Aaron’s Magic Boxx

📅 Published on July 20, 2020

“Aaron's Magic Boxx”

Written by William Dalphin
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 21 minutes

Rating: 8.67/10. From 3 votes.
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Some nights are worse than others. Some nights, I wake up alone in the dark with a cold chill settling upon me, seeping into my flesh. Other nights I toss and turn until I wake with a half-remembered image of my brother Aaron’s face. In my dream – it’s always the same one – he’s lying prone on the floor, his head tilted back, mouth hanging open. He reaches for me, and as he does, his fingers stretch, new joints appearing, allowing them to bend and twist until they manage to grasp me. On good nights, I don’t dream at all.

Nobody but I knows what happened to Aaron, because I never told them. The events behind his disappearance are a secret I’ve kept for over twenty years. Our parents died believing that he had run away from home, that he was out there somewhere, alive. I thought it better to let them think that.

They might have been half right.

It’s all my fault, you see. I could have done something. I should have done something. I saw what was happening to Aaron and sat back and quietly hoped that things would turn out okay. They didn’t. It was a book. Just an ordinary-looking hardback that Aaron found at the town library. It seemed innocuous enough: no dust jacket, no numerical library classification, and no sign out card. You’d almost think that the book didn’t belong to the library at all. Its cover was dusty brown, plain, with no title or author. Someone had tucked it away on a bottom shelf in the section reserved for works about medieval western philosophy. That’s where Aaron found it, gathering dust, waiting for him to take it.

Inside, there was no copyright or publication information and all the text appeared to be gibberish, written in some other language we couldn’t identify. I immediately brushed the book off as a mild curiosity, but something about it interested Aaron, and he tucked it into his bookbag, making sure no one saw. We were both silent the whole walk home, but as soon as we got inside the house, Aaron sprinted up to his room. When I wandered up later, his “DO NOT DISTURB” sign was up, so I knocked before letting myself in.

Aaron had cleared everything off his desk save the book, a pad of paper, and his reading lamp. The tome was turned open to a page filled with diagrams and strange symbols scrawled by hand in a faded ink on yellowing paper. The top sheet of Aaron’s notepad was half-filled with his usual chicken scratch handwriting.

“How are you getting anything out of this?” I asked, thumbing back a couple of pages in the strange work.

Aaron gazed at the open book with eyes that seemed to be looking past the pages, at something beyond. “I don’t know, but the more I read it, it’s like the symbols turn into words in my head.”

I paused my page-turning and looked hard at the text, trying to glean some significance from the marks, hoping to see the text like Aaron could, but it refused to yield its secrets to me. After a minute, I realized my vision was burning with dryness, and yet I could not compel myself to blink. My eyes refused to look away from the script on the page. Something inside me was convinced that the book’s secrets were going to reveal themselves to me at any moment, but in my mind I was panicking at the fact that I wanted to look away, and yet I could not seem to.

When finally I blinked, the spell was broken. I twisted away, my eyes watering, needing to look at anything else, and in that same instant I felt a sharp twinge like the point of a knife piercing my skull. The headache came abruptly, leaving me clutching my temples in agony. My knees buckled and I felt suddenly ready to vomit.

“Are you okay?” Aaron asked, shutting the book.

I grunted, my head still throbbing. “It hurts.”

“I don’t think you’re ready for the knowledge this possesses.”

I glared at him. “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you calling me stupid?”

“I’m just saying that maybe the stuff in here is beyond your comprehension.”

Rising to my feet, I stuttered out half an insult, but my stomach was still lurching from the intense pain in my head and I failed to really put any menace behind my words. Tears blurred my vision and all I wanted was to be somewhere else. Without another word, I walked out of his room, making sure to slam the door behind me. By the time I’d made it to the bathroom and managed to wash my face clean, the stabbing sensation had subsided, leaving me with just a dull ache.

* * * * * *

Two days later, I spotted Aaron reading the book at the breakfast table. After he was done, he slipped it into his Star Wars backpack. As I watched, he whispered something into his bag, like he was comforting a child. I would have sworn I heard something whispering back to him in response, and it set all the hairs on my arms on edge. Aaron looked up, saw me watching, and gave a quick nod of solidarity. I did not nod back.

