She picked a box at random and opened it, releasing a cloud of dust. After a short sneezing fit, she began sorting through it. As she had suspected, there wasn’t much to see. Most of the box’s contents seemed to be old magazines. She had more luck with the second, which contained several old photo albums, probably owned by her grandmother. She decided that those would be worth looking into later on.
The rest of the afternoon was much of the same: open a box, toss its contents into a ‘get rid of’ pile, rinse, and repeat. She was grateful, though, whenever the monotonous work was punctuated by an interesting discovery. An old piece of jewelry here, a handful of photos there; it was dull work, but it was something to do.
She pushed aside a box containing several shattered china plates. It was a shame, since they probably would have been worth something had they been in decent condition. She reached for the last box. Newspaper. Old newspaper. She pulled out a piece and tried reading it. It was faded, but she could make out the date: June 27, 1921. Really old newspaper.
She pulled out piece after piece of it. Finally, she could see the object the newspaper was protecting from damage: a music box. She lifted it gingerly from its resting place. It was ornately decorated. Curious, Cam lifted the lid of the box. A tiny, intricately carved ballerina stood on a little pedestal, along with a tiny key, which presumably was meant to wind it.
Cam kneeled there for a while, simply staring at the music box. She gently picked up the key and inserted it into a small hole on the front of the box. She turned the key a few times, making the sound of winding clockwork. She let go and the ballerina began to twirl as music began to play. It was a simple tune; the kind one would expect from a music box. Still, Cam was enchanted by it. She gazed at the spinning ballerina. The rest of the world seemed to slowly fade away. Her mind was concentrated on the music box.
Cam was jarred back to reality by her mother’s voice, calling her. She simply alerted Cam that she was heading to the supermarket. Cam gave her okay and placed the music box, which had wound down, back into the cardboard box in which it had been stored. Feeling a little groggy, she decided that she should probably take a break. She grabbed the photo albums from earlier and descended the stairs to the house proper. She sat down on a couch in the living room and began flipping through one of the albums.
A few minutes later, she caught herself humming the music box’s song. Odd, since she wasn’t normally the kind of person who was prone to humming. Yet, she didn’t stop herself. She kept softly humming the song to herself. There was something soothing about it.
About twenty minutes later, her mother came home, carrying a pair of brown paper bags in her arms. Cam stood up to assist her mother, but nearly fell right back down. Her head seemed to be spinning. She tried to shake it off. She tried to assist her mother with the groceries, but her help was denied. Her mother made a comment about how she looked pale and should probably head home.
Cam made no objection as she slowly exited the house and made her way to the car. She briefly wondered if she was in any condition to drive, but was suddenly distracted. Music. That same music from before was playing, but louder. She decided that it must have been an ice cream truck and got into her car.
As she drove home, the music continued to loop in her head. Over and over, it played. She tried turning on the radio so as to tune the music out, but to no avail. It was driving her up the wall. She practically ran into her house as soon as she reached it. She immediately turned on her TV, radio, computer, and everything else that made any semblance of noise; anything to drown out the music. But it just kept playing in her head. Over and over. Louder and louder. Her senses grew numb. Her head felt as though it was going to explode. But the music kept playing and kept growing louder.
Summoning all her will power, Cam struggled into her kitchen. She reached pulled open a drawer and fumbled around inside for a moment, finally pulling out a carving knife. Exhausted, she fell to the floor. She gazed at the knife, breathing heavily. The music kept playing in her head. She just wanted it to stop. But it kept playing.