Devil's Box | Teen Ink

Devil's Box

November 2, 2014
By emilyxclifford BRONZE, San Marcos,
emilyxclifford BRONZE, San Marcos,
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"lead me, save me from my solitude"

One? Two? No, One. I could not forget. One year ago it was when I happened upon my box. Perhaps happened is an inadequate word. My encounter was anything, but coincidental. Fate is was, and fatal is was indeed. The old man who had stalked my dreams all so frequently had told me, that day long ago that it would take one year until the… effects would begin. Recently, I’ve found myself gazing directly above my head at night, watching darkness’ overwhelming shadow arrive, plunder, and retreat. I worry endlessly as I recall the old man’s strange words, “In one year… In one year you shall know.”
Look boy!” A thin arm sprang out from the shadows to grasp my hand. I instantly pulled back, and inwardly chided myself for walking too close to the alleyways. Looking closer, the first thing I noticed was his scars. The old man sitting on the ground was covered in bumpy scars, some faded white and pink, while others looked red and swollen. His skin held a ghostly pallor and his eyes were frantic and desperate. He was clutching a box, the most unusual yet simple box I had ever seen. He was clutching it so tightly, that his knuckles started to fade white. The haggard man rasped in a feverish voice, “Look! In the box! … Take it! Take it!” He vehemently thrust a silver box into my grasp. I took pity on the man and took a moment to study the box. The silver glistened and cast a reflection of light into my eyes. Cut into its sides were strange markings, and the metal was rusting and begrimed. I glanced up to the old man. His tired eyes were opened wide, stretching his wrinkled skin across his face. I shoved the box into a small pack I had brought with me for groceries. He instantly relaxed and returned to his reposed position, dragging one hand through his disheveled wisps of grey hair. A crooked, toothy grin broke onto his face. He’s mad, I thought. Shockingly- as if he could hear me- he replied, “I’m not mad…” He chuckled softly, “Everyone’s mad, boy, even you. But, not me. Not me…” he started to laugh then. It was a deep and lengthy cackle. I started to back away which caused the man to laugh harder. I noticed that a thin, stringy trail of blood was trickling down his chin and landed in a pool around the man I had not noticed earlier. I continued to walk away warily until the ragged image of the man waned from my view.
I’ve never opened the box. It was November 13, the same day my box came into my possession one year ago. I tried to force myself to laugh, and remind myself that the old man was indeed mad, but in every crevice of my mind, doubt flooded and threatened to overtake my sanity. I scoffed. Nothing would happen tonight…nothing. I laid upon my bed, attempting to push all thought from my mind. THUD. Ha-ha! A rat it must be! It must be! A rodent! A mouse! A snake! I conceived any idea I possibly could as I panicked inside. THUD. THUD. THUD. My eyes fluttered open and beheld that somehow a candle had been lit, though I had no recognition to lighting one. I turned my head- ever so quietly- until I looking towards the supposed direction of that dreadful noise. In the left side of my bed-chamber sat a desk. Inside that desk sat my-no his- box which I had left alone, but did not have the courage to find after that day. RATTLE RATTLE THUD. Fear consumed me in it’s icy hand and held me incapable of movement. I was seized in panic and while I could not surmise the source of my fear, for I had never opened the box, I was terror-stricken all the same. I remained frozen in position for a great many moments as my breath left me in short, frantic pants. With each noise my heart seemed to cease and the deathly sound seemed to increase in volume. A tear escaped my left eye, slipped across my face, and landed with a devastatingly loud splash on the scantlings below. That single tear of utter horror was accompanied by another, and another, and another until I believed I could bear no more torment. I had an urge to do something, anything, to cease this awful pounding which beat in rythm with the pulsing in my chest. I watched in silence as the desk began to shake violently until it tilted forward and fell to the ground in one last THUD, and all became silent.
