My mother had gotten it for me at a neighborhood garage sale. The family had just lost their son, about my age too, nine or ten and they were trying to get rid of some of his older toys, and other things they didn’t need around the house. It had been horrifying; as my mother perused the various things they were selling I went off to play on the tire swing that was hanging from the tree in our backyard.
I had been shy as a kid and the entire neighborhood seemed to be partaking in the event. I watched as the Pearson’s daughter, Ella, ran away from the Michael’s sons, Ronnie and Eric and the Thompson’s daughter Lea. They all seemed to be in good spirits as they ran and laughed and screamed and giggled.
The Masters’, the parents who had just lost their son, would tell the children to be careful when they were running through the tables, but the other kids were oblivious to anything they would say.
I sat in my tire swing watching the others have fun when I noticed something brightly colored leaning against the trunk of the old oak tree from which the tire swing hung. It was a little octopus doll. I stared at it for a while before getting out of the tire and bending down to pick it up. I searched the thing, turning it upside down, every which way, even holding it by one of the five arms that it had and watching it dangle in the air.
The dolls body was green, its five tentacles ending in a bright splash of pink as if the thing were wearing mittens. The tentacles seemed as though they had been torn off and hemstitched back on several times because the seams didn’t match, but at the time I hadn’t really noticed that. It eyes were made of black buttons and it wore a huge bright smile to match the yellow hat it wore.
I felt strangely attracted to the little doll and started to play with it. I put it in the swing and pushed it and watched it fall and hit the ground and I actually laughed. I never used to laugh unless I was with my friends or parents. I would then pick it up and do it again and again. Each time I would pick up the doll to put it back on the swing, its smile would seem bigger.
Again I pushed the small doll in the swing and watched it tumble to the ground when a thought came into my head. Why had the doll been laying against the trunk of my tree? I realized that maybe one of the children had left it and I was being selfish with their toy. I picked up the doll and hurried over to my mother. When I showed her the toy she frowned and took it from me. She approached the group of children, where they were sitting in the sun drinking lemonade that Ella’s mom had brought out. She asked each of them about the doll and each of them said that it wasn’t there.
Mrs. Masters’ approached my mother and they spoke to each other and my mom tried to hand the doll to Mrs. Masters, but she quickly refused and shoved the doll back into my mother’s hands. My mom tried to speak to her again, but she broke down in a fit of crying and ran in the house. My mom came back over to me and handed me the toy. I asked her what happened and she said that the doll had belonged to Jake, the Masters’ son. My mom told me she was actually pretty eager to get rid of the toy for some reason, but I didn’t pay it any attention. I had a new toy a new friend at that. I started to play with the toy when the other kids came over and teased me for having a doll and being a boy.
I started crying and they laughed at me, I dropped the doll and ran over to my mother and told her what happened. She looked back at the children and ran over quickly. A small crowd of adults had crowded where I had just been and a few of them were screaming. Ronnie, the one who teased me, was retching on the ground and all of the other kids were too. Their parents grabbed them and took them home. My mom came back over and handed me the toy, frowning.
A few days later I was playing outside again. We had just had a rainstorm and the grass was wet so I was wearing my rain boots. Puddles were everywhere and I jumped around in them, making it a game. I had the octopus in my pocket, which I had decided to name Mr. Wiggles because I thought it sounded funny since he was an octopus. As I was jumping around Mr. Wiggles would occasionally fall out and land in the puddle too, getting dirty, but I thought it was funny and I would pick him up and put him back in my pocket.
Later that night my mom, dad and I were eating dinner when my mom got a phone call. She excused herself from the table and answered the phone. I tried to hear what she was talking about, but she was too far away, so I continued to feed Mr. Wiggles, getting food all over his face. My dad watched me and said that Mr. Wiggles was going to need a bath. He picked him up and took him into the laundry room and dropped him in the washing machine. He poured in some soap and turned it on and returned to the table. Mom came back a few minutes later.
She said that the neighbor kids had all gotten sick from some rotten lemons they had used in the lemonade, at least that’s what the doctor said for each of their checkups.
I went to bed upset, because Mr. Wiggles was still in the washing machine. My mom kissed me on the forehead and told me that I would have him in the morning. They went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep because I wanted Mr. Wiggles back, but shortly after I fell asleep.
Around two in the morning I woke up to a thumping sound in the hallway. My door was cracked and there was a nightlight in the hallway in case I needed to use the bathroom. The thumping kept getting louder as it moved down the hallway and I started to hide under the covers when I saw a shadow cast on the wall. It looked like strips of yarn being swung around wildly and I shrunk under the covers and the thumping went away. I peeked over the covers and the shadow was gone. And Mr. Wiggles was sitting on the floor by my door, still dirty, a puddle of water forming beneath him.
I didn’t move because I was still scared, but slowly I swung myself out of bed and walked over to the door and peeked out in the hall. There wasn’t anything there, so I grabbed Mr. Wiggles quickly, closed my door and jumped back in bed.
The next morning my mother I heard my mother complaining about all of the puddles on the floor and when she found me holding Mr. Wiggles she told that I was grounded and she took him away from me and threw him back in the washing machine. I tried to tell her that I didn’t get him out, that he was at sitting at my door earlier that morning, but she didn’t believe me. When I told her that I heard something in the house last night and saw shadows in the hall she became worried. She told dad and they talked for a while before he called me into the living room and asked me what I had seen. I told him about the thumping sound and the strings that looked like rope being swung wildly in the air. Dad frowned and wanted to inspect the puddles, but mom had cleaned them earlier that morning.
Dad went into the garage and I heard him moving things. He then came back in holding a long strip of black cloth with a metal piece sticking out of the end. He grabbed the metal piece and started pulling on it and slowly a long blade of metal came rasping out. Mom said it was a machete.
That evening I was told to go to my room and lock the door. I had been ungrounded for some reason. At around 9:00 p.m, I went into my room and locked the door. I could hear my parents getting ready for bed in the next room. They were talking quietly and my mother sounded worried. I crawled into my bed, still upset since Mr. Wiggles was being washed for the third time since the dirt and food had stained him, and went to sleep.
Again around 2:00 a.m. I woke up and heard the thumping, though this time I felt safer because my door was closed and locked. Suddenly the thumping stopped when I heard a creak in the next room as someone got out of bed. The creaks crept into the hall and then stopped. The creaks then returned to the bedroom and stopped once again. Then the thumping began, except this time it was right at my door. No, the thumping was coming from my door. I got out of bed and then stopped and so thumping. I wasn’t supposed to open my door for anyone.
Suddenly the thumping resumed and this time it seemed louder and faster, like whatever was causing it was trying hard to get in. I heard the creak from next door again and then my parents door opening and a scream. My dads running footsteps through the hall were like thunder and then there was a crack and an odd gurgling sound. Then I heard them the soft cries of pain coming from my father. I started towards the door and unlocked and opened it and found my father on the floor, a large pool of crimson liquid seeping into the carpet around him.
I screamed and then my mother came into the hallway and screamed. She ran to my father and then told me to go get the phone and call 911. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed mom’s cellphone and pressed the numbers and then ran back into the hall and was about to hand it to her when I saw something standing over them. I froze and from the phone I could hear someone answer, but I dropped it and screamed.
What I saw was not something you could not imagine. The thing had no eyes that I could see, but I could feel it watching me. It was a large, fat, bulbous creature with hundreds of leathery tentacles protruding from whatever could have possibly been beneath it. The tentacles whipped around in quickly in every direction and they were beginning to cover my mother and father, her screams echoed through the house. The tentacles wrapped around them both and I saw as they slowly were dragged towards the floor. The screams I heard were, gruesome. They were quiet and throaty, almost as if they were drowning. That is when I noticed the thick oily fluid pooling on the floor and I realized that my parents were being crushed into this creature, this abomination, and yet I still couldn’t move. Only watch and listen as my parents slowly became nothing beneath it, their voices all but disappearing in the night. Then the creature slithered towards me and I finally found the ability to move my legs, only to try and save my own life.
I ran down the hall and into the kitchen, I was so young then that I wasn’t very good at choosing hiding places so I crawled into our cupboard and waited. I could hear the thing moving around outside. It was slow and there was a loud scratching sound that followed it. I didn’t move, I didn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. What was this thing?
I heard it enter the kitchen and then it was silent. For a fleeting moment I thought that it was gone, but then I saw one of the tentacles reaching under the gap in our cupboard door. I scooted back as far as I could and closed my eyes. I was breathing heavily and my lungs didn’t feel like they could take in enough oxygen. The thing outside started clawing at the door and I screamed. I screamed as loud as I could and then started crying. I thought I was going to die, but suddenly the tentacle retracted itself and the creature outside began to slither out of the kitchen and into the hallway.
I waited, at least that’s what I want to say I was doing. I was actually rooted to where I was sitting with shock. I didn’t hear the creature anymore, but I only got the courage to move hours later as the sun was rising. I crawled slowly out of the cupboard checking all around me before stepping out completely. On the floor there was a trail of blood that led away from the kitchen and into the hallway. I followed it. It was a stupid choice. The hallway was covered in blood and I couldn’t but look in horror at the size of the pool.
I tried to move around it, I just wanted to get to my room and sleep and never wake up, but it was unavoidable in the small space, so I had to step through it. I left footprints on the carpet and peeped in my room, nothing seemed wrong, but I was still afraid to go in there after what happened. I walked into my parents room and wiped my feet off and crawled into bed.
Hours later as the sun was beginning to set I opened my eyes and immediately started crying as the finality of the situation hit me. My parents were gone, they were gone forever, when I heard footsteps in the hallway. I curled myself into the sheets and tried to act like I wasn’t there when I felt warm arms wrap around me. They pulled me out of the sheet and I stared in astonishment as my dad picked me up and hugged me.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re alright. It was just a nightmare.” He said and I couldn’t help but wonder how he was holding me. He had died, been eaten by that thing, so had Mom, but I could hear her working in the kitchen. “But…but…” I started but my dad hugged me closer and told me everything would be alright again. He then set me back down on the bed and told me that he would bring my dinner into their room and that I still needed to rest. He walked out and I could hear him and my mom talking quietly in the kitchen. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I knew it was about me.
