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"The Pit and the Pendulum"
by Edgar Allan Poe

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Synopsis of the Recorded Story

[The recording is a reading of the unabridged story.]

During the Spanish Inquisition, a French Soldier is sentenced to death and placed in a dark cell in the dungeons. He investigates his prison and discovers the horrible death his captors have planned for him. First there is the deep pit that he almost stumbles into in the dark. He doesn't know how many pits there are, so he decides to stay in one place. He sleeps.

Upon awakening, he finds himself strapped to a long, wooden rack. Only one arm is free, from the elbow down, so he can feed himself. It is no longer dark. He notices a pendulum swinging from the ceiling, high above. He notices, also, that, with each sweep, the pendulum is swinging lower and lower. The bottom of the pendulum is a sharp blade and its swing is directly across his chest. As the blade reaches his chest, it will cut into his flesh a little deeper with each sweep of the pendulum.

His captors have been feeding him, and the scent of the food has attracted, from the single pit, many large, hungry rats. He rubs some of the meat on the ropes that bind him to the table. The rats chew through the ropes and he is free just as the pendulum's blade begins to cut into his flesh.

As the pendulum/table affair is drawn quickly up, a new horror faces the man. The walls of his cell are made of iron. They are heated and begin to glow red. The heated walls begin to move and change the shape of the room from a square to a diamond, forcing the man toward the pit in the center of the room. Just as he is tottering on the edge of the pit, the walls rush back and the man is saved from his captors. His military force has beaten the Inquisition.

 
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Last modified: June 04, 2015