“Young woman, this area is off-limits.”
The words rang through my head as I walked along a small trail to the graveyard's rear entrance. I knew the guard was right, and that’s why I came back at night.
None of my friends came with me. They all pussed out a couple of hours ago when the guard told them no. Please. It’s all just a lie formulated by the law to keep the town from entering the burial grounds. There’s nothing there but a bunch of decaying bones and dead old guys.
I chuckled to myself as I clicked on my flashlight.
The sun had set an hour ago. Everything was pitched black other than where my flashlight shone as I walked up to the barricaded doors.
A chilled breeze blew across my skin and stirred up the fall leaves around me as I stuck my crowbar into the decayed wooden door. Chunks of rotted wood fell to the ground as I bashed a hole into the lower part.
Peering through the hole, I saw nothing but darkness. The hair on my arms stood on end as I stepped inside.
The temperature immediately dropped several degrees.
Sounds of water dripping in the distance echoed off the hall as I stood there and surveyed my surroundings. Just because I was brave didn’t mean I was stupid. I wasn’t about to fall into a dark hole, only for my bones to be found centuries later by someone else tempting their fate.
I shined my flashlight on the ancient crypt walls. Symbols from long ago were partially faded. It seemed like something you would see deep in a pyramid.
The ground seemed to shudder as I traced my fingers along the indent of a large triangular symbol. It had a star in the center. I studied cults throughout my college career, and none of these seemed familiar.
I shrugged my shoulders and continued down the hallway, my flashlight making wide sweeps in front of me.
Everything seemed pretty normal, an ancient crypt, cold stone floor, half crumbled walls and one thick layer of dust over everything.
Two doorways. One to the left, one to the right.
I chose the left.
Peering inside and sweeping my light across the room revealed several large caskets with broken urns surrounding each. I stepped inside and bent over next to one of the urns. Ash had spilled out and covered the floor around the rotted caskets in the middle of the room.
Standing back up, I headed into the other room.
Same thing. Large caskets, rotted urns, and nothing more than a bunch of ash.
I went in for a closer look at the caskets. These seemed to be slightly different than the ones in the other room.
These were slightly more extravagant.
I grabbed the top of the casket and pushed it off. It fell to the floor with a loud thud.
Inside was the skeleton of some sort of creature. It wasn’t human. The claw marks on the top of the casket meant the creature wasn’t dead when placed down here.
I broke off one of the long curved nails and placed it in my satchel so I could get a better look at it later.
Undistinguishable sounds echoed off the walls and surrounded me. The hair on my arms stood on end. It sounded like something fell and broke like an urn or something of the sort.
Everything went silent again, other than the periodical drip of water.
I turned and headed back into the hallway. The odd nail would be more than enough to convince my friends went into the crypt. My flashlight flickered.
A cold chill ran up my spine as my mind ran wild. If the flashlight went out, that would be bad. As I said, I’m brave – not stupid.
The ground shuddered again.
This time it was much more intense.
I stood there wobbling in the middle of the hallway, trying to stay upright as I felt the floor start to give out.
Sounds from deep within the crypt echoed up the hallway. It sounded like more than just an urn crashing to the floor.
My mind was immediately brought back to the floor, giving away. I nimbly jumped backward as I watched the entire hallway crumble into darkness.
The walls caved in near the entrance. Massive stones fell and disappeared beyond my vision. I listened for the sound of them hitting bottom.
I looked down the hallway as my light flickered again.
Sounds of the stones hitting water suddenly rang through the hallway. No way was I going to try to cross that chasm. If I fell – that was it.
If I went deeper, there may be another exit I could look for. It was a large burial mound. I certainly never heard of another exit, but I also never heard of anyone going inside.
The darkness seemed to creep around me as I went in deeper. The hallway tightened to the point where I had to squeeze my body through small crevices just to continue.
Without warning, the path dropped off into the darkness. It was a sheer cliff.
I looked around – there was no way across.
Glancing back behind me only revealed the tight path I just came from.
“Well fuck.” I muttered as my flashlight dimmed.
I slumped against the cold wall to ponder my fate. There was nowhere to go.
The flashlight clicked off, leaving me in complete darkness.
I shook the case.
A chill ran up my spine as I suddenly realized my fate.
Death. It was the only escape.
Other than the occasional drip of water deep down the hole, there was no sound. My eyes couldn’t even adjust to the darkness this deep. There was no light whatsoever.
Something damp curled around my leg and tightened.
I yelped as I pulled my leg back towards my body.
There was something here.
A deep moaning sound echoed off the walls as I heard something shuffle in the darkness. I reached out. My fingers touched something slimy and wet.
I immediately withdrew my hand as I curled into a ball against the wall.
Remember the part about me telling you I was brave? Yeah. That just went out the window. At this point, I was terrified.
To throw myself into the darkness, or let myself be slowly eaten by this creature.
I chose the darkness.
Pulling together all the courage I had left, I ran and flung myself into the dark chasm. The only hope I had was there being water I would land in.
I felt my body in freefall as I fell through what I could imagine being small roots.
Without warning, I felt something wrap around my body. My hands clutched onto whatever had grabbed me.
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~ Jezebel Rose