You place your hand over the goblet and sigh. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”
Orpheus stands still, his face frozen while his scarlet eyes crumble. Slowly, he returns the liquid to the vial and secures it all back into the desk. “It was a foolish thought. I doubt it would even work.”
When the key is turned, Orpheus leaves it in the lock as if he never fears another soul entering his library. As if he’s never seen anyone else for years and doubt there will be another. “I’m sorry,” you begin again, but the vampire smiles dolefully.
“You have nothing to feel sorrow over, but you must leave this place.”
“She will find you soon and then nothing will save you. Please,” Orpheus holds your hands in his and begs. “Leave this place and never return.”
A great creak erupts from the walls. The entire top floor of the library crushes inward as if it’s leaning in to watch you. Orpheus stares wildly at the shelves moving on their own. “Run, mortal. Do not look back, not even for a moment.”
The shutters on the windows begin to flail wildly, books tumbling off the shelves. You stagger to your feet and start to back up as before, but this time the vampire is trying to defend you. He extends his arms to push back at the shelves and knock away books.
The back of your heel knocks against the door and a chill crawls up your spine. You know you will never see him again. But you can’t stay either.
“I’m sorry,” you call once more, tugging on the door handle.
You turn to flee, when Orpheus shouts, “Mortal!” He tosses a book at you. It strikes your stomach and you tuck it safely into your arms just as the floor beings to tumble under you. Wrenching yourself away, you flee into the hall. Every portrait on the wall turns to you, the paintings shaking on their nails. You leap for the stairs, running as fast as possible, even as the hair on the back of your neck stands on end. A great scream bursts from behind but you follow Orpheus’ advice and don’t look back.
There is the front door! You run to it, and to your surprise, it opens easily. Even the stars are missing, only the moon speckled in clouds lighting the path before you. As you glance down it, the ground begins to shudder. Dead leaves shift and shudder, and the dirt erupts upward.
Skeletal hands pierce through the ground, their bones snatching randomly at the air. With a scream that could power a sailboat, you run down the porch steps. Fingers try to nip at your shoes and jeans. One unknots your laces, but you don’t stop.
Refusing to look back, you feel a hand caress your cheek, but you keep running. A howl shatters the forest, shaking more dead leaves from the trees, and still you keep going. One last skeleton hand punctures through the dirt and lashes for you. It hooks its boney fingers into the back of your shoe and refuses to let go.
You kick back, trying to shatter the wrist, but whatever demon or magic has raised the dead also gives it strength. Without a second’s pause, you abandon your shoe and run out of the forest. You feared you’d find nothing, but your car remains sitting at the side of the road.
Leaping into it, your socked foot pressing to the brake, you try to fish out your keys even with your hands shaking. A massive green light breaks from the manor cutting across the whole of the forest. An entire flock of crows bursts into the air, their caws scratching against your ever breath.
Jamming the key into the ignition, you say a prayer. To your shock, the car turns over without a single complaint. Keeping one eye on the forest erupting in poisonous light, you put your car into drive and peel the hell out of there.
Your heart doesn’t stop throbbing until you’re safe at home. Limping to your couch, you fall down and realize how close you came to death. And all you walked away with was a book.
You turn it around in your fingers and brush a palm over the cover emblazoned with the words “The Magnificent Adventures of Professor Gravestone.” But it’s the portrait of a man with wild eyes and a beautiful mind that pokes your heart like a lost pin in a shirt.
Opening the pages, you fall into the book, bringing the lost words of Orpheus back into the world.
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That didn’t go so well. I’ll try another run through of Ellen Mint’s Choose Your Own Reverse Harem Halloween Adventure. How far can you get? https://ellenmint.blog/ellen-mints-halloween-harem-adventure/Tweet
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