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Music Box Paranoia

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It was a sunny day in the city. The temperature was above eighty without a cloud in the sky. A boy named Damon Grey walked home in the heat. His blonde hair, blinding passersby, his blue-grey eyes hidden behind some protective lenses wearing his usual torn jeans, red shirt and his leather backpack. He hated the heat but normally shrugged it off. It was his mom's choice to move here, not his.

It was just after 3 o'clock and the high school he attended just let the teenage demons from their cage. He moved along the crowd down the street, his house was seven blocks from the school. On days like this, walks home always felt like the longest twenty minutes of his life.

Once he got home he greeted his mother, she was also blonde but she was starting to get a bit of grey in her hair. Her eyes were a nice shade of blue. She was tall, thin, and clearly overworked. She had been in luck this morning, her friend finally accepted to work her shift so she could have some time with her son.

He walked into the house hearing the sizzling of the kitchen. Interested he wandered towards it to greet her. She shooed him out, claiming he needed to get homework done since dinner was going to be a surprise. He complied, walking towards the hall. He stopped, hearing a knock on the door.

"I got it!" he announced walking towards it, opening the door.

Damon picked up the box from the porch with his name cleanly written on the top. There was no sign of anyone outside or a return address. Curious he took it inside and locked the front door behind him. He made his way to the hallway where he peeled the brown tape from the dirty brown box. Inside there was a polished well-kept rectangular music box. Disappointed in the contents he opened the hall closet and tossed the box inside then left to do his homework. What kind of idiot would send a boy a music box in the first place? It was weird though, how did they get his address? His name?

He shrugged it off as some prank by the neighbors. There weren't many people around he was good friends with. Damon mostly had enemies; he was the centre of their bullying. It didn't faze him much. He knew they were just making fun of him because they have horrible relationships at home. If it made them feel better about themselves he would let it happen, it never took a toll on his emotional health.

Aside from that he couldn't conclude how it landed at his house, not that it mattered. Maybe one day if he managed to get a girlfriend, he could give it to her. It was definitely a pretty enough music box. He smiled to himself at the thought of giving it to another. It was odd; he had never had the idea of a girlfriend before now. He really must be broken.

After laughing at himself he sat at his desk and finished up his homework. Once he was all done he ate dinner with his mother and older brother. Then he got ready to sleep, dressing in the most comfortable attire he could get his hands on and hopped into his bed. He closed his eyes and counted sheep until he had fallen into a deep sleep.

Damon woke up, fluttering his eyes unable to remember much of a blur to his reoccurring dream. He did; however, want to know about that music box. He climbed out of his bed in his red boxer shorts and grey t-shirt. He slowly opened the door making sure no one was in the hall, no one that would catch him looking at something so girly. After making sure there was no one around he wandered out and opened the hall closet. Inside, where he had thrown it, he saw the music box. He reached in and pulled it out wiping some of the dust it had collected after being stuck in there for a week. He wound up the knob and listened to Greensleeves play.

It was a pretty song; it felt as if he had heard it before. He shrugged it off and continued listening. About halfway, the lights in the hall began to flicker. He looked up watching the lights flicker, dim, and then brighten. It hurt his eyes seeing it the first time. Damon accidentally dropped the music box when he went to cover his eyes from the blinding light. While he rubbed his eyes he heard a faint growling with the music growing in sound. It was suddenly so loud, the lights flashing too bright for him to see, the indistinct growls spinning around him. He felt hot breath of something big on his neck, when he turned he saw nothing but the wall.

He was now in a full blown panic. He spun panting, frantically looking for the source of this madness. Damon looked down at the music box watching the spinning ballerina slow down. Then it stopped and all the lights went out.

His mother woke him. Apparently Damon had passed out in the hallway. Concerned for him she told him just to take himself back to bed; she would call the school and tell them he was sick. He nodded and made his way back to his room to lay down.

For weeks he would have the same dream, it was blurry and all he heard was the faint playing of that stupid music box. He wouldn't get a full night's sleep, he started getting more irritable at school, even the bullies started avoiding him. He regretted opening that stupid box; he should have left it outside for someone else to steal.

