidy spaces.
Fred loaded me and the other boxes in the back of what must have been the mail truck my labeler mentioned. It was white and square and closed-in, which felt much more familiar. Even the darkness that followed was familiar. But then the dark room started shaking and rumbling.
What’s happening? I thought frantically before I could stop myself.
The truck’s moving, a box on top of me thought kindly.
Nothing to worry about, another one thought. We’ll just end up somewhere else. Perfectly normal.
Oh, I thought. Thank you, I added timidly.
Any time, they replied.
I was relieved that not all boxes in The Place Beyond the Door were unkind like the mean one had been. But I suddenly missed my friend the brown box. Where was that box now? Out in The Place Beyond the Door like I was?


A brown box—the exact color of quite creamy coffee, in fact, with an air of being roguish and self-important—is carried to one of many desks, and filled with a motley assortment of papers and cream-colored folders. It sits on the desk for the rest of the day, alert and watching the busy room.
The box is taken home by one of the workers and set on a counter top. The man takes out the contents of the box and puts them somewhere, then leaves the now-empty box outside the house by a trash can next to a broad, house-lined street.
The brown box contrives to appear intrigued and still roguish with one brown flap at an angle, flapping slightly in the wind, which is steadily growing stronger. A gust of wind blows around a street corner and picks up the cardboard box. It is carried a long way by the wind, bumping into street lamps and telephone poles, signs and buildings.
Eventually it fetches up in a dark and narrow alley, in a cranny next to a large dumpster, amid scraps of fluttering paper and once-colorful faded wrappers. The box is in its element, definitely having something like an adventure. Its slightly battered appearance only adds to its rogue-like air, sitting alone in the alley for a long time, waiting.
Somehow, one can almost imagine that it’s . . . smiling.


The mail truck took us to another building, much like where I had come from, though the people here wore brighter colors than the whites and blacks and greys where I was from. I never knew there was color like this! I was placed on a desk in front of a woman with glasses, a red-and-blue scarf, and clothes with multi-colored shapes which made me dizzy. She peered at the labels on me through her glasses.
“What came in today, Henrietta?” a voice asked behind her.
The scarf lady scrunched her nose, making her glasses hitch up. “Tax forms. What joy.”
I cringed at the tone she said this in, and wanted to shrink into myself. She sounded somewhere between the mean box and the time a Jennifer had said she spilled coffee on her skirt. I didn’t know what tax forms were, but I was humbly sorry for having been so proud of carrying the official-feeling load and having such fine labels. Apparently the world outside the door wasn’t such a nice place.
She cut open the tape that held me closed and pulled out the papers to stack them on the desk. I had enjoyed being a square shape and comfortably full, but it was also nice to be open and light again, although that did not make up for my miserable feeling about how annoyed the person had been at my contents. I hadn’t meant it at all.
“What shall I do with this box?” the other person asked.
Henrietta with the glasses said, “Fill it with those books for the sale and take them up to the third floor.”
I was quickly filled with a new load and taken through a door into a small room with doors that slid shut. My new person pressed buttons in a wall, waited a minute while shaking back blonde hair, and walked out again when the doors slid open. We seemed to be in another area now, for the scarf lady was nowhere around. This was a quicker way to get somewhere else than using a mail truck. I was carried down a corridor and into a room where tables stood with many books, like the ones I currently held inside of me, laid out on them. These books were taken out so that I was light and empty again. The books were put on a table, joining their colorful friends.
“Finally ready for the book sale. This place will be crawling with bookworms tomorrow,” the blonde said, holding me by one flap and smiling around the quiet place. I wondered why this thought excited her. I had heard about worms, and rumor had it that they ate boxes. It was a little worrying, and with this on top of the lingering cringing feeling from earlier, I felt rather miserable as I sat on the shelf the person left me on before leaving the room.
Being on a shelf in a room empty of humans, next to other boxes, should have been familiar and soothing, but it only felt more unfamiliar because it was somewhere else and I didn’t have my friend. I thought shy greetings to the other boxes sitting near me, and they replied politely.
The lights went out and I spent the next stretch of dark time hunched on my new shelf and contemplating to myself as quietly as I could—so the others wouldn’t notice—about life in The Place Beyond the Door. It was exciting at first, but it was not as fulfilling as I had thought it would be to carry a load of papers—nobody liked me for it—and there had been that remark about worms . . . Plus I missed my friend the brown box. It was altogether a mixed adventure.


