The Black Box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A mysterious black box claims another victim.

Submitted: April 07, 2014

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Submitted: April 07, 2014

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No one knows exactly when the stories started or where they came from, only that they are afraid of them. They were noticed only when a woman went missing. Her things were sold when her family knew she would not return. Then a man disappeared. Months later, his things were sold.

And, beginning from that first woman, dozens more went missing, each exactly a month after they bought something from the previous missing person. Where the first got it is unknown. What is known is that each was gone after buying the black box, without fail.

The current owner, Marshall, bought the box six days ago. H is unaware of the stories, unaware of what he has bought.

From the outside, the box is simple, but puzzling. It seems to be made of wood, but is black. It is smooth, glossy, and reflects like glass. It is light, easily picked up. And the seams are nearly invisible. Each side slides out from one another easily, if it wants you to be able to. Marshall cannot yet open the box.

Currently, it is sitting on a table, his kitchen table. He doesn’t know where he’s going to put it yet and his wife hates it. She finds it unsafe. But he likes it. They always like it, the ones that are Chosen, they must. If the box was frightening to the Chosen, no one would take it and no one would feed it.

The box isn’t hungry yet. But it will be. And this Chosen, the box thinks, will be fun. He is easily manipulated. And as he watches the box, it watches him. As it reflects him, it memorizes his face. He picks up the box and sets in on the side table beside the couch in the living room. This it also memorizes.

Every detail is copied and stored away inside the box’s memory. The placement of furniture, the type of materials used, the spider crawling and weaving a web unobserved by human eyes in the corner. Marshall’s fingerprints are absorbed by the box’s surface. By the month’s end, the box will know him.

The Chosen leaves the room. He is gone for most of the day, at work, the box knows, because he talks about it with his wife when he is home again. She goes to work all day too, coming home just half an hour before the Chosen. She always stops to glare at the box, glaring at it. The box fills with hate for this one. Perhaps the Chosen will not be the only one to feed the box this month.

When the Chosen returns that night, he does as usual. He comes in and locks the door after. He greets his wife with a kiss and some verbal greeting. The box watches this all, familiar with human interaction, but at the same time not understanding it. He hangs his keys up and removes his shoes. He goes to the bathroom. The Chosen and his wife eat dinner, usually something she cooks. She likes to cook.

After dinner, they wash dishes together. They speak, about work, their life, money, kids. They both want children, but haven’t yet been able to have any. It upsets her, talking about it. There are jokes, crude jokes, at other points and laughter.

With the dishes washed, they watch television. Murder mysteries, an occasional love story, action. Once that is done, the wife pays the bills and keeps track of their money. The Chosen vacuums the linoleum floors of the kitchen. The wife starts laundry. The Chosen goes to clean the bathroom.

When the night concludes, the two retire to their bedroom. The box does not wish to keep track of what goes on there, but it does as it always has and as it always will do. Some days there is only sleep, others not.

As the days progress, the Chosen becomes more focused on the box, more interested in watching its black surface. What does he think as he watches? What does he feel? If he feels? His wife becomes concerned. On day twelve, she talks with him about it, wondering why he is so attached to it. He simply tells her that he is fine, that he likes it, nothing more. He finds the box interesting.

By day fifteen, he has become near obsessive. He stares at it in his free time. He begins to take it with him to work, an accounting job the box finds out. It sits on his desk, watching him, watching him type and eat lunch and watches him watch it out of the corner of his eye.

The wife is worried now, very much so. While the Chosen is out, she calls a friend and speaks with her, telling the friend how worried she is, how unusual her husband is acting. When he comes home, she cries to him to throw it out.

By day twenty, he no longer leaves it behind anywhere. He takes it to work. He takes it with him even when his wife is there. He has a temper and protects the box from her hatred. On day twenty-one, she tries to get rid of it, takes it out of the house while her husband sleeps and puts it in the trash. He comes down once she is asleep and pulls the box out.

The next day, day twenty-two, the Chosen opens the box for the first time, while the wife is away. It is empty inside, and just as the outside, it is polished to shining, save for many, many etchings. Faces line the inside walls. The faces of the missing the Chosen, the box’s loved ones. Each face drawn in exact detail.