He loathed the idea of going home, every time he stepped into the house he had always felt something off. It felt like something was watching him, waiting for him to make the wrong move and attack or something. He thought of telling his mother but what the hell would she care? Ever since his father left she liked to pretend there is no such thing as a problem.

He decided though today he was going to get rid of it. Maybe if it was out of the house, it wouldn't bother him so much. Perhaps all he needed to do was to leave it outside and nothing would happen; none of this creepy bullshit that kept haunting him day in and day out. Yeah, that was probably a really good plan, seeing how the girlfriend idea flew out the window because of this madness. What kind of a sick guy would he be if he had actually given it to a girl he liked and she would suffer like this?

The bell rang and the kids flooded the front doors. He waited in the hall; ever since that song played for him he'd been very hesitant around large groups. Public places were probably the worst. That's where he started seeing shadows and creatures hiding in the mounds of moving people. It's terrible. After he watched the last of the group diminish he walked out then turned left to make his way home. Three blocks down there was a stop light, he stood at the corner waiting for the light to turn green. Right next to him stopped an ice-cream truck. The tune it played was light and happy, which was normal ice-cream truck music. It played normally for some time until the sound started warping. It slowed and just underneath the tone he heard Greensleeves.

He broke into a small sweat, his chest feeling tight. His gaze went from the road in front of him to the truck, from the speaker on the top a deep crimson liquid dripped. The light turned green and the truck drove off. As he crossed the street he saw the figures in the cars contort and darken. The environment around faded in colour and with every step, he heard the growls and roars from the cars. In a panic he sprinted home not looking behind himself once.

Once inside he locked the front door and ran to the closet. He pulled the box out glaring at the sleek design of this monstrous music box. The boy turned to throw it at the wall in hopes of breaking it, unfortunately for him he saw a shadow creature in the hall. It stared at him with its glowing blue eyes. He screamed stumbling backwards. It moved closer making him frantically scoot into his room. He locked the door and held onto the box in a panic wishing it would go away. After hearing it huff and claw at the door it left. He sat trembling. Wondering why it left.

Did it just get bored with him?

Or… Was the music box protecting him?

He glanced down at the box in his arms; perhaps as a test he should carry it with him. If it doesn't work out he could just throw it away. Anything to keep those creatures from getting him.

Everything was going okay for a while; although, ever since he started carrying around the box he found it even harder to sleep at night. His appetite had diminished, as well as his need for social interaction. Not that any of that bothered Damon. He had protection from those monsters. He had the box, so they wouldn't come near him once. He was happy. Even in his lonely, unfed wake he was happy. He sat in his room and wound the knob. He was starting to like the tune it played.

One afternoon a few weeks later, everything had changed. He sat rocking in his dark room; he wanted nothing to do with anyone around him. He just needed the music box. Only the music box. It was the only thing protecting him. It was his only friend. It listened to him, talked to him, and helped him. He only wanted IT. His mother on the other hand was very concerned about the box he held. So much so that she invited herself into his room. He stared at the womanly figure in his doorway with his darkened, sunken, bloodshot eyes. His pale, sweaty skin glistening with the sudden intrusion of light from the hallway, with a small shadow of his mother.

She was startled. The boy sitting in this room looked nothing like her son. He was trembling and glaring with his tired eyes. And in his sweaty pale arms he held the box to his chest. She had decided then that this was enough.

"Give it to me," she ordered.

"No…" he trembled, wiping some of the sweat from his lips. "y… you… you can't h-have it…."

"Son you're not well and that box isn't helping. Now hand it over."

"You can't h-have it." He hugged it closer to his chest. He wasn't going to let this woman take his music box. It was his.

Upset by his defiance she went to take it anyway. She grabbed it from his arms and yanked it away from him, his sweaty weak body made it easy to remove it from him. She turned from him and walked out of his room. Enraged by her actions he stood. Damon took the baseball bat from his closet and followed her down the hall. In an instant he was flooded by adrenaline. She turned to see him lift the bat above his head. She dropped the box and screamed as the metal bat collided with her head.

He heard her scream. It was wonderful, just like the box said it would be. Excited with his action he continued to lift the bat and bring it down on her head. Over and over and over he saw her blood splatter on the walls of the house, on him, on his bat, on the box, it even landed on a pile of laundry not too far away. Damon laughed and huffed seeing nothing but mushy brains and broken skull in her hair mixed in with the blood on the dead woman.

