Dear Diary,

I don’t know where to begin. I am still traumatized by the events of the day, but I will attempt to write out my experience in case anyone else is ever unlucky enough to witness what I have.

The party started out normally. My friends and I were enjoying the food we’d set out beforehand and talking amongst ourselves. Everyone seemed to be acting the way they usually did.

And then, out of nowhere, one of the partygoers revealed the unholy box.

The others may not have known of its presence before it was brought out, but as soon as they saw the box, their minds were ensnared by it. Some of them began speaking in strange phrases.

I fear learning the meaning behind those phrases.

The only thing I could think to do was run.

From a safe distance, I watched some kind of dark ritual unfold. My friends, presumably under the thrall of the box, began unpacking its contents. Each item I saw them remove was more sinister than the last, but although I wanted to protect the people I loved, I felt that I had to remain hidden.

I drew the items as they were being placed onto the table for future reference. I can only pray that I have not damaged my sanity by doing so.

Things only got worse from there. After they had laid out all the items on the table, they began placing them onto what appeared to be some kind of altar. The way they moved the items around their demonic altar seemed practiced, methodical, controlled. It was clear they somehow understood exactly what to do.

I knew it had something to do with those ivory stones. What I didn’t know was how or why.

I could only stare in horror as their ritual progressed. It was clear the corruption within the box grew stronger in them throughout the process.

In the beginning, they had sounded almost pleasant in their banter.

However, the more they moved their strange items, the more aggressive they became. Their black speech grew more pronounced. The box enveloped another aspect of their delicate minds with every word it forced them to utter.

My friends… if they were still my friends… started screaming at each other in voices that were not their own.

I believed, at this point, that they were fully corrupted by the box.

I had a chance to investigate the altar more closely while they were away, and I was shocked by what I saw.

The items were laid out strategically on little squares, in an organized fashion. The ivory stones showed them where to move their metal tokens — if there were seven runes showing face-up, they would move their tokens seven squares ahead. I had heard them counting out loud during their ritual, but I didn’t understand what it meant.

The whole layout was like some kind of structured “game”, and I believe that was the key to my realization. The more I looked at this setup, the more it looked like a game.

I understood then.

The box wasn’t possessing them, as I had previously thought.

The stones were.

I had to take cover again as the stone-slaves approached their altar, still yelling their unholy chants and speaking in ancient languages.

While remaining hidden, I found an object that could destroy the ivory stones and undo their curse.

I was afraid for my life, but I never doubted myself in my decision. My friends were still in there somewhere, struggling to free themselves from the stones’ control over them.

It was up to me to release them.

The nightmare was over as quickly as it had begun.

I don’t know if I truly destroyed whatever demonic force lay within those cubes. I don’t know if my friends will ever come to terms with what happened to them.

There are so many lingering questions that I may never be able to answer.

All I know is that I was a hero today.