I started looking around the room to make sure I was actually seeing what I was seeing. Everything was as it should have been, at least I thought at the time. I got out of the bed when I noticed something green sitting by the door.
I got that gut feeling you know, like in horror movies how when your screaming at the people not to do something, but they do it anyway, well I did it and you don’t understand how seriously you should listen to your gut.
Laying on the floor by the door was Mr. Wiggles. The green color that he was before was now a mottled brown, almost red and the floor beneath him was wet a dark puddle surrounding him. I stared at him for a moment and saw the tentacle begin to move out from under him, moving towards me. Then the doll hopped and more tentacles began to expand out from him. I screamed and blacked out. The last thing I remember feeling was the warm sensation of a rough string running across my cheek.
Sometime later I woke up in a strange room. The walls were white and the bed was strange, it had some kind of plastic side guards and there was a TV mounted in the corner of the ceiling. A lady with long short brown hair was sitting on a chair next to my bed and seemed surprised that I had woken up. I asked her where I was and she shook her head. She told me I was in the hospital, because I had slipped into a coma. According to her I was found in my house after the police tracked the phone call I had made, they found the blood and the traces of some chemical compound that left a trail from the kitchen into my room. They found me in my parents room, unresponsive and immediately shipped me to the hospital. I had been in a coma for 4 months and my parents were missing, though assumed dead.
Everything came back to me in the blink of an eye and I burst into scared tears. The nurse held me and told me that everything would be alright and that made me cry more. After I finished crying she left the room and told me that she would be back in a moment with some of the things they found at my home. I simply nodded and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. When the nurse came back with a box of things they had collected I rummaged through them and stopped when I saw him.
I picked him up and looked at him. I was hit suddenly by a wave of nausea and threw him on the floor. The nausea didn’t go away and I bent over the side of the bed and vomited on the floor. The nurse became worried and checked my readings and found that my heart rate was beginning to border the normal for a kid my age. She scrambled out of the room and called in a doctor who put something in my IV. I became dizzy and tired, but I kept my eyes open and locked on Mr. Wiggles. He didn’t do anything, he didn’t move, but one long slender tentacle reached out from beneath him and inched towards the nurse’s leg. I fought the drugs they gave me and told the nurse to look behind her, she did and her eyes became huge when she saw the tentacle. She screamed “Snake!” and ran from the room. The doctor looked behind him, sighed, picked up Mr. Wiggles and left the room as well.
A few days later I was discharged from the hospital and told I would be living with my uncle for the time being. I didn’t really know my uncle, but he quickly became like a dad to me and living with him was normal for a couple of years.
When I turned eighteen I decided to move out, just to have a reason to be alone. I still wasn’t exactly over with Mr. Wiggles, but since that day in the hospital I hadn’t seen him, and I really didn’t care. Although a year after I was discharged I heard the doctor who had taken him away went missing as well as the rest of his family. I tried not to think about it, but I knew what happened to them.
After moving out my uncle helped me get started with a condo. The place wasn’t bad and the neighborhood was safe so it suited my needs. We moved all of my stuff in and I got to work getting everything put in its place. After I had put everything away, I stacked all of the boxes in a small attic space that came with the building. I was putting the last boxes away when I noticed one labeled old toys. I was curious so I rummaged around in the box for a while, but I didn’t find him. I remember that sigh of relief I had, right before I saw it, a small green splotch on top of one of the boxes across the room. I didn’t want to look, but I couldn’t stop myself.
There Mr. Wiggles sat, dozens of tentacles spread out beneath him, his button eyes gleaming in the dull light.
Credit To – Talon Smith
From the Case File of the Marquis Manor Massacre
Suspect: Nicholas Jacobs
Investigator: Michael Wells
The audio tape clicks on and a voice comes in…
It does not matter what more I say or add to my testament. You and the others will not believe me, and perhaps it is better this way. The saint in me feels that my being behind these walls is a small price to pay… but the devil ever seeks freedom does he not? Very well, Mr. Wells, I shall tell you what really happened that night…
It was late April, year 2005, when the now late Mr. Edward Marquis agreed by letter to allow me to view that strange oddity he had secreted away from the rest of the world. He simply referred to it as “the mask” in all of our long correspondence to one another. To say that I was excited to finally view the object would be a gross understatement.
It wasn’t until I got to his mansion and seen the grave expression on his face that I question my motives to see the object, and hopefully purchase it. I have always had a bit of obsession with occultism and the macabre antiques tied to it. I have heard stories of the mask, rumors with no real meaning, that is, until one lead me to Edward Marquis.
He at first disavowed all knowledge of the object or the cult that it was tied to it. It took months of prying at the old man to finally hear his confession and it seemed thick of regret. I was ever the fool in those days.
Edward met me at the door, stating that he called his staff away for the evening so that it would just be the two of us; I remember feeling that my friend had an overbearing taste for the dramatic. He offered to show me his gallery of art works and curios, an offer I accepted for we had the same tastes it seemed. After about an hour of dusty tomes and paintings we retired to his study for brandy.
In this time I tried greatly not to ask about the mask or press my viewing of it and my patience was waning. When I had finally brought up the mask he was startled, swearing off all knowledge of agreeing to allow me to see it. After several moments of discourse about the dangers that it possessed, warnings I now wish I headed, he took out a small chest from beneath his desk. It was an elaborate affair, lacquered ebony and polished iron bands, small etchings covered the boxes entirety. I found it odd that the box had no lock on it, yet had a ring for one; the small things that I dismissed astound me now.
He sat there for a while staring at the box, then started, “What do you know of the mask, my dear boy? What have you heard?” So I recanted the little snippets of lore that I was able to gleam together in my years of study on the cult. He laughed at me. “They believed there to be a fallen angel of sorrows that would save all mankind from sadness, grief, and despair, I pity their naivety. They also believed there to be another entity, a demon of hatred that would always battle with the angel. This mask was made as a vessel for these entities, in hope that they could pull them here, into our world.”
He placed the box upon the table before me and slid it towards me. Simply, he commanded, “Look and see,” and I was compelled to obey. The lid seemed heavy; unnaturally so, as if it weighed several times more than it should, but still, it slid open with wanting. Within the box was a parcel wrapped in linen. I glanced up to my host for confirmation that this is what I sought, he nodded and smiled. It was his first smile since I arrived, and I thought I saw moisture build in his eyes. With nervous hands and almost giddy heart I carefully, slowly, unwrapped the linen. What was within was an object of horror and beauty, simple, yet complex in its simplicity. It was a mask. Smooth with no real facial features, save two eye holes. One side was pure white the other was black. Beneath each eye was a line of the opposing color, as if it were weeping, and the white side had a black smile colored in while the black side had a white frown. In essence, it resembled one of those comedy and tragedy theater masks, but it was so much more. It chilled me to the bone and elicited a yelp for joy.
I was so entranced by the mask, lulled into its beauty, I almost didn’t hear Mr. Marquis weeping. I… remember asking what was wrong, but my eyes didn’t leave the mask until his reply was forced and choked with laughter. “He… made me do it,… boy,… I didn’t want… to do it, but he made me.” As he spoke a red drop landed upon my hand, drawing my attention to the ceiling. I vividly remember the taste of bile as I retched into my mouth at the sight. Five bodies, assumedly the staff, were chained tight against the ceiling, ripped to shreds, their faces locked in expressions of horror.
The sound of scraping metal drew my eyes to Edward. His face… it was twisted… frozen in a snickering grin, mouth wide, teeth black, and he was crying, but his tears were black. He looked like the mask, or rather, half of the mask, and he held a long knife in his hand, drying blood still on it. “Isn’t it lovely…? They will never feel sorrow again…” He began to laugh again, but his voice was… different, as if he were someone else. “So, how about it, Nicholas, you wanna smile for Ed,” he asked just before then lunged at me. I scrambled out of the way, for some reason grabbing the box. As he fell to the floor, I startled him and began bashing his had in. What happened next is vague and I can just barely remember that I was laughing. It was several hours later when the police picked me up on the side of the highway, covered in blood, clutching my mask in my hands…
A second voice comes in….
Your mask, Mr. Jacobs?
The first returns…
Why, yes, Mr. Wells, it is my mask after all. Now tell me, Michael, wanna smile for me?…
Laughter fills the remainder of the tape…
Credit To – 3wingzblack
The doll stood motionless in front of the door, waiting to be invited inside, as the light from Jake’s flashlight shined upon its dusty wooden face. “It’s that damn creepy doll!” He yelled, quickly walking back to the table. I really didn’t understand how the doll was standing without anybody to hold it up. Most or all ventriloquist dolls required someone to hold it up but this doll stood on its feet with no problem. Maybe someone was holding it up, someone or something we couldn’t see. I believe the doll was alive somehow, either that or someone or something was moving it from place to place without any of us noticing.
Joel was up next so he spun the wheel. His game piece moved five spaces to another gray space. Kenzie spun the wheel and her game piece also moved to a gray space. It was then my turn so I spun the wheel. We just wanted to get the game over with so we were getting through quickly. We barely even talked to each other. I spun an 8 and my game piece moved slowly until it stopped…on a red space. I looked around at everyone, they all looked frightened, except for Joel who I guess still had the mentality that it was all just a game. I pulled a red card from the deck and took a deep breath before reading it.
Don’t be scared, we have just begun
The doors are now locked and there’s nowhere to run
Creepy riddles. I don’t know why but the fact that they rhymed was very unsettling to me. We all looked at each other, stuck in fear for what seemed like an eternity. We heard footsteps echoing through the halls, it sounded as if someone were running relentlessly around the building.
