Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 175,667,356 Issue: 359 | 12th day of Gathering, Y10
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Curiosity


by flying_tree

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My name is Harold, and I am a blue Krawk. If there is one thing you need to know about me, it would be that people think that I am insane. Let me tell you something. If I was really insane, you wouldn’t be able to understand this at all. It would be a bunch of jumbled words with jumbled letters. I am not insane. But, alas, it is people’s opinions that count most, and so I ended up here. Here in this little place, out of the way of sane people. Out of sight, out of mind.

     Of course, no one would think I was insane if it wasn’t for my curiosity. I should have known at the time not to be so inquisitive. I really only have myself to blame for being here. But I can’t help but think of that box. I guess I can lay some of the blame on that, too. I probably shouldn’t. I was warned about it. I could have also used a bit of common sense. I mean, I did go prattling on about what was inside the box, and people were bound to think I had lost something at some point in time.

     I think it would be best if you know exactly what I am talking about. If you do, you might be able to make your own judgement. You might even try to help me, although I doubt you will. It’s just a small lingering hope, my curiosity coming into play again; trying to see what will happen if I tell you. Whatever does happen, though; it won’t hurt to tell you. This is the story of how I came to be standing here, telling this to you, and trying to prove, to both of us, that I’m really not insane.

     I should probably start with the gypsies, a small travelling group of pets who sell things to make themselves a living. They came to our town, and I went to see what they had. My curiosity again. I didn’t expect to find anything decent for sale. Gypsies had been to our town before, and all they had was junk. It was pretty much the same this time around, a few pieces of jewellery, some books, but mainly ornaments. I remember seeing this one statue in the shape of a Symol. But mainly my attention was drawn to just one thing.

     It was the box. Barely bigger than my hand, it was rather plain, and made entirely of wood except for the hinges and latch for the lid, which were made of metal. It wouldn’t have made me look normally, except for that little aura that everything magical has. It drew me in, and I wanted to know what it was.

     I decided to ask one of the gypsies. I went over to a pink Aisha in gypsy clothing and asked her about the box. She smiled at me. “Do you mean that little thing over there?” I nodded. “Well, that would be a Wooden Toy Box. Normally there would be nothing special about it, but that one has been magically enchanted. You see, its owner wanted to keep the objects inside safe. Evidently, they are either very precious, or very private. The owner cast a spell on it such that anyone who tried to open it would go mad. Or at least, that’s how the legend tells it.”

     “I see. So how did you get a hold of it?”

     “It was handed to us by the same person that told me the story behind it. He too tried to open it without success, and he felt he had to pass it on to try and stop it from becoming an obsession.”

     I looked at the box. It might have the danger of making me go insane, but it certainly looked very good. I could imagine it sitting in the middle of my mantelpiece perfectly. “Well, ah...” I waited for the Aisha to supply a name.

     “Megan.”

     “Well Megan, if you have no objections, I would like to buy it. How much will that be?”

     “Before I tell you how much it costs, you must really think. This item is dangerous, but if you think you can handle it, then it is your responsibility.”

     I almost took that as a challenge, although in my defence I did think about it for a few seconds. But I was too cocky. “I can handle it.”

     She went over to the box and looked at the price tag. “Well, the box is 2000 Neopoints, although I think you deserve to have that reduced to 1800. For your bravery or something like that.”

     I paid my money, and Megan handed me the box. I looked at it for a moment and wondered what was inside. If it was something valuable, then it might be worth going mad for. But I didn’t try to open it. Not just yet.

     In fact, when I got home and laid it on the mantelpiece, I went straight to bed. A part of me certainly wanted to open the box, but the rest of me told me not to. It was too dangerous. Every morning from then on, just after getting up and walking into my living room, I would see the box, and think about opening it. And yet somehow I managed to resist.

     At least, I managed to for a few weeks anyway. One day I found myself touching the box, running my hands along it, and then stopping myself just before I tried to open it. I carried on my normal daily activities, and the box sat on its mantelpiece unopened until the next day.

