The Ruby Necklace is a scary story about a young girl who is terrified of her evil uncle
Crystal stood outside the door to her uncle’s sitting room, nervously pulling at her dress. She felt a tightness in her chest and her breath was coming in short, shallow gasps. She always felt like this when she went to see Uncle Mike in his small, dark sitting room. Even in the spacious hallway, she felt a panicky sense of claustrophobia overwhelm her. She was remembering all the horrible things he had done to her.
She heard a bell ring from inside the room. It was Uncle Mike’s signal that she should come in. He had grown too old, too fat and too lazy to get up from his chair. Crystal bit her lip as she turned the doorknob. With great effort, she put on a fake smile and walked into the room.
Dark drapes hung over the windows, shutting out the sunlight. Uncle Mike was sitting in front of the fireplace in a huge, red velvet chair. He looked like a giant toad, staring intently at her with his heavy-lidded eyes.
“Don’t just stand there, child,” said Uncle Mike. “Come in and shut the door.”
Crystal hesitated for a moment, then closed the door behind her. She felt like she was shutting off her only means of escape. Uncle Mike motioned for her to take a seat in one of the chairs facing him. When she didn’t move, he pointed a scolding finger at her and then at the chair. Crystal stumbled toward the chair and sank down into its deep cushions, unable to look anywhere but straight ahead at Uncle Mike’s bloated face.
“You must be curious about why I called you here today,” he began.
Crystal nodded her head but didn’t say a word. In fact, she seldom spoke when she was with her uncle. She had learned years ago, when she was just a little girl, that he enjoyed having a captive audience.
“Yesterday, I learned that I don’t have long to live,” Uncle Mike said in a cold, matter-of-fact voice.
He continued to stare at her without a flicker of emotion on his face. Crystal struggled to find something appropriate to say. She was shocked and disturbed by the news. But her tongue had gone stale, and her mind was fighting off the desire to bolt from the room and run outside. Uncle mike watched her squirm in the chair like a trapped animal. A mocking smile creased his face.
“I thought I might see a glimmer of delight on your face,” he said, pinning her down with his wicked gaze. “But, as always, you simply look like a frightened bunny rabbit.”
“I… I… I’m sorry, Uncle Mike,” she finally stammered.
“Oh, I’m sure you are, Crystal,” he said with sarcastic malice. “Well, before I die, I need you to do me one last favor. That’s why I asked you here today.”
Crystal stared intently at the floor. She hoped if she concentrated very hard, she could keep her claustrophobia under control. For years, she had kept it a secret from Uncle Mike. She was afraid that, if he knew, he might find new ways to torture her.
“Look at me when I talk to you, Child!” Uncle Mike demanded.
Crystal tore her eyes away from the floor and stared at her uncle’s face.
“You see that fireplace behind me?” Uncle Mike asked. “For 10 years, that fireplace has hidden a secret. Only your mother and I have ever known about it. Years ago your mother hid something there… something valuable. You remember when your mother died I took you in treated you like one of my own. you were like a daughter to me. Sometimes you were like a wife. You must be wondering why I’m telling you about this, Crystal. Well, I thought of you because you’re so like your mother. Like you, she was small and thin. Your mother hid something for me in the fireplace just before she died. And now, you’re going to get it out for me.”
Uncle Mike motioned to her impatiently.
“Come here, Crystal, come here,” he hissed.
Crystal walked over and stood in front of her uncle. She felt the walls of the room begin to close in around her.
“Listen girl,” Uncle Mike said in an even lower voice, almost a whisper. “There is a box hidden high inside the fireplace. No one else alive, no one but the two of us, knows that it is there. ”
Crystal’s mind was racing with thoughts about what might be in the box. Perhaps Uncle Mike was finally going to reward her for all the things she had did for him. She felt her hands begin to tremble and her heart begin to beat faster.
Uncle Mike suddenly paused and searched her face with his cold, piercing eyes. “People become too curious about hidden things. Well, it doesn’t matter now. I will be dead soon, and no one can send me to jail for what I stole,” Uncle Mike said with a deep throat chuckle.
As he saw the expression of surprise come over crystal’s face, Uncle Mike broke into a strange, cackling laughter. “You’re shocked, aren’t you, my little bunny? You’d never have the courage to steal anything, would you? I used to be quite good at it. I would go into stores that trusted me as a valued customer. Without them even suspecting, I would steal whatever I wanted. Oh, how I loved to hide away my goodies in secret places.” Crystal shrank back as Uncle Mike once again threw back his head and roared with laughter.
“Now, let’s talk about how you can help me, Crystal,” Uncle Mike said, his voice full of ice again. “There’s a hole in the chimney flue, about fifteen feet up from the ground. Your mother hid the box in that space. All you have to do is crawl up and get the box. And you needn’t worry about soot or ashes. I’ve never used the fireplace for all these years, just in case I might harm the prize in the box,” Uncle Mike said with a dark look in his eyes.
