This time, she decided to check where the music box was. It was less than a month since Cindy had moved to her boyfriend’s new apartment. They were the first tenants of the building and everything seemed perfect. Eric had to work until late in his clinic and she never argued. She didn’t want to look paranoid but just wanted to see whose music box was so loud. She used to have one when she was a little girl and knew that they could never articulate loud sounds unless they were very close to the listener.
She tiptoed in a dimly lit corridor and went down. The sound of the music box stopped for a minute but restarted. Cindy reached the ground floor but the sound was from below. She looked around to find an exit door. There was only one at the end of a narrow corridor but it was locked. She pushed the door several times but no use. She almost gave up when suddenly the door opened. Cindy shivered as a cold breeze blew and the ceiling lights started blinking.
As soon as she walked in, the door closed behind her and she was plunged into darkness. Cindy turned the knob many times but the door stayed close. She could easily hear her own breathing as a dead silence fell. She kept walking until she saw a poorly lit staircase at the end of the corridor which led to the basement. The music box’s tune started to play again. Cindy had no other choice but to follow it.
She let go of the banister when a huge sculpture studio appeared in front of her. The sound got louder as she stepped into the studio. Clay was everywhere in the studio and the smell of thinner was annoying. The sculptures were astonishing but weird, Cindy thought. The little music box was on a table in the middle of the room. Walking through the sculptures, her feet touched the hand of one of those beautifully lined sculptures. To her surprise, the hand was warm rather than cold. She ignored it and finally held the music box.
The music box stopped playing as she started to examine it. Its figurine was missing. She pushed her fingers inside the box to look for the figurine. She immediately pulled out her finger as it was cut by something sharp in the box. She sucked on the blood and put her hand in her pocket. The music box started working again and a little boy figurine with a face as pale as a ghost rose. Cindy took her face closer and looked at the little boy. His innocent eyes captivated her as she held him and kissed him. She felt a kind of sweetness in her mouth and fell on the floor.
When she opened her eyes, the sound of the music player and the figurine’s giggles were the only sound she heard. A man in a dark long cloak came in and started wrapping the sculptures. Cindy tried to get up but realized that her body was covered with clay. She was only able to move her eyes. The man put her on his shoulder and took to his van. Cindy saw Eric in the corridor but wasn’t able to shout. He quietly passed them, looked at the abandoned music box on the staircase, and headed upstairs to their apartment.
Azadeh Nafissi is a Paris based writer/filmmaker and a contributor to The Story Mint and The Culture Trip. She grew up in Tehran, Iran and after finishing her BA in English Language and Literature she traveled to Auckland, New Zealand and received an MA in English Literature and a PGD in Communication Studies. Her passion for cinema drew her to Paris, France where she studied filmmaking. She has written several short and feature scripts and directed short documentaries. Apart from her films, she’s working on a collection of short stories. Her first short story and serial appeared in The Story Mint in 2014.