The following story is an entry for Monster Mash 2019 which can be found here on Siobhan Muir’s blog.
My entry is inspired by the quote: “Do not read the Latin,” Marty, Cabin in the Woods. The word count is 745 (exc title). Make sure you visit the Monster Mash page to read the other entries!
Lesson Number One
“What the hell is this place?” Chad shone his torch down the tunnel but the darkness ate up all the light – you could barely see three metres ahead.
“Catacombs. There are some all over the city, they date from medieval times,” I told him as I kept close behind him. It was oddly warm down here, as if the Earth was insulating us from the cold above. Our feet splashed in the shallow puddles. The sound echoed around us, bouncing off walls and hitting us from all sides.
“I’m still not sure coming down here was the best idea. They might have come in behind us and if we can’t find a way out…” he trailed off as he shuffled forward. We’d been chased for about a mile by a group of men. We had rounded a corner on the way back from a Hallowe’en screening and almost walked straight into them. The five of them turned as soon as they saw us, calling names and jeering. When we turned around and started walking away, they decided to follow suit. They had kept up and trailed us through every twist and turn Chad had tested.
When I saw the entrance to the catacombs, I pushed him towards it. Most of the entrances are through buildings but there were one or two that were accessible from outside, and you had to know where to look. It only took a minute for Chad to get through the rusty padlock keeping it shut. I hadn’t heard them follow us but there was no way I was turning back.
“All the more reason to keep going then,” I urged, pushing his arm gently. We’d shuffled through the dank tunnels for over twenty minutes. We were nearly under St Saviour’s Church. The tunnels steered clear of the graveyard but there was an access point to the church nearby, just in case the priests needed a quick exit.
The tunnel opened out and Chad’s torch finally had an impact on our surroundings.
“No way,” he breathed, pulling away from me to get a better look. The ceiling rushed away from us and the walls parted. Ahead of me was a completely square room. Mirrors stood in the corners and reflected Chad’s torch to light up the whole atrium. A stone block sat in the centre, jet black and smooth. I ran my hand across the glassy surface, shivering as it sucked the heat out of my fingers. “It looks like some kind of sacrifice chamber.”
“Seriously?” I shook my head. Chad wasn’t the most inventive individual I’d met, nor the most intelligent. In fact, he was downright boring. He spun on the spot, staring open-mouthed at the room as his light picked out the intricate carvings on the wall. Swirling patterns ran around the edges as a border and strange symbols were etched in seemingly random positions.
I stepped up on the dais beside the block in the middle so I could see the top of it. Chad hurried over as I laid my hand on the writing there.
“Don’t read it,” he snapped.
“What are you on about?”
“Come on Lainie, you saw that film tonight. Reading the Latin never does any good,” he tried to pull me away but I stood fast.
“Look at it Chad, it’s not Latin,” I pointed for him to look closer. They were the same strange symbols that were on the wall, with no recognisable letters. “Just like this isn’t a sacrifice chamber, it’s an entrance. Although My Lord does require some kind of sustenance when he gets here.”
“You’re hilarious. Come on let’s go.” Still I wouldn’t move. Chad went quiet, finally, for one glorious moment. That’s how he heard the buzzing. “What the hell…”
“Not hell, a different dimension,” I smiled and stepped back. I licked my finger where I had nicked it on a pin in my pocket. A dark red stain was slashed across the symbols on the block. The room began to shake. Chad dropped his phone; the light bounced around and until it finally settled, pointing at a strange haze above the portal. Colours swirled, bubbling and boiling together as the portal finally solidified. A lone blue tentacle slid through the doorway, feeling its way. I held the symbols in my mind as the magics worked to open the door and keep me protected. “Horror film lesson number one Chad, you don’t always need to read the Latin.”