We sat together as usual on the bus, Aaron always got to be by the window. I asked him what he was intending to do by taking the book to school. “Are you going to show it to one of your teachers?”

“No, I’ve got something I want to try.”

I felt uneasy about him using anything he’d learned from that book in front of our classmates, especially Bobbie Bucharest. Bobbie was in fifth grade with Aaron, but was as big as a junior high kid. He wasn’t just mean, he was also smart, which made him dangerous. I wish I could say that he came from a broken home, that a lifetime of neglect or abuse had carved him into the bully that he was, but the truth was that his parents were very nice people, both lawyers, who seemed convinced that their precious angel Bobbie was a saint. They even invited Aaron to his birthday party one year, which our parents graciously declined on account of the fact that Aaron was terrified that it was all a trap, and the Bucharests were going to eat him.

But I digress.

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

Aaron gazed out the window. “You’ll see. Watch for me by the swings during recess.”

After lunch, I filed out into the schoolyard with the rest of my class. They staggered the recess time of the different grades, so the fifth graders had been outside for about fifteen minutes and would be going in soon. I immediately made a bee-line for the swings, which were up a hill around the side of the building by the basketball court.

Aaron was there already, standing still and watching a group of kids playing kickball down on the tarmac. Among them was Bobbie Bucharest, who seemed oblivious to both of us as I reached the top of the hill.

Aaron smiled at me.

“So,” I said, “what’s up?”

“Not up… down.” Aaron indicated toward our feet.

Following his gesture with my eyes, I noticed a circular pattern around his shoes carved into the ground probably with a stick. Some of the symbols looked vaguely recognizable: a bird’s head, two spirals and a dash, the letter E backward, that sort of thing, but they were just nonsense to me.

“You drew a circle. Okay.”

“Now, watch.” Aaron took two steps over to me. Nothing seemed to happen; I shrugged at him.

As if on cue, I heard Bobbie’s voice rise from behind us down on the tarmac. “Hey!”

I turned to see him staring at us from the sidelines of the kickball game. He was standing by his crony friend, Greg Collins, waiting for his turn to kick, but as we watched he excused himself from the game and started marching in our direction.

“Oh great,” I muttered, spinning on my heel to get ready to come between Bobbie and Aaron if I had to. But Aaron had stepped back over to his drawing in the dirt and was smiling patiently, as if nothing was wrong. “What is it, a bully-summoning circle?”

Aaron pursed his lips. “Shhh… you’ll see.”

I felt a heavy hand grab me by the shoulder and spin me around. Even a year behind me, Bobbie still loomed several inches taller, but even with the height advantage he had never picked a fight with me. Not because I could beat him up, mind you, but while he knew that he could frighten Aaron into silence because they saw each other in class all the time, with me there was a strong likelihood he’d end up in the principal’s office.

“Piss off, Bobbie,” I snarled.

He curled his lips up in a sneer. Years later in high school, I’d take great delight in punching him right between those fat, smug cheeks. “I just wanted to talk to you two twerps.”

“So talk.”

“Well, where’d the other twerp run off to?”

I glanced over my shoulder; Aaron was still standing there silently. He wasn’t fidgeting or trying to creep away like he usually did. I shrugged Bobbie’s hand off my shoulder and stepped away from him to stand by my brother with my arms crossed. “Well?”

Bobbie didn’t move. “I saw you both up here a moment ago, talking to each other.”

“Yeah, so what?”

He looked all around, surveying the rest of the schoolyard. “So now he’s hiding in some little dingy hole somewhere, I guess.”

“What do you mean?” his last statement threw me off guard. I looked at Aaron again to see if he was just as baffled by the conversation as I was, but he continued to perform his statue routine, silent and immobile. Looking from Aaron to Bobbie and back again, it finally dawned on me: Bobbie couldn’t see him. For whatever reason, to Bobbie, he and I were alone.