I suddenly had an agonizing impulse to see the box once more. I tried to fight the yearning, but to no avail. I slithered out of my bedclothes and winced as my feet made a small, muffled sound as they settled on the floor. At my nightstand, I grabbed some matches in attempt to spread further light into the room, but my hands refused to obey. I was shaking so riotously that each match either broke or fell to the ground. I had finally lit one, which only served to estinguish itself so swift I could hardly make out a flame. I shivered and set the match-box down on the nightstand. I cautiously tip-toed to the fallen desk. First, I pushed it upright with a creak. Then I gulped in much air and feather-lightly took the bottom drawer handle into my hand and opened it. There sat the box. I took it out gently, but the contact caused goose-bumps to coat my arms. I admonished myself for my lack of bravery and quickly opened the box for the first time.
Inside the box laid a knife. It was crafted acutely and simply, yet held an aura of genius I could not describe. My eyes flashed at the sight. In one instant my whole existence had been confined to the knife. Don’t ask me how, I could just feel it. I looked at it expectantly. I watched it for many minutes. It was mesmorizing, yet I could not bring myself to touch it. I simply looked at it-revelled in it- until the first signs of sunlight shimmied it’s way through the blinds and traced the floor. I deliberately set the box back into it’s drawer and solemnly got dressed. I went through the day deprived of emotion, often not realizing when someone would try to make conversation. That night I found myself once again with the box in my hands without recognition of how I came to be back in this same spot. I watched the knife again that night. I continued this week in the same manner. But, as the next week came I discovered I could not simply look at the knife, no. I had to feel it. With what discretion I possessed I brought my hand forth, and wrapped my long fingers around the wooden handle, which bore the same markings as those on the box. I skimmed my hand across the smooth surface of the knife, shivering as I did so. I held it this way and marveled and the sheer complexity, yet basicality of the object. Pushed away into the farthest corners of my mind I knew this was extremely dangerous, but could not restrain myself. Another week had passed by in the same way. But, once again on the next week I had another torturous longing. The knife had possessed me. I could not simply touch it-no- I had to use it. I had stopped attempting to light a candle for warmth and assurety. The moonlight provided all I needed. Staring at the knife still, I brought it up to my palm. I pressed it down and settled it upon the middle of my hand. I pushed down softly, and watched in amazement and it cut through the outer skin, and droplets of blood dripped from the center of my hand and trailed down my wrist. Delicious pain. I continued to slice through my skin and sat in awe of the knife and it’s effects I could not get enough of. Finally, I retreated my knife from my hand and set it back into the box carefully. I brought my hand towards my mouth and licked off all of the blood and grinned. It tasted so savagely wonderful.
By the end of the week, I had scars lining my hand and wrists. In another two weeks I had scars covering my arms and my teeth had began to stain red. In another multiple months I had brought upon such inflictions to my upper body, neck, and feet. I could hardly remember the actual ritual of each night, the knife had possessed me too completely for that. Eventually, I began to look and feel more and more grosteque each day. I even looked like I began to age insanely quicker as well. In years, I ended up quitting my job, and devoted all of my time to the beautiful torment it brought. Soon, I had lost my small apartment and was reduced to being rid of all of my furniture and once treasured items. All I had was my knife. Years of struggling resulted with a small cornered alleyway I called home. Even with all of this, I could not release myself of my curse. I hated myself for it. I needed to die. But, I could not. Until one day, I gained enough courage to try, to try to say goodbye to it. With one final tourtorous gash across my chest, I spotted a young man walking on the sidewalk with groceries in hand. I imagined that was what I looked like all those years ago and I chastised myself for my incredible naivety. I braced myself for my final release and grasped his hand from the shadows.
Look boy!”

The author's comments:

Hey! Don't think I've got problems, ok? I am a super happy girl, but dark pieces just speak to me! So, I wrote this story one night for a homework assignment in which my teacher gave us one day. Shoutout to my amazing teacher Mr. Piro! I hope y'all like it and if you have any critics, please tell me! Thanks! <3

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