The Jewelry Box: A Scary Story by Dani Toubin

Destiny saw the box at an estate sale for the first time when she was seventeen years old. Her neighbor, Ms. Lincoln, had passed away tragically from an unfortunate accident––she was trying to get her cat down from the roof before she slipped and fell down two stories, right onto her head. Her son, Trevor, decided to hold an estate sale like the greedy boy he had always been. His parents were well off, and he inherited Ms. Lincoln’s entire fortune due to a mistake she had made while writing her will after her husband had passed away. The pale pink suede called to Destiny, but she didn’t have the money to buy it. However, Trevor was willing to compromise. She told him to hold on to the box until she was 25, and if she still wanted it then, she would pay him for it, all $150.

Eight years passed and the jewelry box had been the only thing on Destiny’s mind. She had dreams about the tiny porcelain dancer spinning until she felt dizzy, and the gold knobs on the compartment drawers. She would pick up the jewelry box and open it. The tiny dancer would speak to her, telling her that she could grant wishes. Destiny would always wish for the same things: first, she wanted her dream car, a 1954 Hudson Hornet in powder blue; second, to be able to read minds; third, to find her soulmate. The dancer granted all her wishes but the third. After her seventh night in a row of having the same dream, Trevor called.

person holding balloons Gaelle Marcel/Unsplash “Happy Birthday, Destiny. Are you still thinking about that box?” His voice carried malicious intent, as it always had. Even when they were children, he sounded like the antagonist in any film she had ever watched. She could imagine the smirk on his face, glancing down at the rings on his fingers before running a hand through his poorly dyed blonde hair. She glanced at the clock. It read 12:03. Creepy. Her cat, Dominic, hopped on to the bed and cuddled into her side as she continued to talk to Trevor.

“Uh. Yes. I was going to call you in the morning, actually. I didn’t…I didn’t know you knew when my birthday was.” She had not meant to stumble over her words, but truth be told, she was taken aback by his knowledge of her birthday. And how did he know she would still have the same phone number? He’d always given off stalker vibes, but maybe her paranoia and exhaustion contributed to her overthinking. 

“We’re friends on Facebook and Snapchat. It shows birthdays, you know.” His chuckle echoed through the receiver into the vast darkness of her room as she mumbled “uh huh.”

“I can get it to you tomorrow, but I do need the $150 in cash. And I don’t take returns, no matter what. No questions asked.” He continued, his voice deepening slightly with seriousness. 

bobcat fire 2020 Photo by Nikolay Maslov from Unsplash It caught Destiny off guard, and she glanced out at the moonlight street from her apartment.

“Fine. We’ll meet at Gateway Park tomorrow at noon. I’ll have the cash.” She got up from her bed as she finished her sentence, hanging up the phone and setting it on her nightstand. Her hand reached for the light switch, flipping it on, before finding her wallet on the dresser. She counted out $150 and set it on her vanity before turning off the lights once more and getting back in bed. Tired, she curled up and drifted off to sleep, dreaming the same dream once more. 

Destiny awoke startled, checking the time on her phone, 8:32 AM. Her heart felt like it was going to pound out of her chest as sweat dripped down her forehead. The dream had taken a dark and disturbing turn last night. She had finally been able to finish asking for her third wish, just as a disfigured, decaying corpse crawled out from under her bed, professing its love for her. The corpse claimed it had loved her in all its previous lives and they were destined to be together through life and death. It crawled toward her, scratching into her right leg and trying to yank her under the bed. Awake now, she tossed the covers to the side to reveal three claw marks in her leg. Maybe she had scratched herself in her sleep. Perhaps her dream had felt so real that in an attempt to wake herself up, she tried to fend it off like she did in the dream, scratching her own leg up instead. She got out of bed, placing a hand over the wounds to stop them from bleeding. Thrusting open the door to the bathroom, she dug through the cabinets to find some bacitracin and band aids. Destiny sat on the floor, opening up a couple band aids to place on her open wounds. The scratches did not look like they came from her fingernails and were at least an inch deep. She applied bacitracin to the cuts, hissing in pain, before placing the band aids over the cuts. She stared at her bandaged leg for some time, confused and bewildered at the situation. Just then her phone rang, disrupting her thoughts. Destiny made her way back to bed and sat down on the edge, answering her phone.

TikTok App on iPhone Photo by Solen Feyissa from Unsplash “Hello?”

“Don’t buy that jewelry box if you know what’s good for you.” The voice sounded distinctly like Ms. Lincoln’s, but she had been dead for over five years. The line went dead and Destiny dropped her phone in her lap. Her head began to spin.

She arrived at the park fifteen minutes early with the cash tucked into the front pocket of her jeans. Before leaving the house, she’d reached out to a friend to try and trace the unknown number, but they had no luck. If this was some elaborate prank Trevor was pulling on her, he was really going to get it. She watched Trevor pull into the parking lot. He got out of the car, jewelry box in hand, a cigarette hanging loosely from his lips. Destiny got up from the bench, rolling her eyes slightly as she made her way over to him. 

