This story is mine alone and I ask that you respect that. I retain the copyright but give permission for this story to be posted in any group or web site so long as it is completely free and nobody profits from it. I also ask that my credits and intro remain a part of it when it is posted.
Jonah Whalerton was a 40 year old ex-SEAL. He had served 20 years in the Navy and had seen all of the war and suffering he ever wanted to. He was tired when he left the service and wanted nothing more than to get away from people for a while. He hoped that the solitude of his parents mountain cabin would allow him to get rid of the nightmares left over from his many missions. He had killed or seen killed way too many people, many innocent. The horrors of war filled him with guilt and sadness.
He spent the first couple of weeks at the cabin doing almost nothing. He sat in the sun and added to his tan. He swam in the little lake near bye. He tried to sleep as much as he could but the dreams still haunted him.
At the start of the third week Jonah decided it was time for some exercise. He started walking through the trees and up the mountain trails. He explored as he walked, taking note of his surroundings. The area was deserted except for a few animals that scurried away as he approached.
On one of his walks he noticed a cave partly hidden behind a large boulder. He wondered about it but took no action at first. Each day as he walked past it he felt an urge to check it out. The urge became stronger as the days passed. Finally, he couldn't resist any longer and decided to move the boulder and explore the cave. The next day he took a flashlight and some tools with him on his walk. When he reached the cave he examined the boulder and saw it could be moved with a little effort and a lever. He chopped down a small tree and stripped the branches off, making it a fairly sturdy pole.
Using the pole, he levered the boulder away from the cave entrance revealing a very small cave. He entered using his flashlight to examine the inside. At first it seemed empty, but as he stepped inside he noticed a small indentation in the wall forming about a one cubic foot space.
In that space was a small box. It was about the size of a cigar box and was covered in what looked like some kind of writing. It was not any language he recognized though. The box was very ornate with beautiful designs embossed on it. He couldn't tell what it was made of except to say it was some kind of metal or possibly ceramic. He picked up the box and left the cave, heading back to the cabin.
When he arrived at the cabin he examined the box more carefully. There didn't seem to be any latch or hinges or any obvious way to open it. He decided to clean it up and see if that revealed any opening or instructions. He took some brass polish he had and started rubbing off the dirt and grime. As he did, he felt the box warm in his hands. About the time he was going call it a done job he heard a click and the box opened. He lifted the lid to look inside and there was a sudden flash of very bright light, momentarily blinding him. He staggered back and sat down at the kitchen table.
It took about five minutes for his vision to return and when he looked around he saw a strange looking man sitting on the other side of the table. The man was tall and thin and very dark complexioned. Not black but more like very tanned. There was something odd about his face but Jonah couldn't seem to decide what it was.
"Who are you? How did you get here?"
"You could not pronounce my name if I told you but you may call me Sam. I came out of the box when you released me. Thank you. I have been trapped in there for a very long time."
"What do you want?"
"I want nothing from you Jonah. I will leave you in a few moments but first I would like to give you a gift in return for you freeing me. What one thing would you like if you had your choice. Call it a wish. If you could wish for anything at all, what would it be?"