Reader. Writer. Fangirl. Lover of fictional characters. A few other things.
Wrote this a little while ago. Was kinda hesitant about sharing it but eh.
Written By: Jude
July 8, 2015
“Aren’t you even a little bit curious?” Caleb asked as he got up from the pink bean bag across from me and walked to the corner. The package had been sitting there in that corner for a few days now, untouched and unthought of, out of sight and out of mind. Caleb knelt down and picked it up. He brought it back with him. “Not even a tiny drop of curiosity?”
“Have you never heard the saying, ‘curiosity killed the cat?’” I retorted.
“I have indeed heard that saying,” he said as he walked past the blue bean bag and plopped himself back on the pink one. He always did this for some reason and I never questioned it. He stretched out and crossed his long legs at the ankles. “But I have something to say to that.” He flashed me a smile with his dimpled cheeks. “Wanna hear it?”
I rolled my eyes. Caleb had a comeback for everything. I sometimes told him that he should consider becoming a lawyer or something. “Not really, but I have a strong feeling you’re gonna tell me anyway.”
“Well, you’re right,” he said, unfazed. “The cat could've had a million other things that factored into its death. Old age, for instance. Weak heart. Or maybe it was too careful and it had a panic attack when it finally did something a little crazy." He cut me a quick glance, and I knew that that comment was directed at my own cautiousness.
"Oh, my God." I pouted and clutched at my chest in mock offense. "Your words have cut deep into my soul, Caleb. Oh, how will I ever recover."
The corners of his lips quirked up. He wasn't the only one who could dish out constant comebacks, and I think he liked that I could hold my own against him because, oftentimes, not many people could.
Caleb should've had a girlfriend. He was a total catch. He was tall and lean, with dark hair that always seemed to look like he'd roll out of bed with it like that and just run his hand through it a few times, a heartbreaker-of-the-year smile, and bright sea-green eyes. He was smart, both inside and outside of school. It seemed like he knew everything about everything. And he should've had a girlfriend, but he didn't. And that was because, while every girl wanted to approach him, he could be kind of a jerk, so they tended to stay away from him.
But I could be a jerk, too. For better or worse, I was never one to hold things back, and in freshman year, he sat behind me in History and I flipped out on him. He'd randomly started poking me in the back with his pen and I'd told him to stop. He pretended to have no idea what I was talking about and he started up again. After the fourth poke in the back, I had had enough and exploded. He fired back. After the heated exchange, we got detention for interrupting the class. We developed this weird sort of bond there. We'd been inseparable ever since.
It took special skills to deal with Caleb, and it seemed as if I was one of the few people who'd mastered them. I'd learned to love the dude, pen-poking smartass and all.
"So," he continued now, "bottom line. Maybe curiosity did kill the cat, but there's really no way to know for sure."
I stared at the box resting on his leg for a second and sighed. “Why do you even want to open the package so badly? Last time I checked, it was lettered to me. Unless there’s secretly another Katalina Matthews who lives at 20 Trenton Ave and you’re her.”
"Kat, come on," he almost whined. "Why don't you want to open it?"
"Maybe because it doesn't have a return address?" I brought my legs up on the bed and criss-crossed them. I'd seen my fair share of horror movies, and a lot of them started out like this. "Doesn't that raise a giant red flag in your face? Doesn't that seem weird at all?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, it does seem weird, I guess. Which is exactly why I'm so interested in finding out what's inside."
To be perfectly honest, I was curious about the package. I wanted to know who'd sent it, wanted to know why, wanted to know what was inside. But I didn't have Caleb's curiosity. For all my backtalk, I was tentative when it actually came to doing things that entailed taking a risk. I was all talk, I guess.
"It could be a bomb or something! It could detonate the second we open it."
"Wow, talk about worst-case scenario. I highly doubt it's a bomb, Kat."
"But you don't—"
"Kat," he interrupted, chuckling a bit, "it's not a bomb."
I sighed again. I started to chew on my lower lip, mulling over the chances. Caleb raised an eyebrow, the expectancy clear on his face.
I looked away from him and my eyes landed on The Avengers poster he'd given me for my birthday a year ago. I pointed at it. "If it is a bomb, we're definitely gonna need them."
"So, we're gonna open it?" His eyes lit up and I wanted to give him a finger in the air, but somehow, I suppressed the urge to do so.
"Fine," I said. I uncrossed my legs, slid off the bed and went over to grab the box from him. I stepped over the small pile of clothes lying on the floor on the way to my desk. "We're gonna open it."
Caleb was up and next to me in a second.
I rummaged around in the desk drawers for a pair of scissors. I knew I had one, but I couldn't find it. I gave up and glanced at Caleb.
"Need a hand?" He pulled out the Swiss Army knife he always carried around.
"You know," I said, stepping away to give him room, "since you always have that on you no matter what, if you get caught with it at school, you're gonna get into a buttload of trouble."
"Yeah, yeah. Thanks for your concern, Mommy." The main blade flipped out and he went to work on slicing up the tape-covered cardboard. "Until then, though."
He got it open and pulled out the protective wrapping paper and packing peanuts. I was anxious, but a shot of adrenaline ran through me, and I practically climbed over him to see what was in there.
Inside sat a red leather-bound book. It was worn, the edges burnt and weathered. It looked like it had survived fires and floods and any other natural disaster you could think of. On the cover was one word: Finis.
"That's a Latin word," Caleb said in a hushed voice. His face paled a little. "It means 'the end.'"
A feeling of cold dread washed over me. I didn't need to be as smart as he was to figure that out. I didn't need to be as smart as he was to immediately know that this wasn't just another ordinary book. It had a bad vibe about it, one that went deeper than just the name.
"Yeah, Caleb?" I glanced at him. He peered back at me. I could tell his face was a mirror image of mine, all the amusement and excitement gone, replaced by worry and fear. "What was that about curiosity not killing the cat?"