The Dare

#AmWriting #ShortStory #IndieAuthor

The building sat dark and decrepit as Haley, Josh, Mark, and Matt walked up the path.

Their flashlights barely cut through the fog that swirled around them, making it hard to see anything but the dark outline in the moonlight.

“Come on, guys!” Mark prodded, “If we don’t get in there by midnight or we lose the bet. Haley, you brought the camera, right?”

“I got it.” Haley lamented, “I can’t believe you talked me into this.”

“Relax, Haley. There’s nothing in there. We all know that. It’s just an urban legend.” Matt replied, rubbing her back.

Josh suddenly ran between Matt and Haley screaming. Already on edge, Haley screamed and, in spite of his comforting, Matt swing at him, narrowly missing the punch. Josh continued on ahead, catching up with Mark as they laughed loudly.

The boys laughter cascaded up to the asylum, reverberated off the building, and returned to them. The echoing added to Haley’s anxiety as she became visibly upset.

“It’ll be alright, Haley.” Matt said. “We don’t have to go in. It’s just a stupid dare.”

“No, if he don’t go in everyone at school will know, and we’ll never hear the end of it.” She replied, finding resolve in her own words. “We can just go inside, take the stupid picture, and get it of there.”

Matt took Haley’s hand and they followed Josh and Mark up the path. The two in the front continued their shouting and rough-housing up the path until they reached the locked gate of the chain link fence, just outside the front entrance.

“Seems like someone doesn’t want us getting in.” Mark said, “I guess we came all this way for nothing.”

“Knock it off, Mark.” Josh said, pushing him out of the way, “Check it out!”

Josh reached into the brush just off the side of the path and produced a large rock. “This ought to do the trick!”

When the rock hit the lock, there was an echo of the collision through the building in front of them, it vibrated the broken panes of glass, causing a few to fall, smashing on the steps before them. When the lock gave out Mark pulled the chain quickly and pushed the fence open.

“And we’re in!” He beamed, rushing for the front door, pulling it open with ease.

They entered into the abandoned lobby. Once lavishly decorated, it sat in ruin, they saw nearly everything was vandalized, or so old it was nearly falling apart. Scuttling noises from various unseen creatures could be heard throughout the room.

“Rats.” Matt said, comforting Haley as they pressed on through the building.

“Couldn’t we have come here during the day? It wouldn’t have been as creepy.” Haley asked. “I don’t like it here.”

The last word out of Haley’s mouth echoed through the rooms off the lobby, and there was a sudden bang at the top of the stairs. All four of them froze, unable to speak. The bang was followed by what sounded like something being dragged across a dirt-covered tile floor.

Matt looked at Josh and Mark, who had gone white and were looking at up the stairs toward the noise. Haley tugged on his sleeve, and silently motioned for them to leave. Matt touched both of the others and the four began slowly backing toward the door.

When a figure came around the corner at the top of the stairs, seemingly dragging something large and misshapen Josh and Mark turned to run for it, hitting the door hard, and falling backwards over each other.

“New patients?” The figure said tilting its head. It’s voice was high pitched, and cracked as it spoke. “There is no leaving the asylum without a doctor’s sign off.”

The four of them screamed and bolted through the door on the right, only to find themselves in an office with bare, broken, and mold covered furniture and shelves. Matt pulled Haley into the room, and quickly shut the door, flipping the dead bolt as fast as he could. Mark ran to the window, but found that it was barred, and the bars, unlike everything else in the room, held firm when he tried shaking them loose.

“We’re trapped!” Josh whispered spinning around, looking for any other exits.

“Come out, patients! We need to process your paperwork!” The voice called from the other side of the door as whoever it was tried the handle. “Dr. Holdan will finish his rounds shortly! He’ll be very cross with all of us if I don’t process your paperwork!”

Haley looked at the desk and saw the plaque nameplate sitting on the desk that read the doctor’s name. “This is his office!” She whispered, “We need to get out of this place!”

The door was suddenly being banged on, “Open the door!” The high-pitched voice called before it hit such a level of bass that the door shook from the sound, “You need to come out, or the guards will come in!”

There was a jingle of keys on the other side of the door followed by the sound of the key sliding into the lock.

“Shit!” Mark said, grabbing the deadbolt, holding it in place. “He has keys!”

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