Fanning The Flames #fridayfictioneers

‘It’s sabotage, you know,’ said my wife.

I pulled a face as we carried on looking out the window. In the street below our apartment two fire engines were putting out the fire engulfing the only house on the block.

‘They’ve been trying to knock down that house for years so they can build another complex there,’ she explained.

‘It was probably an accident,’ I responded.

‘Hopefully, they had good insure and can built another house then,’ my wife added.

A few months later, my wife was proven right.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/11/15/10-november-2017/ with thanks).

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Long Nights

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When the house got to cold the best place to be was in bed. There I could wrap up warm in the winter duvet and blankets, turn on my little heater and wait till I could feel my toes again. I read a library book to distract myself and listened to the fan whirling as well as the noises of the old house. Sometimes I’d hear other things; animals, the weather, stray notes of music. Tonight there were fireworks.

I dozed in-between reading chapters and checking the time. It was far too early for bed, yet the darkness blocking the window was suggesting otherwise. I’d never slept well in this house, even as a child when I’d come to stay with my grandparents which had been too often…

The memories were still heavy in the air, single moments playing over and over again, like ghosts I couldn’t escape from. I hate being trapped here, just like back then, but no one wanted to buy the house and without a sale I couldn’t move into other. So, it was either this roof over my head or none. I’d already been ‘none’ a few times and any roof was far better.

Perhaps, it was some unknown unfinished business holding me here or a curse? I didn’t believe in either thing. It was just the bad luck of my life. Reminding myself to contact a few people tomorrow, I closed my book and turned the heater off. The bedroom was warmer. I kept the lamp on though, I never slept in the totally darkness.

Settling down, I listened to the fireworks still going off in the distance. It was a few days after bonfire night but people still seemed to be celebrating. The loud popping, whizzing, bangs and crackles re-breaking every few minutes. I kept second guessing when it was over till it finally was.

Then, in the house I hated with a passion, blissful sleep stole me away.

Clock

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Liz lay awake, listening to the echoing ticks of the clock in the living room as 2am arrived. She wasn’t use to the new house so sleeping was difficult. The bed felt too hard and the pillows were not her own. Strange shadows crossed the window and walls. The air smelt like fresh paint, wood and clean sheets.

Liz turned onto her side and came face to face with Bex, her girlfriend, who was fast asleep. In the dark, Liz couldn’t make out the soft lines of Bex’s face or her dyed rainbow coloured hair. Liz moved slowly, hoping that maybe she could snuggle against Bex and hold her. That position might help settle her down. However, Bex was curled up too much on her side.

Sighing, Liz wondered, how can you sleep with that damn clock ticking away?  

Turning back over, Liz looked up at the ceiling and breathed deeply. Shutting her eyes, Liz pictured the clock. It hung high above the grey stone fireplace, screwed to the wall. It’s face was yellow stained and rust was coming through in small patches. The metal frame the clock sat in was a rusted dark red almost black colour whatever the frame had originally been was long gone. Then there were the stumpy pointed hands; black and stumbling as they made their way around.

I wish we could remove it, Liz thought, but it’s screwed too tight. Maybe I can stop it from working then cover it with something?  

With her mind now focused on something Liz, felt more awake then ever. Tossing onto her other side, she shut her eyes and tried to let everything go. However, the ticking clock thundered in her ears, breaking the stillness like a screaming baby.

Throwing the sheets back, Liz got out of the bed, put her slippers on and fumbled through the darkness to the door. A small slit of light was coming through so she opened the door enough to fit then closed it quickly behind her. The hallway came into focus before her, the light casting down to touch the next door, the stairs and the front door.

Liz crept downstairs, turned away from the front door and went into the first room. She turned on the light and looked up at the clock straight away.

‘You’re ticked your last tick,’ she said under her breath.

Glancing around, Liz spotted a smaller hammer in a box. They had been using it to put nails in the wall to hang up some pictures. Grabbing it, she then had to go out into and into the dinning room to get the step ladder. Dodging the piles of boxes and the handful of furniture which had been temperately stored there, Liz got the ladder.

Setting the ladder up at the foot of the fireplace, she climbed up and came face to face with the clock. Smiling, Liz raised the hammer and swung it into the centre of the clock. There was a tinkling and a rain of glass. The hands stopped in shock and a large dint appeared middle way, in-between twelve and six.

