The Bet

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The Bet

Sleep is no longer an option. The voices I hear when awake now murmur through my dreams, calling me, begging me to join them. I was foolish to accept Bill’s bet, but winning a case of Bud for spending one hour in that old mausoleum seemed easy enough. He did warn me that anyone who spent an hour in that place ended up mad or dead. I thought he was pulling my leg.

The rules were simple; after sunset I had to enter the mausoleum, descend the stairs, and wait in the main room for one hour. Bill waited outside with both our watches and my cell phone. When the time was up, he would throw a handful of rocks down the stairs. I could use a flashlight to make my way down the stairs, but once I reached the appointed area, I had to turn it off.

The stairs were worn and crumbled in places, but solid enough. The air of the place was damp, and smelled of damp dirt and mold. A musky odor set me to sneezing, but that soon passed. When I reached the area Bill mentioned, I flashed the light around, taking note of the broken caskets and bones scattered around. A large rat chittered and scampered back to its nest.

With a sigh, I leaned against the stone sarcophagus in the middle of the room. This still had the lid in place, but I found no name or date on it. The moment I turned off the flashlight, the whispering began.

“Join usss! Crosss over and be free!”

“The darknesss beckonsss!”

“Free yourself!”

At first I ignored them, telling myself it was my imagination. The whispering continued unabated.

“The darknesss beckonsss!”

“Free yourself!”

“Join usss! Crosss over and be free!”

I shoved my fingers in my ears to no avail.

“Free yourself!”

Join usss! Crosss over and be free!”

“The darknesss beckonsss!”

I paced as best I could, hoping to leave the whispers behind. More than once I was tempted to turn the flashlight on, but I really wanted that case of beer. I couldn’t help thinking maybe I should have made the wager two cases.

“Join usss! Crosss over and be free!”

“The darknesss beckonsss!”

“Free yourself!”

When I thought I could stand it no longer, the handful of rocks came down the stairs. I turned on the flashlight and bolted up the stairs, skinning both knees when I slipped. When I emerged from the door, Bill held out the case of beer. After that I don’t even remember making it home and to bed.

It’s been two weeks since I took that stupid bet. No amount of drugs or alcohol silence the whispers. Awake or asleep I continue to hear them.

“Join usss! Crosss over and be free!”

“The darknesss beckonsss!”

“Free yourself!”

I have one thing to do before I join them. My dad left me a handgun when he died. I’ve never used it before, but keep it in working order. I asked Bill to meet me at the ruins tonight to share a six-pack. He agreed and was already there when I arrived. I waited until he drank one beer before I brought out the gun and shot him in the chest.

Before he died, he said “Why?”

“Time to join the darknesss.”

About Anna Dobritt

Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG PDFs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs. She loves to read and write, and lives in Michigan. Anna enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes. Anna has three trilogies in the queue: Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish in 2016. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy. Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight, and a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within. Where the imagination soars on glowing wings! May the words ever flow!
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