I'm trying to identify a story I read ages ago in a science fiction anthology.

A man possesses a "box" that appears to transport objects to another dimension. He steals some object of value and hides it by putting it into the box, where through some distorting affect it now appears tiny and differently shaped. When he checks on it later a small mishappen being seems about to steal the item. He reaches in and crushes the tiny being. Sometime later he enters a room and sees the valued object sitting on the floor. He goes to pick it up and a giant distorted hand reaches down and crushes him. He has reached into the future and killed himself.

Sound familiar to anyone?

  • 1
    You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2023 at 19:14
  • Read this one long ago. Could be Murray Leinster. Oct 29, 2023 at 19:29
  • Very familiar. PoV character is a criminal who steals a briefcase of cash or bonds. Has a marvelous box that shrinks/transforms anything put inside. Stashes the briefcase in the box, where it looks, say, like a green pyramid. Police search, can't find anything. Then the green pyramid disappears. There's a brown lump moving around in the box so he squishes it. Comes back to his room next day, there's the briefcase. Takes it, starts to spend the money, comes back to his room, gets squished.
    – DavidW
    Oct 29, 2023 at 19:54
  • Is "Time Locker" the story you were looking for? If the question has been answered to your satisfaction, you can "accept" the answer by clicking on the check mark next to it.
    – user14111
    Oct 29, 2023 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


"Time Locker", a novelette by Henry Kuttner alias "Lewis Padgett" in his Galloway Gallegher series; first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, January 1943, available at the Internet Archive. You may have read it in one of these compilations. (I read it in the classic Golden Age anthology Adventures in Time and Space a.k.a. Famous Science Fiction Stories edited by Raymond J. Healey and J. Francis McComas.)

Then he leaned closer, staring. Inside the locker, something was moving. A grotesque little creature less than four inches tall was visible. It was a shocking object, all cubes and angles, a bright green in tint, and it was obviously alive.

[. . . .]

"Whew! I guess Vanning must have been the only guy who ever reached into the middle of next week and—killed himself! I think I'll get tight."

  • I recall that the story also involved an expanding universe - that was how the character became gigantic enough to crush his own self from another time: he had expanded with the rest of the universe. Oct 30, 2023 at 12:41
  • Jonathan Coulton explores a similar concept in the song "Creepy Doll" Oct 30, 2023 at 15:47

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