The wall closed up behind me leaving me in complete darkness as each crudely carved stone step jarred my bones and added new bruises to my growing collection. The entire time my common sense berated me for not using it enough. Fortunately, my left shoulder finally broke my fall as I collided with the narrow passageway. It was a world of hurt to deal with but I seemed to be okay enough. I got up. Ouch! With a lot of pain and hobbled down the rest of the steps. They seemed to go on forever twisting and turning in parts until eventually they gave way to fine stone steps and a properly masoned hallway complete with torches. At first it was a bit too bright but eventually my eyes adjusted to the ruddy glow of the coals in the braziers that I mistook for torches. It was still dim but I could see at least.
I walked what felt like a long time. I did not know where I was beneath the earth or if there was a limited supply of oxygen. Would there be skeletons I find in this closet? Of foolish people, like myself, that trusted that psychopath. Only one thing to do and that was to follow the passageway.
Eventually the braziers gave way to proper torches that lit the blackish stone with a more radiant light. Shortly there after, I walked into a chamber that housed a massive wrought-iron gate. It was locked, of course. I wondered if it was a test, or if it was my cell where I would die. No skeletons around. At least, if this was a cell, housekeeping did their job.
After I got my bearings the second thought was not much of “The Choice” was it. The first thought involved the Gatekeeper and several choice 4, 6 and 12 letter words. Glad no kids were about. I continued muttering to myself and looking around for a way out however, I found no such respite from a weird day gone bad. Really bad.
After what seemed like hours, but in reality were probably just 20 minutes (I am impatient) I heard a dull booming sound that echoed everywhere in the chamber. Comparatively softer at first but with the regular rhythm of a metronome it kept getting louder as it approached. Soon it was accompanied by a deep muffled breathing. My mind raced with thoughts none of which were any comfort.
Dragon? I thought
No, it wouldn’t fit in here.
No, stupid. That won’t fit in here either.
I am not stupid. You are.
And now you are… I mean, I am talking to myself. Great, I am going nuts to boot. Maybe being insane would make it less painful getting eaten by a Dodge-Neon-sized Dragon. That is about the only thing that’d fit in here.
Ah ha! You agree it could be a Dragon!
No… I uhh… Will you stop that?
I win! I win!
Sigh. Why did my inner voice have to be such a moron?
I still win! I win! Woo hoo!
…Sigh. Come on, Dragon. Hurry it up. I didn’t know what was worse — the years of being incarcerated or this crowing buffoon.
You do know you have only been here 20 minutes give or take.
And now he was the voice of reason too.
The heavy clanking and grinding sounds of the wall opening distracted me from my last moments with sanity.
They really like walls, I thought to myself as the figure emerged from the passage behind it. It stood there solemnly. Hooded and cloaked in the darkness with large reflective eyes under the hood, the face of the creature hidden in the dim light of the doorway. It made a horrible breathing sound, twisted and torn.
My last thought was, I am going to get killed and eaten by Darth Vader.