It Sounds Big. by Carolyn Northerland


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SUMMARY: This is my first posted story. Please tell me what you think.

I open my eyes and look around the tiny, dank stone room. I realize that I'm next in line. The man who was sitting to my left just walked through the iron doors to face hell. I hear the roar of the crowd, and i have to wonder what it is that he'll be facing. A dire boar? Or maybe a troll? I hope it's something easy like that. Because if he doesn't kill it, I'll have to face it. But if he couldn't kill it, I probably wouldn't be able to either. I hear another roar, but it wasn't the crowd. It was wild, fierce...and sounded big. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes again. Please don't let me face it.
Okay, so I'm a coward. But at least I value my life a little bit. Most of these guys come in here voluntarily, thinking they've got nothing left to lose. I know they're wrong. They've got their lives ahead of them. Me, i came because I had to. My little money problem got a little too out of hand and I guess my clients didn't like to be overcharged. My boss didn't like how I was handling my money either. Or else I wouldn't be here. I'd be off with those dice in my hands again. But where would that lead me? Right back in hell again. One way or another.
I grip the handle of my sword and grind my teeth as I hear the victim screaming on the other side of the iron doors. I guess I'll find out what's out there after all. The roar of the crowd drowns out the roar of the beast and I know it's just about my turn. The guard looks out the door and snickers.
"Heh. I thought he'd last a little longer than that!" The guard turns to me and says, "Get up! It's your turn there, friend." Another snicker.
I stand up reluctantly and put on my helmet and shield, and stand in front of the iron doors. My first fight. Don't let it be my last. Please. The doors open up and the light comes pouring in. I blink off the blinding light and walk out to see what I'd be facing. I take one last look behind me, at the next guy in line. He's got his eyes closed and his head against the wall. A tear on his face. Poor man. I turn back to my fate and march into the open arena, and the crowd roars again. I look around at all of the people. There's kids up there. They think they're learning to be heroes like their ancestors and siblings. I wonder where they'll end up.
Finally I catch sight of my opponent. It roars when it sees me. It's wild, fierce...and...oh my god...it's big.