The Masked Devil

The dissonant chords broke through the haze of my clouded thoughts, interrupting my troubled revelries. The figurine of Satan twirled as the music box ground out its pre-written tune. The unseen wheel, covered in its little pips, turned, plucking at the tiny, tuned rods hidden in the box. The winding key rotated slowly, steadily, as the spring untwisted itself. The devil danced for me. It was made in the fashion of a jester, a hellish jester, dressed in red and black like a harlequin. The figure held up a mask, a very ornate, a very human, mask, but the sculpture painted well the face underneath. It was staged as if he were either pulling the mask away or putting it on—was it lying, or finally unveiling the truth?—caught within the motion until the box came alive. As he turned, the devil’s façade covered and uncovered his face. The while, the dissonant music played, driving and intense. The manic posture of the devil lent to his dancing appearance. He stood, as it were, upon a foot, the other lifted in an exaggerated step that never fell. He twirled and twirled, that devil, lying as he covered his face, laughing as he showed himself again. Rising up, I grabbed the box and threw it to the floor, shattering the figurine to dust.

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