My ankle struck a sharp edge and I let out a cry. Rubbing my bruised skin I noticed the brass hinge of a box wedged underneath the train carriage seat. After a couple of tugs to free the object, it was revealed as an old wooden box with elaborate brass hinges and decoration on all sides as well as the top. It was a woodland scene with an inset of silver representing the moon through an arch of gnarly trees. I tried the clasp but it was locked. I looked under the seat again hoping to find a key but only found a discarded piece of chewing gum and several wrappers sticky with candy.
I place the box on the tabletop and turned it this way and that admiring the workmanship. When I lifted it and shook it there was a gentle knocking sound. Something heavy was inside, but what? The guard came walking towards me and asked for my ticket, I produced it and he clipped a hole into it.
“That’s a beautiful box; a lot of work went into that I’m sure.”
“Yes it is lovely isn’t it?”
Once he left I wondered why I hadn’t revealed that the box was not actually mine. Pushing the box to one side I organized my space, backpack beside me, a novel on the table with a bottle of juice and a sandwich. Traveling at night is much more relaxed and not so crowded.
I read for a while and must have dozed off because a gentle shaking of my shoulder woke me.
“You have the box.”
I looked at the man confused at his words as my sleepy mind tried to become fully awake.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“The box of resource, there in front of you, I was not expecting a messenger.”
The man’s words did not make sense but he smiled kindly at me. He lifted the box and put it into a large canvas bag. As he turned away I asked
“What is the box of resource? I found it underneath this seat. I’m not a messenger.”
“Ah, I see that explains your confusion. It contains an ancient scroll that must be returned to the Vatican. It holds the...well I must not delay you.”
He looked up alarmed, turned and exited the train at a run along the platform. I so wanted to follow him but by the time I had packed my backpack he was nowhere in sight. My only clue -he was going to the Vatican. Well Rome is the city I will be living in for the next four years so maybe I will find him again and he will tell me what the box contains.