Night falls on the alley where the coffee-colored box crouches on concrete in a corner. Night is not the only thing falling. Rain begins to fall through the darkness. A combination of an overhang and the bulk of the dark dumpster shelters the box from all but the most occasional splashing rain drop. In a storm like this, such shielding from the rain is quite fortunate, for otherwise the coffee-colored box would be a sodden mess of limp cardboard before long.
The sense of adventure and crooked smile that the box had been exuding earlier slips a little, but not as much as it would have slipped if this box had been its box friend from the Shelf. That white box would have been positively petrified, with no sense of adventure or lingering roguish almost-smile that this brown one still possesses, somehow. There is still something a little lonely and wistful about this box, all the same. Something seems to be missing—perhaps another box to sit by.
A draggled cat, its fur in untidy hedgehog spikes from the downpour, patters by on quick paws. It pokes its nose into the brown box, contemplating spending the night in it. Something about the box does not sit well with it, though. Instead, it leaps lightly to a windowsill under the overhang and disappears in the dark.
The rain pours, then drizzles all night and dies away just before dawn. The box sits on. Sounds of the city, which had never quite faded away completely but were muffled by the rain, pick up again as it gets light out.
A small squadron of grackles descends on the alley and begins investigating the dumpster and the trash beside it. Two hop over with bright eyes and equally-bright black feathers. They peck at the box. The box looks slightly annoyed. One of its cardboard flaps does some flapping in the faint morning breeze, shooing the grackles.
Beside the box, the door under the overhang opens. The grackles fly off in a sudden explosion of quick flapping feathers.
A young man in sneakers and running shorts stumbles against the box as he emerges. He pauses, looking down at the minor obstruction.
“How’d you get there?” he says.
The box looks smug and pleased with itself.
The teen shrugs, snags the box by one flapping corner, and tosses it into the very full dumpster beside the door, before going off at a rhythmic jog to some private tune in his earbuds. He runs past a gargantuan garbage truck coming around the corner. It picks up the dumpster and moves off with much grunting mechanical din. The truck rumbles down streets and finally comes out on a road leading from the city to a forest outside.
The wind is still at work, and, now liberated to rush free without the hindering of so many buildings, it sweeps playfully above the dumpster truck, catches hold of the brown box, and carries it off among the trees.
The box soars through the air, past—and sometimes into—tree trunks and branches, wild and carefree, still almost smiling, completely caught up in the thrill and unpredictable danger of adventure.


