It was a big, square cardboard box, big enough to hold a medium sized TV. A thick layer of dust covered it and it seemed the box was in there for quite a few years. There were no markings on it and since nothing was ticking inside I opened it.
The first thing I saw were a pair of handcuffs.
Somewhat disturbing, I'll admit.
Next I took out a black disc made of some thick fabric. It took me a few seconds to realize it was a collapsed top hat. By lifting the hat I revealed a black wooden stick with white tips. Yep, it was a magician's wand. My appartment was previously owned by a magician. Cool. I just hoped he didn't leave a bunny or a dove in the box too.
I started taking the box's contents out and one by one the items piled up around me: a set of four large interconnected metallic rings, a deck of tattered cards, a stack of coins(pennies and dimes) wrapped in old newspaper(I could make out part of a headline that read «Six million for adopted» ), a red-and-black fan with chinese or japanese characters, most likely meaning nothing, about twenty large silk handkerchiefs of various color (the silk is so incredibly smooth I spend a minute just feeling with my fingertips), a cage that at first seemed crushed but I soon realize it's actually meant to go from normal shape to flat (and then I remember that there is usually something in the cage during magician's acts, so I put it aside with a mild feeling of queasiness), several white ropes of different lenghts, with knots at different points on them, three small red cups and a bag of hardwood balls painted white, a set of three metal boxes, one blue, one red and one black, all of them ornated with silver and gold and immitation diamonds and designed so that the blue one can be nested in the red one and the red one in the black one, just like those russian dolls.
Underneath all that was something big, black and silken and it turned out to, somewhat expectedly be a magician's cape.
But as I picked it up I heared something drop.
I looked inside the box again and on the bottom there lied several objects that had apparently been wrapped in the cape. Something told me these were not part of a magic act.
The first object was a thick bundle of letters, tied together with a simple brown cord. I tried to untie the knot but it was apparently tied by someone who didn't want it untied ever again. One snip with scissors later and at least thirty envelopes lie in my lap. I scanned them, just to get a general idea what they are. The envelopes were all white and on each one the adress was the same, written in the thin handwriting of a person well versed in penmanship. They were adressed to a Sara Hue and for a moment I thought she was the owner of this forgotten box and the previous tennant but then I saw that the last ten envelopes in the bundle were unopen and had a red «RETURN TO SENDER» stamp on them.
I put the letters aside while in my mind I already devised a theory that explained the rest of the items that were wrapped in the cape.
I took out a rose, or at least something that was once a rose. This shrivelled and putrid looking relic of a flower was in a box made of seethrough plastic, like a tupperwared memento. There was a small white card attached to the stem with a red bow and when I turned the box over I could make out the words «To Sara, with undying adoration. Your secret admirer».
The final item was a notebook. Brown skin covers, scuffed and tattered and between them at least a hundred pages of small but neat and entirely legible handwriting. Dates I gleaned when I opened a few pages at random indicated it was in all likelihood a diary.
It probably had an interesting story to tell and from the look of all the things that surrounded me as I sat on the floor in front of the now empty box I'd say the story didn't have a very happy ending.
The previous tennant, whoever he was, was a magician who loved a woman named Sara. She was probably the most beautiful woman as far as he was concerned. He obviously courted her the very old-fashioned way (I don't know who writes letters these days anymore) and his advances were obviously welcomed. Until she started returning his letters.
Why she did that is something I can't even begin to speculate so I'm naturally seriously tempted to read the diary and the letters but I still return all the items back into their resting place and put the box back in the closet.
For the time being that is.
Knowing me, they won't rest peacefully very long.