Once it was the three of us outside the door, she stared at my friend who was now blushing from the affects of the alcohol and probably the added effects from the drugs she had taken before. The hostess held up our new numbers. My friend let out a shriek and glared at me for what felt like was an eternity. The piercing sound of her scream knocked me out of the daze that I had started to feel from the alcohol. The hostess now held up a one and a five. I didn’t know what any of this meant and it was obvious that Rhonda did and it was now causing her to panic a little.
We didn’t go down anymore halls, the hostess turned to a set of stairs that seemingly appeared to have appeared near the door we had just walked out of. The hostess didn’t blink an eye as she glided to the stairs and made her way up only stopping once to make sure that we were following her.
Rhonda growled under her breath, she was angry and I was unsure of why. She mumbled under her breath about getting what she was wanting and how I was supposed to be the one having issues with the challenges. She had never lost before how could she be doing so bad?
I said nothing as I tried to decipher her mumbling clues of what was going on. I was really dreading the next room, whatever it was didn’t seem like it was going to be good.
The hostess stopped once she had led us to the top of the stairs.
There was no concept of time and I was lost in what was going on. Then a thought struck me. What times was it really? Midnight was the limit and how long had we been here?
I stared at the hostess who was watching me very carefully. She signaled for us to go through the door. I turned to Rhonda and explained that we didn’t have to go through the door. There was something wrong with everything here and that we could still leave now and not face anything. No soul damning actions. No losing anything precious. We are in control, we have the power.
Rhonda let out a horrid laugh. She stared straight at me, but her eyes didn’t look like they recognized me as a friend, her pupils were dilated and I could see my reflection in them. I had a look of desperation on my face and this made me feel shameful. Through all the time I had been the one to make sure everyone got home safely, at this moment, I felt completely powerless to help the person before me. The hatred in her face said it all. She stood there and everything around us felt like it was gone. She growled in disgusted as she grabbed my arm harshly and shoved me through the door without saying a word.
The hostess was now waving to us as she shut the door.
I glared at Rhonda. What was she thinking? We had a chance to leave. I was completely focused on her. As I struggled against her grip, her nails dug deep preventing me from escaping unless I wanted to tear flesh to escape. Why had she picked me for this? What had I done to make her spite me so much?
“The goal was to reach me”, a male voice vibrated through my mind causing me to curl up into a ball. The voice felt like a poison seeping into my veins. My body had given out when I heard him and now I struggled to control myself. I had no way of understanding why I had reacted in such a fashion. I felt like a mouse staring into a cat’s eyes while being trapped in a corner. I hadn’t even had a chance to get a glimpse of the room when I was bombarded with these emotions.
Rhonda stood there laughing. Her laugh was cruel, like this fear that I was reacting to was silly. Her mouth was open wide and the shrill of her laugh came out loud, but it also felt a little forced. It was like this event took some pressure off of her and she reveled in it.
As I unfurled from my position and tried to grasp my situation by focusing on the room. The space felt it was tiny and intimate, but there was no mistaking there was a throne at the end of a long carpet. A man sat in the throne with his hands in a prayer like position in front of his mouth as he stared at us. From what I could see he was the definition of handsome. The problem was there was like a miasma around him. A deep purple swirl of something dangerous embraced and moved around him covering up sections of his body, flashes of his nude form would appear and disappear behind cloth as he moved towards us. It was as if one could not focus on his form long enough to determine if he was dressed or naked under the thick miasma.
“You’re the only ones to reach the top tonight in one go. It is interesting, one usually loses their mind before reaching me. Those who get to me have been denying themselves the pleasures from down below. By the looks of it, one of you hasn’t but still managed to get here”, the man got up and walked toward Rhonda and she rushed to embrace him and was met with a hard slap to her face. He stood there staring at her and she held her cheek as she cried. The miasma lapped at her, but it was just out of reach. He berated her. Every misstep she had ever made revealed before us flashed in the miasma as he stepped; he spoke of all the mistakes she made, her confidence had made her sloppy. The man began listing all the time that night she could have maybe convinced me into breaking the rules, but she was so absorbed in the thought she had won that she never attempted to truly convince me to break the rules and never left me vulnerable enough for the men to take their chances. Rhonda tried to scream to drown him out, but the voice just boomed through our skulls as he showed her no mercy. When he was done, she was tearing at her own flesh and struggling to give it to him. She was trying to atone for her misgivings and sacrificing what she could to him.
I held in my screams of horror. The miasma that had just acted as a film projected now morphed into forms of people in throws of passion or pain. The silence of their screams were more deafening than any sound I had ever heard. I covered my ears in an attempt to hear myself, my blood rushing, my heart beating, anything that could snap me out of this nightmare before me.
His face showed nothing, but disguise as he watched her. A bell soon appeared in his hand and he dropped it before her. He explained that her torment would end if she rang the bell, but by doing so would make it a requirement for her to start over.
I watched as she struggled with herself not to reach for the bell, but soon it was in her hand. She stood up and stared right at me as she rang it. The hostess came in with a coffin and I watched in horror as all the men that had given her attention began crawling out of the coffin that had been placed before Rhonda. The men surrounded her and slowly began tearing at her flesh. Once they began ripping pieces away they began placing it into their mouths like she was some rare delicacy. I struggled to understand what was going on, but after the first few strips of flesh they’re careful hands now became more aggressive and the circle that has surrounded her were now dragging her down with them as instead of using their hands to take strips and pieces they were now just taking chunks with their teeth. Their tongues lapping against her oozing flesh and blood as if she was quenching their long thirst and hunger.
The most haunting part of the events unfolding before me was that she didn’t scream, she simply whispered that it was my fault she had to start over, she wasn’t supposed to lose, and soon the whispering stopped as they tore her tongue out and the men fought over it like starved dogs. I threw up the water, the alcohol and a bit of bile that had been in my stomach. It felt like I had lost something more as soon as the men dispersed making sounds of happiness and patting their bellies like they had just finished a large steak dinner. My friend’s bones laid there in a pile, her skull lacking her eyes, but the bones positioned in a way that the sockets were staring and judging me.