“What the hell is going on?” Jake asked, looking at me. Everybody looked at me as if I knew the answer. I had no idea what was going on, the only thing I knew was that we were in deep trouble. Jake suddenly got up and scampered outside the room and down the hall. We all followed him out, I tried to convince him that we couldn’t leave until the game was finished. It was frightening to find out that even if we wanted to leave, there was no way we could. The doors were locked and the windows were boarded. We were stuck there with no way out. The only way was to finish the game. While Jake and Joel furiously wandered the building in search for a way out, I was right behind them, trying to get them to understand that we had to finish the game or we would never get out. Things were starting to get out of control, Jake and Joel were arguing and it got to the point where I had to yell for them to shut the hell up.
“We have to finish the damn game,” I explained.
“That damn game is cursed and there is no way I’m playing it,” Jake said.
They were finally understanding how serious and real the game was. The melody started echoing through the halls, it was calling for us. It took me a while to get everybody to understand that if we do not finish the game, we’d die either way. It was a frightening situation we were in but finishing the game was the only way out. We all walked back to the room and back to the game. I noticed the doll sitting back in the rocking chair, I don’t think anyone else noticed.
We took our seats, didn’t say anything at all as we finally continued the game. One thing about this game is that it can literally drive you to go insane. That was happening to all of us. Since I drew the red card that locked the doors, It was Jake’s turn. He spun the wheel and landed on a gray spot. Joel was next and he spun the wheel. His game piece moved up five spaces, landing on black. He drew a black card from the deck and read it.
“Don’t be afraid…but there’s someone on the furnace.”
The only thing I liked about the black cards was that they didn’t rhyme. We flashed our flashlights at the furnace that sat on the other side of the room and what we saw will give you nightmares even if you aren’t asleep. Her face was insidious and she was just sitting there on the furnace, tapping it with her fingers. Her eyes were dark, you couldn’t see anything inside them but evil. Her skin was pale and rotten, you could actually smell her. There was blood lightly dripping from her mouth and It seemed as if her jaw was broken because it hung unnaturally low as her neck tilted to an angle that no neck should ever be, unless it was broken. She had a rope hanging from her neck and she wore a white gown. I swear, she was looking at me. I couldn’t really tell because her eyes were dark but I know she was looking at me. She still does. Every time I close my eyes…I see her. Her dreadful face and vile smell will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.
We continued the game, trying to ignore the smell, the tapping on the furnace and the fact that something sinister was just behind us. Kenzie was next and she spun the wheel, ending up on a gray space. I was next and also ended up on gray. Jake spun the wheel and we watched restlessly as it stopped on red. We were so worried about what would happen next that we didn’t notice the tapping and smell was no longer lingering and that whatever that thing was, was no longer there. Jake took a red card from the deck, I could tell how scared he was by the emptiness in his eyes and how slow he was moving. We were all scared about what would happen next.
She sits in the dark and she feeds on fear
Don’t be afraid or she’ll appear
Everything was silent, you could’ve heard the sound of our hearts beating against our chests if you were there. They were beating and begging for the fear to go away and no matter how many times I counted to three, the fear was like a never ending curse upon us. Our flashlights started flickering until they went out completely. The room was black and I was convinced that we were already dead and in hell. We heard the sound of heavy breathing and it most definitely wasn’t any of us. It was something more demonic and haunting. We heard the tapping against the furnace and the music started playing from the game, the creepy melody that echoed through the room. We felt a pulse and that pulse was coming from the heart that sat ghastly at the center of the board game. After a minute, everything became silent again but it was still completely dark. We sat in silence for about fifteen seconds before the hopeless screaming of Jake echoed throughout the room and out into the hall. The door slammed shut and we were stuck helpless in the room listening to the screaming of Jake as it faded out into the halls. Something dragged him away.
Joel pounded on the door as he yelled for his brother but there was nothing else we could do but continue the game. I tried to convince both Joel and Kenzie that Jake was probably fine even though I knew very well that he wasn’t. I just wanted to finish the game. We sat back down, saddened by the empty seat at the table. I didn’t know if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing because they said nothing about it but I saw that thing again, that woman, sitting on the furnace, tapping away. I ignored her and we continued the game, still traumatized by what had just happened. To make matters even worse, Jake’s game piece, his tombstone, moved suddenly to the bottom right of the board where other tombstones resided. He was officially out of the game.
Joel was next. He spun the wheel and barely missed the red by one space. Kenzie spun and her tombstone stopped on gray. I then spun the wheel and my tombstone moved six spaces to black. Black cards no longer scared me, compared to the haunting red ones, they were harmless. I took a card from the deck and read it, my voice, becoming frail.
“She’s watching you.”
I flashed my flashlight around the room, not really sure what I was gonna see. I saw the doll, sitting against the wall of the bedroom door. She was looking right at me. Her evil stare pierced into my mind as a memory. I ignored her, turned back to the game and we continued. Joel was next, he spun the wheel and landed on 6. We watched as his tombstone stopped at a red space. He took his time before drawing a red card from the deck.
They’re calling from the graveyard gates You’ve disturbed the dead
Lock the doors and stay away
They’re something you will dread
We looked around at each other, confused and worried. We heard the footsteps and the moaning, echoing from the halls. The smell of their rotten skin could be smelled from miles away. They were coming toward us, their footsteps and moaning getting louder as they got closer. The door was opening when Joel and I slammed it shut, just before they were coming in. We moved the refrigerator over to the door to keep them from breaking through and it worked out well. They were moaning, growling and hungry for flesh. There had to be at least ten of them. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were but they were clearly something possessed and, something dead. After a while, the moaning and pounding at the door had stopped and I guess whatever those things were, they were just entering the graveyard and laying back into their dreadful graves.
Kenzie spun the wheel after everything calmed down and we were finally able to breathe. Her game piece moved to a gray space. I spun the wheel afterwards, meeting a gray space as well. Joel was next and he spun the wheel, just missing red by one space. Kenzie spun the wheel, and her tombstone moved 8 spaces and stopped just in front of Joel’s. She landed on red. We looked at each other, the dead silence adding to the suspense as she took a red card from the deck. She read it slowly, her hands were noticeably shaking as she held the card in her hand.
She waits behind the bedroom door
Under the sheets, she walks the floor
“What the hell is that supposed mean?” Joel asked as if anyone actually knew the answer. The bedroom door creaked open, shining my flashlight, I saw a hand reach out of the door and it made a gesture that was basically saying “come here.” What happened next, I really didn’t understand. It was as if Kenzie was possessed or something because she got out of her chair and slowly walked over toward the door. I saw the emptiness in her eyes, it was like she had no soul. She was like a walking corpse.
“What the hell are you doing Kenzie?” Joel asked, worriedly. “Get the hell back here Mackenzi!” He stood from his chair and tried to stop her but it was too late. She was pulled inside and the door slammed shut. It was silent, other than the sound of Joel pounding on the door. We couldn’t hear a sound coming from the room. We managed to get the door open a few minutes later. We were hearing a creaking sound and that sound was coming from a rope that was wrapped around Kenzie’s neck and hung from the ceiling. She rocked slowly back and fourth and her jaw hung low in an unnatural position as if it was broken.
Joel pulled her down and tried to revive her but there was nothing, not even a trained doctor could do. She was dead. He was oblivious to the breathing sound that echoed through the room. There was something in there with us. Something sinister. The room wasn’t completely dark, we were able to see without our flashlights due to the moon that shined vividly outside the window that wasn’t boarded. We couldn’t see anyone but we heard it breathing. The smell was unbearable and it wasn’t coming from Kenzie’s corpse. It was coming from the thing that suddenly walked out of the closet and sat at the side of the bed. Joel and I just stood there in fear as she turned her head toward us, our minds, traumatized by her deadly dark eyes. She was tapping against the nightstand next to the bed and she had some dusty sheets that were once white wrapped around her shoulders. I realised it was that same woman or…thing that sat on the furnace. She just stared at us, the room was silent in the most horrifying way. The only thing we could hear was her heavy breathing.
“Shhhh,” she whispered, her finger pressed to her lips. “I love this song.” The music from the game was playing. She got out the bed and she danced around the room, the terrible smell followed behind her. Her voice was probably the most creepy part of it all. It was her creepy tone and the way it echoed.
I turned over to Joel, trying to understand why we hadn’t left the room yet. “Let’s get the hell out of here, Joel,” I said. He stood up off the floor and looked at me.
“My brother’s out there somewhere,” he said, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I have to find him.” He seemed unfazed by the creepy dancing woman in the room. He scampered out of the room and I helped him move the refrigerator from the door before we walked out into the hall.
“Jake!” His screaming echoed through the halls, probably waking anything that lived within. We searched through some of the rooms for about twenty minutes before that creepy melody from the game started playing again. I knew it was just a matter of time. He thought it was a good idea that we split up and that’s what we did. He searched the fourth floor while I searched the third.
I was searching through a room when my flashlight started flickering before it turned off. I heard footsteps, at first believing they were mine until I stood still and the footsteps continued. It was dark, the windows were boarded, blocking out any light from outside. Somebody else was in there with me and I know it wasn’t Joel because I heard his calls for his brother echoing through the hall. The door slammed shut and I felt a cool breeze run through me.
“Jake?” I whispered. “You in here?” Everything was silent, the only thing I heard was Joel yelling. I then heard a voice but it wasn’t very clear.
It was a deep, dark and sinister tone. I couldn’t see anything or anybody but I felt them. I felt their presence. I was lightly tapping my flashlight, trying to get it to work. I closed my eyes and I started counting to three. I was lightly shaking and every part of me, it seemed had a pulse. 1…2(deep breath)…3.
The flashlight finally turned on and it flashed directly at some old dusty mirror…I saw her standing behind me. I felt her cold breath as it dissolved into my skin. I ran out of the room, literally as fast as I could. I was surprised my heart didn’t jump out of my chest because it sure did feel like it would. I walked back down to the first floor to the game.