“I’ll find him,” Bobbie snorted before turning to make his way back down to the ball game. As he did so, Aaron finally moved, stepping forward out of the circle and bringing his arm up. Calmly, he placed his hand squarely in the center of Bobbie’s back.

“Here I am, shithead.”

A shock wave erupted from the air directly between Aaron and the bully. The air in front of us rippled like heat rising off a desert highway. Bobbie was thrown off his feet, hurled about a yard forward where he skidded across the pavement, only barely saving his face by putting his hands out in front of him. Aaron by comparison, remained completely unfazed; only his hair blown slightly back. As the air in front of him abated, he lowered his arm and turned his hand over. On his palm he had drawn another mark, a three-pronged lightning bolt surrounded by a triangle of other assorted signs. He looked at me and smirked, but there was something unfamiliar and hostile in his grin.

Several kids from the kickball game ran over to see if Bobbie was okay. Both his arms were all torn up from hitting the pavement. A yard monitor came and escorted him in to the nurse before returning to find out what had happened. Fortunately, none of the other kids had witnessed the event. When Aaron and I were asked, Aaron casually explained that it looked like Bobbie had tripped going down the hill. That excuse seemed to suffice, though there were rumors whispered among the entire student body for the rest of the day that Aaron and Bobbie had gotten in a fight. The rumor didn’t last. Nobody wanted to believe that my brother, gentle Aaron, would have hurt anyone, not even Bobbie Bucharest.

And me? I was both amazed and frightened. Aaron had stumbled upon secrets that, while they seemed beneficial, may not have ever been meant for our eyes. Secretly, I hoped that he would come to fear the book as I did, maybe see the underlying darkness of the things it was teaching him and try to return it, but instead what happened was quite the opposite: he relished his discovery, and kept the book with him every waking moment after that.

* * * * * *

Almost a week went by before the book came up again, a quiet Saturday afternoon. Our father had walked over to his office to get some last-minute grading done, and our mother had gone to a friend’s house to have tea. I was lying in the middle of the living room, drawing a monster from one of my nightmares and listening to the radio. Aaron was up in his room like he’d been every day since our jaunt to the library. I had stayed clear of him and his book, and he had remained tight-lipped about anything more he’d gleaned from its pages.

From upstairs, there came a crash.

“Good gravy,” I muttered.

Moments later, Aaron came bounding down the stairs, two at a time, yelling loudly, “I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT, I DID IT, I DID IT!” He came to a halt in the living room doorway with a mad grin on his face and shook his hands like a lunatic.

“Did what?” I asked. “It sounded like your bed collapsed!”

“You have to come upstairs!” he looked around, checking for signs of Mom or Dad, “You have to see this for yourself!”

I stood up and brushed myself off. “Alright, but if this is just you dressing up the cat again, I’m going to be pissed.”

We went up to his room together, Aaron taking the lead, chuckling the whole way. At the door, he stopped and gripped the knob tightly, looking back at me with a suddenly serious expression.

“You cannot, under any circumstance, tell anyone what I’m about to show you.”

“Give me a break.”

“Swear!”

“I swear I won’t tell a soul.” I crossed my heart and held up my hand.

Aaron slipped through the crack in the door, then shut it in my face. I started to raise my fist to bang on it, but before I could, he cracked it back open, looked me up and down, then swung the door open wide and ushered me in.

“Voila!” he declared, widely gesticulating toward the item on the green rug in the center of his room.

It was a simple, large, cardboard box, apparently leftover from our move into the house many years ago. I could still see the faded marker scrawl on the side which read “Aaron B.R.” in our mother’s hand. Above her writing, Aaron had taped a piece of black construction paper and written in bold, white crayon, “MAGIC BOXX” with two ‘X’s for some reason. To this day I don’t know why he wrote it like that; he was ten and it wasn’t like he didn’t know how to spell the word “box”. On the adjacent sides, he had taped more black construction paper, covering the packing instructions and address of the store we’d purchased the boxes from back in Maryland. White crayon doodles decorated the paper.

“It’s a box,” I declared.

Aaron smirked. “It’s a magic box. Look inside.”

“Will it kill me?” I glanced at him sideways.

He shook his head.

