"Radiant Idol" by Richard F. Yates

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Description:

It seemed to pulse with an internal glow. We walked past the skeletons on the floor, drawn by the sapphire eyes---the golden body...

We KNEW it could be deadly to attempt to take the idol. The evidence was all around us---but we were hungry. Sal stepped onto the dais, slowly...carefully...and … (read more)

It seemed to pulse with an internal glow. We walked past the skeletons on the floor, drawn by the sapphire eyes---the golden body...

We KNEW it could be deadly to attempt to take the idol. The evidence was all around us---but we were hungry. Sal stepped onto the dais, slowly...carefully...and we listened for any sound that might indicate danger. After several seconds, he took another step, reached for the idol...and grasped it by the head.

He turned with a smile as he lifted the idol off the stone column where it sat, but his smile melted into a line, as the glow from the idol became a flash. The rest of us covered our eyes---but we could still hear his scream... I ran for the cave entrance, felt a searing burn on the back of my neck. My hair ignited.

I dove out of the cave and rolled to the left, pulling what was left of my jacket up to smother the fire on the back of my head. I was disturbed by the crispiness of the back of my skull. I got up, feeling the skin on the back of my arms and neck starting to flare into a shrieking pain. I ran for the stream near camp and fell into it, submerging in the chill waters to combat the rising agony.

Looking back towards the cave, a few moments later, I suddenly realized---no one else had followed me to the stream...

---Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)


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