“Do you have the money?” Trevor asked as she approached him. She nodded and pulled the $150 out of her pocket, handing it to him. In return, he handed her the jewelry box. 

“Take good care of it, my grandmother held it near and dear to her heart. She’ll know if you break it.” He deadpanned before cracking a smile. “I’m kidding, she won’t know.” He turned on his heels and made his way back to his car. Before getting back in his car and driving off, he turned around and winked at Destiny. She took the jewelry box back to her car and placed it in the passenger’s seat. The drive back home was quiet, but she could’ve sworn out of the corner of her eye she saw the box shake slightly. But it must have been nothing, it was only a jewelry box. 

“Dominic! I’m home!” Destiny called out to her kitty as she shut the door behind her. But Dominic didn’t come out from his usual place under the sofa to greet her. She slipped her shoes off and made her way into the living room, the jewelry box in hand. “Hm. He’s not in here.” She made her way to the bedroom, placing the jewelry box on the vanity. There she saw Dominic’s tail peeking out from under the bed. “There you are, silly cat!” She commented as she knelt down next to the bed where the cat lay. But Dominic didn’t move. She reached her hands under the bed to pull him out and felt something wet. As she pulled him out, she screamed. It was only Dominic’s lower half. “DOMINIC!” She started to sob, cradling what was left of the corpse of her cat in her hands. The other half of her cat was found under her vanity, eyes dead and wide, staring directly at her. The door slowly closed behind her, and on the back of the door in big black ink, “YOU MADE A BIG MISTAKE.” 

“No this can’t be happening. This is a dream. It’s all a dream.” She got up off the floor and went into the bathroom to wipe her face off. Her heart was racing. Maybe it was the jewelry box’s fault. She couldn’t return it back to Trevor. He would think she was crazy anyways. Suddenly, there was a thunk behind her. She turned around, and there in the middle of the floor was the jewelry box, open. The tiny dancer’s head fell off and rolled over to Destiny’s feet. She bent down to pick it up before hearing a “Boo” from behind her, and then the world went black.

Destiny woke up in a dimly lit library of some sorts, strapped down to a chair that had no back support whatsoever. “What—Where am I? Hello? Hello!?” She called out, hearing her voice echo against the high walls and ceilings. There was an alter before her with roses, animal skulls, the corpse of her pet cat, what looked like a lock of her hair, and the jewelry box, the head looked like it had never fallen off. “Where am I? Someone please let me out of here!” She screamed once more. 

creepy stairs Photo by Erik Witsoe from Unsplash “Your voice is quite annoying; did you know that?” Trevor said, emerging from the shadows, his signature smirk resting upon his features as he held a leatherbound book in his hands. Two more men appeared from the shadows as well, almost identical to Trevor. “You must be wondering where you are, and don’t worry, we’ll tell you, eventually. First, let me explain to you why you are here. See, my mother was a kind woman. She had no enemies, except for me, of course. I loathed her and her kind spirit. Her good nature and maternal instincts got in the way of my plans. I was contacted in my sleep as a child by Lilith herself. She promised me eternal life for the sacrifice of one woman who meant the world to me. Although I loathed mother, she was the only woman I truly loved in my life. No one could compare to her. But mother grew suspicious of the animal killings, the carvings in my bedroom, the books I was reading. She was nosy, and I hated that. So, I had to set my sights on a new prize. And that prize was you. I set my sights on you when we were freshman in high school. I had already planned my mother’s demise. She had poisoned herself by asking too many questions. You, on the other hand, were the girl next door. You hated me, and I loved you. It was perfect. You never knew about the sneaking into your house, subliminal messages, or the clothing I stole. So yes, I murdered my mother, because she was tainted.” He grinned, grabbing a pack of spearmint gum from his pocket and taking a piece out. “Would you like one, boys? Destiny, darling, would you like a piece?” He teased, popping the gum into his mouth and chewing.

“You are crazy! None of that is real. Lilith? It’s not real, Trevor. Let me go now and maybe I’ll consider not getting a restraining order.” Destiny seethed, but Trevor just laughed and flipped open his book. He began reciting phrases in Latin. The two other men closed in on her, the chanting grew louder, it sounded like hundreds of voices were in the room. Destiny started to scream, shaking violently and—

camcorder on blue background Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash “Cut! That’s a wrap everyone! We’ll work on scenes 10-16 again tomorrow.” The lights in the studio turned on and Destiny stopped screaming as one of the Key PAs came to unstrap her. 

“Darling, you did great. Do you need any Advil? I know you were screaming a lot today. I have your bottle of water ready for you at your chair.” The PA smiled, giving her a pat on the back. Destiny nodded her head and rubbed her temples.

“Screaming will take the life out of you, metaphorically and physically.” She laughed, walking over to her chair and taking a sip of water. The day had been long, excruciatingly long. But working on the set of the newest big box office horror hit was totally worth it. As Destiny packed up her things and got ready to leave the sound stage, she turned around one more time and glanced toward the jewelry box––the tiny dancer turned around on its own, winking at her.