Peeling back the lid, I examined the contents of the box. The inside was lined with more black construction paper and covered with symbols like those I’d seen in the book and in the dirt at school earlier that week, all in white crayon. Whatever they meant, Aaron had written them into strange repeating patterns that twirled and diverged into multiple branching pathways like a labyrinth. In the center of the bottom, all the lines of symbols converged at a single image of a large, unblinking eye.

Quickly, I looked away, my heart racing with fear at the thought of getting caught up in another hypnotic trance from the symbols.

“More hieroglyphics,” I said, “from the book, I take it?”

“They’re runes,” Aaron said matter-of-factly, “symbols of power.”

“Great,” I muttered, “but what’s the point of filling the inside of a box with them?”

Aaron stuck his thumb out, pointing behind him. “I also lined my closet with them.”

“Okay, but what do they do?”

“Allow me to demonstrate!”

Aaron strolled over to his captain’s bed where our black and white tabby Hyperion was curled up and looking dour in the dinosaur costume Aaron loved to torment him with. After a gentle pet, he plucked the cat up from its resting spot and carried him back to me and the box.

“Get ready to shut the lid, okay?” Aaron soothed Hyperion, scratching him under his collar.

I stood on the opposing side of the box with my hands on the flaps. “Nothing better happen to him,” I warned.

“Nothing bad,” Aaron said, and then carefully placed Hyperion inside the box. “Good boy, stay put. Okay, shut it.”

I closed the flaps on the top of the box. A disdainful meow came from within the box’s confines, but Hyperion was a pretty easy-going animal, and not prone to panicking except when he found himself too close to the bathtub.

I waited several seconds without anything happening, then looked at Aaron. “Now what?”

Aaron was watching the box, silently mouthing something to himself.

“Aaron, now what?” I repeated.

As if in response, the box jumped under my hands. Hyperion started to meow again, but his cry was cut off halfway through. There followed a long, drawn-out silence; each passing second heightening my anxiety. I started to open the top of the box.

“Wait!” Aaron snapped.

I froze, staring at him, noting the look of concern that briefly passed over his face.

Finally, he nodded. “Okay, go ahead.”

My hands couldn’t move fast enough opening the flaps.

The box was empty. Hyperion was gone, just a few stray hairs stuck to the bottom of the inside.

Certain that it was nothing more than a trick, I turned the box over. Clearly the cat had squeezed out the bottom when the box lurched earlier. But no, the bottom was securely taped closed, and there were no tears or loose flaps. The cat had simply vanished.

“Is he invisible?” I asked. “Like on the playground?”

Without a word, Aaron walked over to the closet, turned the knob with a flourish, and opened the door. Hyperion bolted out, wide-eyed and his tail puffed out like the time he’d had a run-in with a neighbor’s dog. He immediately ran to the other side of the room and began pounding frantically to be let out.

My mind reeled, trying to come to grasps with what my eyes were telling it. The cat had just teleported from the container into the closet.

“Come and see,” Aaron said, going into the closet and pulling the cord for the light. “But don’t shut the door!”

The inside of the closet was wallpapered with more of the black construction paper and thoroughly festooned with the enigmatic symbols. They weaved and curled, spiraling and shrinking in some places in such a way that it made them look like you could fall into them. Seeing them again, my stomach lurched like it was trying to do some teleporting of its own. I had to bend over and put my head between my knees to keep from puking right there. When I did, I found myself face to face with another large, meticulously drawn eye staring up from the center of the floor.

When I finally caught my breath, I had to ask. “How?”

“I followed the instructions in the book,” Aaron explained. “Once you understand the symbols, it tells you things.”

“You make it sound like it talks to you.”

“It does.”

“I mean like it literally speaks.”

Aaron blinked, but didn’t respond.

“Aaron,” I felt a chill run through my body, “this isn’t natural. This seems dangerous.”

He laughed. “It’s only dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“How can you be sure you know what you’re doing? Because the book told you?”

