Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Jar

The jar was there. In the center. Looking innocent and defenseless. It was quite plain, made only of wood with no decorations or adornments whatsoever. The lines and knots from the wood were the only markings. If she didn't know better, it looked like a normal, everyday jar.

The only reason it caught her eye is because it was all alone. No scenery. Nothing around it. It was as though there were some sort of bubble protecting it from anything invading its space. Those around Pandora refused to go near it and pretended that it wasn't there. Even the trees and the grass ended several feet before the box, creating a circle of dirt surrounding it.

She had been curious since her creation. She was the child who had touched the fire to see how hot it was. She walked as far as she could in the ocean to test its depths. Mermaids had to rescue her when it became too deep. She had been scolded more times than she could count because of her curiosity. Some called it nosiness. Pandora did not have many friends because she asked too many questions.

The jar had a skinny neck and then flared out and came back in at the base. The wood used to make it was birch, giving it a light color and a soft feel. There was a stopper in the top, keeping in whatever was kept in such a jar. Pandora took a step toward it.

Immediately, all heads turned toward her and it was suddenly silent. Embarrassed, she stepped back, and normal conversation resumed. For the rest of the day, the jar was in the corner of her eye. She chatted, she ate, she relaxed, but the jar was there the whole time.

Eventually the area cleared, leaving Pandora and the jar alone. As the sun set, the light wood seemed to shine, beckoning to her. She stepped right to the edge of the circle, where the soft grass that tickled her bare feet ended and the circle of cold dirt began. Hesitating only slightly, she stepped into the circle.

Nothing happened. Because of the reaction of her peers earlier that day, she expected at least lightning to strike if nothing else, but everything continued as usual. The sun continued to set and the stars continued to shine in the early evening sky.

She walked until she stood in front of the jar. It came up to her knee. Something so small seemed to strike fear in everyone else. Why? She really wanted to know. What was in there that caused so much apprehension? She touched the cool, smooth surface of the wood that curved under her palm. No vibrations, no textures, nothing. The cork that plugged the top of the jar stuck out only a centimeter.

She looked around her. Still deserted. Everyone else seemed to have already retired for the evening. She looked back at the jar. It was begging to be opened. She knew it was just sitting there, being a jar, but she could feel in her heart that it wanted to be free.

She couldn't take the suspense any longer. She grabbed the cork and pulled as hard as she could. It came out with a soft pop so easily that she almost fell over backwards. The cork fell out of her hand and rolled a few inches away. For the first few seconds it seemed as though the jar was empty.

Then, the jar glowed fiery red and a thin black steam issued out from its spout. Following this steam was another green smoke which flattened out and began a search. A light pink haze suffused from the jar, and soon after another one which was yellowish in color. Finally, one more vapor, a darker shade of green, ended the parade and nothing else issued from the jar.

That's it? Only a few little wisps of smoke? Pandora scoffed. That's nothing to be afraid of. She replaced the cork in the jar and left it sitting in the middle of the circle. Soon it was alone again, the wood reflecting the light of the stars in the sky. What the stars couldn't see was the 5 different colors that were slowly making their way around the world, permeating every living being they could find.

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