The day of the book sale was much better. I had a good view from my shelf. It was fascinating to see all the people, again so colorfully dressed and different, wander around the room. There were positive droves of them! They kept looking at the books on the tables and there was a cheerful hum of voices. I could get used to this, I thought.
Then I began to notice that some of my new box neighbors were being taken down, filled with books, and taken away. What was the point of bringing them if they were only going to be taken out again! I wondered. But people were always strange and I never worried too much about it, although my friend the brown box and I often had fun thinking back and forth on the subject.
A young woman with long brown hair and a basket of books came over to my shelf and transferred the books into me. Was I going to be taken away again? But she simply put me back on the shelf and went back to perusing the tables of books.
And who are you? someone thought.
I started, wondering if I was being addressed.
I’m from the fantasy section, someone else thought back, to my relief—I didn’t need to answer. I realized it was the books I held, thinking to each other.
Well, I don’t know what you’re doing in a box with me, then, the first book sniffed. I’m from the classics.
There’s no need to be stuck-up about it! the second, the Fantasy, thought passionately. I’ll have you know that I am quite as interesting as you find yourself to be.
Besides, you’re outdated; I’m from the future, thought a third lazily.
Is that so? asked a fourth book with interest. I’m Contemporary, so . . . what’s the future like?
We have space-ships, the third replied smugly. We’re very forward-thinking in the Sci-fi section.
Forward-thinking is overrated! snapped the Classic primly.
I actually agree with you there, mused the Fantasy.
What do you know? the Contemporary thought. You’re not even real.
Define “real,” the Fantasy growled. Reality is overrated too. It blinds people to deeper meanings. Anyways, dragons are better than reality any day, and I definitely have dragons.
Can’t we all just get along and not argue? a fifth book thought meekly.
Who are you? thought four simultaneous books.
Children’s Fantasy, the fifth book said cheerfully.
All the other four groaned, while the rest of the books stacked inside me each teamed up with the books they agreed with. I was a little uncomfortable with this argument going on (the paper I had carried had not argued) but at the same time it was also interesting and entertaining, if a little exhausting.
What was this person thinking, putting us all in the same box together? the Contemporary complained. She should have known we wouldn’t get on. How can she like all of us?
Shows a broad mind, the Children’s Fantasy book thought without antagonism, and laughed. Why can’t there be something good in all of us?
Who do you think you are, child—non-fiction? the Classic asked.
I take offense at that, thought a previously-silent book from my corner.
Don’t tell me we have a Non-Fiction here too! the Fantasy thought resignedly.
Yes, and I know real things, about punctuation and writing, and I find myself intensely interesting, so don’t give me any of that about reality being overrated, the Non-Fiction replied.
Well, aren’t we a pretty box of books, the Fantasy thought wryly.
I’m the box, you know, I thought, apologetically, feeling I should introduce myself.
A chorus of polite greeting thoughts answered me. I sensed I had interrupted.
But you are very pretty books, I hastened to add. I love your different colors.
Why thank you, dear, the Classic thought kindly.
But it’s what’s inside our pages that’s important, the Children’s Fantasy added.
Finally, something we can all agree on! thought the Fantasy book, to a chorus of agreement.
I was very pleased that peace had settled in. I had been so absorbed listening to the thoughts going on from the books inside, that I had forgotten to pay attention to what was happening outside. I found that I and my load of books were being taken down from the shelf, and carried by the girl with the long hair out of the room of books.
I wonder where we’re going, thought several of the books.
I did too.


The light brown box blows to a stop in the forest. It lies where it lands, on its side, mostly still and quiet; an occasional breeze rustles through the underbrush and the roguish flap might flutter or a branch might brush against it. The box seems to take in its surroundings with interest.
A rabbit hops by, glances at the box and tilts its ears, contemplating climbing inside, before scurrying onward, startled by a noise. A group of people meander through the woods, laughing, in hiking boots and backpacks. They don’t notice the box, which sits on, still smiling its cunning not-smile.
Two deer glide gracefully by on slender elegant legs, and dip their heads down to nuzzle curious noses against the cardboard. They wander on, losing interest. The forest is still for a long, long time, save for birds and other smaller rustling forms. A squirrel lands on top of the box, nibbles something, and springs off again.
Dusk falls. A shadowy form, low to the ground, with shaggy fur and a growl, comes prowling by—a snarling relative of a dog. It pokes its head into the box, snaps at the scent of the squirrel, and dashes on.
A slightly luminous, tall, fae being passes by like a whisper on a breeze, and pauses to look down at the box. The box seems to look expressively back. The fae is suddenly smaller than the box and approaches it with a smile.
“Good evening, my friend,” he says. “I would ask your leave to spend the night in your shelter. Would you mind?”
The box wouldn’t at all.
“My thanks.” The fae climbs into the box tilted on its side, like a room with a roof, floor, and only three walls—like a stage waiting for the curtain to close. The fae leans back in the cardboard, relaxed, looking out at the dappled moonlit shadows of the trees. The night noises of the forest go on, but there is a peaceful stillness all the same.
No wild beast dares disturb the box that night, as it sits there on its side with a faerie at rest within, while the moon and stars look down through the gently swaying midnight-green leaves.