When I stepped in the room, I noticed someone standing over by the windows. It was Joel. He was just standing there, in a fixed position, completely immobile. “Joel?” I walked toward him slowly. “You okay, man?” He turned around slowly, his face was so pale and he had bags under his eyes as if he hadn’t slept in days. I wondered if I looked like that.
“Did you find anything?” He asked, finally dropping back to earth.
I thought about the devilish woman I saw. “No…sorry.”
He sat back down at the table. I had a feeling that he didn’t care what happened next. Like he didn’t care to die. He didn’t seem scared or worried he was just…I don’t know. Two seats were now empty as we continued the game. Kenzie’s tombstone, I noticed was moved to the bottom right of the board, right next to Jake’s. I spun the wheel and landed on 2. That kept me on gray. Joel spun the wheel and was forced to draw a black card. He took a card from the deck and read it.
“She’s watching you.”
He wiped the tears from his eyes with his shirt and looked over at the bedroom door where Kenzie’s body still lay. “It’s her,” he said, crying. “It’s Mackenzie.” I turned around but I didn’t see her. Either he was losing his mind or she was actually there. I wouldn’t be suprised if she was. I spun the wheel and landed on the same space as Joel. That meant I had to draw a black card. I took a card from the deck and I read it.
“There’s somebody at the door.”
A loud knock echoed through the room as Joel and I froze in fear. Joel and I stayed put as the knocking continued until the door suddenly creaked open. We heard the footsteps but we didn’t see anybody. Joel spun the wheel, desperate to end the game. He was safe from the black and red cards as his tombstone stopped on gray. I spun the wheel, also safe from the cards. As Joel spun the wheel next, I saw Jake. He was sitting on the furnace, tapping away. His jaw hung low as if it was broken and his eyes were dark but I knew that he was looking at me. Joel had his back turned so he couldn’t see him and I guess he couldn’t hear the tapping. He was completely oblivious to Jake’s presence. I pretended like I didn’t see anything and eventually the tapping had stopped and he disappeared. Joel and I continued to land on gray until eventually, Joel was forced to draw a red card.
“This is it, isn’t it?” He said to me, his voice becoming weak. I didn’t say anything, I wasn’t really sure what to say. He took a deep breath and read the card.
Under the floor, you must peek
There’s something there beneath your feet
I remembered the hole in the floor where I first found the board game. I showed Joel to the door and he lifted it up. We flashed our flashlights inside to see what was under. What we saw can unfortunately never be unseen. Joel immediately looked away in distraught when he saw what was down there. It was Jake. His corpse was already being infested with flies and maggots as it lay down there, against the wall. There was no blood but it was clear that his neck was snapped and his jaw was broken because they were each in unnatural positions. Joel just stood there, his back turned from the ditch. He wasn’t crying or showing any kind of emotion. He just looked empty and exhausted. I sensed that something was going to happen and…it did. Something down there grabbed Joel by his ankle and tried to pull him down. I tried to help him but there was nothing I could do. The game wanted him and they got him. They pulled him under and the door slammed shut. I was all alone.
The melody started playing from the game and I walked over to it, not knowing what to do next. My game piece started moving to the center of the board and it stopped directly at the heart. The heart started beating, it had a pulse. The music got louder and louder, it was piercing through my head until suddenly, it stopped. My game piece moved all the way back to the beginning, where I first started. That was it. The game was over.
I left the building without ever looking back. I didn’t want to go back to my dormroom where I would be alone so I walked to the grocery store that was just a couple minutes away and I cried to everyone there that my friends were all dead. I know they all thought I was crazy but they called the police and the bodies of my friends were found later that night. I told them the story, I told them everything that happened but they never believed me. The game was never found but I know it was somewhere in that building, somewhere either within the walls or under the floors. Haunted by the demons within. I can hear the melody playing right now as I sit alone in my room, surrounded by white walls and cameras. They’re watching me. I can hear them, I can feel them, and I can see them. That game is somewhere in this world and I pity the poor soul who finds it. I learned to live with the haunting melody that echoes wherever I go. I sometimes put on my dancing slippers and I dance to the melody. I dance around and around and around. I dance to the sound of fear…because it’s the only sound I hear.
Note: This is Part 1 of 2 in the Ikidomari series. The second part will be uploaded tomorrow!
I hear voices, they’re all around me. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to never play that damn game. They say I’m crazy and maybe I am. Maybe whatever it is that haunts me, took my sanity and hid it away. Somewhere where it’s impossible to find it, somewhere dark and sinister. Maybe they buried it deep down into the core of the earth and it’s just sitting down there, waiting to be found. I sound crazy don’t I? You think I’m crazy and it’s okay because I think I am as well. I’m gonna share this story and I’m gonna share it as much as possible. I don’t care if you believe me, all I ask from you is to read this story and don’t make the same mistake I made. I’m sure you’ve heard of true hauntings such as The Haunting of Connecticut and Amityville and maybe you’ve seen the movie “The Conjuring” that was based on true events. You never heard of this one. Those hauntings cannot compare to what I’ve witnessed. Nothing can.
It was in 2005 when I came across some old abandoned apartment building. I had just finished the first semester of my senior year of college and was walking alone to my dorm from the bar. I was always alone, I didn’t have many friends other than Jake and his brother Joel, my roommates. But they were always busy doing something else with their girlfriends and I was always alone, hoping that a bottle of whiskey would solve my problems.
When I came across the old building, I heard this creepy and demonic melody playing from inside. It sounded like a music box and it was echoing somehow. I had this strange urge to go inside and find out where it was coming from. I threw my bottle of whiskey and it broke against the curb. I walked inside the abandoned building, something I would never do if I was sober. My footsteps echoed throughout the building as I walked the halls. Most of the windows were boarded and dust filled the air, clinging onto every object that existed. I could actually taste the dust as it broke into my mouth and into my throat, causing me to cough.
I moved at a leisurely pace, dust spiraled up into clouds as I wandered the halls, searching for wherever the music was coming from. I know it sounds stupid but I was being drawn to the sound. It had some weird effect on me. I walked into a room and the music had stopped. The room was just like the rest of the building. Old, dusty and dark. I used the light from my cellphone to examine the old paintings that hung on the walls. I noticed how weird it was that most of the rooms had furniture left in it. It looked as if whoever were living there just got up and left, leaving behind everything.
As I searched the room, I had this overwhelming sense that somebody or something was watching me. I felt like if I were to turn around, something would be there. I turned around but I didn’t see anything but, I still had a sense that something was there. Something was watching me. I then heard the creepy melody echo from beneath the floor and I had to find out where it was coming from. I don’t know why…it just seemed like I was being forced to the sound, like I had no choice in the matter. The melody was coming from underneath a dusty rug. I pulled up the rug, dust scattered in the air like a dust storm. I felt the floor lightly shaking and it made a sound similar to a heart beat. This sounds crazy but It was almost as if the floor had a pulse. There was a door on the floor that opened up, leading to some storage area. It was a deep hole, around 12 feet which is why there was a ladder made from rope. I climbed down the rope, another thing I wouldn’t do if I were sober. There wasn’t much in there, just some old books, a box and a creepy ventriloquist doll with long black hair and big round dark eyes. I noticed the strange melody was coming from the box. I picked up the box and started to climb the rope. I couldn’t help but to fear that something would grab me and pull me back down. I made it back up and I placed the game on the floor, shining light over it with my phone.
It looked like a brief case but it was made of what seemed like black stone with some strange word, “Ikidomari,” carved into the center. I brushed the dust off with my hand and I opened it. I noticed it wasn’t a box or a brief case, it was a board game. The structure of the board game was similar to The Game of Life but it had a cemetery theme and in the center of the board, it had what appeared to be a human heart inside a small glass dome. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It had six game pieces that took on the shape of tombstones and were made of real stone. On the right side, it had a deck of red cards and on the left, were black cards.
I noticed there were small writing carved in the inside of the game. “If you dare to play…beware of demons.” I figured it was all just for scare and so I did something that I wish I hadn’t done. I was just curious. Lonely, drunk and curious. There was a wheel at the bottom right corner of the game that had numbers ranging from 0-9 and the objective was to spin the wheel and move your game piece to the amount of whatever number you spun. I placed a game piece to the starting point and I spun the wheel. I watched as it spun around and around until eventually, it stopped at four. I was going to move my piece up four spots when suddenly, it began to move on its own. 1, 2, 3, 4 and then it stopped. I froze in fear for a few seconds, normal people would of probably ran off by then but for some strange reason, I just kept on playing, assuming there was a logical explanation for it. I’ve always been that way. I’ve always lived by what my father told me. “Believe in nothing you hear and only half of what you see.”
Aparently, when I spun a four, I landed on a black space. According to the game, black spaces meant you had to draw a black card. Black cards were more like tips or secrets, they weren’t always bad. I picked up a black card from the deck. The words were in Japanese but at the bottom of the cards, in smaller letters, they were translated in English. I looked at the card and read it out loud.
“Keep an eye on the doll.” I looked over at the hole in the floor and I stood on my feet. I slowly walked toward it, lightly shaking, my teeth were grinding against each other as I got closer. I leaned over the hole and I felt as my heart knocked on my chest, begging to come out. There was no doll. She was just…gone.
I quickly left the old building and ran to my dormroom which was just five minutes away. My roommates were all there with their girlfriends, sitting on the couch when I burst through the door, suffocating in sweat and fear. I told them about what had happened, without leaving out a single detail. They didn’t believe me of course, I’m not really sure if I expected them to but I sure did hope they would. They called me crazy, said I had way too much to drink and they helped me to bed. I hoped they were right, I’d rather be crazy than to know that what had just happened was real.
Almost a week went by and I had forgotten about it all. I figured maybe it was nothing after all and that I made a bigger deal out of it than I needed to. I stopped drinking, believing that it would never cure my loneliness. It was almost a whole entire week since the incident and I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about ever going back to that old building. I thought that my troubles were over but I found out that they weren’t even close to over. They were only just beginning.
