Philadelphia, December 1840
The jittering candlelight brought it back from the dead with a flutter and a blink. It was violet in colour, luminous, and might have been a thing of beauty if its stare were not so very persistent. I will keep you and those you love safe. I am your amulet, your charm against the past, your talisman for the future. Its promises were as hypnotic as its gaze.

I levered up one plank, then two, and worked feverishly to dislodge a third, thus fashioning a crypt beneath the floor. There it would not haunt me so, the mahogany box that held the antique letters and that glowing orb of amethyst. I will keep you safe. Listen closely and do what I bid.

Its relentless whispers set me on edge, sharpened my senses to an unnatural degree, but truly madness had not overtaken me. I was lucid, utterly so. And yet, my fingers crept towards it like a spider, like the dread that pattered over me. One final time! Then I would close the lid, turn the lock, hide away my legacy. I will keep you and those you love safe.

And there it was upon my palm, its gaze conquering mine, my amulet, my talisman – that malevolent, all-seeing eye of violet, her eye. If it could speak of all the things it had witnessed, all those very cruel things, how calmly it would tell the whole story.