Crystal felt fear rising like a dark tide in her mind as she peered into the narrow opening of the fireplace. How could she ever fit inside it?
“Once you crawl into the hearth, you can stand up and just fit inside the flue,” Uncle Mike said. “There are iron footholds in the sides of the chimney every two feet. All you have to do is climb up them until you feel the hole where the box is hidden.”
Uncle Mike paused, staring at Crystal’s pale face.
“Don’t look like such a coward, Crystal. You’ll either do this for me or I’ll find some way to make you. Surely you don’t think I’m going to let you walk out of here without getting the box, now that you know my secret.”
Without thinking, Crystal made a sudden lunge for the door, but Uncle Mike heaved his massive bulk out of his chair and blocked her escape. He waddled over to the door, turned the key and then hid it in his pants pocket.
“The sooner you do what I say, Crystal, the better things will go for you in the future,” he said in a cold, demanding voice.
Crystal began to tremble inside. She had always feared her Uncle Mike, but not like this. He came closer toward her, pressing her closer and closer to the fireplace. She crouched down and found herself crawling to safety into the opening of the hearth.
“That’s right, Crystal,” Uncle Mike ordered. “Now stand up inside the flue and start to climb.”
Crystal followed his orders, her mind dizzy with fear. She sucked the thick, dusty air into her lungs and struggled to find the first foothold. Then she pushed her body upwards, climbing onto one foothold after another. The walls of the flue seemed to be closing in around her like a brick coffin. Crystal panicked and started to scramble back down to the bottom, where a dim shaft of light glowed. Suddenly, the light was blotted out, and Uncle Mike’s deep voice echoed up the flue.
“Don’t try to come down without my prize in your hands, Crystal,” he hissed. “I won’t let you out!”
Crystal began to climb back up again, but the walls seemed even tighter now. She went higher and higher, and just when she thought she would go mad, she felt an opening in the bricks. Groping around in the dark, her fingers closed around a moldy velvet box. Crystal clutched it and quickly slid back down the flue.
“I have it,” she whimpered into the sealed-off entrance of the fireplace. “Uncle Mike, let me out please!”
With a snort of triumph, Uncle Mike pulled away the chair he had blocked the fireplace with. Then he bent down and grabbed the box from Crystal’s hands.
Crouched there in that small, dark place, Crystal stared at his greedy, bloated face. He opened the box and she saw It contained a priceless ruby necklace.
Three months later, Uncle mike died. He left precise instructions for the undertaker to follow regarding his funeral. The coffin was the best available, made of heavy mahogany with a thick lead liner that interlocked permanently when it closed.
Uncle Mike was laid out wearing the ruby necklace. The same ruby necklace she had found in the box that she retrieved for her Uncle Mike from inside the chimney.
The body was put on view in Uncle Mike’s sitting room, just as he had instructed in his will. All the other relatives gasped when they saw the ruby necklace on Uncle Mike’s corpse. Only Crystal stared at his body in the coffin with silent hatred. She had learned about his will that morning. Uncle Mike had left her nothing. The will stated that the ruby necklace was to remain on his person and be buried with him.
The night before the funeral, Crystal paced back and forth in the hallway outside the sitting room where Uncle Mike lay. She had been instructed by the undertaker to wait until the last visitor left and then close up the coffin. Then, the hearse would come to transport Uncle Mike’s body to the cemetery. Impatiently, Crystal watched one relative after another go in and out of the room, gossiping about the ruby necklace and Uncle Mike.
Finally, at 10:45, Crystal closed the front door on the last visitor. She didn’t have much time, but she was determined to get her reward for the way Uncle Mike had treated her over the years.
Crystal walked into the small, dark sitting room that was almost filled up by Uncle Mike’s massive coffin. She walked up to it slowly and leaned over his dead bloated body. The thought of lifting up his head to take off the necklace disgusted her, but the beautiful, sparkling ruby was too tempting to leave behind. Crystal forced herself to grab a hold of the back of her Uncle Mike’s head and her fingers fumbled at the clasp.
The sickly sweet smell of the funeral flowers nearby, drifted into Crystal’s nostrils and made her feel faint. In a panic, she looked around the walls of the sitting room. They seemed to be moving closer and closer around her. She wiped her sweating brow and, again, tried to remove the ruby necklace. But it was tight around Uncle Mike’s neck as though it were part of his body.
Just then, Crystal heard the sound of the hearse pulling up in front of the house. She knew she didn’t have much time left, but she couldn’t leave the necklace to be buried with a rotting corpse. Climbing up on the steps in front of the coffin, Crystal swung one leg inside and took hold of the necklace with both hands.
Then, suddenly, Uncle Mike’s cold, stiff fingers snapped shut around her wrists. He pulled her down beside him in the coffin.
The last thing Crystal saw was Uncle Mike’s dead blue lips curl into a sneer, before they pressed against her own, in a final kiss goodbye. Then the heavy, soundproof coffin lid slammed shut on the both of them, trapping her screams of terror forever.