The music box fortress
Read it at AO3!
Two prompts in one, Candlelight & Music Box
She woke up to a sweet sound, it was slow and the notes sounded like droplets of water, one after the other they made up a small melody that was very difficult not to follow. Somehow it sounded like something she had heard before, maybe in a movie, it was like classical music and at the same time like a modern song…
Slowly, she opened her eyes, looking around her Sam noticed she was surrounded by a circle of candles, they illuminated part of the room she was at, but there wasn’t anything else she could see, even the small bits illuminated only led to more darkness if she tried to look further.
The sound kept playing somewhere behind her, or at least it felt that way. Something was going on and whatever it was she wasn’t going to wait for anyone to come to find her, she was going to find out and probably find Danny and Tucker in the process, they were probably already around or looking for her, she was certain.
She took in her surroundings, the circle of candles spoke of some sort of ritual, she looked below, on the stone floor, just as she had expected, was a magic circle drawn with chalk, some of the words she knew, some others seemed to be just random drawing on the floor, without a shape or any resemblance to a letter, she wondered if it was a dead language or maybe ghost-speak.
She was dressed in a purple gown, dark purple like wine, even the fabric changed color in the candlelight when she moved as if made of silk, and only that, no shoes or other items that she could borrow. She made a quick self-check, making sure she hadn’t been cut or painted on, she knew most of the rituals required something like that for sacrifices, offerings, and the sort, she rubbed a hand on her face trying to check if she didn’t have anything on her face and when her hand came clean she sighed in relief, she moved to stand up, noticing she felt numb, maybe she had been there for a couple of hours, that will also explain why she felt so cold.
Sam stood up and stretched a bit, making the blood flow again through her limbs before she moved, she reached for a candle, one that was big enough to withstand for some time, and then followed the sound of the music. By now she knew it was a music box that had been playing in the background, her grandma had one, it was a delicate machine that she kept on her nightstand, she had told her it would be hers when she passed, a heirloom that she would treasure.
She remembered the music box, it was round-shaped, her grandmother will use a key to prepare it and when opened, it will reveal two ballet dancers who then will move in time with the music as they slide on top of a mirror, she was sure there were two magnets inside it, but her grandma had told her not to mess with it so that someday she could give it to her daughter, or maybe a granddaughter, the thought by itself had convinced her, after that she often borrowed when she was stressed, it helped her sleep.
Sam walked through what seemed to be stone made hallways, she was trapped in some sort of castle by the looks of it, with its high walls and long staircases, but any room she would step in was empty, some shelves were the only furniture, and even those were old and broken with nothing on them, she hadn’t found a window yet, but she wondered if maybe she was in the Ghost Zone, the only sound was that of the music box, repeating the music again and again.
It wasn’t a tiring melody, after a couple of minutes she was humming the same tune, and then she found a door leading outside, at least! It was a big wooden door, it matched the place and the sense that this was a castle, she placed the candle over an old table that was near the door, she was glad it had lasted so long without burning out or blowing off; she pulled at the door handle and managed to slowly move the heavy door to go outside.
Well, if this was the Ghost Zone, it wasn’t a part she knew about, outside the place was purple and black, nothing like the green and black she was used to, and instead of floating doors, there were a lot of small lights blinking around as if they were stars. In front of her, there wasn’t any kind of ground, but there were some silver circles, like mirrors that resembled steps on a ladder. She worried it wasn’t firm, but at least she was out of the castle, which she could now tell was like a huge fortress, so she took a deep breath before stepping onto one of them.
As if on cue, a sound similar to the one the music box made resounded when she stepped on the first of the circles, which to her relief remained on its place, however, the sweet music she had been hearing stopped. She risked stepping on the next circle hearing a different note sound as she stepped on it.
This time however something moved within the expanse in front of her, space-looking thing developed a pair of black holes, which then blinked up at her turning into two big red eyes. Sam didn’t have to wonder what…who she was looking at.
“Look who woke up,” said the disembodied voice of Nocturne, “hope you’re having a good time there, it’ll be your home from now on.”
“Oh, you wish! Danny is probably already looking for me, he will find you and defeat you, and I’ll be home by night, I’m sure!”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk” Nocturne seemed to be making fun of her “That can only happen if they suspect you’re in trouble, but that will be hard for them to figure out, you see, a little friend of mine asked for a favor, one that I was happy to accept and that’s how you got here”
“What? How? No, they will find me, I’m sure they’ll figure it out” Sam said, unable to believe Nocturne had managed to kidnap her without her friends or even her parents knowing. She heard a slow rumble, Nocture was laughing, “You see, this friend of mine wanted to get rid of you, don’t ask me why, but she offered you in return, and I just couldn’t resist. If you’re so precious for Phantom then I had to make sure he didn’t have you, before you ask, just because”
“There are many ways to get a person to sleep, this one didn’t require any special machine, and the best thing is, they think you’re just in need of medical attention, they won’t come, not soon at least, so make yourself comfortable.” Then Nocturnee disappeared once again. Sam felt like crying, she didn’t know where she was, she couldn’t remember what had happened before she woke up there, what had happened? Who had done this? Will they ever find her?
Paulina walked into school as if she owned the place, and well, she kind of did, she was the most popular girl, everyone wanted to be like her or with her, and no one ever questioned what she thought or did. She made her way towards her locker to look up for her things, then she walked towards her next class, in her way there she saw Foley and Fenton, both of them seemed worried, but she could only hide a smile as she passed them.
Who would say those books Manson used to read had real information? She just had to visit Skulk and Lurk after she left and the contents of the library were hers, she had found a lot of interesting things, and since it was public knowledge that Danny Fenton was Phantom, she really needed a way to blow out the competition and that started with the goth.
She had had to get some things, she summoned a powerful ghost and told her what she wanted, the ghost had been happy to help, and now the goth was no longer in her way. She still couldn’t understand why the ghost had needed her to make that weird ritual with the candles and the weird drawing on the floor, she had just arranged everything, read aloud the short sentences he had given her, and after the circle glowed everything else had disappeared. It had happened shortly after, the car accident the Manson’s had been involved in and where Sam had gotten injured.
Though the accident had been something she hadn’t expected, at least Sam Manson wasn’t dead, just in a coma. Danny and Foley will get over it in a few months, she will give them time to mourn before going for her target, and she will be Paulina Phantom like it or not.
Nobody could suspect that she was responsible, in the end, she hadn’t moved a finger to have her wish granted, whatever grudge the ghost had against Sam, it had worked to their advantage, she waved her hair behind her, feeling her shoulders relax, yes, this it was a win-win situation.