Asleep in the Chapel

Rain. It spattered the window panes with an angry vehemence, sending loud clacking noises reverberating through the chapel. Water seeped through the bullet holes in the stained glass, as blood in an open wound. Heavy, jangling chains echoed somewhere below in the dark catacombs, only to fall silent again. We stood alert, lest the resonant clinking come any nearer.

 I felt each painful wave of nausea, intensifying ever still, followed by a bitter metallic taste and painful spasms radiating down my spine. I fell back onto a solid wooden bench, one of the few intact pews that remained, gripping the rusted banister tightly and fighting back the pain. He rushed to my side periodically, and, gritting my teeth, I shooed him away. He needn’t worry about me; there were darker things lurking in the shadows, death among them. And death came swiftly to those whose minds lingered there in the dark; a disconcerted mind is like a bright beacon in the shadows.

 “This was once a sacred place…” I mused, after the pain had subsided temporarily. The scene was disturbing; the alter, once of magnificent gleaming marble, lay in two enormous, broken slabs, split cleanly down the center. Black ash coated the stone walls, the work of arsons. A plethora of luminosity littered the ground in the form of shattered stained glass. The fragments shone a bright crimson hinted with amber yellow, contrasting sharply with the broken, dirty ground. A sacred place indeed.

The candles we found in the dilapidated rectory were the only source of light, glinting dimly as the wax dripped down in fat, watery slabs. Our voices were almost inaudible over the harsh spattering of the rain as it plummeted down from a large gaping hole in the chapel ceiling. So we waited in shadow, apprehensively, as the chains dragged on below, as the shadows stirred in the savage light.

The End

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