Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
You and Sarah rush through the doors as Rachel screams. Her cries abruptly cut off as the stone doors slam shut, though you can still hear a faint grinding coming from behind you. At the beginning, there were five, but now it was just you and Sarah. You catch your breath and try to get your bearings.
You don’t know how you and your friends found the cave, you’d been camping in this area dozens of times, but I guess this time your hikes had taken you farther than you’d thought. It was Katie that first discovered the cave, it seemed pretty cool and… why not? You had all the right gear already, so why not scout it out a little? Then you found a doorway, and you went through. It was a small room, with five closed stone doors on the far side, and a single stone pedestal in the middle. That’s where you found the rings… and when you realized you were trapped.
You weren’t going to touch the rings at first. They looked old, maybe a valuable archaeological find, but then someone—Harry maybe—noticed that door you had entered was blocked. There was no handle, just a solid slab of rock. Rachel figured it must have come down from above the doorframe, and that’s when everybody really freaked out. Harry tried his phone: nothing, no signal, no GPS. Sarah even set up the satellite phone, the phone for just this kind of emergency, only to have it fail as well. Out of options, you decided to go check out the pedestal again.
There were five rings—and what do you know—five people. Sitting just above the rings was an inscription: “The One with the strongest destiny shall claim the prize”. That part was kind of exciting, and well, it seemed kind of like your moment. Hadn’t done much else with your life. That degree in psych hadn’t gotten you very far, had it? Maybe you had the strongest destiny. You never really stood out much, didn’t have any major talents or qualities, but it’s the inside, that counts, isn’t it? And you’ve got that in spades.
That was what you were thinking before Katie died, anyway.
As you each slid a ring on your finger they started to glow, each glow a slightly different color. You thought yours seemed to glow a little brighter than the others, but you kept that to yourself. Each of the five rings shone towards a door at the far end of the room. Five rings? Five doors. Without any other choice, you went through. Everyone was starting to get excited. Then the doors slammed shut again. In this room, there were only four doors. Uh oh.
The rings started to glow again, but for some reason, Katie’s went dark. That’s when the floor started to shake. The cave floor was receding! Pulling away from the entrance of the room, and towards the four doors on the far end. A quick glimpse over the edge sent you running for your door. Over that edge was a black pit. A black pit that would fill the room in less than a minute. You, Sarah and Rachel rushed through your doors, while Katie followed closely behind Harry, hoping to get through his door with him. They were a couple after all. Harry stepped through just as the floor under Katie’s feet disappeared. He had her arm! He was going to pull her through and—
The stone door slammed down on Katie’s forearm with a sickening crack. Her trapped arm was the only thing keeping her from falling into the darkness, but everyone’s doors were completely shut now, except for Harry’s. There was no way to save her, or even see her, except for her twitching arm. Attached to that arm was a hand, and on that hand was a ring that didn’t shine. Harry was screaming into the tiny opening, Katie wasn’t responding, and the door was still trying to shut.
Eventually it did. You were now in a room with three doors.
Things followed a similar pattern after that. Harry’s ring went out, not that he cared anymore. You rushed through your door as the room filled with beetles, covering anything without a source of light. Rachel and Sarah tried to pull him away from the door, from the arm, but eventually all that was left of Harry was a crawling, heaving mass. He didn’t even scream. You had made it though, and as scared as you were, something was stirring in the back of your mind. You were starting to feel lucky. The One with the strongest destiny…
Then came the room with two doors. That was just now! Rachel’s light went out. She started to cry, but calmly turned and said goodbye, that you’d always been good friends. Sarah was screaming at her not to give up, but you didn’t want to stick around to find out what was going to go wrong. As you ran through your door you noticed that the ceiling had gotten lower…
And now here you are. One door left. This is it! Your whole life building up to this. Validation. You don’t have the fanciest job, the best degree, you aren’t the most popular, the most successful, but you are going to survive. It is your destiny. The strongest destiny…
Then you look at your ring, and the light has gone out.
Sarah?! No, it can’t be, it’s impossible! Why her? Why HER!! How can she… How DARE she! That ring is mine! Give it to me! It is my DESTINY!
As Sarah turns she sees your rage. Her eyes widen in shock as you scream for what is rightfully yours. Your fist flashes out and knocks her to the ground. She scrambles away as you move closer. She’s crying, begging you to stop. You don’t even hear it. It’s about YOUR life. YOUR destiny!
Nothing. Else. Matters.
And as you’re about to take that final step, when you’re right on top of her, a stone hand grips your ankle. You fall painfully, and two more hands grab your wrists, trapping you. Sarah is getting away! She’s almost at the door! More hands grab your legs, your neck, your ribs, your eyes. Their grips are getting tighter. You can’t see. The pain is unbearable…
And then you hear the stone door slam shut.
And with that sound you realize that you’re not the main character. You’re not special, and you’ll die right here in this room. The world will go on without you. As your senses begin to fade you have one last thought. What about m—
Credit To – Max Watson