Door Three

The spotlights immediately shut off with a loud CLUNK! Which resonated inside the large building, echoing through the darkness. The only light source was now a single bulb hanging from somewhere above, its low wattage cast a dim yellow pall over the young man and the gaudy emcee, quickly receding into the black and leaving the doors upon the stage in relative darkness. The emcee kept his arms wide, as if in anticipation of an embrace, but his toothy grin remained motionless and serpentine, and unnaturally large. There must have been a hundred teeth in that goddamn mouth.

He leaned in close and gave a wink, “So... waddya say, sport? Big decision, huh? No pressure!”

The emcee laughed and backed away with his hands in the air, as if mugging for the non-existent cameras. His chuckle was raspy and sounded like dry rot, and the crazy, stark shadows seemed to obscure his features with the extreme angle of the overhead light. His movements were slow but fluid as he moved around the makeshift podium. He gestured to the ramshackle doors, which resembled a failed middle school wood shop endeavor, and cried, “Reilly Bennet, let's hear that choice!”

And though they were alone, Reilly swore he heard the roar and applause from a supportive crowd. From somewhere far away.

Perhaps from a dream.

And (not for the first time) Reilly began to think that this was maybe a less-than-Kosher situation.

And then the emcee was there at his side, his breath hot and dry on Reilly's cheek and brought with it a nearly familiar scent that seemed to just elude Reilly's recognition; arid and earthy, and not entirely unpleasant. Reilly recoiled but managed not to cry out. He quickly noticed that he would be unable to slink away from this creepy individual, no matter how badly he might want to, because the emcee had one big arm wrapped jovially around Reilly's backside.

“So, whatcha thinking, kid? Which door holds the riches you so righteously desire?”

Then he turned from Reilly and squatted down at knee height, then brought his hands to his face and pretended to bite his fingernails like one might eat corn on the cob, “It's a brain tickler, isn't it folks?!”

The emcee then turned around and looked up at Reilly over his shoulder. It was at that point an involuntary shudder tickled Reilly's gorge, because for an instant – just an instant – he could have sworn the emcee's right eye lolled impossibly around its socket, until it once again focused on him, but was then lost behind a crazy clump of frizzy, dark hair.

But then the shadows moved again. Reilly didn't immediately take note of this because of its subtlety, but it was almost as if the shadows moved across the emcee's face of their own accord – slowly, nearly imperceptibly, but nonetheless in motion. And though the icy shiver which emanated from his spine brought a sharp rash of goose flesh to his arms, the left side of his brain attempted to reassure him that what his eyes detected was, in fact, an impossibility. His arms however, unconvinced, wrapped themselves around his torso and Reilly unconsciously hugged himself.

The End

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