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ALONE IN THE DARK

Richard Neville

2020 (a 500 word story for Reddit)


1

It’s dark on the moors. The rain intensifies. You have no idea where you are, or where you might find shelter.

Head into the trees on the hilltop 17

Search for a path 18

Scan the horizon 2


2

A flash of lightning reveals the silhouette of a distant building - possible shelter.

Walk towards the building 14

Head into the trees 17


3

The Baggits are not welcoming. Their mausoleum door creaks closed forever behind you. You will never see their faces, but their unrelenting gaze burns into your diminished soul.


4

When you lunge, one child swoons, one wets himself, and one smacks his head on the altar. Perhaps you are scarier than you think.

Look outside 16


5

The building is a ruined church. At the far end a flashlight beam flails around.

Investigate the light 9

Skirt through the graveyard 16


6

Hidden away, you don’t see it, but at least it doesn’t see you.

Continue 5


7

One child shushes the others and says ‘Who’s that?’ You step into the moonlight. One screams, another cries.

Run outside 16

Tell them your name 12


8

You wander away, upset and confused. You will wander forever, frightening all you encounter.


9

Three children try to scare each other, hiding and shouting ‘boo’.

Call to them 7

Jump out at them 4


10

There’s no need to attack. Why would you think such a thing? You giggle childishly.

Climb into the pot 19


11

Three figures greet you, gesturing toward their bubbling cauldron. One mumbles under her breath. The others cackle.

Climb into the pot 19

Talk to them first 13


12

You tell them, ‘I am Elisa Donald, do you know where I may find shelter?’ One child points to the graveyard, finger quivering.

Go where you are told 16

Frighten them 4


13

‘We have been waiting for you, spirit,’ says one witch. ‘Command us,’ says another. The third continues to mumble.

Attack the third witch 10

Take command 15


14

Something is running towards you.

Duck into the bushes 6

Stand your ground 20


15

You demand obeisance. They circle you, singing in low voices. You open your mouth and bleat. You have become a black goat, lord of witches.


16

The gravestones moulder and lean like a crazy man’s teeth. There are mausoleums with swinging doors, and inviting open graves. Where will you find shelter?

Baggit family mausoleum 3

Elisa Donald’s grave 21

Far from here 8


17

You are drawn to the glimmer of a fire in a clearing.

Walk towards the light 11

Move away 2


18

There’s no path, the ground is boggy. You cannot imagine feeling warm again.

Head towards the trees 17


19

The broth is welcoming as a hot bath. You feel oddly relaxed. Your cares and form dissolve, to the delight of your hosts.


20

A huge dog gallops out of the darkness, trailing spittle. It passes so close you could swear it ran through you.

Continue 5


21

As you step into the grave of Elisa Donald, you feel overwhelming peace. You’ve found your place in the universe. Congratulations: your adventure is over.


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