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Word Count: 1985

~Meara

Scrambling backward, I don't stop until my back is pressed against a wall.

The tomb is decently sized with tile walls and a natural ceiling of dirt, which seems unaffected even though I just sank through it.

The air is stale and mossy smelling. Every crevice of the walls and floors are caked with dirt and fresh growth. Water drips down most of the walls, wetting my back while it feeds the flora.

And from what I can see, there is no escape.

My head falls into my hands. This can't be real.

There is a terrible reality that echoes through my head, but I refuse to acknowledge it. This was meant to be a fun, stupid trip. The story is amusing, sounding more like fiction than reality.

And yet here I am, in a tomb that can only belong to one person.

Finally, I drag a reluctant gaze to the stone casket.

It's perfectly untouched. The stone is still bright and polished, as if it were just put here yesterday, while the rest of the tomb decays.

Magic.

It sits a top a dais that is half submerged with crystal clear water. It looks like a disturbing sacrificial pool or something....

I'm not sure how long I sit, letting my clothes get wetter as I remain pressed against the wall, the dirt on my skin turning to mud.

There's no escape. It means there is only one option.

Eventually, I get to my feet, smoothing my damp locks of hair back. My curiosity has gotten me into trouble before, and now is no exception.

My feet are bare as I pad across the tile toward the pool. I must have lost my shoes in the fall.

The room is well lit considering I can't see a single artificial light source anywhere. Instead, the light seems to be coming from the pool, casting a pretty reflection onto the walls and the casket.

I stare down at it's lid, trying to read the encryptions. They look similar to what Hazel has in her spell books, which she told me was once an old language from around the Alpha's time.

Shuddering, I dip a single toe into the shallow pool. The water is bitterly cold, but doesn't knock me dead straight away.

Sliding both feet under the surface, I shuffle close enough to touch the casket.

There is a good chance I'm going to push this lid off and there is going to be a skeleton in there.

Swallowing thickly, I reach out and run my fingers along the surface. It's remarkably beautiful, but in a sad, tragic way. A person was cursed into this against their will...

With as much strength as I can muster, I brace my dirty hands against the lid and push.

At first, it doesn't budge. But after a moment it seems to unstick from whatever ancient seal was on it, and it slides off fairly easily, toppling into the water with a hideous bang.

Water sloshes around my ankles as my attention is drawn to the far wall, where a mechanism clicks, and part of the wall slides back.

Stairs. A way out.

Ignoring that for now, I look down into the casket, my breath catching into my throat.

There's nothing there that I can see. Just pitch black water that laps gently against the casket walls, finally disturbed after centuries. Within it, I can see my reflection staring back.

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