The ticking paused but then continued as if nothing had happened.

Liz struck the clock face again. Harder this time, letting out a gasp as she did so. This time the hammer went right through the clock, the dint stretching to a hole exposing the cog mechanism inside.

‘Stay stopped this time!’ Liz threatened.

 

Silence filled the air as the clock froze. Liz smiled, waves of stress leaving her. Then a police siren blasted and Liz wobbled on the ladder. Crying out, she clutched the top and curled her slipped feet around the rung she was on. Dragging in deep breathes, she hurried down the ladder.

Dropping the hammer, she walked back upstairs. Feeling chilling, she was grateful to slip into the warm bed. Curling up, Liz shut her eyes and prepared to drift off. Though as sleep claimed her, Liz heard a very faint tick tock.

No, that’s not the clock, Liz thought.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Liz’s eyes flew up and she shot up from the bed.

‘That damn clock!’ she shouted.

‘Huh? what?’ Bex mumbled.

‘I broke the clock, but it’s still going!’

Bex rolled over, stretched and yawed before saying, ‘what clock?’

‘The living room one. It’s been driving me mad!’

Bex paused then reached out and turned the light on. Turning to look seriously at her girlfriend, she answered, ‘I don’t hear anything.’     

Post It Note #39

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I heard it again last night. I don’t know what it is and I don’t wish to find out. It’s just not natural and it’s too disturbing! So, I’m leaving. Here’s my next month’s rent and good luck finding someone else to stay alive in this death house.

Old Shoes #FridayFictioneers

Who knew how long the boots had been in the shed but they were finally seeing light again. Gritting my teeth, hoping no spiders popped out, I carried the shoes onto the lawn and laid them down with everything else.

Something tickled across my hand. I looked and spotted a small spider. I screamed, flung my hand about then did a crazy dance around the garden. Breathing deeply, I glanced around, panic soaring through me. Of course, the spider was no where to be seen. Traumatised I rushed inside my new house and washed my hands repeatedly.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/20/22-september-2017/ with thanks).

 

Hurricane

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It was coming. Atlanta could hear the gale force winds rattling the storm shutters and the rain pelting the roof. She held her breath and hugged her dog, Greg, tighter. He didn’t seem to mind but then he was old and deaf.

They was sat in a small yellow tent set up in the far corner of the cellar. Dim amber fairy lights in the shape stars cast some light down, but it wasn’t enough to do anything by. Atlanta’s didn’t really mind though as long as she wasn’t in the dark.

‘I’m safe. Everything is fine,’ Atlanta muttered.

Every since she had heard about the high chance of the hurricane last week, she had be preparing. All the kitchen and basement cupboards were stocked with bottled water, long life food, matches and extra gas canisters for the camping stove. She had double or triple camping equipment items and a whole range of lighting; battery and candle lanterns, torches and spare candles.

Atlanta picked up her headphones which were top of the range noise cancelling and selected some loud classic music from her ipod.

‘There’s nothing else to do now it’s here,’ she said aloud.

She rubbed Greg’s ears then wrapped herself in a thermal sleeping bag and began waiting out the hurricane.

Midnight Cries

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It was a few minutes after two in the morning, when on a quiet street in Liverpool the crying of a woman could be heard. Nearly all the people were in bed and only a few slices of lights from curtains not fully closed could be seen. It was also raining and had been for a good few hours, so everything was wet.

A letter slot rattled and the ghostly wailing of the woman roamed through a house and echoed up the street. People stirred in their sleep and a few started to awake up. A cat begin yowling, sounding like a baby demanding attention. The woman cried loudly and the old man living in the house woke up.

He listened to the crying for a few moments then he decided it was only the wind. He rolled over and went back to sleep. So, he never heard the woman’s voice saying, ‘please let me in. I have no place to go!’

Down a few doors, the gate clanked and someone started knocking quickly on the door. The letter slot opened. A woman’s voice drifted upwards to where a young couple and their baby slept. The wife awoke and after checking the baby, poked her husband awake. They both listened and heard a woman crying.

‘Please, help me!’ a voice shouted, ‘I have nothing.’

Hands hammered at their door then the bell started ringing. The loud sound cutting through the night. The woman screamed and began banging the letter slot. The sound echoed and faded.

