Each Friday, I will blindly pick a picture card from the board game Mysterium, and set a timer for fifteen minutes. When the timer goes off, the story is done.
Agatha stood outside the doors of a mansion with her friends Harriet, Jimmy, Brad, and Alec.
"Are you sure this is the right place," she said turning a slightly soggy map around in her hands trying to get her barrings.
"I'm sure," said Alec, pulling his coat around the back his neck trying to keep the rain from sliding down his shirt.
Just as Harriet was going to say something, the heavy iron door of the two-story, Tudor estate swung open and a boy of about ten stood there starring at them. It was as if he was waiting for them to say something.
"Hi, there!" said Agatha to the boy. "We are from the Pinecrest Junior League and we are here to pick up donations for our charity drive. Can you tell us where the donations are?"
The little boy stood there, silently and motionless except for an occasional blink of his eyes. After what seemed like an hour, but in actuality was only a minute, the little boy turned and ran down a corridor.
"Wait!" shouted Brad after him leaning through the doorway to see where he went. "What was that all about?"
The friends turned toward each other and shrugged.
"Do you think we would go in," asked Harriet meekly?
Alec pushed past them and went into the house.
"You guys can do what you want, but I'm getting out of the rain."
"Yeah, let's look inside around the foyer a little, they might be tucked away in here," said Brad following Alec.
Not sure what else to do, Harriet and Agatha followed them in and shut the door behind them to block out the now windy rain.
The foyer was dark and looked like what you would expect from a mansion like this. Mahogany wood paneling stood proud and robust on the walls while a deep burgundy Persian rug laid lazily on the parquet floor. A red wingback armchair stood next to a small round, marble table with a single light on top. The chandler, hanging above, was so dim there wasn't much light in the room.
"Hey, I think I see something," said Harriet motioning for the group to go toward the right down the hallway.
The group looked at each other for a moment as if silently willing someone to go first.
Finally, Alec spoke up.
"You are all a bunch of chickens. I'll go first," he said creeping toward the hall. "So what if it's dark and scary, and you really can't see anything. I ain't scared."
Brad, Harriet, and Agatha knew they couldn't let Alec go by himself so they got in line behind him.
Their muffled footsteps gingerly walked down the hall, passing solid wood doors that held any manner of secrets behind them.
"Aren't we trespassing?" asked Agatha with a shaky voice. "That little boy didn't exactly invite us in."
Brad turned around toward her and put his finger to his lips to motion for her to be quiet.
Suddenly, two red lights appeared at the end of the doorway.
"What is that!" said Alec in a harsh whisper.
The lights looked like eyes peeking at the end of the corridor.
"It's nothing. I'm sure," said Harriet.
As they crept closer the eyes weren't the only thing to be concerned about. Overhead there were various forms of medieval weaponry hanging from the ceiling and what looked like a trap door was on the ground with a glowing, warm light emanating.
"No way. I'm not going anything further," said Agatha digging in her heels.
"We have, too," said Brad. "Think of the children and how these donations will help them."
Agatha shook her head in protest as she felt Harriet, Alec, and Brad grab her by the arms and pull her to the door in the floor.
"Let go!" she shouted over and over, but it fell on deaf ears.
She looked at her friends as they were dragging her to what she felt like was her death. As she called out their names they ignored her while still marching forward.
The red lights were so bright now, Agatha had a hard time looking at them. She had to look away.
Brad let go and walked to the front of the group. He grabbed the rope that was attached to the trap door and pulled so the door would open to the area below.
He held it open while Harriet and Alec pulled Agatha through the door and into the pit below.
Agatha screwed her eyes tight and screamed with all of the power in her lungs.
When she went to take a breath she couldn't believe what she heard.
"Surprise!" shouted a large group of voices.