Filled with books, I sat in the back of some sort of vehicle while it bumped along. Away somewhere near the front, I heard the girl with the long hair talking with other people about what their favorite books finds of the day were. The books I carried each seemed excited whenever they were mentioned. The jolting and noise went on for a long time, and finally stopped. The girl opened the back, picked me up, and carried me inside a house.
“I’ll just put this box on my bed and come out to help you with the rest in a minute,” she called to somebody. She set me on a large soft brown thing—the bed, I presumed. I looked around the room with interest. There were some familiar-looking shelves, though these were all filled with books, not boxes.
The girl came back, pulled the books out of me, and set them on the bed. She spent a long time looking at them, arranging them in piles, and showing them to other people who came and went in the room. Sitting on the bed, I was startled and alarmed when something suddenly jumped into me. It was furry and striped.
“You silly cat!” the girl said, laughing. “You’re not supposed to be in here.” But she was too busy with her books to pay much attention. The cat sniffed at me interestedly and finally curled up and went to sleep inside my cardboard walls.
Eventually, the girl took the cat out and replaced all the books inside me. She placed us on the floor.
For the next few days, I lived on the floor full of books. The girl seemed to mostly live in this room, so I saw a lot of her, and of other people. It was different than life on the Shelf, when my box friend—who I missed so!—and I used to see very few people, but not as busy as the number of people at the book sale. These were the same few people over and over. I learned that they were a family, and that the girl was called a bookworm.
I was alarmed at first, but she wasn’t worm-like at all, and showed absolutely no inclination toward eating either books or boxes—although I wasn’t sure about the cat, which occasionally visited and sniffed at me. I was relieved that bookworms were not dangerous.
The girl often sat by me on the floor and pulled the books out to look at them during those few days. I discovered that books were as important to her as coffee was to the people at the place with the Shelf.
The books I held could not understand why they were still in me after a few days.
Why hasn’t she put us on a shelf yet? the Classic thought. There’s plenty of bookshelves in here, waiting for us, where we belong. Why are we still in this box?
No offense to you, box, the Fantasy added.
That’s okay, I thought, shy but amused.
What I wonder is why she hasn’t read us yet, the Children’s Fantasy thought.
But who would she read first? the Sci-Fi, Non Fiction, and Contemporary wondered.
That was a continued topic of discussion among the books. Their goal in life seemed to be to make it up to the bookshelves and to be read (reading apparently involved the girl sitting on a chair and staring at a book for hours, which she did quite a lot), and they had no patience for sitting in a box on the floor. I didn’t mind. Sitting on this floor filled with books was interesting. I had their thoughts for company, even if I didn’t intrude my own often, and the place was new and interesting and not alarming, exactly. Just . . . slightly lonely.
I thought about how my book friends (acquaintances?) knew what they wanted, and I wondered what my goal in life was. I was sure it involved sitting on a shelf somewhere, full of something, but I didn’t know where, or what I wanted to hold. Books were nice, but a little distracting and self-absorbed; besides, they wanted to live on shelves. Those papers I had carried before had not gotten good reactions. The cat was a little too . . . alive and furry, with sharp bits, for me to want to hold something like that.
What do I want?


When morning comes, the brown box is alone in the forest. Its nighttime visitor is gone, and it lies at a rakish angle in the underbrush while the birds sing and the sunshine warms its brown sides.
Two young children run laughing among the trees. They pick mounds of white flowers blossoming among the green.
One points. “Look! A box!” she exclaims.
“Perfect!” the other says. She climbs through the underbrush and takes the box by one flapping brown flap, dragging it out. They shake out the gathering of leaves that had fallen in, and begin filling it with their heaps of white blossoms. Chattering all the while, like the birds and squirrels at a safe distance in the branches above, they fill it slightly more full than is safe. Each child takes an end and they run out of the woods, leaving a trail of spilled flowers in their wake. The box manages to look cheerful and dignified, despite its tiny merry carriers and overflowing load.
“Here are the flowers, Mummy!” they chorus as they reach a house a little way from the trees.
“Perfect—put them on the table, please?” says a woman.
The little ones dump the flowers onto a glass table on the lawn, and dash off, leaving the box on the ground beside it. The box has been called perfect twice. It seems a little smug at this.
The woman comes over and begins arranging the flowers, then pauses, picks up the box, and takes it into a storage building. She leaves the coffee-brown box in a pile of other cardboard boxes, and closes the building. Even surrounded by other boxes, it gives an air of being alone.
The box sits there in the dark for a long, long time.