     I had to open that box then. I don’t think I just wanted to know what was inside. I wanted to know what would happen if I did try to open it. Perhaps there was a bit of a competitive streak in there too, trying to be the first person to defeat the box. Either way, it didn’t matter. I opened it.

     Or rather, I tried to open it, for when I swung the lid open, I saw another box inside. It was exactly the same, except for being slightly smaller so it could fit. I pulled it out of the first box and stared at it, hardly noticing the original disappear. I quickly made up my mind to try and open the new box. Once again I flicked the latch and opened the lid, staring at the contents.

     Another box. I kept on opening box after box, until I realised that the boxes were not getting any smaller as they went. When I opened a box the box inside was smaller, but somehow the boxes never managed to lose out on any size overall.

     I stared at them. I knew now what Megan meant when she said the box made people go mad. You could carry on like this forever, never reaching the end. I put the box back on the mantelpiece, and made a decision that next time any gypsies came to town, I would sell it to them, and warn them of what was inside.

     Of course, I could always destroy it, to stop the box from affecting anyone else. I thought about this for a while, and it occurred to me that if I tried to smash it open, I might be able to get a result other than an empty box. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I figured that whether the box, after being destroyed, allowed me to find out its contents, it would turn out well for me. I took it back from the mantelpiece and went to the top floor. Then, I held the box out of the window and dropped it, watching it fall to the ground and smash open. I ran down, and outside to see what had happened.

     I could see splinters all over the floor, but there was nothing else. I spent a few moments looking under all of the splinters, but there still was nothing from inside the box that had come out.

     I didn’t mind too much that there was nothing inside. At least I had destroyed the box, I thought, as I went back into the house. Then I looked at the mantelpiece. The box was sitting there, just as it had been all those times I had woken up. It seemed to be taunting me, even though it was an inanimate object and obviously couldn’t be doing anything.

     I had had enough. The gypsies were bound to be back within the month, and I could easily wait that long, so long as it got that box out of my life. “Anyone who tried to open it would go mad,” Megan had said. I could easily see why. Even if you did manage to avoid insanity, the box would affect you for the rest of your life, making you want to know exactly what was inside. I had tried to open it, and the box would torment me forever.

     It wasn’t long before, after going over all my thoughts, I decided to have one last try at opening the box. Actually, ‘try’ would be the wrong word, because I realised that whoever made the box would want an easy way to open it. What could be better than to simply open it, instead of trying to open it? There was a big difference between the two, although not many people realise that.

     I stood in front of the box for a while. The box will open. The box will open, and I will see what is inside. I kept that thought going over and over in my mind, before finally reaching out and flicking open the hinge. I lifted the lid, and stared at the contents.

     Now that I have been thinking about this more, I realise how weirdly I acted. The box was designed to torture people, not to protect anything. I can easily see that now. You see, the box itself was empty, but there was writing on the bottom. I don’t know why I ran out screaming.

     Anyone who comes across that box would easily go mad. No doubt it was made by some Dark Faerie, for a few laughs, or something along those lines. You see, on the bottom of the box was a map, which supposedly led to Jelly World. Like I said, I don’t know why I had to leap out of the front door screaming that I found out how to get to a mythical land. If I had been thinking, I would have realised that the box was just trying to torture me again. I almost get the feeling that the box maker gave it a mind of its own.

     Funnily enough the box has disappeared now. I had it with me when I was brought here, but it has simply gone. Perhaps it found a new owner, or its original owner came to put it back in the market before it could be destroyed.

     So, perhaps you see why I am making this appeal. I am not insane. I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had too much curiosity, and I made too many bad choices. There is nothing more to it. I hope that now you have heard this you will consider helping me.

Extract taken from minutes of the release hearing regarding subject Harold Ruessman, Blue Krawk. Subject was released.

 
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