Little Red Box

Linda Mayfield lived in a two story condo with one of her very good friends, Tina Celenski. They were very close, and liked living together. Even though they could have gotten a smaller house, they both preferred more space. They often had friends over, so it was also nice for that.

One bright, warm summer morning, Linda was listening to one of her favorite CDs in her shelf stereo, while Tina was out at her hotel clerk job up in town. Linda was loving the atmosphere - the popping of the music coming from the stereo speakers, the bright, warm sun pouring in through the open window, and her soft, comfortable bed, on which she sat, drawing a picture.

The picture was of a strange but beautiful flower she had been seeing in her dreams lately. It had rows of big pink and purple pedals, which were soft and velvety. It had a thick, bright green stem with some rather large leaves branching off. The center of the flower was a large cluster of soft blue florets, similar to a daisy. Poking out of the blue center were thin, yellow, antennae-like sprouts which split into even thinner, shorter sprouts.

Linda was carefully drawing each feature, and when she was finished drawing the entire flower, she colored it in with colored pencils. Though it was not her absolute favorite hobby, she enjoyed drawing. It seemed to calm her down, so she particularly enjoyed doing it when she was stressed, or had had a bad day. It helped her forget about everything else for a while, and just relax for a bit. When the picture was completely done, she held it up to the sunlight. She was not the prideful type, but she was proud of this picture. It was one of the best she had even drawn. She put it in her artwork folder, which she kept in her nightstand drawer.

Making her way over to her stereo, and about to turn it off, she was startled by a sudden, loud, skipping and screeching noise. Awww... she thought. She loved this song, and the only CD it was on was hard to find. She stopped it, and ejected it. There were some scratches on the back, which made sense, seeing as she had had since childhood. She was about to put it back in its case when she heard the front door downstairs open.

Linda opened her bedroom door, and walked over to the top of the stairs. From there, she could see that it was Tina.

“Hey Tina, I thought you were at work,” she called down.

“Hey!" Tina called back, "I was, but I got off early today.”

Tina seemed to be in a good mood. She walked around the corner, and into the kitchen. Linda followed.

They talked for a while, about work, friends and various other things, until they decided they would go to the grocery store to get just a few things they were needing.

Driving off in Tina’s car, Linda turned on the radio. The store wasn't too far from the house, so it wouldn't take long to get there.

Once they did, it was just like any other visit. They got everything they needed, and drove home.

The rest of the day went normal, but since they were both off work today, and had been watching TV, cooking and talking on the phone, time flew by. Soon it was dusk, and the sun was on its way down, bringing the warmth of day with it.

Linda and Tina were talking about work again, laughing and joking around, when the doorbell rang.

“I got it,” Linda said. She got up from the couch and walked over to the door. She opened it.

Nobody was there. She opened the screen door and looked around. She saw a small, dark red, wooden box, about the size of a picnic basket, with fancy designs all over it. Small wooden legs held it slightly off the ground, and the lid was held shut by a sturdy looking latch. However, there was no keyhole. It was lying on the porch against the wall. Linda picked it up, and started to carry it into the living room. She could tell that there was something inside it, but it was packed in tight.

“What’s that?” asked Tina.

“I don’t know…” replied Linda.

She examined it, and saw that there was small, neat writing engraved on the bottom. It said:

"The betrayal of the pharaoh is held within this box. If thou shouldest claim it, the traitor shall be awakened, and slaughter thee. Thou must not attempt to open it, for when the chosen time cometh, it shall open itself."

This made Linda feel a little uneasy. What exactly was inside? A ghost or something? Among further investigation, she saw something that sent a chill down her spine. The designs all over it looked identical to the flower she had been seeing in her dreams. It was the flower she had been seeing in her dreams, and that alone made her want to throw it out onto the street. But there was something about it that prevented her from doing so. She wanted to find out what it was first.

