Story Time: Beetle Pits

Beetle Pits

Gwen Cosmos

   She had been a fool. She repeated the phrase over and over again in her head as she marched with chains hanging from her neck and clasped onto her wrists and ankles. The links clanked together as she took step after shuffling step down the stone hallway. She had been a fool to have thought above her station. She was nothing more than a servant.

He had been a mage, a powerful one. His cool blue eyes were embedded in her memory along with the soft caress of his lips against hers and the touch of magic as he made cool air blow across her skin.

She shuffled along with the two guards beside her, keeping pace. She could feel their cold gazes on her as she walked.

They stopped outside a pair of solid metal doors. The handles were carved into the shape of beetles. Above the door, along the frame, were runes etched into the solid stone. It was the Mage Language, which she did not know. One of her guards reached for the handle of the door, chanting a spell under his breath. The door opened with a creak to complete blackness.

She squirmed in her restraints and took a step back just as the thick smell of decay reached her nose. She gagged, almost falling to her knees, but a heavy hand caught her and lifted her back up, then shoved her towards the gaping doorway.

“Please…” she begged her voice shaking, “please don’t make me do this.” Tears brimmed her eyes and cascaded down her cheeks in fear.

“It’ll be over in ten minutes.” One of her guards said, “Next time you won’t be so eager to break the rules.”

He pushed her through the doorway and the door creaked shut. She spun around just in time to see a tiny sliver of light vanish. She was alone. She stepped back from the door and hit something with her foot. It fell down the steps with a sickening clack-di-clack. Her heart beat out of her chest as the sound settled. Her mind raced trying to place the eerie object. Ten minutes was going to be a very long time.

Suddenly, she heard another sound echoing through the black, one that made her skin crawl. She backed up against the door and it was solid beneath her as she began to shake. Sweat poured down her brow and the terror took over. It was the sound of insects, hundreds of insects, walking towards her, their next meal. There was a slight buzzing on top of the sound of their legs hitting the hard floor. She screamed as something landed on her; she swatted it away, but more landed on her. She swiped and swiped them away, but they kept coming.

They were crawling on her now, biting her, trying to burrow. One managed to burrow into her lower leg and another ear-splitting scream escaped her as the pain of it made her collapse. More determined, the beetles began to crawl further up her.

With beetles crawling all over her and making a feast of her she eventually passed out. When the guards came to retrieve, her, she was barely alive. They dragged her out, kicking the large beetles away from her, and took her to the doctor. He said she would survive but not without injuries.

She was lucky to be alive.

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