“Ten quid if you do it.”
“Shannon, aw Shannon.”
“Go on, you always say you don’t refuse a dare.”
“But the cellar, at night.”
“Fair enough. I’ll keep the money and I’ll tell everyone you were too chicken to take the dare. It’s fine.”
“Bloody will and I’ll tell Carla.”
“Okay, okay, okay I’ll do it.”
“Right. One hour, at night. No torch, no phone and nothing with luminosity.”
“Luminosity? Did you swaller a dictionary – Ow. So okay, when.”
“You’re a cow you know that.”
“No, just a big sister. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.”…
It was darker than he expected, he blinked but still couldn’t decide whether his eyes were open or closed. It was cold too, icy damp cold that had him shivering now and it had only been… Well how long had it been? He had counted for a while, after the big door slammed and the noises of the house disappeared and all the light in the world was obliterated. He had counted one elephant, two elephant, three elephant on and on till six hundred and his voice had sounded small and feeble in the silence and he had begun to lose count as the light had moved from midnight to grey with great black shadows looming.
He rubbed his arms and took a tentative step, sliding his feet along the invisible floor. There used to be an old chair, a smelly old chair with ratty arms and wooden legs. It was near the wall in the corner. If he sat in that he could close his eyes and pretend he was somewhere else.
The great dark shape in front of him now was the cupboard, perhaps there was just the small glint from the lock. The darker line, did that mean that the door was open. No, no don’t think of it.
The four-legged monster in the middle of the room was the table, heavy and solid. He headed towards it. from there it was but five paces to the chair. He reached out his hand, nearer now. He grabbed at the corner as his feet slid on the slippery puddle. It shouldn’t be wet, there was no wet down here. He slid his trainer back and forth on the mess. Grit rasped under the sole. What? He knelt and touched it, slimy and warm. A glob dripped onto his head. He startled, jumped back, heart pounding.
Holding his breath now and sliding his hand along the edge of the table he was closer to the chair. He could see it, a dark mass crouched in the corner. He would just sit on it, close his eyes and think good, warm thoughts. He turned sideways began to slide his behind onto the seat and his bowels turned to liquid as arms enfolded him. The scream died in his throat as his voice was stolen by terror.
For a while he struggled, just for a while until it became impossible. For a while he breathed until the embrace refused his lungs the space to expand. For a while he lived. For just a little while.