HARD CHOICES

You open the stein door slowly, cautiously, poking just your head around the frame. There are no signs of movement inside; everything is still, as if the room is holding its breath.

Emboldened, you slip into the room, and your already faint shadow is swallowed by the darkness. You pause, leaning against the wall, squinting while you wait for your eyes to adjust. The room smells faintly musty, a dry scent that reminds you of chalk, or gravel. The smell is comforting in its familiarity.

When your eyes have finally adjusted, you see a bed in one corner. There is an object on it, roughly human-sized. Something about it strikes you as odd, so you move closer to get a better look.

Standing next to the bed it becomes clear that the object is not just human-sized, it’s human shaped. It’s an incredibly realistic statue.

Fascinated, you squat down to get a closer look. Your knee bumps against something; a glass bottle, you realise, a little bemused.

Your attention is quickly diverted back to the statue. The man’s face—for with such stern features, he can be nothing but a man—is carved with delicate precision, every detail rendered faithfully, from the dimple in his chin to the slight bags under his eyes. He seems to have been carved from one solid block of stone, and you can’t help but marvel that someone managed to carry him this far.

Then you see something. Movement. The statue’s chest, rising and falling. He’s alive!

You stumble backwards, horror-struck, scrambling to your feet. Is this what they do to humans? Turn them into stone? It seems like a cruel mockery of your religion, to take what it synonymous with safety and turn it into a cage.

You’re almost at the door when you hear an odd, dragging noise coming from the hallway, a noise that makes your arms break out into goose flesh.

You freeze in place, and slowly summon up the courage to peer out the open crack of the doorway. You can’t see anything, but you can hear it, getting louder now. It’s headed right your way.

Then you hear creaking, coming from behind you. You turn your head slowly, a cold sweat breaking all down your spine. The statue is sitting up, and it is staring right at you.

You have a monster on either side of you. You need to do something, and fast!

What do you do?

* Run out into the hallway.
* Stay frozen by the door.
* Move away from the door to the corner of the room.

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