The husband rose to get out of the bed, but the wife gripped him and whispered, ‘no, don’t go.’

They tried to look at each other in the dark then husband turned the light on. They both looked tried, confused and worried. The baby stirred and woke up with a feeble crying. The wife scooped the baby up, quieting the cries if she didn’t want the baby to be heard.

‘Why not? She said she help,’ the husband muttered.

‘I have a bad feeling,’ the wife replied.

From their back garden came the squeal of the gate. They looked at each other then heard someone backing on the back door window. The sound thumped through the house. The wife clutched her baby tighter and pressed her face into her husband’s shoulder. Feeling torn, he wrapped his arms protectively around her.

A few minutes later, the knocking stopped and quietness crept on to the street again. However, it didn’t last long because across the road the woman began knocking at doors and crying again.

The husband kissed his wife and told her, ‘I’m phoning the police. Maybe something did happen to her or maybe she’s just crazy.’

The wife nodded and he reported the woman to the police. They tried to get back to sleep after but couldn’t as the woman continued to make a racket. When the police arrived at half past five, they couldn’t find any trace of the woman but a lot of the neighbours were shook up and wanted to make reports.

Though no one was sure of what the woman really wanted. It was suggest she was a burglar or part of of a burglary gang. Her cries of help had been a fake though with her not being talk to or found again, it was hard to say.

 

(Inspired from true events)

The Basement (Part 7)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

All I could breath in was soil and decay. My ears were ringing, partly deafening me. I went over to my wife and pressed my back against the door too. A part of me didn’t think this flimsy wood would keep the skeletons back.

‘Are you hurt?’ Raven asked me.

‘I don’t think so…’ I trailed.

I was in too much shock to be thinking clearly. I tried to listen through the door, but the sounds were muffled. I reached for Raven’s hand and held it tightly. We listened and waited for the skeletons. A minute later, we heard banging and groaning. The door vibrated along our backs.

‘Let’s make a run for it. We can lose them in the cellars,’ Raven spoke.

Arming herself once again with the bits of coffin lid she had tossed aside, my wife walked a few steps then broke in a jog. I followed, not sure what else to do but thinking that Raven might be right. The cellars were a twisted maze and we should easily reached the house again before the skeletons got anywhere near us.

We headed back through the dirt tunnel, not talking just concentrating. Images flashed by me; the cloth rags around the bones, the shuffling footsteps, the grinning jaws, the missing teeth. The crumbled skeletons piling at my feet and Raven, my amazing woman, fighting then and taking so many down.

Why had they attacked us? How had they come to life? I had thought the house might be haunted…by ghosts and normal creepiness, but this? Animated skeletons in the basement? My brain was getting tried trying to answer those questions and more. My body was aching all over and the torch felt so heavy in my hand.

From behind us, the door broke down, sending a cloud of dirty towards us. I stole looks back and saw the skeletons pulling themselves out of the debris. At the back of my mind, I had been hoping that the door would stop them. Maybe, there’d been some magic seal or something that would stop them and trap the skeletons like before when we hadn’t entered.

Raven raced ahead of me and her torch light become just a dot. I tried to pick up speed, but I was too tried. Slowly and without wanting to, I came to a stop. Doubling over, I tried to breath but my throat was burning. Everything seemed to spin around me, waving in and out of focus like fast changing storm clouds. I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going down.

Claws in my leg, right between the top of my boot of the cuffs of my black jeans. The clattering of loose teeth and clicking of bones, brought the last few minutes back into my head. I snapped awake, twisting around, thinking it had all been a dream, but then I realised I was laying face down in musty soil, my fingers hitting against a torch.

‘Crow? Crow? Where are you?’ Raven’s voice was screaming in the distance.

I took a deep breath and grabbing the torch, swung back at it. I heard the connection of plastic and bone. The tightness on my leg released and I scrambled upwards. Not looking back as I had enough fuel for nightmares to last the rest of my life, I bolted down the rest of the soil passage way and into Raven.

She had been coming back for me and I sent us both sprawling to the floor.

‘Are you okay? Where did you go?’ Raven gushed.

‘I tripped. I’m fine,’ I said.

We hugged tightly and helped each other up. We walked the rest of the way, holding each other as if we had been for a simple stroll around the rose gardens. Gratefully, I hobbled through the doorway and into the cellar.

