Her name was Elise Gisolph. Born in Hamburg in 1869 as the daughter of Judge Rudolph Gisolph. At the age of 20, Elizabeth had developed two passions in life. The first of those was music as she was a gifted violoncellist. When she touched the strings of cello, it was like the sound of angel as described by witnesses of her music. The problem was that she didn't only like to please men with her music. As popular as her music was, so infamous was her promiscuity. Her behaviour wasn't willed at the time especially for a lady. Her hyper sexuality was a thorn in the eyes of her devoted father. When Elise turned twenty-eight, her father had enough. He forced her to join a monastery. The decisions of her father caused her to hate all men. Why was she forced to be locked away? Rotting away in an institute, created to honor an Almighty creature that seemingly had abandoned her, while the men she slept with were free. Free to continue their lives, while she was buried alive in this house of God. Why were they free? All of them had the committed the same sin as she, some even more. Many of the men who shared her bed were married, some even had children and a few were old enough to be her father! And yet she was the only one who was punished for it. Only because she was a woman... To prevent her from going insane, she was allowed to play music in the monastery. But something was changed, a subtle difference in her playing sound, in the music she played. She stayed two years in the monastery, until "he" arrived.
A mysterious man visited the monastery and asked to see the now thirty year old Sister Elizabeth. Mother superior tried to send the man away. She proclaimed that Sister Elizabeth refused to see another man ever again in her life. The man seemed to understand Elizabeth's wish but asked mother superior to give her a little present. He gave a little rectangular object. It was a wooden music box with crimson velvet and a golden lock. He also gave her the key. "Give it to her and say it's a gift from an old friend." But before she could ask him his name, he left the monastery. Fighting her curiosity to open a box that didn't belong to her, she had brought the box to the cell of sister Elizabeth. The next day, the corpse of sister Elizabeth was found. She had cut her wrists with a knife she had stolen from the kitchen after her kitchen duty. The box was placed in front of her, still playing its mysterious music...
It was Friday morning and the summer shone through the window of Old Gary pawn store. The shop bell rang as John Smith entered the store. Dressed casual with a red chequered shirt and light blue denim jeans, he looked around the shop, searching for the owner. Old Gary Hartmann appeared behind the counter, greeting with his usual enigmatic grin. John nodded at his friend and smiled too.
"How's it going?"
"Business is booming and that makes the wife happy, so I have no complaints. How are you?"
"Good, good... I have no complaints either. The wife is out of town for a few weeks for work and Carla has started at university. Any new items in?"
"Actually, yes. Something I actually wanted to show you, I was hoping you would pay me a visit soon."
He led his friend to the back of the store, which was much darker than the rest of the shop. In this part of the shop, you could find objects with a more sinister past. Gas masks of the World War I and II, but also old books bound in the skin of an executed criminal from the late 1800s. Gary stopped abruptly and without warning at a cabinet filled with small objects. John was surprised and collided with Gary. The old man lost balance and almost fell against the cabinet, as it wasn't for John who managed to grab him just in time.
"Thanks, John. Maybe I could have better warned you we had arrived."
"No problem, Gary. Let's go on like nothing happened. What was it that you wanted to show me?"
He reached out for it on the fourth shelf and showed it to the historian. It was a little rectangular box which was refined with a golden coloured metal, which protected the ribs of the box and came together at the front by a golden keyhole. The box itself was coated in a crimson material, most likely leather. From the left side, there was a crank which was made from the same metal as the decorations. He looked from the box to the pawn store owner.
"Do you know what this is?"
"I know what you think it is."
"It fits the description, doesn't it? And here is the key to open the box!"
He took the key and showed it to his friend. While he looked at the golden key, he said, "Indeed. This could be indeed the Gisolph's Music Box. Amazing! How did it get here?"
"I bought it from an old lady who was married to an Englishman who had inherited it from his mother..."
"How much do you want for it?"
As the historian specialized in the Europe of the 19th century, he was fascinated by everything from this time period. But he never had dreamed of seeing such an item, let alone possessing one. During his studies he stumbled upon the story of Elizabeth Gisolph. For some reason the story intrigued him.
John shivered when his fingers closed around the box as he raised it in the air.
"What do you mean?"
"How much do you want for it?" John repeated.
"I'm not selling this to you!"
"Why would you refuse me such thing! I thought we were friends!"
"That's exactly why I'm not selling it to you! Not to any male customer! This object is cursed!"
"You really don't believe this yourself, do you?! There isn't such things as curses, Gary!"
The old Gary's head became red with shame and anger but he didn't surrender, instead he continued his attack as to why he believed this artifact was cursed.
