October 2015 – America
It was the fifth time today. Phone rings, no one there. Nothing but gravelly breathing. Loud and creepy. She was over it, it was freaking her out. Though she had searched and searched, no information could be found on the number. Turning off the phone made no difference, it would still ring.
She sat there looking at it, it seemed that it was menacingly staring back from the counter where it was lying. She felt like it would ring again at any moment, lights blinking across the black glass surface… She watched it and waited.
Nothing. Screw this, she was going home for the day. She grabbed her purse, threw the phone in it, and headed for the door to the shop. Just as she reached for the door handle, the bells hanging there moved on their own.
There was no breeze and no reason for them to do that.
As fast as she could she grabbed the handle and jerked open the door, plunging out into the cold night air. Breathing heavily, she fished the shop key out of her purse and with a shaking hand, locked the door.
Quiet. No sound. Nothing but the soft dying chimes of the still swaying bells…
She took off walking as fast as she could, trying not to draw attention to herself. By the time she reached her apartment, she thought she had an idea about what might be going on.
January 2008 – Siberia
The man shaded his eyes against the blinding glare of sun on snow. He looked off into the distance, waiting for the rest of his fishing party. They moved slowly towards him, hampered by the sled they dragged with them.
Finally, they got there and all three men looked down solemnly at the shrunken face staring back at them from under the ice…
The men could tell it was old. Mummified. The clothes on the body looked like something from a Mad Max movie. Knee-high black leather boots, leather belts, and a spiked leather band ran across its shriveled chest.
In one hand it held a wooden mace, in the other an odd black sword. Additionally, a large necklace with metal plates and precious stones was laid around the body’s neck.
One of the men let out a low whistle and pulled out the satellite phone.
June 2009 – England
The man laid in his hospital bed and stared at the ceiling. Nurses came and went, a doctor every now and then, but no one knew anything. The sores on his hands wouldn’t go away, his guts felt like things were crawling around in there, and his head was always on fire. Full of chattering voices saying terrible things he didn’t want to hear.
His whole life had fallen apart since that trip. In just 5 months, everything was gone including his health. One of the other men had killed himself just last month, his other friend had disappeared off the face of the Earth.
He wished he were dead. He wished he’d never gone on that fishing trip. He wished they had left that body in the ice and just went on…
August 2010 – England
The sword laid in its long stand in an impeccable glass case. In the dark room, the tiny spotlights made the black glass-like blade sparkle. It was slightly curved, odd for an obsidian sword; and the handle was stone, wrapped in strips of some prehistoric leather.
Next to it, in a separate case, was an ancient necklace. Gold plates ranging from half-dollar size to a penny were fitted with precious stones, carved with strange symbols, and set along a sturdy gold chain. In the middle of the center plate was set a diamond skull. A rather large one at that, it had to be at least 15 carats or more.
No one on Earth had ever seen anything like these pieces. The auction house had tried to authenticate the age, but scientists kept telling them there were mistakes in the samples. Nothing could be as old as these things were. The construction and materials just didn’t match up… Blah, blah, blah.
At least they could go on face value. The gold and precious stones were real, as was the diamond skull. The sword, genuine obsidian with a white onyx handle. The man contemplating the ancient display rolled his eyes to the sky. There was just so much no one ever knew…
He let his eyes move over to the corners of the ceiling, counting the security cameras; 1, 2, 3… Brushing an invisible piece of lint off of his expensive suit he sniffed and headed for the office.
December 2011 – France
She couldn’t keep her eyes off of the woman’s necklace. She knew it was rude and this was a once in a lifetime party… Still… It was a fascinating necklace. The big skull diamond couldn’t be real.
Damn. The woman had caught her staring and was coming towards her now. She just stood there like an idiot. The woman in question was also the host of the party and very interesting herself. Self-proclaimed Satanist, multi-millionaire, abnormally tall, skinny, and pale, she stood out from her guests like some sort of alien. Then there was the necklace…
The woman extended a skeletal hand dripping with jewel-encrusted rings. Shocked by how cold the woman’s hand was, she shook it limply as she mumbled through the introduction.