I slummed down, slipping out of Raven’s arms. Pain was spiking through my ankle. I heard her closing the door and scrambling around.

‘What you doing?’ I mumbled.

‘Slowing them down,’ Raven replied.

I eased myself up  and watched my wife, shoving wood planks up against the door to block it. I should help, I wanted to help, but I couldn’t move. Laying down seemed the best thing to do right now.  Sleep was also good. I shut my eyes and felt myself drift.

‘Crow!’

A hand slapped my face and I awoke quickly.

‘You are hurt,’ Raven said.

In the torch light I could see her face was a worried and dirt streaked. The warrior seemed to be wearing out of her.

‘Not really. I’m okay, just my ankle….I twisted it,’ I told her.

Raven helped me up and I hobbled along side her. We went back through the cellar rooms till I thought we must be lost because it had been so long and everything looked the same.

‘We need to stop. I can’t go on,’ I said and aimed myself towards the floor.

Raven let me go and I sank down heavily like a anchor. I pressed my back against the cold, damp wall and looked up at Raven. She was tried. Her shoulders were slumped, her arms dragging downwards and she was breathing more deeply then I had seen her do so before.

She sat down next to me. Her boots scrapping the ground. She brought her knees up and pressed her face into them with some difficulty given her curvy frame.

We were silent. The darkness filled the void between us. I shut my eyes and let sleep claim me. I dreamed of nothing, just pools of darkness.

Raven shuffling brought me back too. We hadn’t turned the torches out, at least I don’t recall if we did and now Raven was bashing her’s in her palm and flicking the switch on and off.

I felt for mine and checked it. The beam seemed a bit dimmer but it was still working.

‘How much further?’ I asked.

‘Not far,’ Raven replied giving up with her torch, ‘I’m sure we must nearly be there.’

‘How sure?’

Raven looked at me her face serious then crumbling, ‘I don’t know…’

‘Are we lost?’

‘I…think so,’ Raven chocked, ‘I was too worried about you and I wasn’t thinking…’

‘It’s okay,’ I said softly, rubbing her back, ‘we’ll figure it out.’

Raven nodded.

We steeled ourselves and started walking again. This time I paid attention to the rooms, noticing the few bits and pieces as we passed. Twice we walked back into the final room and we heard from the hidden doorway banging and groaning. The door was strangely holding the skeletons back.

Finally, Raven found some sharp stones and we began marking the rooms as we went through them. That helped and at last we found the staircase. Heading upwards, I wondered what condition things would be in, but my mind was really far from that. I wanted to eat, sleep and hold my wife tightly.

Raven opened the door and went though to collapse at the kitchen table. I joined her, noticing how bright it was and how dirty we both were. My glass of half drunk water from hours ago was still on the table. I picked it up and drained it. Getting up, I went to the sank and drink straight from the table. I scrubbed my hands and face.

I got Raven a glass of water and watched her drink it slowly.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘I think so…’

‘Listen, Raven…’

‘I love you, Crow.’

‘I love you too,’ I replied.

‘And this house is just perfect,’ she add, getting up and hugging me, ‘I can’t believe it, skeletons in the cellar! What more could I have asked for!’

‘So, you’re not upset,’ I mumbled into her shoulder.

She kissed me and answered, ‘far from it.’

The Basement (Part 6)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I felt Raven squeezing against me, breathing hard in my ear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a skeleton was really raising out of the ground. I tried to be rational, there was an earthquake and that was why all the graves were being disturbed. I was sure I’d heard something about that when there were other disasters; cemeteries got broken up and bodies moved about. That’s all it was.

‘Let’s go,’ I said and started to get up.

Raven muttered something that I didn’t hear, it sounded like, ‘keep low.’

We helped each other up then began moving towards the dirt covered stairs. Another skeleton hand burst upwards, showering us with soil. I swallowed a scream. There was nothing to be scared of, I was just over reacting. Grabbing Raven’s hand tightly, I walked steadily forward, keeping my eyes fixed on the door.

‘Oh, Crow look!’ Raven called.

I stole a glance at her and in the direction she was pointing. My wife was a mess which was so not like her. She was covered in dirt and her cheeks were flushed red. Her finger was pointing at the first stone sarcophagus. A large crack had spilt the stone side in half and the lid had moved off.

