The Wager Lost

Aging steps await, thirteen in all

Courage gathered to forestall

Wager lost, come now remittance

The manor bows for your admittance

A timer cast, but not yet tried

Commencing whence you step inside

Grains of sand fulfill an hour

Unless you choose to lay and cower

Such terms were clear, no area grey

The door must close, within you stay

Chambers wide, your paces many

Hallway long, and rooms aplenty

Candle wicks are trimmed and dry

Your covenants wait, thou must comply

Fifteen rooms, on floors of three

Each accessed with master key

Match be struck and flame ignited

Each facing window, shall be lighted

Yet though of ease, the task is slight

For something lurks that loathes the light

Your pace be rapid, your task on point

Repercussions should you disappoint

Now off, commence, the knob awaits

Witnessed far, beyond the gates

Staunchness beams, nor slight chagrin

Boldy positioned, and thus entered in

The glass then turned; time descending

Watchers poised, to realize the ending

Illumination cast and the alcove glow

Brought whispers from the standing row

The study windows, both did shine

Our hero chap moved swift in line

Like whirling wind, a shining level

And not yet a challenge from the devil

Then with mettle to the mezzanine

No glowing windows, only screams

Panic washed and we gathered tight

Yet none came prompt, nor took flight

Then silence fell on rising storm

The moon grew dim, clouds did form

Wondering gaze did gather thought

Forges casting tempest wrought

Emergence of a piercing creaking

Cascading launch of haunted shrieking

Clapboard rattles when lightning flashed

Broken branches, windows smashed

Candles flickered, then were snuffed

That fearful crowd, a nervous hushed

Urge to flee, yet no eyes averted

For decades five, the house deserted

Its secrets held, for that they lingered

Surrendered when the door was splintered

As dreadful thunder broke the shaky truce

Pent up power, how the house did loose

Darkness flowed from somewhere deep

Men did shudder, and the lady’s weep

Across the lawn, despair soon fell

Gripping dense, no chance of quell

Scampered off then, all did with haste

Coattails and hemlines, in fear of a chase

Through hedge they trundled, oh such a clamor

But when they emerged, ahead was the manor

Impossible chaos, and confusion did reign

Turned to their rear, not a one could explain

The cauldron erupted, both raindrops and hail

None honored the moment, all deep in bewail

And again, all did rush, now sodden with dowse

Sharp to a corner, but led back to the house

Sands of the glass, came still as did space

Routes chose aplenty, but returned to the place

Hysteria, frenzy, complete trepidation

Shock and exhaustion, abject desperation

Through water swept eyes, one gathered a course

Staring in fright at the chap on the porch

Suspicion and silence, yet none would advance

Eyes now black, and he seemed in a trance

Soon an arm did rise, as he waved them in

Their spirits were crushed by his devilish grin

Then all were lost, caught by his eyes

His gaze intense, they were mesmerized

Into the darkness, came one came all

Forward in movement, their shambling sprawl

The splintered door, now reappeared

Forever caught by what they feared

The wager lost

But with great cost

They played their game, acted clever

Now they get to stay forever

Additional Reading

If you enjoyed, The Wager Lost, and would like to read more from the author:

R.J. Schwartz is an American Poet, Author, and website owner.

His complete works on The Creative Exiles Website can be found here

The Gypsy Thread is a huge collection of his original work, focused on the unusual and interesting.

Ralph also writes on HubPages





R J Schwartz
Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

3 thoughts on “The Wager Lost

  • April 26, 2023 at 12:33 PM

    Oh a good haunted house poem. I like it. Smooth cadence, good rhyming and a good story makes for a win. Nice work Ralph

  • April 26, 2023 at 12:35 PM

    Oh a good haunted house poem. I like it. Smooth cadence, good rhyming and a good story makes for a win…side note dont know why I wasn’t signed in when I made this comment.


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