She was trying hard to keep from looking at the necklace but she couldn’t. To make matters worse, she was starting to feel really weird, and was that some kind of chattering in her head?
She had no idea what was happening to her. The Christmas lights around the ballroom were so bright, blinding even. She closed her eyes, forgetting the woman was even there, and didn’t realize she was moving to snatch the necklace from the woman’s neck…
Running. Running so hard and fast she couldn’t breathe. She came to her senses running down the darkened city streets in her formal dress, barefoot, with the necklace in her hand.
December 2011 – Germany
She looked at the sword in its wooden box. It laid on the table like a creature in a coffin. She didn’t want to get too close, didn’t want to see her face reflected in the blade.
She had begged her husband not to buy it. The lady who sold it to him wouldn’t even say much about it and she looked terrible. It also cost way too much money and they couldn’t afford it, but he wouldn’t listen.
Now here they were. They were going to have to move to a cheaper flat in the morning due to being evicted last week. Additionally, the bank had taken the cars and most of the furniture. She wasn’t going to take much more. If he didn’t get rid of that damn thing she was going to divorce him. Consequently, she was telling him tonight when he got home.
She sipped on her wine and imagined him homeless, laying in an alley hugging that damn sword…
A half an hour later she heard his keys in the door and braced herself. She had the worst feeling and considered not saying anything tonight. Things had to change though, she called to him from the kitchen and he joined her at the table. The sword, lay like a fence, between them.
He just stared at her, then the sword. “You want me to get rid of it don’t you?” She nodded yes, and proceeded to tell him if he didn’t get rid of it, she was leaving him. Going to live with her mother in Dortmund.
As she went on she didn’t notice her husband had picked up the sword and was now holding it, looking at it longingly, lovingly, like he’d never looked at her. She stopped talking and started yelling. He just sat there, staring, and petting the sword.
Suddenly he jumped up and with one heavy, fatal swing, chopped his wife’s head clean off. It flew across the room and hit the wall with a sick thud and splat, blood spraying everywhere.
He walked over to it and stared into her dead, surprised eyes. One fake eyelash dangled off her face and he picked it off, holding it between two fingers in one hand; the bloody sword, dripping on the carpet, hanging limply in the other.
April 2013 – America
The girl saw the necklace almost immediately. As soon as she had gotten out of the car she had seen it hanging in the thrift store window, winking at her in the sun. She went straight to the counter and had the clerk hold it for her while she looked around.
Back out in the car, she held it in her hands and just stared at it. While the thing was obviously fake, it was the most fascinating piece of costume jewelry she’d ever seen. The skull diamond gave her an evil grin.
She ran her hands over the smooth, polished metal. Turning it over and over, she noticed the strange symbols seemed to change with each motion. Feeling odd, she put it on, clasping it around her neck. It was beautiful and strange. She couldn’t take it off. In fact, she drove straight home and wore it the rest of the day, falling asleep with it on that night.
She woke up sweating profusely at 3 in the morning, clawing at her burning neck. Rushing to the bathroom she pulled off the necklace revealing a bright red welt around her throat.
Rubbing at her skin, she got a glass of water and went back to the necklace in the bathroom. Strange, though she was pretty sure it was fake, only real gold did that to her. She’d been allergic all of her life. She was wondering how much it was really worth as she pulled the rubber tourniquet up her arm.
Watching the clear liquid bubble up in the spoon was almost as hypnotic as staring at the necklace. She didn’t know which one turned her on more but after sticking the needle slowly into the crook of her arm, she knew for sure. That necklace was going to pay her way for a while…
She never could bring herself to sell it though. Days and then weeks went by and it seemed that life wasn’t so bad, so often. She knew the necklace had something to do with the change so she couldn’t sell it.
When she went out to the club that evening she was wearing it. Walking to her car after a great time, singing softly to herself… She didn’t hear or see them.
