Kyle crouched and picked up the box on the porch. He looked out into the yard, the street. The doorbell had rung just as he finished putting a box into the nearby closet. He should have seen someone, but there was no one there. He frowned and turned to carry the box to the kitchen. Delia, her council and a handful of others met there each morning to touch base and drink some unholy copycat of an old Starbucks drink called a chantico.
Entering, Kyle smiled at Zoe as she melted chocolate. Though they had found themselves drifting as lovers, they had become true friends. He placed the parcel on the counter. Zoe frowned. “Too early for the postman.”
Kyle nodded. “Doesn’t even have a name or address on it.” He started laying out mugs on the counter top near the stove.
Queenie, who had been looking in the refrigerator absently, grabbed the oven mitts. “For fuck’s sake, it could be a freaking bomb.” She moved it gingerly to the sink and put it in. She looked around for something else to lower the risk of her serving up chicken for eternity.
Delia and Misty came in still chattering about dandelions or some other obnoxiously over useful plant. Delia’s brow rose as she watched Queenie grab a dutch oven lid and put it over the sink. “Do I want to know?” she asked as she sniffed the chocolate melting and smiled. She put her file stack on the corner of the butcher block.
“Frankenkyle brought in an anonymous box. Left on the doorstep. Tied with fucking twine of all things. I think its a bomb.” Queenie backed away after putting down the lid. She considered the minimum safe distance and glared daggers at the general location of the small cardboard box.
Zoe turned the chantico making over to Kyle. “If it had been a bomb, Kyle would have been blown to pieces.” she said in her most reasonable voice.
Kyle gave her a look. She grinned nervously. Zoe picked up the lid and put it aside. She put her hand over it. “Divination is not my strong suit but I don’t think its a bomb.”
Misty peeked at the box. She pulled a blade from the magnetic strip and snapped the twine. “One way to find out.”
Delia took the blade. “My job.” She pulled open the box and frowned. “One of the girls must have ordered a mask for the Halloween party.” She lifted it up gently and examined it. “It’s exquisite.” She trailed her finger over delicate vines and glittering flowers layered over black velvet. “Everyone, try to find out who ordered this. I think I want to find out where they got it so I can get one next year,” she said with a little grin. It was beautiful but she felt like it just wasn’t quite her and so slipped it back into the box.
Misty curled into the ragged reading chair stuffed into the corner of the greenhouse. She paged through a very old book of herbal remedies. Her foot was wagging and she wanted to get up and walk around, but she stayed put. Misty didn’t know what was with her lately. She just felt slightly off all the time. At first, she thought it was being in the school but she had felt these things in her garden. It was frustrating.
In her restlessness, her eyes lifted and looked around over and over to end up looking at the box sitting on a pile of Cordelia’s files. Delia had left the stack in the greenhouse as she went to help mediate a disagreement between two of her newer girls. She had passed on the headmistress role to Zoe, but still enjoyed putting her oar in when her girls were having issues. Misty thought it was sweet but kind of annoying when they should be puttering. Her fingers brushed the top of the box open as she rose.
“Well now,” she said almost entranced. “Isn’t that somethin’” she breathed out. Her fingers liberated the mask from the packaging and held it up. It was irresistible. She slid on the mask and smiled. Going to the mirror, she looked and frowned. She bobbed slighly, leaning first to the left and then to the right. No reflection. She peered with a frown to see a familiar face break from the shadows of the boot room. She turned to see Stevie Nicks walk toward her with a smile.