(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…