Setting

Amazing events can occur in ordinary places in The Boxes. The most important events take place in a not particularly unusual basement and in a bedroom closet. Other important events take place in a typical downtown office building. Henry's old house has its interesting aspects, especially the old, unused room and its sticking door, but Sleator shows off his skill at making something extraordinary out of routine settings:

A tall structure now rose up around the box, a three-dimensional grid made from strands of some dark fiber that reflected bright flashes from the ceiling light bulb. There were little ladders and platforms all over it, and dozens of creatures were scurrying up and down them. The structure shuddered precariously with their movement. It went all the way up to the ceiling and back to the wall.

This is part of the transformation a basement undergoes—a basement whose scariest feature had been an old furnace. Upstairs, in Annie's bedroom closet is a box with a ticking device in it—maybe it is a clock, but its symbols are indecipherable. Further, it has a vine growing in or around it, a vine that can slap people. Part of the fun of The Boxes is seeing how mystery can be found right where one lives.

(The entire section is 213 words.)