The girl finally moved the books onto shelves. I wondered a little anxiously what was to become of me now. I sat on the floor, empty, for a day, and then the girl filled me with colorful bundles of rather shiny paper and ribbons, closed me up, and put me in a closet in the same room.
It was dark in there, but very familiar: sitting on a shelf with other boxes. Some were clear and white plastic; others, cardboard like me—an ordinary brown like my friend the coffee-colored box. I was the only wall-colored off-white cardboard box.
Um. Hello, I thought shyly.
The other boxes returned my thought with friendly if disinterested welcomes. The plastic ones had squeaky, clear-ish thoughts, the small boxes had high, tiny thoughts, and the other boxes were ordinary.
Welcome, little one, thought a deep tone, startling me. I realized it was the closet. I hope you will be at home here.
Oh. Thank you, I thought back, touched. I supposed that closets were really a type of box, too.
Time passed.
The boxes and closet were all friendly, though not very given to thoughtful discussion like my friend the coffee-colored box had been. Still, it was homely and familiar to sit on a shelf with other boxes in a storage place.
From time to time, the girl would open the closet and take things or boxes or clothes out of it. Mostly I sat forgotten, but a few times she took me out, put me on the bed, and took out the colorful paper inside me. She wrapped up things—usually books—in the paper with tape and ribbons. I gathered that this was for something called birthdays, and, once, a thing called Christmas. There was always an air of excitement and happiness when this happened; I wasn’t sure why, but it was very pleasant, and made me feel happy too.
A time or two, the cat would dart in around the girl into the closet while she had the door open, and she would laugh and scold it.
“You’re not supposed to be in here, you adorable little trouble-bug! Come on—out!”
There would follow an amusing hunt-and-chase while the cat hid in corners or behind boxes or clothes, sniffing around with its inquisitive nose, while the girl tried to grab it, and would eventually haul it out and close the closet again, restoring peace.
I settled into life in the closet and I thought I liked it, but there was still something missing. The other boxes were nice, although I never got to know them very well. I liked holding colorful paper. It was a nice quiet life without a lot of bustling people and moving around. But I was still, somehow, a little lonely.


Sunlight floods the storage building filled with boxes, with the coffee-colored box perching roguishly atop one pile. It looks somehow a very little self-important when the young man who had opened the building chooses the brown box and carries it inside a house.
“Will this do?” he asks.
The woman nods, and fills it with books. “Take these down to the library to donate them for the spring sale on your way, will you?”
The brown box goes through a series of stages, alert and perked up to each: the back of a pickup truck; an office with other boxes of books; a room full of tables lined with books; and finally, after being emptied, onto a shelf overlooking the room. The box sits there all night, with its usual smug expression and one tilted cardboard flap as usual.
The next morning, people come and go, flowing in and out and looking at books.
A girl with long hair fills the brown box up with books, picks it up, and leaves.


