The Dare

November 15, 2012
“Go on,” Jeff said, smirking his chubby pale lips, “or, are you gonna back down?”
“No way, I’m going,” I say, gradually creeping forward. The old wooden, broken down shack ahead of me gives me the chills and turns my bravery to ice. Everyone jumps as an owl hoots in the distance, the only other sign of life in the deep dark woods. At least 5 people are there from my school to make sure I actually do the dare, as well as my best friend Michelle. Their faces are testing, as if they have no faith in me and are hesitant of my own feelings about the situation. There are four boys, all aggravating jokesters that think they are so cool. They ride squat little bikes because they think that they are amazing. Michelle gives me an encouraging look, shining her perfect white teeth at me right before I almost back down. She shoes me with her hands as if using “the force” to push me farther and farther away from her. I reach the house and look behind me, everyone takes a step back. I have to carry it out alone, so they all have to wait outside.

I amble through the dusty broken down shack, tripping over a broken piece of wood on the floor. The wooden walls are crammed with spider webs. I get to an old door and rotate the knob. It opens to a spiral staircase. Round and round I go, getting lower with each step. Too many horror movie scenes flash in my mind. Then an abrupt image of the group of kids, laughing outside at my cowardliness from not succeeding makes me rapidly increase in pace down the aged rickety steps. The stench of dust and mold lingers in the dry air. My hands tremble as I hold on tight to the rough metal railing and try to stay calm. I’m relieved that I got my tetanus shot this year. The boards making up the flimsy steps screech and groan, the only noise in the entire little house. “Just a little bit further,” I think.
I start to take another step down but I realize that I am on the firm floor. Its stone basement flooring makes a piercing zap of cold go through my feet up my legs, giving me goose bumps. I take a circling look around. The room is empty except for a lone old toy box in the center next to a baby’s crib. It was old fashioned looking. I took a deep breath and pulled my hood over my head, tightening the strings so only my face poked out. The scary stories of this place nearly made me turn back, but it was too late now. I creep over to the box and slowly lift up the lid. Dust flies everywhere and I use the light of a lone window high on the wall, carrying in silver moonlight. I gasp as I realize what’s inside. There’s a sole book sitting at the very bottom.
Just as I am about to attain the book, I hear the basement door slam with a colossal boom. I grab the fearsome book and close the lid as mutely as possible. I hurry and slide under the crib, noislessly gripping the mace I keep in my pocket. Slow, thunderous, thumping footsteps make their way closer and closer. They are obviously from a large person. I just picture an ugly giant stinking of dried blood coming to eat me. I huddle myself closer into a ball and pull the blanket hanging over the crib a little lower. I can hear my heart beating as the footsteps pause at the bottom of the steps. I’m guessing he is looking around like I did, confused there isn’t something more terrifying down here like the legends all said. Then again, maybe he is the terrifying monster from the legends. I hear his footsteps walk over to the box. He leisurely opens it and then pauses for only a moment of confusion before he slams it shut and rapidly flies for the crib. His face is in front of mine in seconds, his fat hands lifting up the blanket. I don’t even have time to glance at who it is. The mace is spraying in the mystery man’s eyes like a tornado of poison, smelling putrid. My eyes are closed tight, wrinkling my face. The eyes of the man burn red as I spray. The spraying sound is like a sprinkler coming straight from a little bottle as long as my ring finger. His scream fills my ears, scaring me even more. As he falls back, I slide out from underneath the bed and run up the steps. I slam the door behind me and sprint into the woods. I didn’t even think twice about how the kids were inexplicably gone.

My feet ache as the sun goes down. I get more and more anxious to find something other than more trees. My brown curls make a rat’s nest, and my jeans are torn with new green grass stains that look like claw marks from an itty bitty green troll. I look around and realize that I am completely and utterly alone and no one seemed to be following me, so I lay next to a thick tree, covered in bark that’s filled with millions of intricate patterns. I am so outright exhausted. Not really thinking about anything besides how tired I am, my eyes start feeling like five pound weights. I fall to a deep quiet sleep in a matter of seconds.

Suddenly, my ears are filled with my own name. I feel afraid at first, but then I realize that they are coming from kids. I hop up and it’s still night, I probably wasn’t asleep for more than half an hour. I dart to the nearest voice and smack right into Michelle.
“Ow! Dawn, is that you? You ok?” Michelle asked.
“No! There was a man…” I said out of breath, “He came into the basement and was like big and scary looking; I maced him in his face and ran! Where were you guys?”
Michelle started laughing, and I almost slapped her, how could she act like this when I was being chased by a madman?
“That wasn’t a bad guy, that was Jeff! He went down there to scare you. He said that you were hiding and that you got mad that he scared you, so you attacked him. We saw you run into the woods and have been looking for you since! We should tell the others that you are found, and what really happened.” I just about collapsed from anger, relief, and exhaustion. But I found myself actually laughing with her. It was so ridiculous how scared I had gotten.
Michelle grabbed my arm and we started walking towards the house again. How did I get petrified from a chubby little boy yelling boo? At least I carried out the dare.
“Oh no” I said, “I forgot about the book! Now how will everyone at school believe that I went down there?”
“Well,” said Michelle, “I don’t think that anyone here will forget this story, especially Jeff!” we laughed. “Besides, does it really matter? I mean, you know what happened and I know it, so what else do you really need?”

That confused me, I have always been trying to show off my bravery and keep up my reputation, but maybe you just need the important people in your life to know what you do and how you are like.
“I guess nothing,” I said, surprising myself, “people don’t need to know everything that I do that’s in my amazing life! I mean, it’s really just too much awesomeness for one normal being to hold!”
“Ha-ha,” Michelle laughed, “yes your majesty, because Queen Dawn is just too awesome for the rest of the world”.

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