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Silver Dollar, Golden Flame

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Road tripping with the guys, J decided, was only fun when their car works.

They were driving along some random back road the GPS decided they absolutely HAD to take in order to get to the next gig when, out of nowhere, the engine started sputtering and coughing thick white smoke. Alarmed, Geoff had immediately pulled over, opened the hood, and declared he had no idea what he was doing. Layne sauntered over, ready to fix whatever was wrong with the engine and be declared hero of the hour, and started messing with the engine while Geoff looked on curiously. J desperately started trying to get some signal on his phone so they could call a tow truck if all went wrong, and for some reason Earl thought kicking the tires would fix the van. Nobody was really sure what Eli was doing, but he was doing...it. For sure.

Stripping his jacket off and rolling up his sleeves, Layne dove his hands into the depths of the engine, checking seals and valves, trying to see where the white smoke was coming from. After about ten minutes of swearing and some yelps of pain when he accidentally touched a hot component, he announced the diagnosis to the group.

“Ok guys I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s a fairly fixable problem that we could most likely fix ourselves. The bad news is… well, we don’t have any of the tools or materials necessary to fix said problem.” Layne said apologetically, rubbing the back of his neck and wincing a little.

Earl ceased his kicking of the van. “What’s wrong with it? What do we need?” he said from behind gritted teeth.

“He does not look like he is having a good day.” J thought bemusedly. “Why is he so upset? It’s not affecting the rest of us this strongly.”

Layne began to explain. “Well for one thing the coolant hose completely came loose. It looks like the clamp wasn’t properly tightened in the first place and we were lucky it lasted as long as it did. We literally don’t have anything to cool the engine down with now however, because none of us have any water beyond a single bottle,” he said, picking up and waving said single water bottle around “and it would just come right back out the hose anyways.”

Geoff frowned. “And the white smoke?”

Layne perked up a little at that. “Oh that’s cause some coolant got into the combustion chamber! We really lucked out and it doesn’t seem to have damaged anything. If we’d kept going however, it could have cracked the engine block or something, which would have been like a thousand times worse than what we’re dealing with now.”

“Sooooo basically what you’re saying,” Eli slowly began, “Is that we’re basically screwed because we’re in the middle of nowhere, with no signal,” he looked at J to confirm, who simply nodded, “and no way to get help or let people know what’s happening to us.”
Earl sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, his anger apparently replaced with resignation and a little fear. “Yeah that about sums it up. What are our options?”

“Well, we could do one of two things.” Said J. “We could stay here and hope like hell someone will drive by on this fairly abandoned back road and help us.”

“Hell to the no.” Interjected Geoff. “I’m not sitting around hoping for a rescue, thanks.”

“Or,” continued J, nodding in Geoff’s direction, “we can go looking for help. There’s no guarantee we’re going to find anybody though, and we might just end up even worse than we are now. High risk High reward, you know?”

The group came together and debated it for a minute, but it was eventually decided that they should go look for help. So they locked up the car, grabbed their phones in case someone magically got reception, and headed out.

After about four and a half hours of walking, the miraculous happened. A cabin was spotted.

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After about four and a half hours of walking, the miraculous happened. A cabin was spotted.

 

They all stopped and stared for a second, amazed that they actually found somebody. Layne was the first one to snap out of the daze and therefore was the first one to reach the door, though the others were not far behind. As he raised his fist to knock on the door, it creaked open as if somebody opened it from the inside. Frowning, the group cautiously turned on their phone flashlights and peek inside just a little, trying to see who opened the door. When they didn’t see anybody, they stepped inside more and Earl immediately started fiddling with the lightswitch. When the last person crossed the threshold, the door slammed shut behind them with a loud SMACK. They all immediately whipped around with their hearts in their throats and Earl began rattling the doorknob, trying to open the door. When he was unsuccessful, he turned around and shook his head at the others, a grim look on his face.

“Oh great!” whisper-yelled Eli. “We're stranded in the middle of nowhere, the door to a creepy house in the woods magically shut and locked behind us and the lights aren’t working. Can this day get any better?”