“Well yeah.” he shrugged. Then his face seemed to darken. “I thought you’d love this! We can teleport! We can go anywhere! I’ve fitted the closet to teleport to the box, but think about it: we could inscribe the inside of one of the closets at Gram and Gramp’s, and just teleport to see them anytime!” He paused and stroked his chin. “Hell, with some more reading, I could possibly even teleport into Bobbie Bucharest’s bedroom and slit his throat in his sleep.”

My jaw dropped in stunned silence. The gleam in Aaron’s eyes that so often seemed full of excitement and glee had been replaced with one of malice and hatred; it gave his whole face a more sinister appearance. “Have– have you gone through the teleporter?” I asked.

Aaron put his hand on my chest. I flinched, anticipating a shock wave like the one he had used to lay out Bobbie, but all he did was slowly push me out of the closet. His eyes stared deep into mine, and I felt a sudden rush of fear. The shine in his eyes was gone entirely, only a creeping dullness remained. He shut the closet behind him, then stood there, his eyes burrowing into me.

“I haven’t. Hyperion was actually the first living thing I sent through. But look at him! He’s fine!”

I turned to look at Hyperion, who was still desperately attempting to get out of the room. “I don’t know, he looks terrified.”

Aaron walked past me and started to pick the cat up, but Hyperion dug his claws into the wood, arching his back to try to keep all four paws on the floor for as long as he could. The moment he left the ground, he turned and lashed out, hissing at Aaron and swiping at his face.

“Hey!” Aaron dropped the cat, clutching his arm where it had thrashed with its back claws. Frowning, he opened the bedroom door, watched Hyperion squeeze through the moment the crack was wide enough, then shut it again. “That little shit.”

“Yeah,” I muttered, “he seems fine.”

“He’s just a dumb animal.” He walked back across the room to the box and shut the lid again. “I’m going to try it.”

I looked at him incredulously. “What, now?”

“Sure, why wait?”

“You won’t even fit in that box. It’s too small.”

“I’m not going in the box, I’m going in the closet.” he rubbed the arm the cat had scratched and started walking toward the closet.

Quickly, I stepped in front of him and put my arms up, obstructing him from going in. “Aaron, wait!”

My whole body tensed up. I wasn’t sure if he still had the mark on his hand, but I suspected that he did. Why wash something like that off, after all? My only hope was that there was still some shred of love in my brother’s heart, that he wouldn’t use it on me.

Aaron tucked his chin down and furrowed his brow, glaring at me with an icy stare that caught the words in my throat. Through gritted teeth, he hissed. “You wanna know something else the book told me? It told me to be careful who I showed its secrets to. It told me that weak-minded people would be afraid of what I would learn. I didn’t think it was talking about you.”

When he finished his rant, a low whispering began. At first I thought it was him, but as I listened, I realized that it was coming from the desk just off to our right. There on the desk, the tome sat alone, an unnatural voice emanating from its open pages. Just thinking about it now as I type this, I remember the moment with perfect clarity and the gooseflesh spreads down both my arms. Even without understanding the language it was speaking in, I can remember what it said. It’s as if the words bored into my brain and imprinted themselves there.

Aaron raised his arm out straight, and I saw the mark of the lightning bolt on his palm. He held it just inches from my rib cage. “Maybe I should make you go first.”

“Don’t do this,” I pleaded.

It was all I could muster. My eyes were fixated on the book, and I can’t really say anymore whether I was talking to Aaron or it. The tome had me under its spell again, unable to look away, frozen in place.

Realizing I was petrified, Aaron used the opportunity to shove past me and walk into the closet. I couldn’t see him anymore once he was behind me, but I could hear him stepping carefully on the construction paper, trying to make sure not to smudge any of the runes. Calmly, he addressed me.

“Stop acting like I’m going to blow up the house, Bill. This is just one small step for man.”

And then he shut the door.

* * * * * *

I was grateful that our parents took as long as they did to come home. My father returned first, having finished his grading and whatever else he did at the office. Mother came home a bit later, stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner. Neither one of them noticed that Aaron was missing at first. I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything, my heart too busy racing, waiting for one of them to ask about him. Finally, I was sent to fetch him for dinner. My hands shook as I went upstairs, knocked at his bedroom door, waited a bit, then went in and paced around, pretending to look for him. I actually did look in the closet, just for a second, to make sure.