One day, the girl opened the closet and began pulling almost everything out of it. I was alarmed. What’s going on? I thought frantically. Just when I had gotten used to this place!
Don’t worry, the closet thought soothingly. It’s only spring cleaning. It happens every year. Nothing to worry about.
The other boxes—the ones still in with me—agreed on this.
Indeed, there did seem nothing to worry about. She didn’t even take me out. After awhile, she put most of the things back in, more or less how they had been but somehow neater. A few new boxes were added. Last of all, she put a coffee-brown box on the shelf beside me, dusted her hands off, and closed the closet door.
I could not recall ever feeling so delighted.
It’s you! I thought, elated.
Oh, hallo, my friend the brown box thought back cheerfully. Fancy meeting you here! How nice to see you.
I agreed so completely that I couldn’t even form coherent thoughts. How did—? What—? Where have you been and—and—tell me everything! And what are you holding? I added, wondering if my friend had colorful paper like I did or something else.
The brown box settled comfortably into the shelf next to me. Papers and notebooks, my friend thought back, adding curiously, You?
Wrapping paper.
And what have you been up to? I’d like to hear about what’s been up in your life since we parted ways.
Oh, it’s been good lately, but early on, a lot of it was quite frightful! I thought back, and told about my adventures. What about you?
Mmm. Nothing much. I blew around a little, is all, the brown box thought casually.
It sounds very relaxing, I thought wistfully. Perhaps we should have had each other’s adventures.
Seeming very amused for some reason, the other box thought wryly, Indeed.
I was so glad to see my friend the coffee-brown box again. Now we could return to thinking thoughts back and forth. I’d grown quite fond of this closet, too—much cozier than even the original Shelf. In this homely closet, with colorful paper which brings joy inside me, and my friend at my side, I felt extremely happy. I knew I had found my purpose and was home at last.
My friend seemed to be laughing kindly. You were always sentimental and shy, the box thought, apparently having heard my thoughts.
And you were always brave and self-important, I thought laughingly back. I think we quite balance each other out.
I think we do at that.
We paused.
I missed you, I thought. I’m so glad you’re here.
The coffee-brown box smiled the same smile as always, but more warm and genuine. For once, my good box friend, your sentiments are mine exactly.

Copyright 2017 By Deborah O’Carroll


  1. This was such an adorable story :) I never would have thought two boxes could make such intriguing characters, but I think what you did brilliantly here was really get the feel for what a box's personality would be like, and I love how you described both of them and gave them specific personalities as well. I really loved how the inanimate objects could talk to each other, and particularly enjoyed the books' conversations and arguments ;) Also, you managed to put faeries in! Love it! Plus the story had a very happy ending which made me very happy indeed ;)

    I'm so glad you decided to join in on this challenge, Deborah! I'm glad to have you!

    1. Thanks so much, Hazel! I'm so glad you found the characters intriguing and their personalities too. :D Yes, books and faeries like to creep into all sorts of things I write -- the books conversing totally surprised me, actually! (Faeries need to go in everything, pretty much. *nods*) I'm so glad you liked the ending! Happy endings are important to me, so that pleases me! ^_^

      Thank you, I'm so glad to be here! :) This was great fun!

  2. Wow, this was a really entertaining story! I think my favorite part might have been the books' dialogue, but it's hard to choose one [a favorite part] in a immensely fun story like this one. I really liked how you did all the inanimate objects. :D

    1. Thanks, Joseph! The books' discussion was one of my favorites too, especially since I hadn't planned it at all, and then it just HAPPENED. Always fun when stories surprise even their authors. Thank you! :)

    2. It certainly is! I don't really plan my stories, so I'm constantly getting surprises. :)

  3. I too found the book's argument very enjoyable to read. I found it interesting how everything inanimate could talk with each other. The boxes made good main characters.

    1. Thank you, Anne! I'm so glad you liked the boxes and found the books enjoyable! :)



    It was the CUTEST. IDEA. I loved the different personalities of the boxes, and their thought process. Somehow it SEEMED like how a box would think. o.O How they want to be filled with items that make people happy, and they want to be set in a comfortable place. This whole thing was just BRILLIANT.

    I literally laughed out loud at how the box presumed coffee was what humans deemed most important, because that's all it hears them talking about! XDDDD IT'S SO TRUE THOUGH.

    And the BOOKS. Definitely one of the BEST parts. And, again, you totally nailed the personalities. Like...I'd totally see that would be how each genre felt and talked. The best was when Children's fantasy spoke up. Obviously it would be the one to believe there's good in everyone. SO BRILLIANT.