Geoff immediately started trying to calm everybody down. “Ok everybody listen up. Keep your flashlights on, buddy up and don’t head off by yourself, and if you find somebody who can help us, let the rest of the group know. Let’s not stick around longer than we have to.”

Layne throws on his jacket while everyone is discussing who is going to pair off with who. He wasn’t really paying attention to his surroundings, so when he felt a hand clamping down over his nose and mouth, he was taken totally off guard.

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“And Layne can come with…” Earl trails off, noticing Layne is nowhere in sight. “Layne? Bro, where are you? Layne?”

After briefly looking around the group decided to buddy up and look for not only Layne, but help. Unfortunately, Earl and J almost immediately split up, with Earl climbing the stairs to look around upstairs and J rounding the far corner to look on the far side of the house. Eli and Geoff went down the hall and started checking each room they came across.

Earl cautiously climbed the stairs, wincing with how much they creaked and squeaked under his feet. Holding his flashlight up in front of him, as he neared the top of the stairs he told himself he was prepared for something to jump out at him and try to scare him.

He was not ready for the broadside of the shovel that came flying towards his face.

Downstairs, Geoff heard something very heavy hitting the hardwood floor above him and immediately looked back around the corner towards the main entryway where they all came in, trusting that Eli would be fine for a minute or two by himself.

“Earl? Was that you?”

His words seemed way too loud in the silence. Worried for his friend, he begins to make his way back to where they split up and fails to notice Layne being dragged by his feet into a room behind him.

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Eli opened the door at the very end of the hall and stood in the doorway, shining his flashlight around. As he passed the light over a chair facing the wall he could have sworn he saw a person, bound and blindfolded sitting in it, but when he snapped the light back over, the chair was empty. Confused, Eli hesitated inside the doorway, wondering if he was seeing things. Cautiously stepping further inside, he knelt by the chair, trying to see if there’s something strange about it when he hears the door swinging shut. Desperate not to be locked in a possibly haunted room by himself, he makes a break for the doorway but just barely misses the handle before it clicks shut and refuses to reopen.

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Desperate not to be locked in a possibly haunted room by himself, Eli makes a break for the doorway but just barely misses the handle before it clicks shut and refuses to reopen.

Immediately he goes into full panic mode, screaming and pounding on the door.

“HEY! HEY COME ON GEOFF, THIS ISN’T FUNNY!”

Backing away from the door a little when nobody came to rescue him, he turned around and slid down into a seated position,wondering how nobody heard him and why nobody came to get him.

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Back in the main room, J and Geoff bump into each other trying to get to the stairs. Since everybody else seems to have thrown the buddy system out the window, they decide to stick together while they try to find the rest of their group. Geoff heads up the staircase first, wanting any potential danger to come at him first and give J time to escape. Seeing a faint glint of metal at the top, he picks up speed a little, with J only a step behind, checking the sides of the staircase and checking behind them for… he doesn’t know. He just doesn’t want to be taken by surprise by anything. J’s really starting to hate surprises.

As he puts his foot on the next stair step, something grabs his ankle and he gasps but doesn’t get a chance to scream before he’s yanked off balance and over the side of the staircase faster than thought.

Geoff whips around, hearing J’s gasp but seeing only empty space behind him. More than a little freaked out, he turns back to the faint glimmer he saw, and picks up a shovel with a little bit of blood on the convex side. Feeling slightly sick, he sinks down on the top step, wondering if any of his friends are even alive anymore. He sets the shovel down with shaking hands and takes a few deep breaths, trying to remember how and where everybody got taken.

Layne got taken first, back in the living room. Then Earl wandered off and he heard the crash above him, and then Eli… Eli was never taken. He left Eli alone back in that hallway!

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Sensations slowly start to filter in through the darkness that surrounds him. He can’t really move anything but feels himself moving, sliding over a smooth, cold surface. He groans a bit and tries to shift a bit but feels the movement against his back cease and his feet are set down. Why were his feet up? He hears footsteps and feels the vibrations moving around next to his body and cracks his eyes open a little. It does him no good, as everything he can see is pitch black.

He never saw the fist that came flying towards his face.