God in a Box

by Steve Toase

I found a God in a small wooden box. No, not God as in Jesus, Billy Graham, Praise the Lord, but a God.

It was during an excavation, hidden on some stairs and covered by 200 years of soil. I know I should have handed it in. It goes against every instinct and professional standard. But could you imagine the finds department.

“Small Find 104: Deity 250mm x 400mm x 30mm. Material: Wood; sand; the light of a spring dawn; the anguished cry of a newborn second son, tied together with a cracked piece of leather."

Never mind the problem of conservation.

You're not getting this are you?

It's not a statue of a God, it is A God.

What do you mean what is the box like?

I tell you I have a small God living in my desk and you ask me what the box is like. I bet if Moses had told you about the burning bush, you would have asked what kind of bush. It's a very plain wooden box with a rusted lock, and slightly creaking hinges

Do you know I've never asked what it's the God of.

Oh yes we do talk. Its voice is whispery, sort of like a warm breeze on an Autumn's morning.

Well it can't be a Weather God because, well, look at the past few months.

I don't think it's a God of Luck, although I did win that ten pounds on the lottery.

A God of Love? It doesn't look very romantic.

What has changed?

Well there are some differences. Everything seems brighter — colour, sunlight. We were in the woods last week and the colours just flowed out of the bark.

And flavours. Everything I eat tastes like the first meal of a starving man.

Yes I am noticing other things: figures flitting in the corners of my eye, and voices, voices between sleeping and waking.

Everything seems, well, enhanced. Sharper, more defined.

When I leave it at home everything is slightly greyer, but if I put it in my pocket I can hear the whispers under the traffic and the souls of the creatures in the limestone.

Sacrifices? Well it did come up once but it said that I didn't have to worry about that for now. It would keep track of what sacrifices I owed it and we could talk about it another time.


Steve Toase is a freelance writer, journalist and archaeologist living in North Yorkshire, and occasionally Munich. He regularly writes for BSH Custom Motorcycle Magazine and Fortean Times. Recently Steve came runner up in the Harrogate Advertiser Crime Writing Short Story Competition, and has recently had a story accepted for publication in Beautiful Scruffiness.