Her screams caused security to run into the parking garage but they were too late. The girl had been ripped to pieces. An arm here, a leg there, and the dogs were still going; biting and tearing her flesh and bone. Her last thought was to wonder why there was a pack of vicious dogs in a city parking garage.
One of the guards at the scene would come up missing weeks later. It would happen to be the same one who found the necklace laying far from the bloody mess, gleaming in the green fluorescent lights.
July 2013 – Japan
She had been there for days. The last lead she had on the obsidian sword brought her here. She had been looking for it since it had come to the auction house years ago. It had left a solid trail of destruction and death behind it, so it wasn’t hard to track.
The man on the phone said he had it and he would sell it to her. Finally, her moment had arrived. The first and only, as far as she knew, Non-Meso American obsidian sword. She couldn’t believe it hadn’t gone to a museum just for that reason alone. Well, it would be there soon enough.
Her phone rang breaking into her thoughts. It was him. Answering quickly, she found out that he wanted to meet her on the next train out of town. That sounded fine to her, there should be plenty of other travelers on there as well.
She couldn’t have been more wrong. As she boarded the train, she noticed no one was on it. First car, second car… maybe he wasn’t here yet.
Then she saw him, she knew it was him. Sitting alone with a guitar case in the third car. He saw her too and waved.
Apparently, he knew who she was or he knew no one else would be on this train. Either way, her guard was up now, some scary people had been in possession of this sword. She took a seat next to him.
It wasn’t long before the train began to move. The man had still not said anything and he hadn’t moved either. They sat silently next to each other and she wondered why he had chosen the train. It seemed a dangerous choice given what he supposedly was in possession of.
As if he was reading her mind, the man looked over at her and said that the sword was in the case. As long as it stays in there, they were safe.
She blinked at him and stated that it must be some kind of special guitar case. He patted it fondly and said that it most definitely was.
The train was headed for Toyohashi and they had about an hour left together. She asked him to tell her what he knew about the sword. Obligingly, he told her he didn’t know much, just that it was over 90,000 years old, and a huge source of bad luck.
What was up with the guitar case?
The man proceeded to tell her the story of his own experiences with the sword. How it fell on him and cut off his foot as soon as he bought it. How his wife had been murdered in a robbery at the bank she worked at. How he had slowly begun to feel himself going mad…
He had a friend who was a priest and that priest played guitar. When he told his troubles to his friend, the priest came to the conclusion that the sword was cursed. His solution was to try to bless the thing and lock it away in a sacred place.
That sacred place happened to be the priest’s guitar case and it worked a little. The man’s troubles were not gone entirely but limited to minor inconveniences.
$100,000.00 was a lot of money to just hand over to this man. She wanted to see the sword before she bought it. This could be all bullshit. Fake sword, empty case, whatever, but she wouldn’t know until they got off the train. She didn’t like that and told the man as much. He reminded her of her earlier transgressions about being on a train with the sword.
She knew she knew, but she couldn’t buy it without seeing it first. The man insisted she wait and finally she reluctantly agreed.
As the train rumbled on she passed a case of cash over to the man. He opened it and checked the bills inside then handed her the guitar case.
With a little over 20 minutes left, they now sat in silence. She drummed her nails impatiently on the case and as the man stared out the train window, he knew it was only a matter of time…
She couldn’t do it. He wasn’t looking at her so she quietly opened the latches on the case. Waiting to see if he had heard her, she held her breath. Continuing on, she cracked open the lid for a peek inside.
Shit. It was too dark, she couldn’t see anything but the hilt and a glint of light from the blade. She opened the case wide, no longer caring about the man. Additionally, she didn’t hear the strange sounds the train had started making.
About the same time the woman pulled the sword from the case, the train began to sway from side to side. The man turned his head and stared at her. The last thing she heard before the train flew off of the tracks into the water was his goodbye.
August 2015 – America
He looked around at the dusty, empty house. Everything had been cleaned out and packed up. The old man was a hoarder and this place had killed him. Literally. He had found his dad crushed beneath a pile of boxes, furniture, clothes, and God knows what else.
