Love on Gaia: The Music Box

My entry for Storge/familial love. Ingame name: Drina.

The Music Box

She’s gentle with the key as she turns it several times, paying close attention to the tightening of the spring on the mechanical music box so as not to break it. And as she releases the key, Sia hears a soft, sweet melody start to play. It’s unknown to her but even with the delicate metallic tings of each note, she can feel sadness in the tune. As it continues to play, she hears a faint sobbing coming from beside her as a wavering woman starts to materialize, her shoulders rising and falling with each whimper. The room shifts around Sia and this unknown woman in a flash.

They’re in a nursery, a mix of pastel tones and dark wood. The song is stronger now, each note rich and vivid, filled with warmth the music box can’t quite emulate in the real world. The woman is pretty and youthful, but her features look drawn, worried. Her dark hair is shawled. Sia watches in silence. The woman is hurriedly bundling a babbling baby, murmuring to it, soothing. The words are muffled and sound as if she’s underwater or behind glass. Sia can’t quite make out what she’s saying, but she can feel the concern in her voice. The woman, now carrying the baby, moves about the space, gathering this and that, stuffing things into an open satchel with a mix of precision and speed.

Suddenly, a man bursts through the door, dark-haired and pale-faced, frantic. The woman is holding the music box, now silenced and closed, as he enters.

“There isn’t time,” he urges, pulling at the protesting woman and her bundle. “We have to go!”

The woman clutches the baby to her chest as more sounds echo outside the room. Crashing. Shouting. Several voices, all muffled and underwater. The woman and man exchange looks of terror and Sia can feel a chill run down her spine. The couple move not for the door, but for the window, the man cranking it open as quickly as he can. The woman leans out, shouting to someone outside, someone unseen. “Please! Take her! Please save her!”

She’s leaning out and holding the baby out the window, more words exchanged, muffled and underwater once more. There are sounds outside the nursery, sounds of footsteps on stairs, rushed and messy. Soon a mass of soldiers, menacing and intense, pour into the space, filling it like water. So many soldiers. The man is trying to get his wife through the small window, but it’s too late. A pair of the soldiers restrain him as another yanks the wife back inside. The baby is gone, but she still clutches the music box. She screams, tears streaming down her face, protests, even fights her attacker, tries to hit him with the little trinket. In a frantic moment, the struggling soldier cracks a baton right against the side of her head. The man cries out as his wife falls lifeless to the ground. Her blood is vivid and red as it begins to gush from the wound. Her eyes are already lifeless. She still holds the music box.

The man struggles against his assailants and they begin to beat him as he screams and fights. The scene fades away, leaving Sia standing in a dark, empty room, clutching the music box, the weeping woman still beside her.

Her heart aches for the tortured spirit, forced to revisit the trauma of these moments over and over for eternity.

“I’m sorry,” she manages, words quiet, barely passing her lips. The spirit doesn’t hear her, too wrapped up in the sorrow of her own loss.