Something strange happened to me, something only explainable in a Twilight Zone episode or a Stephen King book. I was in school as usual, walking down the hall to my class. It was strange because I was the only one in the halls and the lights were dim and flickering. I heard a whisper as it echoed from behind me.
“Ikidomari,” I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I had no idea what was going on or why it was happening until I heard the music. It was that same haunting melody and it echoed through the halls. I started walking faster, scampering down the hall but it seemed like I was just walking in circles. Everywhere I went, no matter how fast I walked, I was going no where. I kept walking until I saw somebody or something at the end of the hall. I couldn’t really see who it was because I was too far away but it looked like a woman. She was in a white dress and her head was titled at an unusual angle.
“Ikidomari,” she said more than once in a very unsettling tone that echoed through the halls. She had a Japanese ascent and I thought I was dreaming but I was very much awake. She continued to whisper. “Come back, Gordan. We’re waiting for you.” I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. She kept talking to me, I had no idea how she knew my name. “Gordan, I see you Gordan…come baaaack.” The most creepy part about her voice was the somewhat happy tone and the way it echoed. I turned to my left and noticed I found my classroom. I walked inside, everybody was looking at me like I was crazy. I guess they saw the fear in my eyes. I looked out into the halls and everything was normal as if nothing ever happened. My teacher scolded me for being late and I took my seat. I was clearly the only one who was experiencing that nightmare so I didn’t want to bring it up because I know that everyone else would say that I’m crazy and that I’m losing my damn mind. They wouldn’t have been wrong anyway.
I waited until I got back to the dormroom to bring it up with my roommates. They again thought I was crazy and was no help at all. I’ve heard the haunting melody every night while in bed and every morning while in school. Something was haunting me and I know that this sounds crazy but it was the board game. I didn’t know if it was cursed, possessed or what but it was haunting me and it was driving me to the brink of losing my sanity. It was nothing but that melody for a whole entire week until one day, something strange happened.
I was alone in my dormroom, the other guys were out on dates like every Friday night. I heard the melody as it squeezed through the cracking of my window. It echoed off the trees and right down to my soul. I then heard a knock at the door and it startled me because it was a knock that I’d never heard before. Every one of my roommates had a certain knock but that knock was more like a pound and every time I heard it, I felt my heart pounding along with it. I slowly walked to the front door and I took a deep breath before opening. My father used to tell me to count to three if I were ever scared and then fight the fear with all I’ve got. I took another deep breath, the knocking continued and I slowly began counting. 1…2(one more deep breath)…3. I opened the door, there was nobody in sight. I looked to the floor and there was an envelope. I picked it up and examined it. There was no name or anything. I opened it, my heart was knocking as I pulled out a black card. “Ikidomari” was written on one side and on the other, “We’re waiting for you.” They were haunting me, probably watching my every move for the past two weeks. They wanted me to finish the game and they weren’t gonna stop until I did. It was as if I ran into a dead end I couldn’t back out of.
I kept the card in the sweaty palm of my left hand and I waited impatiently and desperately for my roommates to arrive and they were just as annoyed as I was when they heard me talking about the melody again. I told them about the knocking, I told them about how the game was haunting me and the only way to get it to stop was to finish what I started. I guess showing them the black card was proof enough because I was able to get them to agree to go back to the apartment with me. They said the only reason they were doing it was to get me to shut up about it but deep down inside, I know they were doing it because they knew that something strange was going on.
We gathered some flashlights and headed out to the old apartments. Joel brought his girlfriend, Kenzie along with us. I didn’t think they all knew exactly what they were getting into. I didn’t even know really. The only thing I knew was that I had to finish the game or it would probably haunt me for the rest of my pathetic life.
When we arrived at the building, I had this strange feeling that something was watching us as we ambled our way inside. They followed me to the room, jokingly calling out to the ghosts that I believed resided in there on the way. I was startled by the appearance of the doll sitting against the wall, next to the old furnace. Her cheeks, if I weren’t imaging this, were smiling at me as I walked by. The game was just where I had left it and had started playing that creepy melody when I picked it up and placed it on the table. I was suprised to find that they were hearing it along with me. That was when I knew that I wasn’t going crazy. I wasn’t the only one. In a way, it was a huge weight taken off my shoulder.
“Ikidomari? What is that supposed to mean anyway?” Kenzie asked, looking at the carved writing on the board. She looked at me expecting an answer, I had no idea what it meant and I still don’t but, it can’t be anything good. We all took a seat at the table and all eyes were pretty much on me. I flicked the wheel and it spun, landing on 6. We all watched my game piece but, it wasn’t moving. Not like it did the last time. I spun again, landing on 4. Still nothing. I tried moving the piece manually but it was stuck to the board. It was like trying to pull a nail from a wall with your bare hands. I figured there must have been a reason for this so I read the rules that were written at the bottom left corner of the board. I wish I had read them before I played. The rules were very horrifying and they pretty much went like this:
Welcome to the game of Ikidomari. For your safety, it is highly recommended that you read the rules BEFORE you play the game. If you place a game piece on the board and you spin the wheel, there is no going back. You hit a dead end and there’s no way around it but to finish the game. The game will not end until there’s one person left alive, other wise it can NEVER end.
Note: This game is designed for more than one player so if you are alone, do NOT start the game. Consequences will be dire.
Note: The game pieces tend to move on their own so there is no need to move them manually. Not that you could anyway.
Warning: To whomever dares to play the game, be aware that there can only be one winner and that winner shall win the ultimate prize that sits in the center of the board. To those who fail along the way…Rest In Piece.
Warning: Cheating is NOT tolerated and will result in dire consequences and an automatic ejection.
When I found that the game meant everything that was said, the rules made it seem like this game was a death wish. I still to this day, wish I had read the rules first. I wouldn’t be here right now, surrounded by demons if I had. Everyone else I guess thought it was just a game. They had no idea how real the situation was. Since I aparently already took my turn, Jake volunteered to go next. He placed a game piece at the starting point and spun the wheel. He rolled a 7 and his piece slowly moved up seven spaces, landing on a light shade of gray(which by the way meant you didn’t have to draw a card). Joel went next and he spun a 5, landing on a gray spot.
Finally, it was Kenzie’s turn. She placed her tombstone on the board and spun the wheel. 4.
I knew instantly, that would be a black spot because I spun that the first time. Her piece moved up four spaces and she drew a black card from the deck. I took a deep breath, probably more scared than she was. When I saw her reaction, I saw the fear crawl within her.
“Look behind you,” she read out loud. We all took our flashlighs and pointed them behind her.
“What the hell is that thing?” Joel asked, not really expecting an answer.
“Wasn’t that thing over there?” Jake asked, looking at me and pointing to the furnace.
It was the doll. She somehow moved from the furnace to the rocking chair that sat behind Kenzie without anyone noticing. She was just sitting there, the chair rocking lightly back and forth. At that point, I’m sure everyone realised how serious and real the situation was. I heard their heart beats echo throughout the room. They were just as scared as I was. I agreed to switch seats with Kenzie who of course wasn’t very comfortable with a creepy doll sitting on a rocking chair behind her. Not that I wasn’t uncomfortable with it either.
We got back to the game, trying to ignore the creaking of the rocking chair. It was my turn. I spun the wheel and landed on 7. My piece moved slowly, I counted the spaces before it could stop. It landed on gray. Jake was next. He spun the wheel and landed on 5. His piece slowly moved and stopped directly in front of mine.
“Shit,” he muttered. He landed on a black spot so he pulled a black card out of the deck and read it out loud.
“It’s okay to be afraid…because you should be.”
We were indeed afraid and yet we were just getting started. The worse had yet to come. I took a deep breath, hoping nothing would viciously pop out at us. It was Joel’s turn so he spun the wheel and landed on 4. A gray space. Kenzie spun the wheel and landed on 0. Her piece did not move and it stayed put on the black space. According to the rules, that would still result in drawing a black card. She pulled a card from the deck, took a deep breath and read it out loud.
“She’s under the floor.” We were all silent and we listened as a voice echoed through.
“It’s dark down here,” The voice was echoing from beneath the floor. “I can’t sleep, Gordan.”
They all looked at me as if I knew what was going on. This woman or thing was haunting me. We heard a knock from under the floor, right beneath us. The air was so cold and we actually felt a presence run through us. It was a horrifying experience but we knew we had to continue the game. It was my turn and I quickly spun the wheel and thankfully, my tombstone moved to a gray space. It was Jake’s turn next. He spun the wheel, landing on 9. His game piece moved up nine spaces and…it stopped on red. We hadn’t had a red space so we had no idea what would happen next. All that we knew was that the red cards were considered dead ends and were unpredictable and possibly dangerous. We didn’t know at the time how deadly they’d be. Jake took a red card from the deck, we all took a deep breath as he began to read it.
A knock will rumble the room
Open the door or be doomed
We all looked at each other, our faces frozen in fear. Then came the knock. It was loud, more like a pound similar to the knocking that took place earlier that day in our dorm. It did rumble the room, and it echoed right through us. Our hearts, becoming vulnerable and frail.
“Open the door or be doomed,” I said, looking at Jake. “I’m sorry man, but you have to open the door.” He looked at me and I saw the fear leaking from his eyes. His face was pale as he took a deep breath and stood up. We watched as he slowly walked to the door. I realised nobody had shut the door and yet, somehow it was closed without anyone noticing. I had an overwhelming sense that something bad was about to happen. The room rumbled again as there was another loud knock.
Jake finally reached the door after what seemed like an eternity and he looked back at us. The longer he took, the more frightening the situation seemed. I couldn’t blame him though. There was no telling what could have been behind that door. It could have been something demonic, something sinister. He took another deep breath as he slowly opened the door. I listened to the sound as it creaked open and I swear, everything was in slow motion.