‘It’s just the earthquake,’ I shouted, ‘Oh no! The house!’

I broke into a run, suddenly blinded by worry. Tugging my wife after me, my thoughts spiralled and I pictured the house breaking apart and falling down. Everything would be lost! All my money, stuff, my life….My marriage….. Panic shot through me and I darted like a rabbit being chased by a fox.

‘Crow!’ Raven yelled at me.

I had no time to respond. The ground give a huge violent shake, tumbling us back down. I hit the moving soil hard and felt pain spiking through my hands, arms and knees. My torch flew away from me; light scattering around like a disco ball. I caught my breath then looked at my wife.

Raven was on her knees, searching for her torch which had tumbled down a hole. Her cheek and hands were scratched and bleeding. Her hair was totally dishevelled and clumped with dirt. In the dim light, her face looked pale, puzzled and worried.

‘Raven. Are you okay?’ I asked.

From behind us came loud groaning sounds which reminded me of zombie movies. Raven was a fan of those movies and whilst I found them okay, the idea that one day zombies could walk the earth chilled me. Trying to pertained it was just gas escaping. I helped Raven find her torch then went over to mine.

Something ensnared my leg, biting into my ankle. I cried out and looked down. Fingers were wrapped around me. I tried to kick free, but the grip was too strong. I bent down, ready to prise the boney fingers off me. Instead, another hand came upwards and grabbed mine.

‘Oh my god! It’s got me! Raven! Ahhhh!’ I screamed.

I heard rather then saw, Raven rush over and began stomping on the hands. The bones broke and snapped away but some how the skeleton still held on to me. I felt myself being dragged downwards. I couldn’t do anything my brain had gone into total panic. I felt the iron grip loosen and my wife tugging me away.

Raven must have been saying something but I couldn’t hear her. All around the groaning had reached a high followed by the sounds of the place shaking and things breaking a part. I couldn’t keep my balance and was constantly stumbling over. I was struggling to breath too, the air was clogged with dust, dirt and decay.

My hand slipped from Raven’s. I bent over trying to calm myself and focus. I looked at the ground just next to my feet and took in deep breaths. This was so not happening! Whatever the hell was going on here wasn’t real. This was a nightmare and I was going to convince myself of it.

Despite all the background noise, I heard the snapping of wood close by and looked up. Raven was standing by a dark wooden coffin and was ripping off chunks of the lid. Her torch was between her legs and she was grunting with the effort but looked determined to achieve her goal. Frowning, I watched her break the long planks in half. She handed me two and I slipped my torch under my arm. Then I switched the plank and torch around. It took my brain a moment to realise what she wanted me to do.

We were surround. The skeletons were all upright and ambling towards us with shuffling steps. Some had scraps of fabric hanging off them, others had shoes still on, a few even had jewellery around their necks and arms. There was no flesh or anything else left on them, they were all just creamy or yellow bones. It looked like a scene out of a fantasy horror movie.

It was a strange sight and one that would stay with me forever. I clutched the piece of coffin lid my wife had given me as if it alone would save me. Though I wasn’t religious I began praying because that was always the think to do in situations like this, wasn’t it?

‘Oh God, or whatever, please save us. Please get us out of this….’ I spoke.

‘I’ll get us out of this,’ Raven cut in.

I looked at her and she was battle ready. In a flash, I remembered the time I had seen her fight in a competition and how she had quickly won. Now, she was holding her pieces of wood like swords in both hands and was fixed on the closest skeleton, ready to swing it’s skull off. Her torch was safe tugged under her arm.

I had been avoiding looking into the hollow eye sockets before, but now I was drawn too. There was nothing there, not like a black spark of evil magic or anything that would allow sight. What was drawing these things to us?

Raven struck out at the skeleton and just as I predicated it’s skull went sailing off, over the tops of the other skeletons. Then that one just crumpled to the ground, all the bones clattering together and forming a scattered pile at Raven’s feet.

‘Easier then I thought! Come on Crow! Get whacking!’ my wife screamed.

She swing both pieces of wood this time and took out two skeletons. Nervously, I looked at the skeleton coming towards me. It was short and it’s jaw was hanging off to the side. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, opened my eyes then swung back with the plank in my right hand. As if I was hitting an oncoming ball, I swung back with force, aiming of the skull and actually sending it clean off.

