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The Lavender Town Dare

A high school kid dares to climb the Lavender Tower at night.

  "Go into the Lavender Tower at night," they said.

  "We dare you," they said.

  Obviously they'd never had the courage to try it for themselves. For the fourth time the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as something in the cold, dark room flitted amongst the headstones commemorating countless deceased Pokémon. Shaye tried to ignore the dark shapes he saw―or thought he saw―moving just outside his field of vision. 

  Anyone could enter the tower, built into the mountainside, at any time of day, but usually only channelers and psychics would brave these halls at night, and of course those stupid enough to take a dare—like he was. The challenge was to make it to the third floor of the tower and bring back one of the white flowers adorning the grave some revered Clefable. In doing so he would earn his reputation as a man among his classmates, and impress a particular 12th grader named Abagail—and so he had braved the spooky, winding path to this graven mausoleum. 

  Most didn't make it past the first floor, which while not haunted was no less frightening than the higher levels. 

  Shaye was startled by smoke emanating from behind a headstone. He stopped and started until the gaseous form slunk into the shadows behind a candlelit memorial. He was being watched. From the corners of the room, the ceiling, and every other space devoid of light there were eyes on him. Misty and angular, these eerily glowing eyes drifted in and out of existence only close enough for him to catch a brief glimpse before he was left wondering if he'd really seen anything at all. Every time his gaze came about to focus on one of them it vanished.

  The set of stairs leading to the third floor was lit only by candles, much like the rest of the tower. Shaye ascended to the landing between flights of stairs and turned to see the translucent figure of what looked to be a woman in a tattered dress standing at the top of the second flight.

  He froze, heart pounding in his chest. 

  Even if this was just a channeler and not a spirit, he still didn't want to deal with one of the crazed, abstruse women. Shaye closed his eyes and willed her away, but as his lids closed he felt a cold draft brush his arm and sensed something descending past him to the second floor.

  He opened his eyes; she was gone. 

  The Clefable's grave was easy to spot, it was a stone plaque set into the floor adorned with white roses. Shaye approached the memorial cautiously, trying to ignore the sense of dread budding within his gut as he neared the center of the room. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck rose of their own accord. Without thinking he dove into a roll just as a vaporous misshapen claw passed over his head, intent on wrapping its long fingers around his neck. He found his feet just before the Clefable's grave and plucked one of the roses from the bundle at the foot of the stone plaque. The image of the specter behind him would be burned into his memory for the rest of his years. Two disembodied hands protruded from a oily black mass of vapor. The phantom’s eyes, pallid and dead, bore into him with hate. The look in its eyes starkly contrasted with its hideous, razor-toothed grin. It seemed to be bobbing quickly up and down, which was strange, Shaye thought, until he realized it was laughing. 

  His ghastly assailant faded away.

  The many malicious presences he had felt, and all other spirits watching from the shadows, dissipated as well as his hand closed around the rose's prickly stem.

  Shaye ran from the tower as fast as he could move his legs, never looking back. But if he had, he would have seen the woman on the staircase and her Clefable, hand in hand, strolling down the rows of headstones and laying white roses atop them. 

 

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