Tale as Old As Time

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Sting in the Tail

Matt strode past the bodies and up the now slippery staircase, turning quickly and heading up the right hand side. Emma was forced to run to keep up with him.

“You liked her didn’t you?” Emma asked Matt soflty.

“Show me someone who didn’t, but she only had eyes for Tom.”

“Yeah. She thought none of us knew, but I think the only one who didn’t was Tom.”

“So what do we do now?”

“I guess we find a room we can baracade ourselves into and then wait it out till morning, see if this haunted house of horrors becomes just a house.” Emma suggested.

“If we stop, we freeze, well, I freeze.”

“So what do you suggest? Traipsing around the corridors exposing ourselves to who knows what?”

“We’ll be fine.” Matt reassured her as he reached the top landing that opened out into the two corridors. “Left or right?”

“We always seem to go left and get into trouble, why don’t we try right for a change?” Emma pointed out.

“We went right when Khaia and Alexis were killed.”

“We went left when Tom, Mia, Rose and Lucas were killed.” Emma retorted.

“Exactly. We should go left, the odds would be more in our favour because we already lost half of the group going left and only two going right, so if we go right we will both die. Half and half right.” Matt reasoned, heading off towards the corridor that they had lost most of their friends.

“I’m not sure about this.” Emma told him, following him reluctantly.

“We can go right at that junction.” Matt promised.

Emma followed Matt down first one, then another corridor, encountering nothing in their way. They walked aimlessly for about five minutes before Matt stopped dead and Emma walked into the back of him, breaking her nose in the middle of his back.

“Bhat are gou doing?” Emma asked, pinching the bridge of her nose to try and stem the flow of blood down her face.

“I can hear a clicking sound. It sounds like pincers.” Matt told her.

Just as Matt finished speaking the wall in front of them started to lower, the clicking pincer sounds getting louder and more repetitive.

The wall sunk lower and lower until Matt and Emma were stood facing a room full of knee height scorpions.

“Run.” Matt said, his voice squeaking and high pitched.

Emma didn’t need to be told twice. She turned on her heel and raced down the corridor the way they came, trying to remember the way to retrace their steps.

The two of them were trying all of the doors they passed to see if any of the rooms would grant them access. Emma saw a hint of moonlight against one of the doors. It opened.

“In here, in here!” Emma panted and pulled Matt into the room, “That was close!”

“Too close. I’d rather be burned alive than go through a kazillion scorpion stings.” Matt panted next to her, doubled over, hands of his knees, gasping for air.

“Be careful what you wish for. I told you we should have gone right.” Emma told him, sinking to the floor, the loss of blood from her nose and exercise combining to make her feel lightheaded. She reached up and pinched her nose again to restem the flow of blood.

“I wish I could get warm, you’d think that sprinting would do it, but nooo. Only if you’re wearing dry clothes apparently.” Matt complained, looking around the dark room.

The unexplained moonlight streamed in through the filthy window and allowed Emma and Matt to register their surroundings. They were in what looked to have once been the master suite.

There was a large, king sized, ornately carved, wooden four poster bed and a moth-eaten daybed which faced...

“Halleluiah!” Mat exclaimed as his gaze settled onto the fireplace, and next to it: a box of matches.

“What have you found?” Emma asked him as she explored the bookcases that contained a rather odd collection of ornaments. She could hear Matt striking the match against the flint paper and turned in time for a strike to catch, the match light and Matt lower it towards the grate.

“Matt, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Emma warned him, but Matt wasn’t listening. He was far too cold.

As he lowered the match, the wood in the fireplace caught suddenly and a roaring fire sprung to life.

“OH MY GOD! I’M ON FIRE! I’M ON FIRE!” Matt screamed as he pulled his arm out of the grate.

Emma rushed forward to help him, but before she had taken two steps the flames had spread to his chest and face.

Matt continued screaming as the flames engulfed him, Emma pressed herself against the wall to avoid being hit by Matt’s flailing arms. She quickly looked around the room to see if there was anything she could use to hit him to extinguish the flames. The only thing she could see was a mouldy runner that covered the end of the bed.

The only problem being: it was behind Matt and Emma couldn’t get to it without getting caught by Matt and the flames herself.

The acrid smell of burning hair and flesh filled the room and Emma’s nostrils making her retch.

Eventually, Matt’s screaming subsided and he fell to the floor in a crumpled heap, exposed skin peeling, red and raw.

Emma bolted for the door to escape the smell and leaned back against the doorframe, allowing fresher air into her lungs.

“And then there was one.” Emma said to herself and headed down the corridor.

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