Later that night, after Linda had brushed her teeth, she went into her room and set the box on top of her dresser. She walked over to her bed, climbed in, and pulled up the covers. There was something very strange about that box, but it didn’t feel right just to throw it out. Maybe it had a special meaning or something. Whatever it was, Linda was exhausted, and didn’t feel like figuring it out right now. She closed her eyes, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

However, she was soon awakened by something strange. It was a faint scratching sound. She looked over at her digital clock. It was 3:33 AM. She listened more carefully, and realized it was coming from the front of the room, where the door was. With part of her still asleep, she climbed out of bed and made her way over to the light switch by her dresser, right where the sound was coming from. She flipped on the switch, but the light didn’t follow. She waited. Maybe it was just a delay with the electricity. But after about ten seconds, it still wasn't turning on. She flipped it back off, and made her way over to her nightstand, grabbing a small flashlight from the drawer. She turned it on, and a fairly narrow beam of light shot from it. She walked back over to her dresser, and examined it. It was then that she noticed the scratching sound was coming from the little red box.

What… the… hell…? she thought, leaning in closer and listening more intently.

Suddenly, it began shaking violently. Linda jumped back, shocked and afraid.

Then, it stopped. Just like that. Still nervous, Linda slowly and cautiously examined it, but there was nothing different about it. Dumbfounded, she walked back over to her bed. She got back into it, and just lied there, thinking about what had just happened. Maybe it was some sort of artifact. She would go to the library tomorrow and see if she could find anything on artifacts, or maybe even this box. Who knows? Maybe there were more of these weird types of boxes out there. Maybe they contained mechanisms which activated at random and caused the box to move. Or maybe there were living creatures in there, such as rodents, or some big-ass bugs. Soon, Linda's eyelids began to get heavy, and before long, she was back to sleep.

She slowly awoke to the sound of her loud, obnoxious alarm. Like every morning, it was almost painful to hold her eyes open. With them closed, she fumbled around her hand until she found the clock. Having done it countless times, she easily turned it off without even looking. She knew she had to get up, though, as she had to go to work. Then she remembered - it was Saturday. I still need to get up… she thought, I want to see if I can find a book on that… thing… Since the library near Linda's house was big and pretty popular, it would be crowded if she didn't go early, especially since it was Saturday. Still groggy, she opened her eyes, slowly sat up, and got out of bed. She tried the light switch. It worked now. She shrugged it off, assuming what happened last night was nothing but a dream, because it wasn’t all very clear when it happened.

It was seven thirty, but Tina wasn’t home. Then Linda remembered; Tina had to go out of town yet again, this time to meet the original owner and creator of the hotel she worked at, and would be staying the night at the first one ever made, which was out of town. Tina hadn't been very enthusiastic, though, and frankly saw it as a silly waste of time.

Linda took a quick shower, and got dressed. She got into her car and started it up. Since the library wasn’t too far from her house, she arrived there pretty quickly. Sure enough, there were only four cars in the parking lot. She parked her car and got out. She walked up the steps and went through the double glass doors.

At once, Linda could tell the air conditioning was on, it was nice and cool to a comfortable level, a nice relief from the hot summer humidity outside. She made her way over to the front desk.

An old woman with bifocals looked up at her from a book she had been reading.

“Yes, dear?” she said in a kind voice, “Are you looking for a book?”

“Yes,” Linda replied. “This is a little hard to explain, but… A small, red box showed up on my doorstep. It’s wooden, and has a flower design all over it, but it's locked with a pretty sturdy latch. There’s no keyhole, though. It also has ancient looking writing on the bottom, so I was just wondering if you have any books on anything like that.”

The entire time Linda had been explaining the box, the old woman’s expression had gotten more and more uneasy.

“That box…” she said, staring at Linda, “... it’s evil. I’m not quite sure what’s inside, but over the years I’ve heard bad, bad things about it.”

Linda’s expression also turned uneasy.

“Follow me,” the old woman mumbled. She began to walk towards the countless rows of bookshelves. Linda followed.

They walked for a bit, then finally arrived at the very back of the building. The woman ran her finger over the books, apparently searching for one in particular. After a minute, she pulled out a big, black tome. The cover looked leather, and it was falling apart. The gold words “ANCIENT EVIL” were printed across the front. Dust was caked all over it, and the pages were a sepia-like color.

The woman handed it over to Linda. “Would you like to take it home?” Linda nodded.