Deacon sighed as he browsed through yet another cafeteria sized table crowded with junk. He’d always loved rummage sales, estate sales, flea markets and thrift shops, so when he spotted the blindingly yellow flyer on the way home from work he just couldn’t resist. With its bold headline claiming hundreds of long forgotten treasures from dozens of families, and all gathered in one cul de sac, it has sounded like the perfect way to start the weekend. Within a few minutes he was parking his car and making his way towards the surprisingly crowded street. There were dozens and dozens of tables, carts, racks and plastic bins full of wonderous wares. But his excitement quickly dwindled when he found that most of the ‘treasures’ were nothing more then mismatched tea sets, outdated clothing, worn out stuffed animals, cheap jewelry, yellowed books and hundreds of useless baubles and trinkets. It was the type of things old women and children ooo’d and aww’d over, but nothing that he just had to have.
Disappointed, but glad he’d stopped and checked it out anyway, Deacon turned away from the table he’d been going through and tripped over something at his feet. With a few ungraceful steps and a hop he managed to keep himself upright, and looked to see what he had stumbled over, at the same time choosing to ignore the amused looks and snickers of his fellow treasure seekers. Acting as though nothing had happened he bent over and picked up the object that had been carelessly left behind him.
It was a simple box; covered in a thin, tight layer of old dark leather, approximately 18” x 18” x 18” with a brass latch and pin, securing a circular lid in its top, as well as brass trimming, and a crank on the right side. The design was clearly that of a Jack-in-the-Box. A common child’s toy that when turning the crank produced a tinny song and a cheap scare as a overly made up clown or jester popped out upon the songs completion. This though was not your average Jack-in-the-Box. Typically the toy, now mass produced in various warehouses across the world, was made out of pressed tin, was feather light, and about half the size. Also Deacon could not recall ever seeing one that latched shut. What was the purpose in that? It would ruin the scare if the clown couldn’t ‘pop’ out at the appropriate time. He tried to pull the brass pin out, but it was stuck, and refused to budge even a hair. The result was the same with the crank as well and despite his efforts he couldn’t get it to produce even a single musical note.
Even though the toy didn’t work it intrigued Deacon. It was clearly old, and probably needed some repairs, but he was willing to bet, that even in its current state it was worth some money. He turned the heavy box over and around looking for a price sticker, but could find none. Someone here must be selling it, perhaps a kid had taken the sticker off in hopes of playing with it. He carried the Jack-in-the-Box to the only table with someone sitting at it. A rail thin, middle aged woman, with long red, extremely frazzled hair and tired blue eyes, sat with a clipboard and a metal box, exchanging various odds n’ ends for cash. He waited patiently behind three young boys who were debating the value of a box of sports cards, and when they finally agreed on a price, paid for their cards and moved on. The woman at the table looked at him with such exasperation he was sure she was going to demand to know what he wanted. He was surprised though when her expression softened, “Those boys have been here four times, and have argued the price of everything, their parents must be car salesman”. She smiled weakly.
Deacon laughed politely, and asked, “I cant seem to find a price on this thing. Do you know how much it is”? he held the Jack-in-the-Box out for her to see, but not for enough for her to take it from him. He did not want to let it out of his possession, afraid she might guess its potential value.
“What is it”? She tilted her head, but saw nothing but an old box.
“A broken Jack-in-the-Box”, he turned the box enough to let her see the crank on the side.
“You want to buy a broken toy? And a dirty one at that”? She sneered at the box in his hands, mistaking the aged leather for stains.
Deacon shrugged, eager to make the purchase, but not wanting to let his excitement apparent. No need in letting on that he thought it might be worth more then a few dollars. “A project really, I like to repair things in my spare time”.
“Oh a handyman”, she smiled delightedly. “Well I’ll tell you what, its not marked as to who brought it, so I wouldn’t know who to give the money too, and seeing that its broken I couldn’t rightfully charge you anyway. You just go ahead and take it”.
“I couldn’t do that”, he shook his head. He wanted the toy, but knowing he could make some money off of it, he felt bad not paying anything for it. “It must be worth at least a few dollars”. He insisted, propping the Jack-in-the-Box in one arm and reaching for his wallet.
The red haired woman leaned forward and placed a halting hand on his arm. “Listen, it cant possibly be worth much, especially broken. How ’bout this, I have been sitting at this table for seven hours, and I would love nothing more then a ginger ale and some M & M’s, but I cant leave while the sale is going. You run to the gas station down the road and grab them for me, we’ll call it even”.
Deacon laughed, a genuine laugh this time, and nodded. “You got it”, he started to set down the toy, not wanting to let it out of his sight, but certain that it would be safe with the woman until he got back.
Again she stopped him, “I trust you hon, take it with you”.
“Thank you ma’am”, he smiled. “I’ll be back in just a few minutes”.
The woman at the rummage sale had laughed with genuine amusement when he returned to her table with a two liter of ginger ale, a cup of ice, and a three pound bag of M & M’s, as well as his insistence that it was a fair trade. A brief exchanges of thanks and a few pleasantries later he was on his way home, and after a shower, and a piece of cold pizza he sat down with the Jack-in-the-Box and his laptop to begin his research.
An hour later he had yet to locate any information on his particular Jack-in-the-Box. There was no manufacturers stamp, no signature or initialing of any kind to indicate who might have made the toy. He was surprised though when examining the box for the at least the fourth time since brining it home, to find a pentagram surrounded by a Latin on the bottom. The sinister star, and Latin were burned into the otherwise soft leather covering. He hadn’t noticed it earlier, and wasn’t sure how he could have missed it, but it was clear as day now. In his excitement over its age and potential profit he must have overlooked it.
The pentagram certainly added to the mystery of the toy, and he had hoped that the Jack-in-the-Box’s uniqueness would make it easy to locate information about it, but it was quickly becoming apparent that maybe its uniqueness was the very thing holding up his search. Frustrated, but not discouraged he began yet another search when he heard the front door open.
“Hi honey”, he called out to the only other person who had a key to his home; his girlfriend of two years, Melanie.
“Hey baby”, she answered from the hallway as she stripped out of her jacket and shoes, and dropped her purse before joining him on the couch, and planting a kiss on his cheek.
Deacon set his laptop aside, turned his head and eagerly returned her kiss. “How was your day”? he asked.
“Oh you know, long, drawn out, and uneventful, until five minutes before its time to leave”. She laughed, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder, and cuddling up to Deacon.
“Typical”. he agreed. “What happened”?
“This woman, wearing more make up then the entire fall line up in an Avon catalog, comes busting in practically hyperventilating, screaming that her Shitzu is curled up in her car dying. So I follow her out, cause she’s afraid to touch the dog, says he is so sick he’s growling and trying to bite her. Well we get to her car and I can see with just a single glance that this poor dog is in labor”.
“In labor”? Deacon asked in confusion, “He”?
Melanie laughed, a sound that Deacon always found pleasant, flipped back the persistent strand of hair and continued. “Yeah well, her precious ‘Marvin’ was clearly a girl and on the verge of dropping a litter of puppies in her minivan”.
“What did she think of that”? He asked in amusement.
“Oh she refused to believe me, said there was NO WAY she could have had her dog for two years and not know that it was a girl. Even after I wrapped her up and took her inside the woman insisted I was mistaken. Marvin must’ve eaten something that he shouldn’t have”, Melanie shook her head and smiled. “It wasn’t until the first puppy was born that she admitted I ‘might’ be right”.
Deacon laughed out loud, “Well at least your day wasn’t a total bore”.
“Nope”, she agreed, “but I am glad its over”. Melanie wrapped her arms around Deacon’s neck and was pulling him close for another kiss when she spotted the object on the table. “What’s that”?
Deacon reached over and picked up the toy, “Oh I picked this up on the way home from work, pretty sure it’s a Jack-in-the-Box”.
“Pretty sure”? She asked quizzically, looking at it she couldn’t think of anything else with that type of setup.
“Well the crank wont turn, and I cant get the pin out of the latch”, he shrugged and handed the box to Melanie. “But its obviously old, so even if I gotta get some work done to it to get in working order, I think I can make some money off of it. I’ve been searching online ever since I got home”.
Melanie turned the box over to examine it, noting the pentagram and Latin before setting the heavy box on her knees and rubbing her fingers together, surprised, and a little disgusted by the soft texture of its surface.
“Weird huh? Its covered in some type of leather, but that’s gotta make it even rarer, never seen one like that before”. Deacon grinned hopefully.
Melanie nodded in agreement, “What does the Latin say”?
“Oh, I looked that up too and roughly it says; Music wakes the sleeper who seeks a successor”.
“What does that mean”?
“I have no idea, who knows what the person that made this thing was thinking. People believed all sorts of weird things way back when”.
“Did you see these”? She asked, barely acknowledging his explanation as she explored the box further.
“The caps on the corners”, she pointed to one but didn’t touch it.
Deacon leaned in closer and noted that every three sided cap had engraved on each of its flat surfaces the number six, so that each corner read 666. He stared for a moment in disbelief, how could he have missed that as well as the pentagram? Maybe it was time to go have his eyes examined he thought ruefully.
“I’ve never seen a toy with that on it before”, Melanie frowned distastefully.
“Well, it kinda makes sense”, Deacon said straightening up. “The original toy has been traced back to a sixteenth century German clock maker, who got the idea from a thirteenth century churchman who was said to have protected the city of Buckinghamshire by casting a devil into a boot. The clock maker took this legend and created the ‘Devil-in-a-Box’, for the son of a local prince. When he turned the crank a simple tune played, and at the end a comically painted devil popped out and surprised everyone. It was instantly popular, all the nobles wanted their own ‘Devil-in-the-Box’. Sometime during the Renaissance the devil was replaced with a jester and the toy became known as a ‘Jack-in-the-Box’. Jack, was an old nickname for the devil, so it still meant the same thing, but it seemed to have more appeal to people by that way”. Deacon explained.
“Well thanks for the history lesson honey, but it doesn’t make this thing any less creepy”, Melanie sneered as she picked it up off her knees to hand it back to him. In her attempt to touch as little of it as possible she misjudged its heaviness and her hands slipped, nearly dropping it. Her reflexes were quick though and she caught it by the crank causing the old brass handle to move forward. When it did the first few beats of, Pop Goes the Weasel, rang out in clear tinny notes. “I thought it didn’t work”?
