Vintage Ice: Part 2

This is part 2 of an interactive web serial. At the end, there are two options from which to choose. Vote in the comments to ensure the story continues.

Read Vintage Ice: Part 1 here.

Hospitality

What sort of person has a scorpion-infested, concrete coffin sunken in their floor? What did you tell guests, “Oh, it’s fun for parties?”

I looked up at the handsome stranger crouching above me. He extended one arm, offering me his airbrush-tanned hand. “Did you want to stay in there longer or would you like to come out now?”

Is he serious? Are there people who want to be buried alive with scorpions?

My mind was a live-wire of sarcastic landmines, but I managed to keep my mouth shut. I had no idea he was, where I was, or how I came to be there.

Worst of all, I didn’t know who I was either, only that he’d called me Alexandra.

I grasped his hand, and he pulled me out of the pit. Scrambling to my feet, I watched as he replaced the lid and rolled the carpet back into place.

Well,that’s convenient. No need to explain what can’t be seen.

“Would you like a drink?” He walked over to bar in the corner of the room, off to my right.

I stood, searching for anything familiar in the room. Books filled the shelves on either side of the fireplace before me. There was a tall, raised-panel set of double doors to my left and another expanse of bookshelves lining the wall behind me. It was a large study with twelve-foot ceilings and intricate woodwork. It was the sort of room you’d expect to find in an old mansion.

“You look a lot more disheveled than the last time you went into that pit. If no one has found any evidence of a hidden vault in all these years, then it’s doubtful one ever existed.” He held out a short glass filled with a clear liquid, offering me a drink. “I don’t know why that thing wasn’t filled in long ago, really, it’s so bizarre.”

I took the glass and gently swirled the contents, watching as if it would somehow reveal the answers I needed.

“Did you want something other than water? A coke, perhaps?” Faint traces of a southern drawl laced his words.

I looked up. He seemed to genuinely care, but some of what he said made no sense. Even if there was a hidden vault, why would anyone go down there without getting rid of the scorpions first? And what did he mean before when he asked me if I had learned my lesson?

“No.” I said.

The doors to my left opened. A tall, curvy brunette with large, dark round eyes entered. “Oh, Drake, you found her.” Each word she spoke was properly pronounced with precision and delicacy.

She approached me and clasped both of my shoulders. “Darling, we were so worried when you didn’t join us for dinner.” She wore a look of concern on her face, her features as perfectly poised as her words.

Are she and the handsome stranger married? Is this their mansion?

“She was in the pit again, Nina. I heard her banging on the door when I came into the study to make a phone call. She had trapped herself inside.” Drake turned to me. “I hope you learned your lesson. You really should stay out of there. I hate to think what might have happened if we hadn’t found you in time. Besides,” one corner of his mouth lifted in a half-smile. “who knows what sort of bugs you’ll find in there.”

“Scorpions.”

“What?” He asked.

“Scorpions. That’s what’s down there. They werecrawling all over me.”

“Scorpions? In this house?” Nina gasped, laying a hand across her heart.

Drake’s brow furrowed. “You weren’t bitten, were you?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

Drake retrieved a flashlight from the desk in front of the windows, rolled the carpet back, and pried the square door open. “If there are scorpions in here, we need to take care of that before they find their way into other parts of the house.” He shined the light into the hole. “I don’t see anything.” He leaned over further, dipping his head inside to shine the light into the far corners. “There’s nothing in here. Are you sure you saw scorpions?”

“Yes. I’m sure.” The room spun and my body swayed.

Nina grabbed the glass of water from my hand and wrapped her arm around my shoulders. “Are you ok, Alexandra?”

“A little woozy. My head is pounding.” I rubbed the tender spot just above my ear. Something crusty was tangled in my hair. I pulled my hand away and found bits of dried blood. “I must have hit my head.”

“Here, sit down.” She steered me to the couch in front of the fireplace, just beyond the edge of the rug. I lowered myself down and leaned over to rest on the pile of pillows at one end.

Drake put the flashlight back in the desk and opened another drawer. He pulled out a bottle of pills and came over to the couch, holding out a hand with two small white capsules. “Take these for your headache.”

You Decide

What happens next? Comment A or B.

A: Accept.
B: Refuse.

The next installment will be written based upon the choice with the most votes.

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