Sunlight magnified the golden sheen of the snake’s massive body and intensified her confusion. Was it a dream?
“What s-s-s-say you Aberdeen?” the snake hissed. It towered over her, neck puffed. Rattle echoed in the cave, filled every crevice.
“I don’t know!” she cried. She should have listened to Mom and taken the road home instead of the path through the woods. The golden flashing lights had beckoned from the cave. She’d been so curious. Drawn to it.
“Your choices are s-s-s-simple. Walk away. Or try gabbing my rattle before I s-s-strike. If you win, all your richest, wildest dreams will come true.”
She wiggled the piggy toe sticking out of her cheap canvas shoes. A new pair… she thought. She couldn’t hold her thoughts before the rattle chased them out.
“But what happens if you strike me?” she asked. She knew the answer, but she needed to hear the words.
“Then you die foolish girl.” Its rattle grew louder at the prospect. It wants me to die, she thought, clenching and unclenching her fist. Its whole purpose is to watch me die.
Her eyes darted around, looking for a weapon, anything. But the walls were smooth and unblemished. Like it hadn’t been there before. Had it?-
“Tick tock, tick tock,” the snake snapped, its body seeming to buzz with impatience.
How fast does a snake strike, she wondered wildly. Could she outmaneur it? Aberdeen had always caught the most salamanders at the creek. Her hands fast. Good enough? Wished her brother was there with his rifle. Her Mom. She wanted Mom.
“You’re wasting time girl. What say you Aberdeen?” It hissed, the color of its scales changing from a bright fool’s gold to a deeper rusted bronze.
How did it know-?
“I don’t-I don’t know!” she cried, pressing her hands to her ears. The rattle grew louder, grew faster. She just needed a moment to think. She couldn’t think. Would it really let her leave? Did she have a-
“Tick tock, tick tock,” the snake’s voice dropped in pitch as its color changed to a deeper red. Angrier. It rattle was shaking at a fevered pitch, like Satan’s hand scooped all of the bones in the Pines Cemetery to shake all at once.
“I can’t- I need more time!” A dream? Let her…let her leave? Need decision. Is she fast-
She gasped when she felt the fangs rip into her thigh. Then silence. She dropped to her knees. The rip of her jeans tore through the air. She looked down in horror at the two punctures in her leg. Blood rushed out of the gaping holes. Her hands shook.
“Why?” she choked, feeling the venom burn its way through her body. The snake seemed to laugh as its colors faded to brown then to nothingness. She couldn’t see.
“Making no choice, is the worse choice of all, foolish girl,” it hissed.
Then Aberdeen knew no more. (488 words)
This week’s TipsyLit Prompt:
For this week’s prompt, your character has access to a rare and forbidden magic that will answer a current need. Does he/she use it?
Let me know what you think in the comments. What would you have done?