I knew the music box was a menace the moment its silver handle caught a ray of sunlight and bounced it around the parlor. I shut the curtains tightly, of course, but that ridiculous box still gleamed.
As ridiculous as the nephew who left it on my mantle.
I didn’t touch it for the first week, didn’t even look its way while I read Frankenstein on the armchair. Of course I turned my favorite chair to face the other way. I finished my favorite horror novels, read all the Poe I owned twice, and scowled into my fiendishly bitter coffee in between. The music box was like a tickle at the nape of my neck, and while I love giving my victims chills, I didn’t like it one bit myself.
All Hallows’ Eve was coming. I could go out again, the Crone of of Sable Manor roaming free to terrorize the neighborhood. The horror I’d soak up would be enough to let me grab the blasted box and throw it out. But I had to survive until then.
The wind howled the night before the Eve, bare branches screeching along the windows. Just how I liked it. I let the fire grow cold and shivered in my chair, my wasted lips twisted in a smile.
Soon. Soon I would be free.
At the stroke of midnight, the box opened. My claws sank into my black gown as a tinkling tune began to play. Bright and disgustingly sweet. My scream rattled in my throat as a silver mist wrapped around me, sucking away the darkness I loved. The curtains whisked open and moonlight brightened the parlor, leaving me bare and wrinkled.
I should have known the box was haunted.
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