This Chosen traces the etchings with his fingers, feeling the fine lines of a wrinkle or hair versus the thick lines of the jaw or lips. The Chosen smiles and the box feeds on the emotion.

He closes the box and hides it away before his wife sees him with it again and becomes more angry and hateful than she already was. The Chosen lovingly replaces the box in the closet, hidden amongst the clothes and shoeboxes. It is safe.

On the last day, the box is ravenous and can wait no longer. The Chosen decides to sleep near the box this night, taking it with him down to the couch once the wife is soundly asleep. He cradles it in his laps as he, too, finds sleep, as one might hold a child.

He wakes in the middle of the night. He is cold. The box is cold. He opens the box again, sliding one side away and sits it next to him on the couch. A voice seems to call to him, soothing and familiar. It comes from within the box. The Chosen sees a pair of yellow, pupil-less eyes gazing at him. From within the box, the shadows stretch forth and touch his face affectionately.

Additional small, thin tendrils slip out of the box and leisurely wrap around the Chosen. He smiles at the eyes and they seem to smile back. The tendrils wrap tighter and became thicker. He is entirely obscured now. The shadowy form of the Chosen melts back into the box.

The side of the box which sits on the couch is raised by a black tentacle and is pulled back into place. The box is now alone of the couch. It is midnight of the twenty-ninth day.

The wife is confused when she wakes in the morning to an empty bed. She leaves the bed and slips on a robe. Curious and feeling a growing dread, she goes out into the main living area of the house. She goes through each room, arriving finally in the living room.

The sun is on the horizon and so there is a bright orange glow emanating from the edges of the closed blinds. This casts a strange glow to the room. The wife hardly notices, though, for she sees the black box sitting on the couch.

It watches her, watches her face go from curious to frightened and finally to blind rage. She rushes from the room and returns baring a hammer from the Chosen’s tool box in the garage.

She knows something has happened to Marshall because of the box and now will destroy it. For a month she has been witness to the Chosen slowly falling under the box’s spell and will stand for it no longer. She will destroy the box.

But the box is not without its own defenses.

She comes to the box and lifts it. She carries it harshly to the back porch, a fairly large patio area, a concrete slab surrounded by a sea of grass. With a great heave, she lifts the box above her head and hurls it at the ground, letting loose an anguished cry.

It bounces across the smooth concrete, end over end, before coming to a stop as though its weight has dramatically increased. She comes over to it, with tears running down her face, and brings the hammer down with all her strength.

Pain explodes in her head and she blinks. She looks down at the box she has just struck, but there isn’t so much as a smudge on its glossy surface. Something warm runs down her face and she drops the hammer as she raises a hand to that warmth. Her fingers are coated in blood. A few drops fall onto the top of the box, which disappear into the black depths.

Her eyes roll up into her head and she falls to the side. The box’s form begins to shiver and change. One of the sides slides back and the darkness within pours out like tar. The liquid darkness pools across the concrete, as the wife’s blood similarly does, and sweeps over her unconscious body like water over a river rock.

The wife tries to shriek, wakened by the cold sensation of the creature within the box coming into physical contact with her skin. All is dark to her senses and she cannot breathe. She is drowning in the darkness, for as she tries to take a breath, the dark invades.

She feels it flow into her ears and nose and mouth. Feels it do this and she is drowning. She is trying to scream, but no sounds can be heard. The dark fills her throat and lungs, constricts around her body, and then tightens its grip.

No sound is heard, but what would be seen, if anyone is looking, is the shape of the woman bending double. Two arms, coated in inky blackness, drop limply down as the box consumes the last bits of life essence from the wife.

The shape turns to liquid again, the shape of the woman melting down and no more what it was. The darkness retracts into the safety of the box, the side sliding closed immediately. No trace of the woman is to be found. No trace of Marshall, the Chosen.

The box sits alone again, in the vivid light of morning, gleaming in said sunlight. A hammer lays abandoned next to it. Contented for now, the box lapses into slumber, the way it shall remain until the next Chosen is near, and its hunger is once more roused.

 

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I wrote this forever ago, but I'm finally happy with it. Comments are very welcome, or at least leave a like if you enjoyed. :)


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