Dare Me Not!

by Chandra Sundeep
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Beyond the Box

Tim dared Ben and me the other day.

Dared us to visit the woods. 

Anyone who knows me would vouch for my love for dares. ‘Come on, Tim… Go to the woods? That’s hardly a dare!’ I shrugged as Tim pointed toward the vast stretch of land. But for some reason, Ben seemed to think otherwise. He clasped my wrist and I could feel his icy fingers poking deep inside my veins. His misty eyes nearly popped out from his face. 

‘Come on, what can go wrong?’ I dragged him along while Tim egged us on. 

We had hardly stepped on the grass when Ben whispered, ‘I-I-I am s-s-scared…’ and raced out in the opposite direction without looking back even once.

I walked on, whistling a happy tune, wondering what could be scary about such a beautiful place. The barren trees reaching for the skies, and their naked limbs poking at various angles, made for a curious sight, no doubt. 

Dried leaves crunched under my feet as I tread along deeper into the woods. Tim’s sing-song voice swished through the gaps between the trees. ‘Hey! Scaredy cat! You’ve got to touch the broken stump, not just graze around like a fat cow!’

I couldn’t see him, yet his voice continued echoing, stopping abruptly when the stump came into sight. 

The cut tree stump resembled a well, and I bent down to take a nicer look. Just as I took a selfie as proof of me completing the dare, a slimy hand erupted from the dried stump and grabbed my throat. 

An acidic burn stung my insides as cold, thick, slimy juice entered my body through my eyes, ears, and nose; no sound escaped as I screamed ‘help!’

Soon, my feet were no more on the ground. The hand swung me upside-down. I started blanking out as my journey into the dark narrow stump began, while outside, the dried grass turning green with a blanket of pretty purple flowers. 

The last thing I remember before my eyes shut is my shadow cackling as it left the woods. ‘I completed the dare!

 

I wrote this story for Beyond The Box – Meet, Greet and Write – an on the spot writing event. This story was awarded the winning story title.
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