The Past Doesn’t Forget

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden
5 min readNov 23, 2022

Paul’s headlights skimmed over a package awaiting him on the front stoop, as he pulled into his drive. The wipers kept perfect time with the increased pounding of his heart. He watched, as the flashing red light of a drone disappeared over his rooftop.

This was not the first package Paul had received. Over the last 30 days, he had received 4, the anonymous text he received earlier that morning, let him know however, this would be the last.

For the past month, Paul had been receiving prank calls. Innocent enough, at first. Crazy laughing and breathing just before hanging up. However, they had become more threatening, as the month went on — graphic, violent language — verbal, physical threats. One morning, as he made his way to the mailbox, he found a dead squirrel sprawled over his porch light, the innards left inside the box.

Each box held a clue to the identity of the sender, one a little more mysterious than the first, creating a puzzle of sorts.

The first box was a matchbox car, an old GTO, like the one his older brother owned, when they were younger. Paul totaled that car one night while driving impaired. He promised his brother he would repair it, but his brother died of an accidental overdose the following weekend. Paul felt responsible, and never really forgave himself, neither did his parents.

The second box held a small magnetic cigarette case, with silver rhinestones attached. Similar to the case his best friend’s girlfriend used to carry, he hadn’t thought of her in years. And his friend, Marty, was killed in the war in Iraq. They were supposed to join together, but Paul chickened out and never showed at the recruiter’s office.

The third box contained an old letter from a girl named Deb, that he met one weekend while visiting the coast. As he read it, he cried. She was reaching out, less than a year since that weekend, following her miscarriage. He had no idea she was pregnant. He never answered her letter, in fact, he thought he had burned it.

The fourth box was a small pocket bible. Inside the cover was written in red: Jerimiah 31:19

“For after I turned back, I repented.

And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh.

I was ashamed and also

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden

Telling stories my heart needs to tell