‘Yeah! You did it!’ Raven cheered, ‘Now do it again!’

I was shaking and wasn’t sure I could. I watched her take out three more then there was another skeleton real close to me. I swung out again and this time caught the rib cage. There was a snapping and cracking of bones. The skeleton paused then stepped towards me again. This time I aimed for the skull and took it straight off.

‘We need to move!’ Raven yelled with a toss of her head, ‘let’s get to the door and out of here!’

‘But how?’ I shouted back.

The ground was still quaking and the skeletons were swarming us. I had another flash picture, only this time we were covered in skeletons and they were biting at us till we died. If this was a nightmare then it would end, right? I didn’t have time to reflect on that because another skeleton was upon me.

I hit into it, taking down in two strokes. The bones crumpled to the floor to join the others. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raven make a break for it and dart over to the steps. We had been super close before, but we had allowed the skeletons to cut us off. Trying to keep down my panic, I fled after her, feeling boney finger tips scratching me.

Seeing Raven reach and climb the stairs, spurred me on. My foot hit the first step and I raced up them, moving faster then I’ve ever done in my whole life. I heard the skeletons moaning and groaning behind us as if they realised we were getting away. I strange thought entered my head; how could they make noise when they had no vocal cords?

That was another thought for later! Raven was through the door and spinning back to call me on.

‘Almost there, Crow! Come on! You can do it!’ she called.

I charged through the door like a bull and went sprawling on the floor of the passage way. I heard the door slamming shut and Raven scrambling around. I climbed to my feet and saw my wife pressed again the door.

We were far from safe.

To Be Continued….

The Basement (Part 5)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

The tunnel was mostly dirt held up with wooden boards and crumbing ancient bricks. I felt a chill along my back as if a spider was walking across my spine. Trying not to let my worry show, I looked at Raven. Her expression was excited and curious, her body language told me she was ready to go exploring the tunnel. My wife really loved things like this and she showed no fear when everyone else would have done.

‘Where do you think it goes, Crow?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know….Maybe we should find out later though. I’m thirsty and we have so much unpacking to do,’ I replied.

Raven turned to me, her face flashing to disappointment. She took a standing ground stance; pulling her shoulders up, holding head high and keeping straight. Turning to me, her expression became serious and calm, she was going to begin arguing with me.

‘I’m just saying,’ I said softly.

Raven was not a person you argue with. She would win with words or with fists. Having a black belt in Taekwondo made her pretty scary in a fight. Luckily, I knew how to avoid most of our arguments, having known her for twelve years helped.

‘We’re down here so we might as well,’ Raven spoke, ‘you’re not scared are you? It’s nothing just an old passage way. It’ll led to that ice house or something. We should make sure it’s secure. We wouldn’t want to get robbed or anything.’

I let the silence do the talking for me.

‘I’ll go by myself. It’s no big deal,’ Raven added.

‘It doesn’t look safe though,’ I muttered.

Raven shrugged and answered, ‘It doesn’t look that bad…I’m sure it’ll be fine. I need to know where it goes. Either you come or you don’t. I don’t care either way.’

With that, she walked in. I had no choice but to follow her because if anything happened, I’d never live it down and Raven would make sure of that.

The soil was hard packed under and around me. Someone had taken great time to make it so and it had been used lots of times over the years. Like the cellars though, the air was dry and old. This tunnel had been sealed for so long. Creeping after my wife, I tried not to let my fears get to me.

Torch light flickered over the reminds of brick walls and wooden planks that had been used to hold the soil back. Roots of dead plants and other rubbish made lines in the almost black earth. I hoped Raven was right and this was just a tunnel used to get to the ice house.

We walked for a good few minutes, just listening to each other’s footsteps, breathing and movement. There was nothing else to be heard. Thinking, I tried to come up with something to say. I could tell Raven was still tense and she was just wanting for me to light the argument bomb. I wasn’t going anywhere near it though.

‘Some adventure, huh?’ I finally said, ‘I hope this leads to more then just the ice house.
Some place cool would be good. Like the Batcave or El Dorado. What do you think, Pumpkin?’

Raven paused, her shoulders dropping as she turned to me. I fixed a smile on my face, even if it was fake.

‘I hope so too,’ she said, ‘I bet this isn’t on the blueprints.’