Deacon excitedly grabbed the Jack-in-the-Box and set it on his own lap, “It didn’t, I couldn’t get it to turn at all. Must’ve just been stuck, guess you loosened it”. He tried pulling the pin out once again, but still it refused to budge. He could see nothing that was preventing the pin from moving, no substance clogging up the latch, but still it would not move. Shrugging off the disappointment he grabbed the handle and gave it a gentle push. Effortlessly the crank moved forward and the room filled with an eerily slow rendition of the children’s rhyme. Deacon tried to hurry it along, turning the crank faster, but it refused to speed up. As the climax of the song approached, Deacon felt his stomach tighten in anticipation even though he knew the scare wouldn’t come, because of the stuck pin.
Melanie was tensed as well, mesmerized by the languid tune. When the ‘POP’ rang out, the single note did not disappoint, the lid of the toy jumping in its frame. Melanie gasped and grabbed Deacons arm who started in surprise himself; the vibration of the boxes movement still ringing through his hand. A second later the couple looked at each other and laughed.
“Well, clearly Jack is ready to come out and play”. Deacon chuckled, pulling at the pin again.
Melanie sighed loudly, shaking off the scare. “Well I am ready to eat”, she informed him, taking the Jack-in-the-Box from his lap, still touching it as little as possible, and setting it on the coffee table next to his laptop. “I am craving burgers from May’s”. In truth she didn’t really care where they went, she just wanted to be out of the house and away from the creepy toy.
“You got it”. He agreed.
Dinner at May’s had turned out to be an excellent idea. For nearly two hours they sat in a corner booth sharing food, and stealing kisses while discussing their anniversary plans for the following weekend. After dinner they went for a long walk in the botanical garden near Deacons house, and by the time they got home the Jack-in-the-Box had been all but forgotten.
They were barely through the front door when Melanie leaned in close and began to whisper enticing promises in Deacons ear. He grinned at her lasciviously, “I’ll grab the wine”. He kissed her, and watched her shimmy down the hall before making his way through the living room to the kitchen where he grabbed the promised wine, and two glasses. On his way back through the living room he glanced down at the Jack-in-the-Box and stopped abruptly. The pin; stuck all day despite his best efforts, lay neatly next to the antique toy.
Deacon sat the wine and glasses down on the couch and picked up the brass pin, and stared at it in confusion, unable to reasonably explain how the pin had come loose and landed so neatly next to the Jack-in-the-Box. His confusion was interrupted when Melanie spoke from behind him. “Deacon, what’s taking so long”? She asked in her best pouty voice.
“The pin”, he turned to show her the brass latch pin held between his fingers, and noted the tiny blue bathrobe she’d slipped into, “it came out”.
“And”? Her arms were crossed over her chest, and the look on her face clearly stated that if he wanted to proceed with her earlier enticement then he’d better leave the Jack-in-the-Box alone.
Despite his desire though, his curiosity won out, he turned back towards the toy, and sat on the couch in front of it. “I didn’t take it out”, he told her. “It was laying on the table next to it”.
“So? It fell out. You jiggled it around enough earlier. Who cares”?! Melanie cried in exasperation.
“It should open now”, Deacon almost whispered, not even hearing what she’d said as he flipped the latch back and began to turn the crank.
In spite of her anger Melanie was curious about ’Jack’ and stepped up behind the couch to look over Deacons shoulder as the song slowly progressed. This time though, when the ’POP’ came nothing happened, the box sat motionless. Not even a thud from within like earlier. Melanie laughed in nervous relief, “See, still broken”. she pointed out gladly. “Now grab the wine, and come to bed”, she said, kissing the back of his neck in hopes of drawing him away.
“Just a minute”, he pulled away from her, and began to turn the crank again. Again there was no ’Jack’ when the song reached its peak, and Melanie had, had enough.
“Deacon”! She snapped angrily.
“What”? He asked, seemingly unfazed by her anger as he leaned in and inspected the seam around the lid. “Go get me a knife, maybe I can pry it open”.
“You’ve got to be kidding”?! She cried incredulously.
“Come on honey it’ll…” his attempt at negotiating was interrupted as the crank began to turn slowly of its own volition, and the tinny song began to slowly play. “I must’ve cranked it to much”. he offered in a near whisper, as they watched in apprehensive silence.
“Deacon”, Melanie tried to say, she wanted to tell him to make it stop, to beg him not to let the song finish, but she couldn’t make her voice obey.
As the pinnacle approached Deacon was suddenly unsure whether he wanted to meet Jack or not. Before he could decide, the circular leather covered lid flipped soundlessly open and a blur of grey and white shot out of the box towards Deacon. More startled then he would ever admit, Deacon jumped and reflexively put up his hand, then cried out as a flash of white hot pain shot through his palm. “Son of a bitch”!
In a moment Melanie was kneeling at his side examining the wound in his hand. It was at least three inches across and bleeding profusely. She couldn’t believe a toy had done this, in fact it had happened so fast that she hadn’t even seen ‘Jack‘. Turning her gaze towards the table, she gasped when she saw the thing bobbing up and down on its noisy antiquated spring. “What the hell is that”? She momentarily forgot about Deacons hand as she stared in disgust at the thing that had popped out of the box.
Ten inches high, minus the spring, it looked more like a corpse then a devil. The spine appeared to grow out of the spring itself and barely supported the thin malformed skeleton draped in stringy dry flesh. The mouth hung open revealing a dozen sharp looking teeth, just below an empty hole where the nose should’ve been. Above the vacant hole, the eyes were sewn shut with thick strands of black thread. The top of its head came to a lopsided point, the skull almost entirely exposed except for a few stubborn patches of grey scalp clinging to short tufts of yellowed hair. Worst of all Melanie thought were the unnaturally long arms, and exaggerated fingers that looked more like claws, tipped red with Deacons blood and, pulled close to its desiccated ribcage. It was the sight of the blood, the brilliant crimson against the grey that brought her back to the situation at hand, and sneering balefully she back handed the toy, sending it spinning across the table and crashing to the floor.
“What’d you do that for”? Deacon asked, cradling his hand against his stomach.
“Are you serious”? She grabbed his injured hand, making him cringe but not caring. “You forget about this already”?
“Its just a scratch”, he insisted despite the rivulets of blood that spiraled down his wrist.
Melanie looked at him with big green eyes that said she couldn’t believe he’d just said that, “That is not just a scratch, you may need stitches”. She told him as she headed for the bathroom where the first aid kit was kept.
Deacon rolled his eyes and sighed, grateful she couldn’t see him, but equally grateful when she returned with the kit and began to tend to his hand in silence. For a few minutes neither of them spoke as Melanie cleaned up the blood and deftly bandaged the injury.
Finally after an internal debate with herself as to whether or not she should speak her mind, she took a deep breath and said, “I think you should get rid of that thing”.
“What? Why”? He asked in bewilderment.
“I don’t trust it”, she admitted, glancing in the direction of the fallen Jack-in-the-Box.
Deacon stared at Melanie in disbelief, “You don’t trust it”? His voice was thick with ridicule. “Its just a toy Melanie, there is nothing to trust or not trust about it”.
“There’s something wrong with it Deacon, look at what it did to you”.
“It was an accident”.
“An accident? Since when do Jack-in-the-Box’s accidentally draw blood”?
“Its an old toy, that ‘Jack’ is probably made of metal, or real bone, they weren’t exactly concerned with safety back then”. He pointed out.
Melanie shook her head as she packed up the first aid kit and garbage, talking over her shoulder as she put the kit back and disposed of the garbage. “I don’t care, it gives me the creeps, and I don’t want it in the house”.
Deacon continued to stare after her in disbelief, “You cant be serious. What exactly do you propose I do with it”?
“The garbage can at the curb would be a good place for it”, she said seriously.
“Are you nuts”? Deacon asked scornfully. He stood from the couch and walked around the coffee table. The Jack-in-the-Box lay a few feet away, it had slid further then he thought, he hoped it wasn’t damaged. Jack had toppled forward, his bony arms outstretched, as if trying to pull himself out of the box. Favoring his wounded hand he carefully scooped it up, stuffed the ugly Jack back into its hole and closed the lid. “This thing could be worth a fortune”!
Melanie crossed her arms again, “So? What’s more important? A possible fortune? Or me”?
“Melanie you’re being ridiculous, its just a toy! Its completely irrational to be afraid of it”. He held the toy out, turning it over on all sides to show her its harmlessness.
“Wrong answer”. She turned angrily away and Deacon was certain he’d been banished to the couch for the night. A few moments later though Melanie emerged from the bedroom fully dressed. Wordlessly she went to the closet, retrieved her jacket and purse, and slipped on her shoes. “I hope its worth it”, she said barely able to keep the tremble from her voice as she opened the front door and stepped out into the night.
“Melanie! Come on”! He set the Jack-in-the-Box on the coffee table once again and chased after her. “Don’t be like that”, he half-heartedly begged. “Its just a toy”! He repeated, as she started the engine.
“Good night Deacon”, she shouted through the window, and drove away, leaving him standing in the driveway staring after her.
Stunned that she’d actually left, and angry that the whole thing was over an old toy, Deacon grumbled to himself as he hurried back inside and slammed the front door. He flopped down on the couch next to the bottle of wine and thought as he picked it up, ’at least it wont go to waste’, and proceeded to pull the cork out with his teeth and begin drinking.
Almost an hour later, the wine bottle drained of its contents, and his head already beginning to pound Deacon decided it was time for bed. Clanking the empty bottle down loudly, he patted the top of the Jack-in-the-Box, proud of his discovery despite what Melanie thought.
