This was originally for a contest, but I never did finish it before the deadline. Instead, I kept it around until an ending occurred to me. Now I'm sharing it with you. Proof that I should be writing fantasy rather than crime or noir.
I shuffled into my room, not bothering to turn on the light, and fell into bed.
“Ow! Sunnova-” Rubbing the back of my head, I got up and flicked on the light.
There was a box on my pillow.
It was a standard metal cash box, which explained why it hurt like hell when it connected with the back of my head. Since it remained inert after a blow that threatened to give me a concussion, I figured I could safely assume that it wasn't wired to explode. I picked it up and began examining it.
The box looked brand new, without so much as a scratch on it. No name, no note, nothing to indicate where it could have come from, and what's more, it was locked. There must be a key, I decided. Who would leave a locked box on my pillow with no way for me to open it? Oh, sure I could pick the lock, but if I didn't have to put in the effort, I wouldn't. I looked around for a place to put the box while a searched for a key, quickly realizing why whomever had gifted it to me had left it on my pillow. There was nowhere else to put it.
Ok, so the place was a mess. Who was I trying to impress? For me the room was little more than a place to crash out after a long night of either hunting or hiding other people's secrets. I didn't really care what they were up to so long as the money was right, and until now, none of it had ever followed me home. Hell, I wouldn't even know if this was my work following me home until I got the box open.
I gave the back of my head another rub before tucking the box under my arm while I searched through the rumpled bedding one-handed. After a little while, I spotted a glint of metal where the key had fallen between the pillows. Keys, actually. It was the standard two keys on a small split ring that came with the purchase of such a cash box, confirming for me that it was bought new just for this purpose. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I balanced the box on my knees and unlocked it.
The small figure inside stood up.
“T'were 'bout time, Jack-a-daw, though I'd thank ye not to rattle me 'round so,” he said, dusting himself off.
I stared at the fey creature for a moment before closing the lid on him again and locking it. Whatever he wanted from me could wait.