"The father of the Englishman was a soldier in World War II. He came in possession of the box at the end of the war, in the Battle of Berlin. He disappeared in 1950, he was forty-one years old. The mother died in 1969 and our friend found the box while cleaning her house, his house now. He disappeared in 1970. According to his wife, he had opened to the box and since that he was obsessed by it. She told me he believed he saw things that weren't there. He also heard things she couldn't. She opened the box herself but still couldn't understand the behaviour of her husband."
"And you think it's the curse and that it only targets men?"
"Well, Gary, I don't! I'll give you a thousand for it. That sounds reasonable!"
"OK, a thousand dollars, but only because you really want it. But do me this, don't open the box. It's not safe for us to open it!"
It was already getting dark and it was starting to rain. It was the end of a beautiful day. When John looked at the box in the middle of his kitchen table, the box was surrounded by books about West-European mysteries, and sketches with artistic impressions of how the box should have looked, and an audio recorder, so he could record the music coming from the box. He looked at the drawings from the box and back. If the drawings were accurate, it really looked like the box was standing before him. Could this really be the box he had been looking for? Would it contain the answers he had sought. Could he finally solve the mystery of Elizabeth's suicide? He knew he had promised to not open the box but what harm could it do. There was no such thing as curses, only people who were frightened enough to believe in them. He wouldn't say ignorant enough because this hasn't much to do with knowledge or intellect, only with belief. And curses were something in which he didn't believe. He took the key and unlocked the box.
With shaking fingers of excitement, John opened the box. Nothing happened and the box was surprisingly empty. A small wooden box inside contained the mechanics necessary to create music, but for the rest it was empty. He had hoped for some piece of paper or another clue to what happened the day she died. But nothing. Maybe, he would find some answers when he turned the crank. It could be possible that the music contained inside was a subtle message that could have led to her demise. Something that you'll only notice subconsciously. He would take his audio recorder and recorded the music coming from the box. He tested his audio recorder one last time ("Mary had a little lamb.") and closed the box. He started turning the crank. He could hear the mechanics twist as he continued. He stopped when he felt a pressure pushing back. He released the crank and he felt full excitement when he grabbed the microphone and placed it close to the music box. The box popped open and a beautiful sound came from the box. The melody sounded like that of a cello and filled the house. He closed his eyes as the music engulfed him. When the music stopped playing, he reopened his eyes. It only felt like a few minutes had went by, but when he looked at his watch he saw that two hours passed since he started listening to the song. He quickly started to collect his things and piled them up, and started the preparation of his dinner meal. Unbelievable that two hours had been passed since he started listening. But this was no curse, he was just tired and had fallen asleep, nothing more...
Two days of hard working, analyzing the tape had disappointing results. On the tape, there was nothing to hear. It was to say, nothing extra-ordinary. No hidden messages, no secret calls when it was played back, nothing. The only special thing about the tape was the quality of the music. It was the first time in his life he had heard a music box that was able to play such a complex piece and it was also the first time that he found one which sounded just like a cello. Further research about the subject had led to nothing, the only thing he found that quite interesting was the fact that the cello was an instrument that came very close to the human voice qua sound, only to be surpassed by the piano, as far the internet could tell him. When he rubbed his eyes (it had been a long weekend) he started hearing that same melody again. He looked at his computer and saw that the program he had used to analyze the music, wasn't open. He checked his audio player but then realised that the batteries died yesterday, and he didn't have the time to get new ones. He looked around in the house and walked towards the crimson music box, still accompanied by the music. John shivered by what he saw. It wasn't open, so the sound couldn't be produced by the music box. Yet the music continued, goose bumps were forming on his arms. He raised his head and looked above: "Hello, is there someone?"
As sudden as the music had started to play, it stopped when he screamed:
"What's going on?"
With a depressed look, he stood before his window. It was raining, and if there was anything that he hated, then it was rain. Now he had nothing to do. He had ceased his project, since the weird events of the day before. He still couldn't explain what had happened to him. How was it possible that he heard that music if there was nothing that could have played it. Was his mind playing tricks on him? Was he imagining things? But what if... He couldn't think about that option. It was impossible that it was really the "curse". Curses didn't exist but if he allowed his already tired mind to think about that like it was a legitimate explanation, he could expect far more severe illusions. He was simply tired from a weekend of only five hours sleep. It was not healthy for a man of his age to work that hard. When he was younger he was able to do this without any problems. But he was no longer twenty-five years old, he was fifty, almost fifty-one. The age had some compensation but speed nor stamina were one of them. And maybe it was time to admit that. As he turned around, he believed to see a shadow disappear on his wall. He only saw it in a blink of an eye but it was still quite recognizable. It was to say, he was sure it was a female shadow. He sneaked to where he saw the shadow but who ever caused the shadow was gone. For the second time in two days, he yelled like an idiot in the empty house. He lowered his head and rubbed his eyes.
