Seeing it among other handcrafted wooden boxes displayed at the bazaar kiosk, Lukas knew it was not what it seemed. Squeezing through the crowd, he pretended to examine other souvenirs to draw attention away from the box.
When the booth owner began loudly bargaining with another customer, he picked up the small box. Heavier than it looked, Lukas recognized the tesseract, a box within a box, within a box.
Holding up the mysterious cube to the still arguing merchant, a paltry amount was flung out which Lukas gladly paid. Tucking the box inside his jacket, he quickly wended his way through the market crowd and back to his hotel room.
Once alone, he double locked the door, and drew the drapes casting the room into darkness. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he pulled out his treasure and laid it on the nightstand. Turning on the lamp, Lukas sat and stared at the cube. It looked solid, but he knew there was a way to open it, he just had to figure out the lock.
Without picking it up again, he examined each visible face, studying the primitive designs, looking for any differences. A series of colored ovals decorated the edges of each cube face, alternating red and yellow. Pulling out a handkerchief from his jacket pocket, Lukas gently turned the cube on one side to look at the final face.
There he saw it. A slight variance in the decorations. Picking up the cube with the kerchief, he took it to the desk. Sweeping old newspapers to the floor, he placed the cube in the center of the table. Kneeling, so he could be eye level with the desk top, he pressed the random blue oval.
At first nothing happened, then the cube began to shake. Teetering from edge to edge, the cube jumped up on one corner and started spinning. Gaining speed, dissolving into an indistinct blur, the cube abruptly stopped, dropping to the table with a solid thud.
Lukas, still on his knees, watched breathlessly as the edges of the cube began separating. With a loud click, the tesseract quickly unfolded into eight more cubes, forming a geometric tree – four cubes high, with four cubes surrounding the top of the tree trunk – the blue oval lock still visible on the top cube face.
A smile spread across Lukas’ face. Rocking back on his heels, Lukas sat on the floor stunned at his good fortune.
A loud knock on his door brought him out of his reverie. The knocking became louder and more urgent, angry voices mingled with the pounding.
Reaching up, Lukas pressed the lock on the tesseract. The tree appeared to fall, closing in on itself back into a single cube. Grabbing the box, Lukas ran to the window, sliding the glass to open it to the patio outside. Slipping through sash just as the intruders broke through his door, Lukas ran back toward the busy bazaar, hoping to get lost in the crowd.