I forced a laugh and shook my head.

Raven smiled and turned back again. We walked for another good ten minutes or so then came to another stop.

‘I think there’s something up ahead,’ Raven pointed out.

I peered over her shoulder and saw a small door set into the end of the tunnel. I became half torn about it; wanting it to be locked and wanting it to be unlocked at the same time. I held my breath as Raven went up to it and tried the handle.

The door seemed to move a little. Raven put a shoulder to it and shoved the door rudely open. An unpleasant smell hit my nose. Before there had only been the scent of old dry earth, now this stank like rotted meat.

‘Raven….’ I uttered then had to cover my mouth and nose with my t-shirt.

She didn’t answer or look my way, she was shinning her torch through. I shuffled closer, wanting to draw her away without seeing what was there. I couldn’t help it but as I saw through the door there seemed to be nothing but an endless straight dark hole of space.

I reached a hand out for her shoulder. Raven jumped, turned to face me and lost her footing as she did so. I grabbed out for her, but my wife slipped through my fingers and fell into the darkness.

‘Raven!’ I screamed.

The sounds of a coughing fit rose from a little way below me. I shone my torch down, saw a cloud of dirt rising then spotted her. She didn’t fallen far and after a quick look around I saw there was actually some steps set before me that were half covered by soil. I raced down them, almost tripping.

‘Are you okay?’ I pressed as I reached her side.

Raven looked up at me. Her lip was bleeding and she was cover in soil. She nodded and I helped her up.

‘You didn’t fall far. There are steps, see? Where are we now?’ I gushed.

Raven began trying to clean herself up, so I cast around and tried to see in the claustrophobic blackness where we were. My  first thoughts were that we had found the ice house and were at the bottom. It was cold enough and that smell was still strong. Then my light fell on something and stayed there.

‘Raven, look,’ I whispered.

I felt her move at my side, shone her own torch over mine and gasp loudly.

Before us was large grey stone sarcophagus. It was half sunk into the soil and looked intact. A further exploration showed there were more of them and also some wooden coffins. There were too many to count as they appeared to carry on where our torch light couldn’t reach.

‘We must be under the cemetery!’ Raven cried out.

I frowned and said, ‘but why would they bury everyone together like this?’

‘No idea….Some of these must be named though.’

My wife determinedly moved off towards the first sarcophagus.

‘Wait! Be careful!’ I shouted after her.

‘I shall,’ she tossed over her shoulder.

I side stepped from one foot to the other, undecided then hurried after her.

‘No name,’ she uttered as her fingers trailed over the stone.

‘Maybe we should go….’

Raven pouted then frowned. She was torn too!

‘Listen, pumpkin. This could be dangerous. We have no idea what’s really down here or where it goes. Perhaps, we should leave,’ I pressed.

I took Raven’s hand and squeezed it. She was shaking. I hugged her gently and some of the soil transferred on to me. She breathed into my neck and wrapped her arms around me.

‘Okay,’ she voiced.

We turned towards the steps but a wooden creaking sound made us stop. I looked down, thinking we had stepped on a plank or a coffin, but there was only soil below. The creaking grew and there was no mistake the sound of a coffin lid being removed.

‘Don’t look back,’ I said for us both and I tugged Raven away.

An unmistakable human groan rose up from behind us. I felt panic rocket through me. I tugged Raven harder and broke into a run. All my senses were telling me to get out and far away.

Raven’s hand tightened on mine, I glanced to make sure she was okay and I lost my footing. I tried to keep my balance, but the ground was shaking like a small earthquake and I tumbled forward. I fell and heard my left out stretched arm go through something, then Raven dropped to the floor beside me.

‘Crow? Crow!’ she shouted, shaking my shoulders.

‘I’m okay,’ I mumbled, tasting a spot of blood in my mouth.

I eased upwards. My torch had rolled far away but the beam was shinning across what my arm had hit though. I gagged and scrambled away from the sight of the open coffin. I backed into Raven who held me down.

‘It’s okay,’ she said calmly.

But it wasn’t.

The ground was still shaking, the sounds of moaning and creaking wood were getting louder. A patch of soil close to us suddenly sprayed up as if it was a water burst. I give a little scream and Raven yelled something out.

In the gloom we both saw it; a skeleton hand raising up out of the ground….

To Be Continued…