We started doing "The Dive" when we were just kids. It was a silly tradition between me, Emily and Davy that we figured out together while playing in the woods. Just past the rickety old church where the weather vane squeaked in the wind, down the moss-ridden path with the dead man's fingers sticking out, and if you continue all the way through the dark and twisting woods with wind calling on your name, you'd come up to the large dead tree we called the Hollow Man. It had a ball-sized hole in the middle, and that's where we have our dare. The rule was simple: after sundown, go to the Hollow Man and leave our silver carnival coin inside, then make your way back without running. Then the next person to do the dare would come and pick up the coin by morning. Two weeks into our little game Davy started a betting pool of sorts - every time we do the dare, we also put in five bucks in the little wooden box under the tree. Day by day, the money piled up. The game continued into high school, we just swapped the coin for cigarettes or candies. The little box stayed too, we pitch in a cent here and there, joking we're gonna save up the money for when the carnival comes back in town. But as the scare factor went down with teenage adrenaline, we had to up the ante by betting more things: I put in my summer job's extra fifty bucks, Emily betted the pearl necklace from an old boyfriend, Davy somehow got an antique brooch. We decided that the last person to chicken out gets the money. It went all the way into our summer years just before college. I was due to leave for state university, Davy and Emily opted to stay behind and manage their family businesses. Even with all our newfound responsibilities, no one stopped the dare. That is, until Emily didn't pick up the cigar box on her day, then the next, and the next. Davy and I agreed that Em thought she had better things to do. The three nights that Emily skipped meant Davy was next to do "The Dive". When he heard footsteps crunching on the leaves behind him, he should've turned and ran; when he felt looming shadows growing darker among the twisting branches, he should've called it quits. It was too late when the rock in my hand connected with the back of his head. He went down like a sack and slumped over the forest path, bloody bubbles rising from the hole in his head. I swung and hit him over and over till his face was mush on the ground beside him. "Sorry man," I lamented, standing over his corpse, "Neither of you were chickening out, and college is damn expensive."