His footsteps echoed across the old wood floors and sunbeams played hide and seek through the rooms. He’d always hated this place. His father had loved things; possessions. Not him. He was lucky to find his bed throughout high school.
If he hadn’t been checking in on the old man once a week, he would have laid there, dead and rotting under that pile for a long time. Dad had no friends at the end, and no relatives but this one pitiful son. Cursed. Obsessed.
There were five boxes left in the living room. Amidst the moth-eaten clothes, old cereal boxes, shoes, cats, and shit; there actually were a few things of value. Costume jewelry, antiques, vintage clothes, and nick-nacks. Anything that looked like it might be worth something was in there.
A lady had bought the whole lot off of Craigslist and she was supposed to be here at noon. The man looked at his watch, 12:15… She was late, it was after-noon. He went outside to have a smoke.
Signs of Trouble
There was an accident up ahead. A bad one from the number of cops and ambulances. Shit. She couldn’t get out of the traffic and she was already running late. Drumming her fingers on the steering wheel was all she could do and wait. Hopefully, he would call her. Oddly enough, she couldn’t find his number in her phone or on Craigslist now.
He stubbed out his cigarette with his boot and looked at his phone. Nothing, and it was almost 1:00. Scrolling through the numbers on his call list, he tried to remember which one was hers. Why didn’t she call? Had she changed her mind? He didn’t want to go back inside as something felt creepy in there.
Sighing heavily, he sat down on the bench by the front door. It wasn’t too much longer when an old maroon Buick pulled into the driveway. A blonde woman at the wheel looked stressed and rushed. After pouring herself out of the car, she apologized all the way to the front porch.
The man was standing by the time she got to him. She vaguely wondered why he was outside, but the thought passed quickly as she extended her hand. She hoped he hadn’t had to wait too long.
He motioned her inside as he opened the front door. At the same time, he was telling her the boxes were in the living room. He left the door open and followed her into the hallway, explaining it was the room to the left.
The woman turned left into the big, empty, and sunny room. There were 5 dusty boxes of different sizes piled up in the middle of the floor. Her stomach rolled a little… Bad lunch? It had already been a long day and she figured it was that.
As she moved into the room she began to feel stranger and stranger. Her eyes wouldn’t focus right and for a second, she thought she saw a shimmer, a shimmery shadow figure by the window. Looking directly at it made it disappear if it was ever there at all.
She shook her head, clearing the fog. The man behind her asked if she was okay, and she said yeah. Allergies… and handed him $500.00 cash. $100.00 per box as agreed. He took the money and nodded, then proceeded to help her load them into her car. As she drove away she realized she never even looked inside them.
What Did She Buy?
Pulling into the next gas station, she got out and poked around in the boxes in the back seat. Nice. Good stuff. The box she was currently in was worth at least $500.00. Whew, that was a close one she thought. The whole sale was so strange, she could have really been duped.
A necklace in the second box caught her eye. Pulling the box closer across the seat, she could see the thing was gold, real gold, and in the center of that disc… She couldn’t believe her eyes. This thing was worth thousands!
She went to pull it out of the box but it was stuck. It jerked back, cutting her finger. A drop of blood fell on the offending disk, gleaming in the evening sunlight. Sticking her finger in her mouth, she decided to leave it until she got to her shop. It had been one long, and ultimately dangerous, day.
End of the Line Jane
End of the line… She turned and ran as fast as she could down the dark alley. Splashing through the ankle-deep water, rats scurrying away from her. She didn’t know how much longer she could run. Her legs burned, her lungs were on fire. She couldn’t breathe and didn’t know where she was.
His footsteps were loud behind her. He was still there. Her heart pounded and she ran. Her phone began to ring but she couldn’t answer it. She didn’t know why.
The alley went on forever. She ran forever. The man was behind her. A corner appeared and she quickly ducked into it realizing she had messed up way too late. Dead end. Encased by three brick walls that rose forever into the sky, she knew she was doomed.
