First Published in MicroHorror (2008)
Pandora stood on the hilltop, hugging the jar to her breasts. Tears zigzagged down her cheeks. She opened her eyes and surveyed the struggle below, as the evils she’d unleashed spread amongst the mortals. She rocked from side to side agonizing over her inability to defy temptation and prayed for guidance from the Gods on how to undo what she had brought on mankind.
Startled when the jar began to buzz, she stepped away. Was there something else in there? she wondered. Her body convulsed at the thought. She’d created Hell for the mortals by opening the jar once. What more would she do by uncapping it again?
Her hands wet with sweat, she turned and walked towards the village. The jar beckoned. She tried to ignore it, but couldn’t. Her daemon, curiosity, surrounded her and forbade her from leaving. Pandora returned to the container and rested her hand on the top. She hesitated, fought the urge to continue, and found she was helpless to do otherwise.
She opened the lid the smallest amount and snapped it shut without looking inside. A vile wind came from the mountain followed by a pounding rain. Pandora braced herself against the forces. She pressed the top harder against the ceramic urn, and felt it fight back. She closed her eyes and prayed for the strength to leave the lid down and walk away. Her body shook with fear. She yelled to the heavens for guidance. Zeus’ laughter was the only reply.
Unable to resist temptation any longer, she opened the jar. Without warning, the ills that had been loosed before raced through the wind and rain on blue, green, and yellow streamers and reentered the container. The smells of famine, pestilence, and death filled the air. Once the last evil had returned to the vessel and the lid was closed, the wind and rain subsided.
Pandora opened her eyes with great anticipation and gazed down upon the mortals. What she saw made her scream in despair. For in the valley below, the fires had gone out, the land was dark, and the mortals found themselves cold and hungry once again.