A little hazing never hurt anybody...
|He awoke in the darkness, struggling to breathe in the stuffy air. Even after waiting for a few moments for his eyes to adjust, there was still only the black void of uncertainty. He tried to move around and soon found that his movements were constricted, only allowing him to shift a few inches in any direction.
His hands roamed around, searching for something familiar. There was a lightweight, thin cylinder next to his right hand. He picked it up and tried to move it around, but it caught against something and there was a loud crack. Soon, a greenish glow lit up his surroundings, getting stronger by the second. It was a glow stick... and the wood paneling and white satin lining that surrounded him was unmistakable.
He was in a casket.
Seized by a sudden fit of claustrophobia, he struggled to keep his breathing regimented. He was a Boy Scout once upon a time, and remembered something about hyperventilating in tight spaces leading to carbon dioxide replacing the oxygen more quickly, effectively shortening the amount of breathable air in a confined space.
Carefully feeling around, he found several other items placed around his body. He was able to shift around just enough to get a look at them. Littered around his body were several other glow sticks, a hand trowel, a microcassette recorder... and a revolver.
He pressed 'play' on the recorder.
"As you've no doubt figured out, you're in a casket... a casket which has already been buried in an unmarked grave. You have all the tools necessary to escape. If you can do so, you will have earned your place among us. If you can't, then may you rest in peace. The gun has been provided to you as a courtesy... in case you aren't man enough to wait for the air to run out. Good luck."
There was a long moment of silence before he burst out laughing. He had to hand it to the guys; they had really gone all out with this one. He had heard stories about fraternity hazing... how the brothers were always trying to come up with bigger and better ways of tormenting their pledges.
The fraternity he was rushing had a lot of history, and was incredibly prestigious. Only the best and brightest joined, so he figured this must be part of the process. If you couldn't think on your feet and keep your cool, you didn't deserve to be a member of their brotherhood.
The brothers had told him it would be a difficult process. They'd warned him about the challenges and told him he probably wouldn't be able to hack it.
He didn't think they would resort to such theatrics, but hey, he probably shouldn't be surprised. Most brothers came from affluent families, and they could afford to invest in this kind of elaborate prank. His casket was probably sitting on the fraternity house's coffee table, the other brothers and pledges standing around, waiting to crack up if he freaked out and started screaming.
Well, he wasn't going to give them the satisfaction. If they wanted an amazing escape, he'd give it to them.
He shoved hard against the casket lid, but it didn't budge. They were smart; probably weighed the lid down with books or something to keep him from busting the latch and escaping too easily. Looks like he'd be using the trowel. Shifting around to gain the best possible leverage, he jabbed the gardening implement into the side of the casket. It was a shame to wreck the casket, but if they were going to play hardball, so was he.
Soon, he was heaving from the exertion of chipping away at the casket. He was starting to feel lightheaded as his oxygen supply was steadily being replaced by carbon dioxide. But there was hope... he had finally busted a hole in the wall of the casket; he was almost through. He clawed at the hole frantically now, looking forward to gloating in the faces of his brothers. He had been strong; he hadn't screamed or lost it once. And now he was free.
The light of the glow stick flickered and died, but he didn't need to bother with igniting a new one... he would be out soon enough. He felt the sideboards of the casket crack and splinter as his hands ripped them apart. Then, something soft and moist fell on him... and an earthy smell filled his nostrils.
Reaching down, he picked up another glow stick and cracked it, waiting for the neon green light to illuminate his escape. Instead, it only illuminated solid wall of earth beyond the limits of the casket.
He didn't know what to think. This was either the most elaborate hazing setup he'd ever seen... or...
Frantically scraping at the earth with the trowel, he was now become frantic. There was nothing but soil around him... more and more soil. This was real. He had really been buried alive.
That's when he screamed. He whimpered and sniveled, cried and begged to be let out. He went on like this for what seemed like hours.
When his voice finally went hoarse, he realized no one was there to let him out.
And that's when he remembered the gun.