Here came his footsteps… Louder and louder as they moved closer and closer to her dark little cubby. She was shivering in her cold sweat and tears of terror ran down her face as she silently begged her damn phone to stop ringing…
The footsteps stopped and she looked up at the man-like creature looming over her. He raised his arm, something shiny and sharp flashed… Blood dripped… End of the line Jane… A burst of hideous laughter filled the air. She woke up thrashing the sheets and drenched in sweat. A nightmare. A horrible nightmare. 2:15. Shaking it off, she got up to get some water.
September 2018 – America
She didn’t think she had ever been so sick in all of her life. Kneeling before the toilet bowl on the cold tile floor, she wretched and vomited for at least the twentieth time that night. Using the bowl as a prop, she pulled herself up and stumbled towards the kitchen.
Weakly, she tried to put some ice in a glass but only succeeded in knocking the bandage off her hand. Looking at the festering wound, she knew she was in trouble. It was so much worse now. Angry red slashes crossed over red and white puffy skin, surrounding the cut from last month.
Yellow and green pus seeped from under a greenish and barely scablike film. It smelled horrible and she gagged trying to cover it with a paper towel. Feeling faint with the room pulsing in and out, she barely managed to dial 911 before total darkness overtook her.
Work to Be Done
Checking out of the emergency room she had one thing on her mind. Her shop. It had been weeks since she had opened and she really needed to make up for lost time. How could she have been so stupid? After her brush with death, she knew she would never go without cleaning a cut or scratch again. Ever.
The boxes were still there. Unopened, just like she had left them back in August. Feeling like it was an early Christmas, she eagerly wanted to see what surprises they held. Lining up the boxes in front of her, she pulled up a chair and got to work.
Starting with the one that held the necklace.
Wow. Holding it up to the light she couldn’t believe her good fortune. Definitely gold, definitely museum quality, and definitely a pure, custom, hand-cut diamond. Amazing. Priceless. Rushing to get a jewelry case, she stubbed her toe on the counter.
Stumbling along, she placed the necklace in its new case and put it aside. There were other things in the boxes. More jewelry, mostly costume but all nice pieces. Some vintage clothes in pretty good shape. China dishes, some nick nacks and one very old, metal mask on a stand. Brass maybe?
It was a very good buy out and she set about pricing items and hanging clothes. The phone rang. The sound of it made her jump and knocked her back into the present.
Removing it from her pocket she answered it only to be greeted with silence. Raspy silence like someone was breathing but far away. Hello? She asked again and got the same thing, then nothing. The caller had hung up.
Weird. Creepy. She felt herself staring out the front window at the dead leaves blowing around. The phone clattering to the floor brought her back into reality. Scooping it up and sliding it into her back pocket, she realized it was late, she was hungry, and just a little bit freaked out. Time to go.
Two Weeks Later
The nightmares just kept getting worse and worse. She was so tired. Every night she ran and ran through dark, empty, wet streets. Terrorized by a huge dark figure. She was so tired… Her eyes closed before she knew it. Hands-on the wheel, foot on the gas, she drove right through the red light and into the back of a parked van.
She woke up in the emergency room, her phone on the table next to her was ringing madly. The happy ringtone sounded maniacal and out of place. She couldn’t move to answer it so she laid there suffering until it finally stopped.
Sedated. Looking around at herself it seemed she was okay. No casts or anything, but she couldn’t move. Her phone began to ring again…
It rang on and off, over and over until the nurse came in. The phone didn’t ring one time while she was there. At any rate, she asked the nurse to turn it off before she left which she did.
The verdict was okay. Severe concussion, whiplash, and some internal bruising… One totaled vehicle and yes, she had been sedated. Well, at least she was alive.
Her phone started to ring. What the hell? She had watched the nurse turn it off. It was off. Yet here it was ringing again, and it became a part of her nightmare as she drifted off to sleep…
October 2018 – America
She ran inside the apartment and slammed the door behind her, scrambling to lock it. She didn’t know what was following her if anything at all but she felt like every demon in Hell was after her.
