The Full Moon Dare
By Erika M Szabo
As young teenagers, we always traveled in a pack. We did a lot of stupid things together and dared each other to do more stupid things. Well, we didn't eat Tide pods, jumping out of a moving car, sucking on shot glasses or anything that stupid, but we were pretty inventive too.
Usually, I made a joke out of it when the others dared me to do dangerous things such as jumping into the icy river but that mid-November evening they called me a chicken one too many times so I gave in.
The dare was to walk across the cemetery that only had two gates and was surrounded by stone wall. There was only one gate in and one gate out, there was no chance to cheat. Two older kids who did the dare the previous year became the self-appointed judges and walked to the opposite gate to wait for us rookies as we walked across one by one.
My friend, Steve, was brave enough to go first. We saw him for a little while walking down the close to a quarter-mile path between the tall headstones and dark mausoleums in the eerie light of the full moon. Then we heard a loud thump and his muffled cry that gave us goosebumps. We looked at each other ready to go after him when he yelled out, "I'm okay! Just tripped over a bench."
A few minutes later we heard a cheer from the other gate and one of the older kids yelled, "Who's next?"
Okay, let's get this over with, I thought and crossed the gate. I was scared. Walking across the cemetery was a shortcut on the way home from school and I'd used that shortcut a lot, but the headstones looked a lot taller and a whole lot scarier than in daylight.
I kept walking throat constricted and knots in my stomach, but I kept walking. Suddenly, I saw a dark shadow from the corner of my eye. I turned my head and there it was, backlit by the moon, a werewolf. I saw it clearly as it raised it's head and howled. I froze and couldn't move a muscle. Although I screamed in my mind, I couldn't make a sound.
My fright and flight response kicked in and I ran. I've never run as fast in my entire life than that night. I jumped over graves and bumped into headstones. Hearing thumping footsteps behind me and heavy breathing made me run even faster.
Finally, I saw the gate and the three boys. I reached the gate heaving and my leg muscles aching. I stopped and looked behind me. "There is a... there was a..."
"Come here, boy!" I heard one of the older boys as he bent to scratch a panting Sheppard's ears. "Where have you been?"
It was a dog! Just a dog! There are no werewolves. I tried to calm my frazzled nerves.
"What was there? Why were you running so fast?" the boy asked.
"Oh, nothing. I just wanted to get this stupid dare over with." I croaked out trying to save my dignity.
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