The two of them then started back towards the front of the library. When they arrived, Linda set the heavy book on the counter and handed the woman her library card. The woman did her librarian sign-out business, and gave it back to Linda, sliding the book over as well.

“It says in here how to rid yourself of such evil. I hope you're able to do so my dear, and may God be with you.”

This made Linda even more anxious, but she grabbed the book, and walked out the glass doors. She got into her car, and drove home.

Once inside, she went upstairs to her bedroom, sat on her bed, and opened the book to page one. She found the contents, and looked for the word “box”. Sure enough, she came across the words “Box of Xaylon”. It was page two-hundred-twenty-six, so Linda started flipping, trying not to rip any of the fragile, weathered paper.

When she arrived at page two-hundred-twenty-six, she saw a picture of the exact same box she had received, with the exact same designs on it.

She started at the top of the page:

“The Box of Xaylon is by far one of the most evil things in this world. Long, long ago, there was a mighty pharaoh named Golorum. One of his many servants, Xaylon, resented Golorum for enslaving him. One day Xaylon was given an order to fetch water for Golorum from the nearby stream. Xaylon fetched the water, but he also extracted the oil from a beautiful yet deadly plant known as Vyrolia.”

There was an illustration of the same flower Linda had been seeing in her dreams.

It continued:

“The pharaoh fell violently ill after drinking the water, and was informed of Xaylon’s treachery by another servant. In his dying words, Golorum told his guards to make Xaylon suffer the same fate he was, and to stuff him in a small box, where he would never escape. Then, Golorum perished. The next night, Xaylon was forced to ingest a large amount of Vyrolia. A box was then created, engraved with the design of the fatal plant. It was tinted a dark red, resembling blood, which symbolized death. As Xaylon’s breathing became heavy, he swore that he would get his revenge, that anybody who touched the box would be slaughtered by him. He was ignored, however, and even laughed at. The guards brutally snapped his bones to fit him down to size, and stuffed him inside the box, as he screamed and cried, cursing and spitting that they would be sorry. The box was then closed, and held shut by a strong metal lock, latched and sealed.

"It was placed inside a tomb. Only two days later, one of the guards was discovered brutally murdered in his bed. All of his limbs, including his neck, were broken in awkward ways, and he was literally chewed to a pulp. The next day, another guard was found killed in the same manner. One by one, all of the guards had been broken out of shape and chewed up. Nobody ever caught who had done it, but everyone suspected that it had been Xaylon, getting his revenge. A message was even inscribed on the bottom of the box, to warn anyone who saw it, out of either curiosity or theft, that there was evil within the box. The message read:

"The betrayal of the pharaoh is held within this box. If thou shouldest claim it, the traitor shall be awakened, and slaughter thee. Thou must not attempt to open it, for when the chosen time cometh, it shall open itself.

"Nobody wanted to go near the box, nor its tomb. Even speaking of it was considered taboo. Now, it is said, that if you dream of the Vyrolia flower, the Box of Xaylon will arrive at your home. Then, just after two days have passed, you will be broken and chewed on by the angry Xaylon, as supposedly, two days is how long he remained alive in the box after it was sealed. It is said that even if you disown it, he will still find you. It has been seen many times around the world, arriving on unwitting peoples’ property. Nobody knows exactly how it travels around, but it is said to be Xaylon himself, trying to kill as many people as possible. He allegedly waits for unsuspecting victims to accept the box into their homes, so in two days, he can have the pleasure and satisfaction of taking another life. The victims do not appear to be connected in any way, reinforcing the belief that he does wish simply to take as many lives as he can, wherever he can.”

Linda was trembling now, her heart thudding. Could this really be that box? Maybe she was just having a prank played on her. Although, the box in this picture was identical to the one she had received. Linda just kept looking at the picture, then looking over at the box on her dresser, then back again.

There was one final paragraph in the chapter. “If you find yourself trapped with the Box of Xaylon, you must wait until the second night. He will find you, no matter where you put the box. The only way to put him to rest is to wait until he is extremely close to you, just close enough to hear you whisper. Then, you must whisper the words: ‘Xaylon, it's okay to sleep now.’ You cannot rush, slur or shout the words, otherwise they will do nothing. However, if they do work, Xaylon will finally rest. He will leave, and supposedly never kill again.” Linda was shocked.

