Mystery Box

In response to The Daily Post's writing prompt: "Mystery Box."

Journalist Thomas Bradshaw woke up at 10:45am without an alarm, as was his custom. He grimaced at the sunlight forcing its way through the closed shades. He cursed himself for the millionth time for not buying big, thick and black curtains for his window. Though, he figured he'd never get out of bed if he ever did. He pulled his phone from the nightstand without looking and saw he had two text messages.

He sat up and dropped his feet off the side of the bed, they touched something foreign. He looked down and saw a present wrapped in Christmas paper. He thought of Rachael, who he hadn't seen in six months, and wondered if maybe she had snuck into the apartment while he was sleeping. She had left without warning and as far as far as he knew she still had her set of keys to his apartment and car.

But it didn't seem like her to be showing random affection. He was skeptical of the mystery package.

He stepped out of bed, planting his feet next to the box. He picked it up and sat it on he bed. It was mildly heavy and several items moved around freely inside it. A bad packing job, perhaps it was Rachael.

He tore the wrapping off and tore open the cardboard box. Inside were several items he recognized.

Rachael's smartphone. Her wallet. A chain she wore. One of her many bracelets. And the item that bothered him most, her belt. She wore her belt with every pair of pants she owned. It was fashioned out of an old seatbelt from a Buick. Its presence meant someone made her take it off, or he feared most they took it off for her.

A note on paper, written with a Sharpie, struck the theme and sparked the mystery behind the box.

It was Monday morning, which left Bradshaw very little time to get the money out in cash without giving himself away or raising alarms. It was gonna be a long week.