Pandora’s Box


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This is a small town: South of France.

It's streets resemble a fairytale.

Baskets of flowers hang from every lamppost.

The smell of freshly baked bread and coffee hover around you as you walk by.

The town looks as if it belongs in a storybook. You would think tourist swarm towards this picturesque setting. They do. But not to admire its beauty. Tourists are intrigued by the rumors of magic that this town holds. Legend of gods and monsters. Tales of good versus evil...


If only they looked at the bigger picture.

If they spent a moment longer with Mr Sinclair and his wife.

They would realize that the real magic was actually located on the outskirts of town. Isolated deep in the woods is the place where they call home.

Home: it's definition due to the euphoria they've felt every day as they raised 7 foster kids.


A home that seems like nothing out of the ordinary.

Until you look a bit closer...

You'd see the girl floating aimlessly in the air, lost in the book she's holding...

You'd see the boy lounged on the couch, lazily stir the pot on the stove using only his hand gestures...

A girl summon fire from her finger tips and a boy extinguishing it with only his gaze...

A girl having flowers bloom in the palm of her hand in a matter of seconds...

Two boys playing a unique game of chess with its pieces diminishing each other as they move across the board.


The real magic that no one paid a second glance.



A reason.

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Nathy Gaffney

Nice set up of intrigue. It sounds so idyllic and gentle, but enigmatically alludes to something darker at work. I'll check back in and keep reading soon. Nice work! :)

Chapter 1

 The buzzing of the night seems to fade as the clock signals that it's early morning.

The streets have quieted down to a haunting silence.

The slightest hint of sound is only heard from the ruffling of papers as Sonii prepares for her shift to end. She wipes over the last few tables and packs away the supplies and rings the bell as if to tell her manager that she's leaving.

Outside a young man waits for her. He arrived here a few minutes ago, after his shift ended at the convenient store across the street. He protectively puts his hands over her shoulders as they walk together towards their home.

"And how was your night?" Sonii asks with too much energy at such as early time.

"Ah that age old question deserves my age old answer... same old same old." I answer with a smirk, knowing she hates routine answers.

"Well, shouldn't this time be any different? As I recall, someone turns 17 in 3...2...1!" She overdramatizes the moment by using the imaginary watch on her sleeve to count down.

"Oh yes! And you know what? So does the person standing next to me!" He says with a fake enthusiasm, jokingly mocking his sister.

"Happy birthday Sonii." He adds with a smile after a moment of silence.

"Happy birthday Sol." She replies as she wraps her arms around him.

She leaves her arm hanging around him as they walk into the night and sing their own rendition of the Happy birthday song to themselves.

The sun peaks out from the dark, reminding everyone that they should prepare for another day. Even though the sun indicates the day, it is the song which radiates energy and seems to fuel the people they come across and awaken the plants as they continue walking. Further and further from the mundane life in the town and deeper into the woods, towards their home.

A modest household despite the fact that they are a big family. Old fashioned to the common, breathtaking to the dreamer. It's front steps could resemble the beginning or end of many tales.

Just like every other day, Mr Sinclair (or James as the kids refer to him) waits outstanding for the twins to arrive. He stands in his nightgown and admires the birds who have just woken up and made their way towards the bird feeders.

He greets them with a big hug and whispers to them how lucky he feels to have been able to raise kids like them.

He walks them into the house where Mrs Sinclair (who everyone calls Jane) stands holding a homemade birthday cake. Antonio, the oldest of the seven, starts off the traditional birthday tune. Soon everyone else joins in and it's feels as if time has stopped. The happiness on the twins' faces can be seem even in the dim lights.

"Come on, make a wish." Jane holds the cake closer to the two, who give each other a knowing look and smiling before blowing out their candles.

Their wish?

It's the same every single year.

A wish to have happy moments like this forevermore.

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Chapter two

 "Now I need you two to rest because I doubt you'll be heading to bed early tonight. Okay?" Jane says as she takes the empty plates away from the twins sitting at the kitchen island.

"Calm yourself. They'll sleep when they need to. They're old enough." James laughs as she washes the dishes.

"But they're still our babies." Jane whines. This only causes Lilli to collapse in a fit of giggles. So much so that she nearly tips her chair over.

"Can we please have one day where we ignore the fact that we're the youngest here." Sol asks, his nose slightly flairs indicating he's a bit irritated.

"Anyway, we need to start heading out to prepare for tonight." Antonio encourages a change of conversation topic. 

"I got snacks!" Juniper calls from the top of the stairs.

"Someone tell me how on earth she heard that." Milo moves towards the rack of drying dishes and releases a gust of wind from his fingertips, immediately drying the dishes.

