A! Magazine for the Arts

Monroe Sparks of Abingdon, Va., was one of the winners of the <em>Herald Courier</em>'s (Mildly) Scary Story Contest. His story, "A Bad Bet," won the age 13-18 category.

Monroe Sparks of Abingdon, Va., was one of the winners of the Herald Courier's (Mildly) Scary Story Contest. His story, "A Bad Bet," won the age 13-18 category.

"A Bad Bet"

November 8, 2010

Now Toby Marrow could never refuse a bet from his brother.

Some of the kids said it was because he didn't have any friends, others said it could be just because he wanted to rub it in his brother Mack's face when he won. Toby won nearly all his bets that he agreed to do. If he didn't think he could pull if off he wouldn't try it.

The story all started when Toby was 14 on Nov. 22, 1999. Toby was walking home from school when Mack and some of his friends grabbed him and threw him in an old abandoned chemical factory. His brother knew he was terrified of this place and that's why he always picked on him!

As he climbed out a broken window he could hear the laughter of Mack and his friends. He walked around the factory and found them buckled over in laughter. Mack saw him and stopped laughing and said "Bet you couldn't stay in there."

"I bet I could!" Toby yelled back.

"Here are the conditions." Mack continued, "You must stay in the factory for 24 hours." He looked at his watch "4:07" he said. "Get in there now or you're disqualified," Mack said with a grin. He knew how much Toby didn't want to do this. Toby stumbled inside and shut the door for 24 hours.

While it was daylight the stay wasn't actually that bad.

He found chairs missing legs, containers for chemicals, and a metal heater. His favorite thing he found was all the machinery though. There were moving belts with band saws and desks filled with information about rubber ducks. When it was daylight that's when it was fun, that's when it was safe.

Daylight doesn't last forever though.

Toby decided that by sleeping, time would go by faster than by staying awake. He slowly drifted off. He woke up an hour later by a soft hissing noise. He opened his eyes and saw a girl dressed in all white and looked like she hadn't gotten a tan in a long time! Then she disappeared.

He was going to find the source of the hissing noise when he heard the machinery turn on and he could hear the workers yelling. He froze in his tracks. Then everything went quiet, even the hissing.

He got a chill. He pulled out the heater he found and plugged it in, it worked fine. He went and curled up by the heater and fell asleep. When he woke up again the strangest things happened and he didn't go back to sleep again.

He woke up very hot. He guessed from sleeping too close to the heater. By the time he woke up the sun was coming up. He still had to stay in the factory until somewhere around four o'clock. The factory had a glow or see through look to it.

He was going to search around again. He decided to look upstairs this time. The first closet he opened there was a man lying in the closet. He touched him on the head and asked him if he was alright.

He slowly moved his head sharply towards Toby, looked him in the eye and said "NO," "leave now while you still can, before it gets here and you're stuck here forever!" Toby wanted to ask what "it" was but decided not to and to take his advice.

It was only 7:20 when he bolted out the door, he had lost the bet. He was running to the library. He wanted to learn more about the factory and he didn't want to go home to where his brother was so he could rub it in his face. He went to the librarian and asked if they had anything about the old chemical factory on West Main St.

She said, "Well we have a newspaper about it that just came out this morning." He read the headlines "Electrical Fire Burns Old Factory." He looked at a picture of a pile of ashes. He started reading the article.

It said "The old chemical factory on West Main St., burned to the ground somewhere around midnight. The fire was caused by a wire to a heater that was faulty. There has been no evidence of arson. No one was injured. One person has been reported dead though, a young boy age 14 named Toby Marrow...

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