    But just...EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS STORY. The visuals and traveling and seeing the world through a box's perspective. I cannot say enough how genius this all was!

    AND THE BROWN BOX HAD A FAE SLEEP IN IT. :D :D :D :D I LOVED THAT ADDITION. Plus, the whole smugness of the brown box killed me. "I blew around a little, is all." *SNORTS* Yeah, that's all. XD

    Loved the bookworm girl--she's totally us. XD She was like the most relatable character I've ever read about. Lol! But seriously, that was all the best.

    BUT DAT ENDING. :'D The brown box got flown every whichaway, but still made it to the book sale and the girl got it and now the boxes are happy together and and and LKSDJLFJL:SDJ:LJF. HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME SO RIDICULOUSLY ATTACHED TO BOXES. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE????


    (But now my view of boxes has forever changed. o_o)

    1. (Whoops, I meant to post the below comment as a reply...)

  5. (Your comment though! <3) I'm sorry and totally-not-sorry. XD THANK YOUUU! I'm ever so glad you liked it! ^_^

    I'm having the absolute MOST fun reading your comment. :D

    The way you described what boxes want... I didn't even think of it that way! :O But you're right! It just... sort of came out like that as I was writing their POVs. :)

    I don't even care about coffee myself, so it was doubly humorous to me. XD

    I'm going to be honest: I totally didn't plan the book discussion! But it was one of my favorites too. XD

    Eheheh. Fae like to creep into all sorts of my stories. ;) I'M GLAD YOU LIKED THE SMUGNESS THOUGH. :D "I blew around a little, is all." Hee. :D

    So, spoiler: the bookworm girl was literally me. Much of this was actually based on a true story of me going to a booksale, bringing home a box of books (it literally said it used to hold tax forms) and my cat jumping in, and eventually the box got filled with wrapping paper... It could say "based on a true story" even! XD

    D'aww, I'm so glad you liked the ending! ^_^ THAT MAKES ME HAPPY! And I got SO attached to these box charries myself! O_O

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! <3 Thank you for reading! And your comment legit made my day. :D

    (Whoops. Unfortunate side-effect of stories about inanimate objects. ;))

  6. DEBORAH O'CARROLL. Who other than you could write such a good story about BOXES. BOXES, I tell you! *is still in awe*

    This was SO GOOD. Seriously, I loved it. And I never thought I would love a story about cardboard boxes xD. But I DID. Thank you for sharing this! It was epic and so fun to read :D.

    Wonderful job accomplishing an impossible story, my friend! <3

    ~ Savannah

    1. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU!! XD I'm so pleased that you liked it, Savannah. ^_^ EEP! Thank you for reading! <3

      (And the challenge was Inanimate, not Impossible. ;) But thank you! :D)

  7. This was really fun; the white box was a sweetheart and the brown box was a dauntless cavalier, and I really liked the books arguing over their genres :-)

    (Sorry about my comment being so late!)

    1. D'aww, thank you! Your descriptions of them are absolutely perfect!! :D So glad you grasped their characters so well! And I'm glad you liked the book argument. ;)

      (And no worries; I didn't even see it 'til today, I've been so busy. :P) Thank you so much, Abigail!! ^_^

  8. What a fun, sweet story, Deborah! You gave these boxes such great personalities, and imagined their story so well. It was made even more delightful when I recognized you in it. :) I loved the library sale references and recognized your reading tastes, haha. I loved the ending. I've always somewhat personified inanimate objects and wish them a happy ending, so this made me very satisfied. Excellent work!! (So sorry for the lateness of this comment--nearly a month!--but I just read it and had to say something. :) )

    1. Aww, thanks so much, Kelsey! ^_^ So glad you liked their personalities. :) And the library sale -- yes, you might recognize that... ;) Happy endings are the best -- so glad you liked it! Thank you!! (And comments, like Gandalf, are never late. ;)) Thanks for your sweet comment! :)


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