The Music Box – Part 1

I’ve been wanting to get back into writing short stories again for a while. Let me know your thoughts.

The rain pelts against the office window and I can see the trees outside on the piazza swaying in the wind. I take my glasses off and rub the bridge of my nose, I was used to last minute deadlines and working odd hours, but looking at the clock in the corner of the computer screen I can see that it’s almost midnight.

I stretch my arms above my head and reach for my cup to find that the coffee inside has gone cold, a regular occurrence when I find myself getting absorbed in my research. This is, hopefully, going to be one of my first major articles for the website. It isn’t often junior writers get this opportunity but I think my editor Joanna could hear my passion for the subject matter and the rough bit of research I’d found had piqued her interest enough that she was allowing me to dig into it more and write a piece.

I look at the microform print outs scattered next to me on my desk, and pull one towards me. It shows the picture of Elizabeth Brown with her mother Anna Brown. Anna has her hand on her daughters shoulder, her face warm, the girl is smiling and holds a doll in one hand, the white dress she is wearing making her look even more angelic. I put my glasses on and read.


“Police were alerted to the house after an elderly widower who lives nearby heard “blood-curdling” screams coming from the property. Police had to break the door and soon located the screams coming from upstairs. They found Mrs Elizabeth Brown in a state of hysteria, hands covered in blood, pointing at the open door of her daughters’ bed chamber. When entering the room Officer Cook claims he heard the sound of a music box but the sight that awaited him made him feel nauseous. Eight year old Elizabeth Brown was on the floor her legs were twisted at an odd angle, clearly broken in several places and her throat had been cut, her left hand was reaching towards the music box. Police are investigating the case but as Mrs Brown, the only witness and suspect, is currently in hospital in a state of shock, they are unable to carry out any further questioning at this time.”

It’s the earliest dated reference to the music box I have managed to find, the 20th September 1885. Most people would wonder what the music box has to do with, what is very clearly, an open and closed case of a mother murdering her child. But what if I was to tell you that my research shows that this same music box has been found at the scene of numerous tragedies over the years? What if I was to tell you that my research has led me to transcripts between a psychologist and Anna Brown where she claims to be innocent of her daughter’s death? A death she claims came about because of the music box? A statement she maintained was fact till the day she was hung almost a year later.

I rub the back of my neck and reach for my cup, before making my way through the quiet office to the kitchen.  I wait for the kettle to boil and get lost in thought, about all the things I have learnt so far, and all of the things I am yet to learn, yet to expose. There’s so much to this story that needs to be told. My reverie is broken by Patrick, the night shift security guard making his rounds.

“Working late again Ms. Brown?”

I nod my head and smile at him tiredly, thinking how I will work as late as many times as I need to, till the truth is found.

Would you like to read more of this? If so comment below. Thanks for reading.