The mistake

Reilly looked at the three doors, each more dilapidated than the last. None of them gave away might might lay beyond. It seemed to him that doors one and three were too obvious, but maybe he was just over-thinking it. Either way he found himself standing before door number two. It was locked but Reilly wondered if one well placed shoulder might disintegrate the entire door casing anyway. Two haggard and Gothic looking lines were scratched into the peeling avocado green paint of the door, as if with a nail.


Roman numerals.

Reilly shrugged internally and stepped to the door. He was about to reach for the knob but instead rapped his knuckles hard against the flimsy wood. With a grin he called out, “Hello?”

The emcee's smile wavered ever-so-slightly, like catching a glimpse of a passing fish just beneath the water's surface, “Are you expecting an answer?”

Reilly's wise-ass nature broadened his own smile as he retorted, “I was hoping my untold fortune was going to invite me in.”

And like that the emcee's smile returned in all it's creepy brilliance, “I'm afraid that sometimes good fortune is not so easy to obtain.”

There was a moment where his deformed eye, the bulging one, which Reilly had assumed was blind, rotated in its socket to look at Reilly. There was no pupil, but with a shiver, Reilly realized it could see him just fine, and then the emcee's hair fell over it again. Suddenly, all of Reilly's smart-ass bravado had seeped into the floor with its tail between its legs, and his smile disappeared with it. So he jerked open the door, hoping to see something he could sell or trade for profit.

He squinted into the darkness. The room was about half the width of a small storage shed, and of indeterminable depth. There was some kind of mass in the center of the room, about four feet from him; possibly a table, but Reilly couldn't tell for sure.

Reilly hesitated, his foot hanging pendulously over the threshold, when the emcee asked, “Well? Are ya going in or what, sport?”

It took some effort to scrounge up enough confidence, but Reilly set his jaw and answered, “Yes,” and he set his foot firmly on the floor, which must have had some kind of weight trigger wired underneath because as soon as he did so, two strong flood lights burst into action and blinded him. He cried out, put his arm over his face to shield his eyes from the heated blast of light, and backed up a step, but his hip pressed only against the closed door behind him.

He turned away from the light and pounded on the door hard enough to make it rattle the hinges, “Hey! What the hell is this?!”

The End

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