Terrified beyond all belief, you run through the transparent face. It blinks in surprise before fading to smoke. A chill bursts across your skin, freezing you to the marrow as you flee into the mausoleum.
Your feet trip up the stairs scattering dust untouched for years. The unholy hellfire gives way to a pair of braziers dangling off chains. Twin angels sobbing in grief hoist them above a coffin below their heavenly despair.
Desiccated flowers dried into antique vases rim the coffin. Gold and jewels are inlaid into the polished wood. Sapphires and emeralds glint against the fires of the angels, casting blues and greens into the air. But one has fallen to the floor, an emerald the size of your thumb lays beside a pile of leaves.
You shuffle for it, only to kick aside a moth-eaten handkerchief fallen from a long-dead mourner. As it tumbles to the side, a rictus of death grins at you. In terror, you turn to the coffin to find the lid pulled open. Bones rest inside the jeweled box, but its skull is missing. Did it fall out or had someone…removed it?
Bending down, you pick up the handkerchief to find the initials SP embroidered on the corner. Instead of a flower beside the letters, a skull and crossbones rests behind the mourners initials. Uncertain, you tuck the handkerchief into your pocket and your eyes are drawn to the skull.
Even in death, its smile is perfect, the teeth straight and whiter than snow. The eye sockets are wide and tall, as if the eyes once in them found mirth in all of life. You could reach for the skull and place it back where you found it.
But there is the emerald ripped from the coffin. That size it could buy you a new car. After the night you’ve had, you rather deserve it.
Which do you pick up?
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