"OK, it was enough. I really need some sleep."
As he had hoped that some sleep would had bring him some peace, he had been gravely mistaken. He looked at his screen of his computer, without seeing a thing. He had been thinking about his nocturnal experiences of last night. The strange sightings that started to control his life had started to haunt his dreams as well.
In the middle of the night he had been awaken by a sudden noise. No, noise wasn't the correct term as it was that same melody again. The sound of a cello. He had opened his eyes and stared to his ceiling, listening to the enchanting music.
"What is it, darling?"
Someone was lying next of him, someone who wasn't his wife!
He tried to move but discovered that was impossible. Only his head could he move. For the corner of his eye, he saw how the woman moved in his direction.
"What is happening?!" he asked her. But to his horror, he could no longer make any sound as the woman positioned her on him. Smiling, she looked down at him. She was dressed like a nun. As the sound got louder, she lowered her head. He tried to turn away his head but found himself trapped between her in evening gloves shrouded hands. She pressed her lips on his and kissed him long and hard. She lifted his head from his cushion, still kissing him, he was still unable to escape. He wasn't even sure that he wanted to escape. She pushed him back on the bed, but her hands remained clamped around his face. She smiled once again and this time he was able to speak. His screams of agonizing pain as her nails scratched open his cheeks. She pushed her thin fingers through the cuts that she created. He felt how her leather fingertips touched his tongue before they clenched to fists. Her smile got bigger as she lifted his head up once again. The pain was indescribable. While he suffered an excruciating pain and blood filled his throat, she kissed him once again before he woke up screaming.
He awoke from these thoughts when his phone rang.
"Hello, with John Smith."
"Hello, Carla. How is it going? Everything all right?"
"Yeah, I'm having a great time. Kimberly and I are going to join a covenant!"
"It's Kimberly and I, honey. Anyway, which covenant are you joining?"
"Never heard of it."
"It's an exclusive club, daddy."
"And you managed to become a part of it? Nice going, Carla. I..."
He was distracted by something he saw outside.
"Honey, I will call you back another time, I have a visitor. Bye."
He hung up his phone and looked outside. To be fair, he didn't have a visitor, not one of the invited kind at least. He walked towards the window and saw a woman standing outside. It was quite hard to see her clear as it was dark outside. He pushed a light switch and focused his pupils to see who it was. For as far as he could see, was the woman dressed in a long black dress. He bent towards the windows trying to see her better and was shocked when she suddenly appeared flat in front of the window, holding the same distance as he was. But now he could clearly see her. As that cursed melody filled his head, he recognized the nun standing before his window.
"I should never opened that cursed box! Never!"
As the sun was going down, John Smith was crying in his office with his hands in his hair. The nightmares only got worse, he felt how he was slowly losing his grip on reality. He still could hear the music, even as he buried the box in the garden. Strange sightings haunted his every waking hour, only to replaced by the mysterious Elise Gisolph as he went to sleep. Yes, in those hours of terror he had realized who was tormenting him so savagely. Her visage resembled a drawing he had found. Why couldn't she leave him alone instead of torturing him to the point of insanity? He had buried his disbelief in curses, together with the box. Both decisions were made after a nightmare that was even more terrifying that the one before.
Tired of everything that had happened to him, he had fallen asleep on the couch. A deep slumber that was disturbed by a severe pain in his legs. He had opened his eyes but yet unable to move. He saw a long shadow working on his legs as the pain got only worse. The shadow moved to his hands and took a long a needle and a thread and slowly started to sew his fingers together! He screamed as she continued with his other hand before sewing his arms to his sides. He hoped that he would lose consciousness but it didn't happen and the pain continued. He tried to move again but was still unable to move anything else other than his face. He saw the woman who tortured him, Elise Gisolph. She smiled at him: "You're not going to leave me, John. You're mine!"
She positioned herself on top of him and even while experiencing so much pain, he was getting aroused by her. This was not possible. He tried to scream but she placed her finger on his lips and for some reason, it worked. No longer able to move his mouth, she started sewing his lips together, sewing his nostrils, causing him to suffocate slowly. She stands up and leaves him.
He woke up the moment he would die, bathing in sweat. It was then he decided to bury the box. Before it could claim him. But it didn't work, he still could hear the music, echoing in his house or maybe just in his head. He looked up and noticed his cell phone. There was only one man who could help him, Gary. He took his phone and called his old friend. Trying to ignore the subtle music in the background, he waited till his friend answered.