"God knows what goes on in her head. I'll tag along because she has a tendency to disregard budgets." Lilli grabs her purse and phone and moves towards the door.

"Hold up! I'm coming too!" Kai says as he packs the last of the dishes in the cupboard.

"I'm in charge of drinks." He winks before walking towards the door. 

"I better not be smelling alcohol when we get back." Jane warns but the it seems Kai was barely listening.

The sound of the engine gets softer as they move down the driveway.

"So are you excited for tonight?" Sonii puts her elbows on the table as to say she's willing to listen to a lengthy story.

"Wait. Hold on. I'm going to take a nap before I have to hear this thesis." Sol states before walking up the stairs with heavy steps. It's obvious he's going to pass out the moment his head hits the pillow.

"I would be more excited if we were spending the night with you two but somebody had other ideas." She rolls her eyes in James' direction.

"Hey, it's not my fault that the community wanted to have a gathering tonight." James calls back as he walks outside.

"Now I have to spend the day finding a 'suitable' dress for tonight...I hate dressing up!" She groans before slumping down in a seat next to Sonii.

"Aww it's okay. They'll be plenty other days." Sonii holds onto Jane's arm as if to comfort her.

The sound of loud thumps makes its way down the stairs. It's owner: Antonio. Dressed like she's going to work on a farm for a day. His younger brother Milo only stares at his odd choice of clothes.

"What. The. Hell." Milo finally says.

"We're having a bonfire tonight so we need to chop wood and set it up genius." Antonio explains but it's obvious that this wasn't what Milo was referring to.

"Yeah we're chopping wood not harvesting wheat." He adds.

"Just leave his fashion sense alone." Sonii manages to say in between her giggles.

"Looks like we're heading out now. Toni, Milo, you two want us to drop you off by the bonfire spot?" Jane asks as she puts her bag over her arm and scans the kitchen for anything out of place.

"Yes please!" Antonio exclaims and marches towards the car.

"Now seriously, go sleep Sonii. I canceled dance practice for a reason." Milo says.

"Oh please, you canceled so you could babysit your big brother as he chops wood." Sonii remarks.

"That too." He smiles and his dimples are finally visible. He moves in for their iconic fist bump.

"Who's delayed now?" Toni yells from outside. His Dominican accent is only ever evident when he yells, even if it's very slight. 

Milo yells something in Spanish as he walks out.

Peace and quiet.

Sonii sits alone at the table and admires the flowers in front of her. One looks droopy. She moves her hand over the petals and slowly revives it. She smiles as it returns to full bloom. She's completely lost in her own world until her eyes catch a glimpse of a dark shadow on the wall.

She face is immediately alert. She observes it from a distance. A corridor to a passage that has not existed for as long as she's known. She walks closer, her curiosity controlling her every move. The passage is pitch black. She faces her palm upwards and summons a ball of twigs which she sets alight. Her unique ability to call on all the elements is of great use for her.

She moves into the darkness. The light allowing her to find her way. Old paintings and burnt out torches line the passage walls. The heavy sound of moving concrete frightens her and she drops her twigs. She is enveloped in darkness. She runs towards the point she entered but hits a wall. The entrance closed up and no matter what she tries: mundane or magic, she can't get out.

After a moment the room gets lighter. She notices a big window at the end of the passage. Since there's no other way out, she moves toward it in hope for the best. 

She looks out the window at the stunning imagery. It depicts the night sky, overwhelmed with stars and nothing move. It's the brightness of the stars that are providing the little amount of light.

At the end, it looks like there's a room so she decides to go in. There's another window which reflects just enough light for her to see a large object in the center. It's covered in a white sheet. She moves towards it and runs her fingers over the soft fabric. Eventually she decides to grip onto it and pull off the sheet to see what it's covering.

Before the sheet is completely off to reveal what it hides, the room loses its light and she's left in the dark.

She wakes up gasping. Her eyes scan her surroundings and land on the clock which tells her it's nearly five o'clock. She's still in her work clothes.

"Okay, I know I said get some rest but I think you better get dressed now." Milo suggests. He stands next to the couch with a bag of chips in hand. 

Sonii still adjusting her eyes to the light, she drags the feet towards the stairs. She dismisses her whole experience as a stupid dream. However she pauses when she's close to the stairs as her eyes catch a glimpse of a bundle of burnt out twigs on the kitchen table.

Her eyes widen and she quickly retreats to her bedroom with the hope of freshening up and thinking through what exactly happened.

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Chapter three

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Chapter four

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Chapter five

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Chapter six

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Chapter seven

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Chapter eight

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Chapter nine

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