She looked back up at the box, very afraid, now that she knew what was inside. She was filled with dread. I don’t think I can do this... she thought. But she knew that it was her only hope, and if all of this was true, doing it would save her life. It was almost nine o'clock now, and she was still home all alone. She slowly got up, and walked over to the dresser where the box was sitting. Cautiously, she picked it up, and started carrying it downstairs.

If this wasn’t true, at least she could put her mind at rest knowing it was locked away. Maybe that stuff she read was just a legend, meant to scare people who happen to find the box. She reached the bottom of the steps, rounded the railing, and opened the door to the small storage space under stairs. The door had a lock on it, so she put the box on a shelf inside the storage space, and closed the door. She grabbed the key from Tina’s room, and locked it. Feeling a little bit better, she climbed back up the stairs, and went into her bedroom. She closed the door behind her, and got into bed. She was tired, which she hadn’t realized before, since she had been so shaken. Soon, she fell asleep, and remained as such for a while.

Until later she woke up to the sound of a door creaking open. It was coming from downstairs. She looked at the clock. 3:33 AM. Tina must be back... she thought. But then, she remembered that Tina wasn’t supposed to be back until tomorrow evening. Then, she got a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach when she heard the staircase steps creaking. Someone was coming up the stairs. Linda closed her eyes tightly. This isn’t real, this isn’t real! she cried inside her head, I have to be dreaming! I’ll wake up soon, and everything will be fine… But the creaking of the steps grew closer and closer to the top. Until they arrived, and soft footsteps could be heard, making their way towards Linda’s bedroom door. Linda was horrified, and she pulled the covers over her head. Even worse, she could hear her doorknob being turned. Then she heard the sound of the door slowly creaking open. "No… No!" she cried silently.

She was on the verge of panicking. As she continued to listen, the only thing she could hear now was heavy, raspy breathing. She wondered if she should pull down the covers and look at the doorway, but she was too afraid. After about a minute, and still nothing else, she finally decided she’d better look. Still trembling, she slowly lowered the blankets, but everything was pitch-black. She then remembered the flashlight. Ever so slowly, she reached out, opened her nightstand drawer and obtained it.

I’ll count to three, she thought, then I'll turn it on. She pointed the currently off flashlight in the direction of the doorway, and got ready. One… Her heart was thudding, so hard, in fact, she was afraid that whoever this was could actually hear it. Two… Her breathing picked up, and even though she tried not to be too loud, it was hard. She braced herself. Three! She flipped on the flashlight, and saw the dark silhouette of a person standing in the doorway. It was very thin, but something was wrong.

There was no head. Frozen with shock, Linda let her eyes adjust and focus to the light, then saw it. The skinny, shriveled figure had a head, but it was bent and twisted down against its chest, facing her, staring at her through empty eye sockets. The flashlight flickered out. Linda suddenly got very light-headed, and she could hear her own rapid breathing echoing through her head. She felt a constant wave of feverish heat, and a feeling of sheer terror. She was panicking. Hyperventilating uncontrollably, her eyes bulged in disbelief.

The flashlight flickered on again, and the figure was closer, standing at the foot of her bed. It had a twisted, deranged grin on its bony face, exposing its rotting, pointy teeth. The light went out again. Linda couldn’t control herself, her mind kept telling her she was going to die. Just then, she heard the raspy breathing coming from the right side of her bed. The flashlight came on, one last time, as she pointed it over in that direction. Just in time to see a gray, wrinkled, upside-down face creeping up towards her, its mouth wide open, and its eye sockets like black holes.

Then, once again, the light went out. Linda heard herself whisper a sentence, almost as if it were someone else speaking for her. “Xaylon… it’s okay… to sleep now…” Instantly, the heavy breathing stopped, and the flashlight came back on, revealing that nothing was there. All this was too much for Linda. With her last second of consciousness, she knew, and reassured herself that it was over. She then fell back, and just lied there... not to wake up until tomorrow.

Written by Sir Bedlam
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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