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My youth was something I will never forget, even though there was nothing special about it. I grew up in a suburban house, two floors, three people. I was an only child, given my parents were hardly intimate with each other. They interacted more like colleagues at an office than an actual married couple.

Perhaps the only thing that was interesting was the box. The mystery box, to be exact. My earliest memory regarding the box was when I was 5. My mother was working on her laptop and my dad was at his office building, doing whatever suited his work. I was an explorer, one to imagine the house as the seven seas, given I was obsessed with pirates. I pretended to sail a pretend ship, leading me into my folks’ room. I cannot recall being in their room prior.

On the table next to their bed was a wooden box, with a question mark painted in a stylish way on every side of it. The box was cube-shaped, with nothing else being painted on it other than a question mark. The rest was unpainted and you could clearly see it was made of oak.

Given how pirates search for treasure often, my heart raced, as I wanted to find a way to find some secret treasure. Problem was, the table was too high for me, as was all the surrounding furniture. Before I could even formulate a plan to open the box, my mother grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room.

“You can’t go in there,” my mother said with a commanding voice.

“What’s in the box?” I asked.

“NOTHING that concerns you,” my mother said. She locked the bedroom door with a key and demanded I go do something else. I obliged.

The thing was, I NEVER forgot about that box, but from that point onwards, my parents always kept their bedroom door locked tight, and not a single day went by where they forgot to do so. They were strict on never letting me into their room.

I was not one to give up easily, but no matter how hard I tried to force the door open, reach through a window, or do whatever other solution I could think of, I never got another glimpse at the mystery box.

As the years went by, my efforts became less and less, and by the time I turned 15, I was mature enough to accept I would never find out what was in that box. I had tried many times to ask my parents what was in the box. Every time came a “nothing” or “don’t ask” response.

Although once, I caught my dad coming from a bar where he was flat out drunk, and I asked him what was in the box. He spilled some beans when he told me: “He said he was a being of salvation…” before he sat down on the couch and passed out. The following morning, he had no recollection and told me that it was nothing.

Though my curiosity peaked, I had evaluated what he said and assumed due to his dizzy nature that he was probably hallucinating. Still, whenever my dad got drunk, he never said anything like that, and it made me ponder on whether there was a hidden meaning behind it all.

That had been the closest I had ever come to uncovering the mystery box. Eventually, I graduated high school and passed onto university. Eventually, I moved out of my house and got a new place to call home a few miles away. My life was lived as normal, as I had my own life to lead, until that one fateful day, I got a call from a police officer, telling me that my parents had passed away from causes they couldn’t comprehend.

He told me it had been as if an animal with sharp claws had just carved into the both of them in their room. This was an eerie discovery; the neighborhood never had any wild animals and even if they did, how would they have gotten inside the house? I was in the middle of trying to comprehend what he told me when I broke down and hung up.

After my parents’ funerals, I inherited the house. Given my own home was less favorable to my parents, I decided to move back in. In my old house, there was a sense of nostalgia. I had grown up here and many of my achievements happened here. My first thought was the mystery box, the object I had been curious about all those years ago.

Even though it was probably disrespectful of my parents’ wishes, I approached their room, where the box lay on the table, exactly where it was all those years ago. My parents room, otherwise, was a mess. All the furniture was shredded, just like how the officer described my parents to be when they were found dead.

I got the instinct to open the box. I picked it up and grasped the top lid to open it. I hesitated. What could possibly be in the box that my parents would avoid me ever getting close to? I slowly lifted the box open and… nothing. There was nothing. But before I even had time to be distraught and disappointed, I heard a loud rustling noise from the wardrobe.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“Someone friendly.”

I was startled. I was half expecting it to be a rat or some other pest, but hearing a voice gave me chills up my spine. It was a raspy, yet monotone high-pitched voice. I was unnerved by the fact that someone was actually hiding in the wardrobe. I stayed in my position, just staring at the wardrobe. Whoever was in there returned the silence.

Then the wardrobe opened, and I was still frozen. In the wardrobe was not a man, but a small creature, one small enough to fit inside the mystery box. It was a hairy creature with a human-like face, but its most defining feature was its small but sharp claws that seemed to be derived from steel.

The creature looked to be hunched over in a crouched-like posture. It looked up at me, and said in the same voice: “Are you the son of Jane and Gabriel Martin?” with a cold stare, harder than that of stone.

I started stuttering and my mind raced. Was this what was in the mystery box all these years? “What are you supposed to be?” I retorted with a nervous voice. “I am the Jabloss, I am a being of salvation, and the very reason you exist.”

“Me?” I scoffed.

“Yes, you! Your mother was incapable of producing children, and I offered a solution as long as they kept me in the box and never opened it,” he replied. What he had revealed gave me wide eyes. I then decided to grab the vase on the table next to the bed as quickly as I could, and throw it towards the creature, stunning it for a brief second before its eyes turned yellow and it growled.

He dashed in front of my leg and slashed it, cutting deep into my flesh. I fell down and I prepared for this creature to kill me, until the loud noise of a fire truck passed the house, I heard the creature hiss, and then make scuttling noises as it moved away from the room, until I could no longer hear them.

I dragged myself outside the room and down the hallway, until my bleeding made me give in, and I passed out. When I awoke, I noticed I was in an ambulance driving down a road. My affected leg was bandaged up, and the nurse by my side told me they found me bleeding out in the hallway in the house, and asked me what happened.

Even though I could describe the creature, who would believe me? I lied, said I cut myself with a sharp object while I walked past it. I was treated in the hospital for a few weeks with my shredded leg, and when I could finally walk again, I got one of my friends to accompany me back to the house, checking the bedroom first. The mystery box was gone, as well as any trace of the "Jabloss”.

I eventually became too nervous to live in that house, so I sold it to a family and moved back into my other home. My parents' deaths were labelled a suicide, and I had to accept that this "being of salvation" was also one of doom if you crossed it. I pondered and wondered whether this creature made a deal with my parents 20 years ago to have me.

Wherever the Jabloss is now, I know one thing for certain. He brought the mystery box with him, and whoever he may make a pact with next, I wish them the caution that comes with whoever, or whatever the being was.

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