Alice looked at the box, then slowly dragged her eyes to the far wall, to the clock.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK
She couldn't quite make out the digits, as the sun had now vanished, and cast a huge shadow across the kitchen. Were the hands moving? She couldn't be sure.
"They can't be. No battery." She mumbled, swallowing down a bobbing-lump in her throat.
Are you sure? Are you sure you didn't buy a new one? A voice tested.
"DID YOU BUY BATTERIES? DID YOU BUT A NEW BATTERY?" Alice demanded, like an aged-woman scolding herself over her growing dementia.
She stood hunched like a woman with a gun prodded into her back. Motionless, burning a hole into the box.
Payback! A voice taunted. PAYBACK.
As Alice shuffled sidewards along the wall, to her left, keeping her eyes fixed to the small-white box, which now appeared grey, the ticking got louder. So loud Alice's head ached.
It's in one piece isn't it? A voice offered. If it'd meant you harm the damage would have been done already!
She edged towards the door, away from the grim box and the ticking. Almost there. Her eyes flitted to the shiny-metal handle. She sucked in a deep breath and prepared to grab it, when a memory flashed into her mind, just as the sun came out from behind the clouds and spread into the kitchen.
"I DID buy new batteries!" Alice squealed, having remembered breaking a nail during the transfer.
She looked at the clock. Sure enough the hands were moving.
The kitchen now appeared bright and pleasant, and the box back to it's original inviting state, Alice loosened her shoulders which had been so hunched they were now throbbing. A wave of humiliation washed over her. She felt stupid. ridiculous. Her mind was always in overdrive these days, since... well.
She crossed the stone floor into the kitchen, with the confidence of a woman who'd just been given the all-clear over a lump she'd found under her arm-pit, and had spent the past fortnight having cold-sweats over. Her mouth stretched into a dumb grin. Things were all good. Alice had been given a second chance.
Don't crack open the bubbly just yet, you still don't know what's in the box! A voice teased. Her smile quickly vanished.