Her phone started ringing. She grabbed it out of her purse and pulled the battery out of it. Though she didn’t know which piece it was, something bad was definitely in those boxes. Other antique dealers had experienced it before, the acquirement of cursed or bad luck objects.
Came with the territory according to some. It had never happened to her, but there was a first time for everyone she supposed.
Carefully she checked the windows and doors making sure everything was locked. After making a pot of coffee, she headed for the living room with her inventory book. The photos of the new stuff were still in their envelope and she flipped through them slowly. Maybe it was the whole lot? Was the old guy into some kind of devil worship or something?
The ceramic bunny with pink flowers looked ominous, as did the garden gnome from 1975. The mask, that mask most assuredly looked evil. Bellbottoms, platforms, crinolines, and corsets. Lots of neat stuff.
There was a necklace, she remembered it but the photo seemed to be missing. That was the item. She knew it, felt it in her soul. She remembered very clearly how the diamond skull grinned up at her giving her chills.
Wondering where the photo went, she put the others back in the envelope.
The necklace was at the shop and she wasn’t going back there tonight. What she could do, was to try to find some history or information on the piece.
A Long Night
Gold plates and skulls seemed to always lead back to Meso-American cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans. Diamonds, however, at least anything close to this age, were more likely from India. The symbols on the plates were indecipherable, there was nothing like them anywhere on the internet.
It was a mystery to her. She knew old stuff, but this… A loud bang from the bathroom made her jump out of the chair. It was followed by two more and then nothing.
Fumbling with her phone and battery, it seemed like forever before she heard the music telling her she had connected with the world. Though once it was up and running, she wondered who exactly she would call. The Ghostbusters?
Another loud bang and a crash. Something was back to trashing the bathroom. Glass breaking and loud thuds as well as more bangs and crashes. She knew it wasn’t human. Curling up in the corner of the couch with her back against the wall, she waited for daylight.
Something Has to be Done
The sound of birds chirping and warm sunlight woke her up. Unfolding herself from the couch she made her way to the bathroom. Stopping in front of the closed door, she readied herself for the damage she would find. Holding her breath, she pushed open the door.
Everything looked and was fine. It couldn’t be. She ran down the hall and checked the bedrooms. All was fine with nothing out of place. Wild. Digging her phone out of her pocket she called the archaeology department at the local college.
After about the third try, she randomly picked a professor at the college off of the internet and called him personally. He answered on the second ring and was more than happy to hear about a cursed necklace plaguing a local antique dealer.
Better than that, he wanted to see it and knew a way she could get rid of it without passing along the bad luck or losing any money.
Feeling a lot lighter and less stressed, she got dressed and headed down to the shop. The professor wouldn’t be here until after 1:00 so she might as well try to get on with her life. She glanced over at the necklace sparkling inside the glass jewelry case. What a shame…
She heard the bells on the door and hoped for a sale. Turning around she never expected what she got. The man was dressed all in black, masked, and had a gun pointed at her face. He demanded all the money she had.
After emptying the register and safe, he motioned towards her purse. As she handed him the last little bit of her cash, he shot her point-blank in the forehead.
November 2018 – America
The professor put in the final bid and waited. He looked at the sparkly golden disks and evil skull. It was not fear he felt. No, he felt powerful. With this item safely under glass in a museum, it wouldn’t be able to harm anyone else.
Sold. The red block popped up telling him it was his for $10,000.000, payment due within the next hour.
The necklace made it to the museum without a problem as the professor never took it out of its case, not once. The museum director moved it one time from its original box to its new home on a pedestal under glass and lights.
It was now part of an exhibit featuring jewelry of the ancient world. Certain facts were printed on a small plaque in front of it. What it was made of, how old it might be, etc. Nothing about how many had died in its wake. No warning label telling how dangerous it really was.
The skull glared at all those who looked at it. Menacing even the security officers and housekeepers at night. Officers and housekeeping in a museum that now had a particularly high turn-over rate…