He dropped the bat and picked up his music box. He accidentally got blood on it, but it wasn't mad at him. He continued walking down the hall stepping on the blood and brains. He and the box would go for a nice walk. It would be fun.

They caught him. It didn't take long at all. He guessed the blood on his body showed he did something bad. But was it bad? She had done badly before him. She tried to steal what was rightfully his. She deserved what she had gotten. The box said so, the tones from his savior told him.

The shadowed creatures with their guns approached him. When they reached for his box he panicked, lunging for the hand to bite it. The creature screamed in agony, that crimson liquid dripping from the boy's mouth. Two other creatures came and tore him from the wounded one. He was held down, the box was taken and the boy went into a rabid frenzy. Damon squirmed and screamed about his box. He wanted his box. It was his and he would kill anyone who tried to keep it from him.

After the box was taken there was nothing but dark blurs. He could remember nothing; he only felt the numbness of his lost box. He remembered, though, hearing the voices. They called him crazy; they ordered he be locked up. But, where was his box? Wasn't it going to be locked up with him?

Damon woke to find himself alone in a white room.

The monsters constantly visited him in the white room. They tore into his skin and made him bleed under his white clothes. The nurse's often changed him daily, baffled by his injuries. He told them about the monsters but of course they didn't believe him. No one ever did. It made him sick.

He heard the doctors talking during his examination. He had deep wounds on his arms and legs, small cuts on his palms, fingers and feet, a gash in his forehead, bruises on his back and throat, and they couldn't explain any of it. They conspired with each other to just write it down as self-inflicted injury. He knew they weren't being completely honest and didn't want to know what he knew. That was fine by him. He had his deeper wounds treated and was taken back to his white room.

He sat in his corner, blood still condensed in that area. He trembled, picking at the scabs on his arms. He knew they were coming back. They would be hungrier than before. They would want more. He laid on the floor, covering his head and closing his eyes.

"Kill them… Kill them all… I'm begging you…" he pleaded to the figures. Before he knew it he was asleep again dreaming about his music box. Oh how he missed his box.

He was awoken in the dead of night by flickering lights and a loud slam of his own door. He lifted his head seeing no knob, nor glass. He faintly smiled slowly crawling towards his freedom. He was going to get his box back, no matter what.

He was out. Finally! FINALLY! He was freed! He just needed his box. But where was it? He glanced around the darkness of the night.

"Where are you?" he called out, "I'm out now… Where have you gone?"

Tears welled in his eyes, falling down his wounded face. On the dark, cold concrete he sat. He had no idea where he was at. How was he supposed to get home? How will he find his box? After sobbing into his bloody hands he hears it: the faint sound of Greensleeves playing in the darkness.

He stood listening intently to the direction of the beautiful sound of his music box. He followed it, his bare feet nearly slapping the cold floor. It had taken all night but he found his way home.

Inside there was a clear absence of human life. In the hallway there was the dried blood of his mother and a few skull fragments the clean-up crew missed. He slid his hands on the door to the closet where the wonderful music was playing. After a moment of listening he opened it, inside there it was. It was his wonderful, beautiful, lovely box playing for him. Out came the box in his bloody cut hands. He sat on the floor holding it to his chest as he turned the knob. His eyes closed watching the ballerina spin in the box. It was so beautiful.

Damon woke up, fluttering his eyes unable to remember much of a blur to his reoccurring dream. He did; however, want to know about that music box. He climbed out of his bed in his red boxer shorts and grey t-shirt. He slowly opened the door making sure no one was in the hall, no one that would catch him looking at something so girly. After making sure there was no one around, he wandered out and opened the hall closet. Inside, where he had thrown it, he saw the music box. He reached in and pulled it out wiping some of the dust it had collected after being stuck in there for a week. He wound up the knob and listened to Greensleeves play. His mother noticed him as she was walking towards the living room. She wandered to her son curiously.

"Son, what are you doing?" she asked, watching him intently, he seemed dazed.

"Listening to music." He smiled lifting the music box in his hands.

"Honey, that's a shoe box."

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