When he picked it up, all the die fell out, scattering across the floor. In an instant’s frustration he swore out loud, then bit his lip. The room he was in was dimly lit by a kerosene lamp. He could barely make out what was in the room, a shadow of his own in another world; what lay beyond the perimeter of light was little more than nothing. Again, this was not his world. It was silent and it was always night here.
Originally he had come to retrieve a can full of money. While his partner ventured further into the house he had waited. That’s when the lid of the box fell off. It was lying on the floor, in the exact spot he usually left it when they made these trips. All he did was turn his back. He picked the box up, examined it, and then made to put the lid on, when all the wooden die fell out of their ridges on the floor.
“Damn it, Scott!” his partner came running into the room. She looked as if she were about to murder him. “Why?” she whispered.
Scott shook his head in disbelief. “The lid fell off when I turned my back. So I went to put it back on, the way I usually do.” The lid always fell off on its own when no one was paying attention. Nothing like this had ever happened before.
“I’ll put them back,” Maya said in soft voice. “Or try.”
There were forty different die; putting them back into the box could take forever. Even if they did manage to put them all back, there was no guaranteeing their safe return home.