Another streak of lightning flashed from above. It struck just an inch from Collin's toe and he jumped backward.

"Alright, already!" Courtney yelled. "We haven't failed yet. We're not going to fail!"

I prefer that you fail. Waste time! Then you will be mine! ... hissed The Dark.

"Go, Collin!" Morgan whispered urgently.

Collin ran across the invisible floor and dropped the filament into its spot in the puzzle. Light flickered. Dim. Dim. Bright. Brighter. Finally, the hole burned like a zillion watt light bulb.
And something just as bright zoomed down from above. The ball that came every time a puzzle was solved and a new puzzle piece was opened.

Collin backed away when the fiery orb crashed against the puzzle.

But it did something different this time. It split, right near Courtney's feet.

She screamed, struggled for a moment to keep her balance, and then pitched forward into the hole.

Collin ran toward his sister. "Courtney!"

The hole closed before he could grab her fingers.

Collin and Morgan stared in horror at the sealed over puzzle piece.

You must go! said the whispering voice. Now!

Collin wanted to protest. He wanted to go after his sister, but before he or Morgan could say a word, the crack in the still open puzzle piece widened, and they dropped helplessly into the darkened void.

 

 
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