"Hello, with Gary Hartmann."
"Gary, John here. I have a serious problem..."
"You opened the box, didn't you?"
"How did you know?"
"So you really did. I told you not to do it and you ignored my warning. So tell me, do you now believe in curses?"
"Yes, you have to help me!"
"Tell me, what did you see or hear?"
"First I started to hear the music of the box, later I started to see strange things and now nightmares are haunting me... That woman haunted me."
"You have seen HER!"
"YES! What can I do? Did anyone ever escape her?""
"The only two men I know who opened the box disappeared mysteriously, but they kept the box. Maybe if you bring it to me... maybe that's a way to escape it. Where is it?"
"It's buried in my garden."
"Go get it and call me back when you have it."
"OK, I'll call you back in a minute!"
He ran outside and took his shovel. He started digging but then did a horrifying discovery. The box was gone!
Since the disappearing of the music box, the music was no longer echoing in his house. Instead of being happy by this evolution, he was frightened. Where was the box? Who got it? Could it be that a dog dug up the box? No, there should have been a hole in the ground if it was a dog. He hadn't dared to call Gary back. There was nothing he could do now to help him. If he hadn't opened the box, if he wasn't haunted, he would have called his daughter to see how she was doing or if she was ready for her initiation. But now, he had other concerns. Or maybe it would help to call her. To start forgetting this nightmare. He should first call her and then burn all his research, everything that could be connected to this case. He dialled the number and waited until she would pick up.
"I'm busy for the moment and can't answer your call. But leave a message and I shall call you back. Bye..."
He hung up the phone and bowed his head: "Damn it! She won't pick up! OK, John. Keep it cool, you have to keep your head cool. Burn everything about this case and try to forget this horrible week!"
But before he took another step, he heard that damned music again. But this time it sounded as a vague echo, not clear as it always had been. The sound came from upstairs. There was only thing he could do, it was time to face his demons!
He ran upstairs and the music got louder. His heart started to beat so fast that it started to hurt. He rubbed his chest as he started to breathe heavily. He raised his head up and went up to the attic. He could bet his head on it that the music came from there. He opened the staircase, and his theory is proven. As he went upstairs, he started to sweat and got goose bumps. He looked in the attic, nothing had changed here in ten years, in the ten years after the death of his mother. The attic was filled with boxes and there was still a curtain in the middle of the room, from the time he and his brother shared the attic as a bedroom. His three sisters slept in rooms on the first floor with the twins sharing a room, Carla's room. There was nothing changed, nothing but... There was a box, the music box. He couldn't explain why it was here or why he didn't notice it earlier. The box was open. Angered, he closed the box but the music didn't stop. He notices a strange figure behind the curtain. It was sitting on a chair and playing a cello. Once again he got goose bumps and his heart was now beating at a terrifying rate. With sweaty palms, he pulled away the curtain. The woman of his nightmare was sitting before him with her eyes closed. She wore a scapular but her habit had changed. Her clothing was more similar to modern women. She was wearing a black long sleeved T-shirt and a black tight pants. Between her legs, she had her cello but the look of it was the most shocking image he had seen.
The cello was made of a human corpse! The scroll was a skull, lacking its lower jaw. The neck was made of the spinal cord while the body of the cello was made of the male's torso, lacking arms and legs. Two F-holes were made in the stomach and the endpin was, just like the neck, made of the spinal cord. The strings were red, looked like veins and most likely were. The bow she used to play on this "instrument" was made of a femur and veins. He had no idea how this was even possible. The woman kept playing the music and John finally started to understand his feelings. His beating heart, the sweating and the goose bumps on his arms. He wasn't frightened, he was aroused! Even with the horrifying image, he couldn't change the influence the music got on him. He almost felt ashamed when he discovered he had an erection.
Unable to move, he looked at Elizabeth playing. Suddenly she opened her eyes. He screamed as something cut four deep cuts in his cheeks. She smiled and played further, ignoring his screams. As blood filled the ground, he was still unable to move. Suddenly she raised her bow and aimed it at him. His legs, his arms and his fingers started to bleed as they were sewed together, just like in his nightmare. He fell down as she stood up. While he was still screaming, she steps towards him.
"I like when my lovers make a little noise, but this is getting a bit far, don't you think."
She smiled as he felt how his lips, eyes and nostrils were sewed together. The last thing he heard was: "We are going to make such a wonderful music."
And during his final minute of consciousness he realized what had happened to her former "lovers." This was her final revenge on men, she would be the only one who would be able to leave freely. She smiled at the box as she took her leave with her new cello...
Written by Belgiansparten