When I came back downstairs, I told them that he wasn’t in his room. Dad went out on the back porch and called for him to come in, and Mom pressed me on when I had seen him last. I had to confess that he’d been in his room almost all afternoon, but that I hadn’t been paying any attention, and I thought I’d heard him thumping around some before they came home.

My plan was to provide clues that hinted at Aaron running away. It was a hard sell. Every word I uttered I had to say slowly and carefully for fear they’d detect the waver in my voice. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking, so I kept them in my pockets, I’d managed to be pretty meticulous about everything, but I spent the next week in perpetual fear that I would give myself away. Or worse, Aaron would return.

First, I had run up to the attic and gotten the suitcase down that he always used when we went to visit our grandparents. I packed a bunch of his clothes in it, then put the suitcase in the closet and shut the door. Sure enough, when I opened the closet moments later, the suitcase had vanished. I’d also gone and gotten his shoes from their spot by the front door, his favorite jacket, and several of his favorite books and toys. All these items went into the closet, where the runes diligently did their job and teleported them away.

Finally, I took the book, that hideous work of evil, clenched it tightly to my chest for a moment hearing the muffled whispering even then, and threw it into the closet, letting it strike the far wall and fall open onto that ghastly eye. As soon as it landed, I heard its terrible, penetrating voice start seeping from the pages, but before it could choke me with them, I slammed the closet door shut and collapsed, crying. It took me a few minutes to collect myself and do the last thing, knowing that once I had done it, there was no going back. Carefully, making sure to prop the door open, I pulled up all the rune-covered paper in the closet and hid the sheets in one of my art books.

When my parents went and checked, all they found was an empty room. Some of his dresser drawers were tossed open in a hurry and his pillow and favorite stuffed animal were missing. They followed my clues, never once questioning anything they saw, and came to the conclusion I had left for them: Aaron had run away from home. My mother, grief-stricken, called all her friends for help before calling the police. My father grilled me about Aaron’s behavior of late, how he always locked himself in his room after school, and whether he and I had gotten in a fight.

Of course, he was never found. How could he be? He was in the box. But I guess you’re wondering where the box went and why I lied to our parents about everything.

I knew that book was evil. It was unnatural. It corrupted my brother, convinced him that he was going to become a purveyor of great secrets and powerful magicks. But in the end, it twisted him. Literally, it warped him beyond recognition.

* * * * * *

Aaron shut the closet door, and the whispering immediately ceased. My knees buckled, and I fell, catching myself with my hands and squatting there, looking across the room at Aaron’s Magic Boxx. The words taunted me, and I wondered again why he had purposefully misspelled the last word.

Seconds ticked by.

“Aaron?” I called, hoping to hear him respond from the closet.

Instead, there came a guttural howling. I’d seen a nature video a year back, and there was a part where a wolf had gotten its leg caught in a bear trap; it made a sound something like what I heard. And it didn’t come from the closet; it churned up out of the cardboard box like it was swirling around in a flushing toilet.

The box lurched again, only with more force, and the top flopped open. Two arms – Aaron’s arms – reached up, and began twisting around each other like a helix. His elbows made a sickening crack, and his arms bent, hands coming down and grasping the edges of the box with fingers that seemed to have more joints than normal. They bent, and then bent again, and again, and again… nails digging into the cardboard.

And still the howling continued.

The flimsy material bent under his weight, and then tipped over. Oh, God, it tipped over, and he started crawling out. Only it wasn’t Aaron anymore. It was a hideous monstrosity, twisted and deformed. The features of his face were stretched across his skull at the wrong angle, mouth torn wider at the edges, the cartilage of his nose piercing the skin of his cheek. I could see only white and red in his eyes, they had rolled up back into their sockets, exposing the nerves.

I countered his unending scream with my own, this broken thing that was once my brother.

Its fingers kept digging into the rug, pulling itself further out of the darkness of the box. Next came its upper torso, shoulders hunched, spine twisted like a spring. His shirt had somehow merged partially with his body, grafted onto his flesh and as I watched, it ripped in places, exposing raw muscle and causing him to wail in further anguish.

