PO Box 100

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PO Box 100

Post by Graham on Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:06 pm

Since the object of this weeks homework is editing I don't want any comments on this at the moment. It's the beginning of a short story I started a few weeks ago.

Poste Restante

Words 710

The stamp caught my eye straight way and my first thought was that it was a marketing ploy. I was about to throw it in the bin when I noticed that the finely lettered address had smeared. It wasn’t computer printed so why on earth would someone go to the length of putting a Victorian stamp on it and how had it traversed our postal system like that?

‘Janet,’ I called, ‘where did this one come from?’ I waved it at the redoubtable Mrs Abercrombie in the outer office.

She didn’t even look up.

‘They’re all from the box.’

We rented a box at the local Wells Fargo. Ridiculous, a name I associated with my childhood westerns and now it had usurped the post office that had stood there for more than a century.

Some clever chap had clearly thought of a novel ruse to get past my slush pile. If he was that clever I might as well give him the Thomson once over.

Or chapess, I thought as I tore the envelope open and released a faint perfume. It was a creamy aroma just tinged with lilac. The paper was heavy, fine linen. A small key fell onto the table.

Edinburgh
18th June 1887

My Dear Sir,

It is with not a little trepidation I entrust this missive to your Poste Restante. You will I hope forgive my presumption that it’s contents will prove of interest, and to convince your senses that it is what it claims to be I assure you I will offer unassailable proof. That you live in a time somewhat in advance of my own I have deduced by the attire I see your assistant wearing and the glimpses of strange modes of transport I have been vouchsafed though the window of the GPO in Albert Street. Here then is the first part of that proof. The enclosed key fits a box entrusted to the secretary of the Conan Doyle society here in Edinburgh. Present the secretary with your bona fides and your signature and you should find  enough to satisfy you.

I remain your obedient servant,

John Grantham esq.
*
What a load of tosh. Had I not been scheduled to attend a talk at the Conan Doyle society that evening, the letter, key and all, would have been in the bin. That was strange enough but the reaction of the young woman at the desk was stranger. Her eyes lit with palpable excitement when I made myself known and she showed me into a fusty old library lined with dark oak and filled floor to ceiling with bound volumes.

‘Mr Hoyt will be with you in a moment.’

When Mr Hoyt entered I was subject to a keen appraisal by a pair of sharp eyes in an ancient lined face. He had in his hand an old cash box. His voice faltered.

‘Mr Thomson, we’ve been expecting you.’

This was an elaborate hoax. I didn’t feel threatened but I was on my guard.

‘Please,’ he said indicating a seat, ‘there is no need to be apprehensive. The box.’

He placed it on the table before me.

In as business-like a manner as I could muster I inserted the key. It stuck and as I worked it Mr Hoyt produced from his pocket a small aerosol.

‘Perhaps,’ he said and taking the box he expertly applied the contents to the slot.

This time it opened and I raised the lid. There was a musty smell and inside another envelope, this one yellowed, and just discernible in the same elegant but this time faded handwriting, my name.

Part of me wanted to believe. Thomson the cynic wondered what they hoped to achieve.

I looked at Hoyt hoping to catch a hint. His expression was kindly but impassive.

‘It has been in our keeping, Mr Thomson, for over a hundred years. We dare to hope you are of an open mind and that this provides evidence for our beliefs.’

‘Beliefs?’

‘Yes, you see we believe in the indestructibility of the spirit and in 1888 a Mr Grantham presented our secretary with some anomalous evidence which he claimed would further our cause if we waited a sufficent period of time. It appears that time has come.’

Graham
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Re: PO Box 100

Post by Susieflooks on Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:38 pm

Very intriguing !

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