Zepheera-Vision Prologue — The Vanishing Box

((Bit of a detour. Since yesterday was 9/9 and I meant to do this earlier but move-in and school and aahhhh. Anyway, here’s the beginning of something new))

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


London, 2005

For the most part, Zepheera loved living in
the Tyler household. Only two humans, aside from the mother Jackie’s occasional
gentleman caller. She was much more energetic than her daughter, Rose, who
spent most of the day at her job in a shop in town. It was relatively quiet,
the humans were predictable and often distracted. No better place for a
borrower.

Yet, deep down, Zepheera longed for the days
of her youth. Not being able to physically age certainly did not mean she
didn’t feel old every now and then, though nowadays it was
quite a common feeling for her. She missed being nineteen with a boyfriend, not
knowing what the future would hold and frankly not caring. It seemed to her
that Rose Tyler had settled on the life that Zepheera would give anything to
have back. And here they were: both stuck in the Powell Estate with no
prospects whatsoever.

Zepheera supposed, if she were human-sized
rather than four and a half inches tall (or vice versa), she and Rose Tyler
might be kindred spirits. But for now, neither Tyler knew of Zepheera’s
existence and it was going to stay that way.

Then one night, her sleep was disturbed by an
unusual commotion out in the humans’ part if the house. Lots of loud talking,
telly blaring something awful, and constant vibrations betraying the giant
being’s every movement. As her head cleared, Zepheera decided that something
important and worth checking out was going on. So she trudged through her many
passages and lifts through the walls until she could enter a small vent high up
the wall in the main area of the house. She could see everything and nobody
could see her.

Rose was sitting numbly on the couch while
her mother paced the room with the telephone, calling each and every one of her
friends about what had happened to her daughter. According to her and the
television, Rose’s shop had exploded. Police were investigating and Jackie was
raving about demands for compensation.

When Rose’s boyfriend Mickey showed up,
Zepheera gathered that the worst was over. She’d heard enough to know what to
expect in the morning. Rose wouldn’t be going out tomorrow, but she might mope
around enough for Zepheera to make a short supply run. She had enough food to
last her a while if worst came to worst.

The last thing she saw or heard as she turned
to go back to bed was Rose sending Mickey off with a plastic arm.

She spent the next morning determining which
foods in her meager pantry would go bad sooner if she didn’t eat them right
away when a new male voice rang through the house. She couldn’t hear what he
was saying from inside the walls, but she immediately abandoned her chore to
investigate this newcomer,  grabbing her
borrowing equipment on the way out. She’d need to know if this man was going to
be around often or not.

He was very odd to watch, she found as she
peered down from her usual vent. While Rose made him coffee, he wandered the
entire room touching everything: he commented on a tabloid, flipped through a
book and declared it had a sad ending, and made a mess of a deck of playing
cards. Zepheera pitied Rose, who was trying to make conversation with this man
who was clearly not paying much attention to her.

Then talk of the police arose, at least from
Rose’s end, and Zepheera honed in on her speech. It was hard to tell, but it
seemed like Rose knew that the man was somehow involved with
the destruction of her job.

Everything happened so fast after that. The
mystery man was attacked by the plastic arm from then night before, and then it
turned on Rose. The man disabled it with some kind of device, a tube-like thing
with a glowing blue light on the end, and before anyone knew it, he was off.

Zepheera raced down the wall to her entrance
to the room as fast as she could. Jackie was busy blowing her hair and getting
ready for the day, so the borrower had an ever-shortening window of time to
make it to the window. By the time she’d climbed up, Rose and the man were
walking swiftly away. She lost them behind the garages for a few minutes, but
she watched the man stride away from Rose toward a blue box. Zepheera
recognized it as a police public call box, but she hadn’t seen one since the
sixties.

Before she could even wonder about it, the
man shut the door and the box disappeared. Vanished into thin air. Zepheera
stood gaping open-mouthed at the empty spot where it used to be until she saw
Rose returning to the Powell Estate and she knew her time was up.

Zepheera high-tailed it back to her humble
home in the walls and immediately began packing. For years she’d dreamed of
something different, something to take her away from everything that reminded
her of her mistakes and regrets. She never belonged, she only stayed. Maybe the
mysterious man could be the answer to the prayers she never dared to say.

Things didn’t just vanish into thin air, so
that man and his vanishing box had to be somewhere. And if it was the last
thing she ever did, if it took a hundred years, Zepheera was going to find it.


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