I’m sorry, I have to pause. Just reliving that moment, I can’t take it. Please, Aaron, forgive me. I wish I had been stronger. Thank God at least I saved our parents from suffering, from having to see what you did to yourself.

My brain started to shut down. It had seen enough horror in those few seconds to last it a lifetime. But at the same time, my survival instinct kicked in. Aaron was turning, having heard my voice, and was seeking me out. Maybe he was looking for me to comfort him in his final moments, I’ll never know. I was too afraid. What if he blamed me? What if he wanted to pull me back into the darkness with him?

I scrambled to my feet, averting my gaze from the abomination steadily emerging from the remains of the box. Reaching behind me, I found the knob and pulled the closet door open wide. Quickly, I sidestepped Aaron’s hands. He must have sensed me passing, maybe felt the slightest breeze as I went by, because his arms flailed out, trying to catch my legs. I could still see the mark of the lightning bolt on his palm, though even that was now twisted into something else. With a short yelp, I got on the other side of the box.

“Billll, pleeeeeeasssssseee…”

The thing that was no longer Aaron screeched, its voice coming up from its throat like out of a gurgling sink drain.

Closing my eyes, I dug my shoes into the floor and pushed. There was a thick, sickening squish, then a prolonged squeak like sliding down a fireman’s pole as Aaron and the box came off the rug onto the wood flooring. It moved surprisingly easy, possibly greased by some unmentionable fluid seeping out of the ever-widening tears in Aaron’s flesh.

“Pleeeeeeeaaaasssseee!” I heard him cry one last time, his hands reaching out to either side and clawing for the door frame. He knew what I intended. My only hope was that in pushing him into the closet, I didn’t ruin any of the rune work he had done on the floor. Thankfully, Aaron had been very meticulous in taping down the construction paper. It didn’t tear or crease at all, and I guess in his tormented, pain-stricken state, he didn’t think to rip up any of the paper. It was as if, at the last moment, he accepted his fate.

I slammed the closet door and leaned hard against it, catching my breath.

“I’m so sorry, Aaron.”

It wasn’t immediate, of course, and honestly, I wasn’t even sure it would work. I heard his nails clacking on the floor and his twisted wreckage of a body thumping around inside the box for what felt like years. The alarm clock by his bed ticked off every second as I lay there in a heap, holding the door shut and trying to keep from crying.

Inside the dark closet, abandoned by those who loved him, Aaron suddenly let out a blood-curdling shriek that stretched into a whine, then a shrill sound that seemed to never reach its peak. It only lasted seconds, but it cut through the wood of the door, stabbing into my brain, and I had to hold my hands over my ears to keep it out. I imagine it was the sound of the magic box being teleported inside itself, and Aaron along with it. Part of me had the disgusting thought that I’d open the closet and find Aaron turned inside out, his organs decorating the floor and his bones sticking to a pulsing pile of goo.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. I can honestly say that I don’t know where the box and Aaron went, maybe to whatever place lies in-between, the station where items go to catch the train to the other side of the teleporter. Only, once there, they found no destination available anymore. Maybe he’s trapped forever in Limbo in his misshapen, pain-wracked remains of a body. Every night since that day, I’ve prayed to God that he put Aaron out of his agony. I hope he’s with our parents now in Heaven, watching over me and forgiving me for what I did.

But some nights I lay there thinking… the book came from somewhere. Maybe it came from Hell, or maybe it was crafted by a person who meddled with powers they shouldn’t have. Who knows? But if there was one, there could be more. Some other poor soul could stumble upon a plain-looking book, pick it up, and have it whisper its lies to them. And when I think about that possibility, I think that maybe, just maybe it’s also possible that they’ll remake Aaron’s Magic Boxx. And if they do, maybe he’ll still be there, waiting to come home. Wanting to see his older brother again, wrap me in his twisted arms and never let me go.

Those are the worst nights.

Rating: 8.67/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by William Dalphin
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: William Dalphin


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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