“Oh well”, he mumbled. “Her loss”, and tried to push himself up on wobbly legs, giggling drunkenly to himself when he ended up back on the couch. He was about to try again when a sound caught his ear, something faint yet distinctly familiar. Frowning and closing his eyes Deacon tried to make his alcohol addled mind focus on identifying the noise and where it had come from when it repeated, louder this time. A wet sound that made his skin crawl. He opened his eyes and looked questioningly at the Jack-in-the-Box, picking it up off the table and putting an ear up to it. Had it really come from there? As if to confirm his suspicion it came again; a slurping, slobbering sound that made Deacon picture the skeletal ’Jack’ huddled inside sucking the blood off of its ragged fingers. The thought sent a chill through him, and he dropped the box back onto the table.
He was off the couch and nearly in the hallway when he stopped suddenly and burst into laughter. “Thanks a lot Melanie”, he said to the empty room. He had let her ridiculous rants, and the excessive alcohol get to him. Of course the Jack-in-the-Box made noise, he was drunkenly rattling it around, but it was no more menacing, no more a threat then a box full of feathers. Continuing to laugh at himself Deacon slowly walked, half supported by the wall, to his room and dropped into bed.
Just a few hours later Deacon woke, fully dressed, half hanging off the bed, with a skull splitting headache that made him desperately long to be back asleep. Knowing that it was not going to happen anytime soon though he forced himself out of bed, popped half a dozen aspirin and climbed into the hottest shower he could handle.
He was still standing under the stream of near scalding water, attempting to rinse away the previous evenings events, when he heard a barely audible thump over the sound of the water. The front door? Had Melanie come back? Anxious to apologize, and make amends, he shut off the shower, and stepped out. He was wrapping a towel around his waist when a crash of glass broke the silence of the house.
“Melanie”? He called out, exiting the bathroom, and heading down the hall towards the living room. “Is that you”? The room was empty, and dark except for the bright blue light from his laptop battery. It flashed its low power warning off the amber colored glass of the broken wine bottle, which lay in a pile between the couch and the coffee table. It must’ve been what he’d heard just a few moments ago, but how had it happened?
As he stood there trying to think of a reasonable explanation for the wine bottle breaking he noticed the empty spot on the coffee table. Where was the Jack-in-the-Box? The brass latch pin still lay next to his laptop, but the toy was nowhere to be seen. He closed his eyes and tried to remember if he’d moved it before going to bed, but it was useless, he’d drank way to much, and couldn’t remember anything clearly after opening the bottle of wine. Sighing in contempt of himself, he decided to look for the Jack-in-the-Box first. He would clean up the glass later. Besides, despite his ruined evening with Melanie, he still hoped to make money off the old toy.
Deacon went to the kitchen first, in his drunken state of mind he very well may have done just what Melanie had wanted and thrown the toy out. He was pulling the trash can out from under the sink when ’Pop Goes the Weasel’ began to play from somewhere behind him. Dropping the can, he spun around, but he was of course still alone. The song continued to play, and to Deacon it seemed to be slowing down, almost as if it were calling to him; enticing him. He left the fallen trash can, and followed the metallic tune through the living room, past the front door alcove, and into the hallway where the song continued, past its climax only to start over again.
“Melanie”? Deacon called out tentatively, suddenly feeling vulnerable in nothing but a towel as he searched for the misplaced toy. “Melanie, is that you”? He walked slowly down the hallway, certain the music was coming from his bedroom, but pausing to check the bathroom anyway. He didn’t want to admit it, not even just to himself, but he was delaying the discovery of the toy as long as possible. “Melanie, honey I’m sorry”, he called out, hoping as he passed the empty spare room that she had snuck in and was messing with him in retaliation for his earlier behavior.
When he reached his bedroom door he could hear the music as clearly as if he were holding the toy, but even if it was over wound, the music shouldn’t still be playing. Plus he knew he hadn’t shut the bedroom door when he left to take a shower. So it had to be Melanie, it just had to be.
As soon as he twisted the door knob the music stopped. “Mel”? he pushed the door all the way open hoping to see her standing there grinning triumphantly. Instead he was greeted by an empty room. Empty except for the Jack-in-the-Box sitting squarely in the middle of his bed.
A chill ran through him, covering him head to toe in thousands of goose bumps. The Jack-in-the-Box had not been on his bed when he’d woken he was sure of it. Melanie had to be behind it. Stepping into the room he looked behind the door, in the closet, behind a large cardboard cut out of Superman, and even dropped to his knees to look under the bed. But despite his hopes, they were all empty.
He was pushing himself up off the floor when the Jack-in-the-Box began its serenade yet again. It was so startling that his hand slipped and he landed back on his knees next to the bed. “Son of a…”the music picked up speed making Deacons heart skip a beat. “Stop”. He whispered pleadingly, reaching out to halt the crank. Before he even reached it, it stopped, one note before the ’POP’.
Laughing in nervous relief, Deacon sighed, and dropped his head on the edge of the bed. He had never been so relieved, or felt so stupid. He stared at the box and couldn’t believe that he had let Melanie’s paranoia get to him, it was only a toy. Nothing but wood and metal. Nothing vicious. Nothing to be afraid of.
While he knelt there berating himself the single note announcing Jacks arrival chimed, the metallic ping was like a gunshot in the silence, and as he raised his head the monstrous toy sprang from its hiding place, its long spindly arms reaching out for him. This time Deacon screamed, and threw himself backwards, landing on his backside as Jack continued forward, the momentum carrying the toy off the bed where it landed between his legs.
“Holy shit”!, he cried angrily, not sure what he was more mad at; the toy, or himself for fearing it. It was very old, there were kinks, loose parts, things that surely needed to be repaired. Hell the spring alone, was in desperate need of an oiling. He knew it was a desperate grasp at logic, but he didn’t care, it was better then admitting Melanie may have been right.
The Jack-in-the-Box lay on its side, Jack and spring stretched out towards him, looking as though it were reaching for him. He shook his head, angry with himself for his apprehension, and forced himself forward to scoop Jack back into the box when it moved. The fingers stretching slowly as he reached for it. Deacon paused, not trusting his eyes, and in his hesitation Jack confirmed his suspicions, its claw like hands swinging viscously at his fingers.
To shocked to cry out Deacon scooted back, his now bloody fingers making the floor slippery as he tried to stand. After a fumbled attempt though he succeeded, and stared in disbelief as Jack used its unnaturally long and narrow arms to pull itself across the floor towards him.
“No way”, he breathed, his stomach clenching in fear as he sidestepped towards the hallway, not wanting to turn his back on it. He glanced towards the doorway out of the corner of his eyes and as he did he heard the rusty creak of the spring, and for a brief moment he had the crazy idea that Jack was putting himself away. But when he looked back Jack was air born, launching itself towards him, using the force of the spring to push its body forward, and dragging the heavy box along. It landed just a few inches short of Deacons bare feet, and in his panic he kicked at it, intending to send the awful thing flying across the room, hoping to break it.
Before his foot even came in contact with the toy, Jack lashed out and grabbed onto his ankle, digging its sharp fingers deep into his skin. Deacon shrieked in pain, and began to kick wildly, but instead of tossing the toy off it seemed to energize it, and Jack’s clawed fingers sought purchase higher up his calf as it sank its ragged teeth into his shin.
“Get off”! He continued to thrash his leg furiously until his foot made contact with the heavy wooden box, and he felt at least two toes crush instantly. The pain was nauseating, and Deacon reached down to rip Jack off his leg. When his hands wrapped around the dry, thin body of the toy he could feel the fierce, raw strength that flowed through it despite its apparent delicacy, and Jack released his leg only to snake its way up his forearms.
“No”! Deacon screamed in horror. Blood was running in half a dozen tiny rivers down his leg, and pooling beneath his feet while he fought to get the horrible thing off of him. As he struggled desperately he lost his balance, slipping in his own blood. There was a brief moment of hope, when he thought he could remain upright, but it was quickly lost as he fumbled into even more blood. He fell backwards hitting the floor hard, first his shoulders, and then his head, bouncing off the hardwood with a crack.
The house was suddenly silent, and the pain faded away, as a heavy blackness came swimming up through the corners of his eyes. He saw Jack clawing its way up his chest, but felt nothing. “Please”, Deacon begged, as darkness enveloped him completely.
Deacon draped his arm over his eyes having no desire what-so-ever to open them. His head pounded ferociously, but he had never been so glad to be awake, he was giddy with relief. That had been by far, the worst, and most vivid nightmare he had ever had in his entire life. He would definitely not be drinking that much again anytime in the near future.
Sighing heavily at the thought of getting out of bed, but loving the idea of a hot shower, he put his arm down and sat up on one motion. But instead of the edge of his bed, and a sun filled room, all he saw was blackness, filled with a deafening, and heart-sinkingly familiar creak.
Deacon rubbed his eyes vigorously, trying to clear them. As he did his fingers caught something rough, something that made his heart ache with fear. He traced the roughness tentatively with his fingertips, knowing immediately what it was. Thick strands of thread bound his eyelids to the tops of his cheeks, and came together in knots at the corner of his eyes. He shook his head violently, trying to wake himself, he had to be dreaming he thought desperately, because the alternative was to terrible to concede, and he proceeded to fling himself around until he came up against a hard flat surface.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no”, he couldn’t hear his own voice, but he continued the mantra anyway as he explored the walls that confined him on all sides. With every movement he was taunted by the awful metallic creak that filled him with a sickening dread that he didn’t want to confirm, but could not ignore.
After what seemed to Deacon like an eternity of hesitation, he placed his hands on his chest, startled by the sunken spots he felt. He continued down his waist, aware of areas of pain, and a wetness he was sure was blood, but neither of which concerned him. He forced himself to explore further, past his belly button, and then; nothing. No more flesh, and bone, nothing but a cold downward spiraling ring of metal.
The Latin he’d read on the bottom of the Jack-in-the-Box suddenly came to mind; Music wakes the sleeper, who seeks a successor.
In an instant all reason abandoned him, and he began to thrash, and scream, a raspy torturous cry, drowned out by the incessant creaking of his spring.
Credit To – AbsintheRose