Image: AdnaeInviere at DeviantArt.com.
The strange piece with the wind-up mechanism was a curiosity from the past, and strangely no one had seen it operate. Gran explained to us that the coil was over-wound and so it sat, and we all looked from time to time wondering just what it might do it if it went.
Gran said it came from a Russian prince who had befriended her grandmother on a visit to Moscow a hundred or so years ago. We concluded our great great gran must have made an impression on the prince to receive such a gift.
One day the piece was gone, and Gran told us she had taken it to be repaired.
Two weeks later Gran came home with the piece looking shiny and glowing. She wound up the mechanism, and we all watched as the legs came to life and scurried across the kitchen table. It was such a delight to see it work and concluded it must have been a great toy for the Prince’s children.
It was during the night that I heard it moving about, its metallic legs making an eerie sound on the polished floorboards and its scratching on my bedroom door terrified me as I was sure I’d seen Gran turn the operating switch to off.
The following morning we picked up the metal object and looked closely at its workings. Gran saw the on switch had been broken and announced she was going to de-commission it again as it gave her the creeps.
When she approached the piece, it backed up against the wall, raised its front legs as if to attack.
Gran was taken aback, but not as much as the piece was when dad smashed it with his hammer.