Beware the Dybbuk
By Robin Renee Ray
Harold Gray had been working for Lady Bernstein for many years tending to her every need as if she was his mother, not a mere employer. He had heard her whisper of the box that should stay locked in the depths of the estate, but put the occasions to the side as one of her many, mentally, manic states. Several times she would grab his wrist and make him swear to never release the beast. Harold would simply pat her hand and give her another sleeping pill.
“You must never let it out, Harold. Beware, the Dybbuk will come for you and it will be a living hell on your earth.”
“Yes, my lady…now drink your warm milk.”
“Keep it hidden.” Lady Bernstein placed her fingers to her mouth and spit three times. “Never remove the lock and never release the beast.”
Harold had watched on many nights, as his employer drifted off into her insane dreams, muttering about the beast. Now he had heard the four siblings upstairs, talking about a treasure chest they had found in the basement. He couldn’t help but to smile at the thoughts running through his head. The old bag was right. She had something hidden all along. Backing into the darkness of the hall, Harold hit a small switch at the side of a raised panel under the staircase and the wooden piece slid to the side and revealed a passageway.
“Did any of you hear that?” Cindy asked, holding one hand in the air.
“Just get your bags and hurry. It’s late and I’m ready to crash,” Mike complained.
“It sounded like a patio door sliding open,” Sam interjected. “I heard it too.”
“That’s it, I heard the same thing, Mike.”
“You kids are too much.” Gabby rolled her eyes as she walked by Mike and out into the hall. “This house is huge and will make loads of sounds, night or day.”
“Kids?” Sam laughed. “You are so much older, that I bet you have to hide the grey in your dried out hair.”
“That’s it! I’m going to bed.” Mike left the three to argue and went to the boy’s bedroom.
Cindy grabbed her things and rushed out of the room. The three joined their older brother and began making themselves comfortable for the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, Harold Grey was making his way through a dark, wooden passageway that led down and under the staircase and then back around to another passageway that was just below the main living room. He pushed on the wall at the end of the passage and it opened up close to the stairs that went down into the basement. The small wooden box was sitting right in the middle of the floor.
“Where did they find you?” he spoke out loud. Harold began searching the area where he thought the siblings had found the gardening tools that the two boys were holding and came across more like them under the steps that came down from the kitchen. He pulled on the brass handle and the door to where the chest had once been hidden, and it swung open. Immediately he placed his hand over his mouth and nose. The stench filled the compartment that was four foot deep and even smaller from side to side.
He took a flashlight out of his back pocket and aimed it at the opening. Clicking the switch twice, three times, and shaking it vigorously before the light finally brought the chamber to life. The walls were packed dirt, but gave off a wet shine due to the coating of webs that clung from the ceiling to the floor. All but where the box must have been sitting. The beam of the light slowly made its way to where the mysterious ‘treasure chest’ sat as if just waiting for its finder to see the treasures hidden inside.
After setting the box up on the bottom step, he began exploring the antique padlock. He turned it over and yanked several times before he stopped and took out his pocket knife. Harold’s hand was shaking as he placed the tip of his blade to the opening on the front of the metal lock that held the two brass clasps together. The tones of the grandfather clocks upstairs rang out and Harold jumped, sliding the blade off of the lock and right into the flesh on the side of his left hand.
“Damn,” he hissed, wrapping the handkerchief from the inner pocket on his jacket, over the palm of his hand and gripping it tight enough to control the dripping of the blood. He grabbed the lock again covering it with his blood then began trying to pick the lock open. His hand slipped again and he cursed out loud, then froze to see if he had been heard. Placing an old cloth over the lock, Harold started hitting it with end of his flashlight, hoping the cloth was dulling the sound. In one hard hit the lock broke free with the clasp still intact. The hinge however, was no longer attached to the box, leaving tiny splinters of wood where it had once been.
Gabby was up off her pallet in front of the fireplace and over by Mike’s side of the bed in seconds after she heard a noise. “Mike, Mike wake up,” she whispered, shaking him by the arm. “Mike!” She spoke a little louder, then lightly slapped him across the face. “Wake up.”
“Come on, Gabby. Not you too,” he moaned and rolled to his side.
“I heard someone or something cry out and then there was this tapping sound. Come on, Mike, wake up. Go see what it was.”
He growled out a gruff sound and sat up on the side of the bed, running his fingers through his hair. “I’m never going to get any sleep, and every single one of you will need help tomorrow…” he put his t-shirt back on. “The next day…”
“All right, I get it. But I’m not getting any sleep either. Not with that moaning and stomping on the stairs.”
“So now it’s gone from crying out, to moaning and from tapping to stomping…and on the stairs. You know what you can just come with me.”
To be continued…..