Anna sank to her knees and brushed the dirt from a hidden plank. She put it aside and stared for a moment at the battered silver travelling case that nestled in the hand dug hole. She took it out, unslung the twine that had hung roughly around her neck for a long time, and fumbled at the small key attached. She inserted it in the lock, turned, and the case clicked audibly open. Startled, Anna touched her dirty and tangled hair, then stroked it before letting her hands descend into the case’s open maw.
She withdrew a pair of jeans, turning it over slowly in the candlelight. She sniffed at it, brushed it against her cheek under tear bright eyes. Kelvin Cleen jeans. She put it down after a final sniff and took a flimsy shirt from the case. Musa Commonwealth. She put it back. The shoes were Prana. A pair of underwear from Somebody’s Secret. Her mother’s faded October 2010 edition of Great Housekeeping. A packet of gum. An unopened bottle of Cocko-cola, the caramel fluid inside gone flat. Some lipstick, dry with age. A cell phone, its display eternally dark, like the emptiness that yawned in her soul. Anna sobbed from the pit of her stomach, all the sorrow and pain leaking from her scrunched eyes, yet affording no relief. She carefully returned each artefact to the silver case, and as she replaced the plank and its coat of dirt, there was a knock at the door.
One. The door, corrugated plastic reinforced with duct tape and scraps of rags, shuddered visibly. Anna swept the hay back over the patch of ground concealing her treasure, and tore the sackcloth from her body, the circle of twine from her neck. Two. Naked, she sank to her knees and waited for the door to open on the third knock, trying not to cry.