The Pledge

Alec stepped carefully onto the creaking porch of the dilapidated house. He flicked on his flashlight, shining it on his face and turning towards the boys on the footpath, laughing at his good joke.

“You’re not getting out of it, Pledge,” one of the boys yelled.

Alec shrugged his shoulders as nonchalantly as possible. Turning back, he pushed open the heavy door, closing it behind him with a loud slam. He walked forward in to the dankness and shone the light around the broken-down room.

To be honest, he wished he’d said no to this stupid challenge. This place had always made his skin crawl. He knew the disappearances were only an urban legend, but fact or fiction, there was no denying his heart was beating pretty loud in his ears right now.

He couldn’t say no though, could he, not if he wanted to make the fraternity, and he really wanted to make the fraternity. He couldn’t believe they even accepted him as a Pledge, so he sure as shit wasn’t blowing it now. He had to do this, like it or not, if he wanted any kind of college existence. Basically, it was go into this creepy-ass house, or continuing being a nobody.

Alec took a steadying breath, he was determined to see this through. He pulled the paper out of his pocket and looked at the clue. Somewhere in here was what he was looking for, whatever that was. Something unexpected, was all they said. The room was all but empty, just a tatty chair and a few boxes strewn in the dust. He shone his torch into the blackness, spiderwebs glistening as the beam passed over them.

When he heard the noise, Alec was sure it was prank. He waited for Halloween decorations to drop from the ceiling, his future brothers to jump out laughing at his expense. He was so caught up in the scenario in his head, he didn’t notice the figure behind him.

As Alec lay strapped to the table, he could just make out another person in the room.

“Very funny, guys,” he said, hoping his shaky voice didn’t betray him.

“Shhhhhhhh,” was all that came back.

Alec felt fear bristle up his spine. “Come on, guys,” he said. “These things are starting to hurt.” He twisted against the ties on his arms and legs

Out of the shadows, a woman slowly stepped forward. Alec blinked hard, as light glinted off the edge of her knife.

“My boys brought me a pretty one this time,” she cooed, smiling sweetly as she gently passed the blade over Alec’s face.

As the shock of the cool metal pierced Alec’s heart, all he could think was, worst fraternity ever.

(c) Amy Hutton

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