The statue leans forward, as if he’s about to get up and attack you.

You don’t wait to see what he does next. You pull open the door and rush out into the hallway, your heart beating wildly, your skin crawling with the thought of being turned to stone.

But barely two steps outside of the door you crash into something—no, someone—and your panicked flight is brought to a halt.

Strong hands clamp around your shoulders, like two bands of steel, pinning you to the spot. You cannot help but look at those hands, and what you see makes your stomach sink down to your knees. For the hands are dark green, scaled, and the nails are black, sharpened to a point.

You raise your head slowly, up and up and up, past all of the enshrouding cloth, only to stare into the black cowl of a hood. You can only barely distinguish the monster’s features; the outline of a snout, also covered in scales. A long, thin tongue flicks out from under the shadow of the hood, the sibilant sound familiar. It’s some kind of snake, you realise, and your stomach sinks even further.

The snake seems to appraise you for a long moment. You hold your breath, hoping against hope that he’ll let you go.

“Interesting,” he says, drawing out the s’s.

The last thing you see is an explosion of light as the snake bangs your head against the wall.

THE END. (Try again?)