Chapter I: The Headless Cross, page 7Mature

The visit itself was a dreadful bore. When seeing these ruins, Rebecca had expected to hear about the bombing itself, how the fire had rampaged through the city, how the terrified people had run for their lives, seeking shelter in the Tube, and how the courageous pilots had repelled the enemy. Instead, the guide commented profusely on what two-bit Victorian artist lived in this house, or what treasure they expected to find in that church, and so on and so forth... Rebecca yawned and then realized she had drifted to the back of the line, and the others were well ahead already. She quickened up her pace to catch up, when she felt something catch her arm and she gasped as she was being brutally dragged into a nearby ruined house by an unknown force. She fell on her knees as the force released her inside, and in the dark, she took a few seconds to recognize the figure looming over her.

"Donnie?"

"So, I blow jobs in the boys' room, right?" the girl sneered as she stepped closer.

Rebecca stood up and tried to step back, but she almost tripped and realized there was a large hole in the floor behind her, that looked pretty deep. There was no retreat. She knew she was in a bad position. Donnie was taller, and stronger than her, and she could be vicious.

"Look, Donnie," she started, "I'm sorry, I'm really sorry, okay? Let's just leave it at that."

"Oh, you'd love it, wouldn't you? Well... okay, we'll just leave it at that."

Rebecca sighed in relief. "Really?"

"Sure..." but as she spoke, the girl's lips suddenly distorted into a devious smile. "And I'll leave you here!" she shouted as she pushed Rebecca, who shrieked and wiggled her arms pathetically as she felt the emptiness around her, until her butt met the rocky bottom of the hole, cutting her breath. She stood up, wincing at her sore butt. It was cold and wet down there, and the edge was way too high for her reach. All around were walls of damp stones and rubbles, broken steel pipes, and scattered remains of what, she guessed, was once furniture.

"Donnie?" she called out. "Okay, you had your fun, now help me out of here, okay? Donnie? Will you help me? Please? Pretty please?"

But all she had for an answer was Donnie's devious laugh fading away, until she heard it no more. Silence. She was all alone. She felt her heart start drumming in her chest with fear. All alone and trapped. She could already see herself starving to death, or being devoured by some subterranean creature. No, she told herself, chill out, this is not likely to happen and you know it... she had always had a vivid imagination. Her rabid consumption of horror novels and movies was a frequent subject of concern for her parents. When visiting a medieval museum, she was the first to ask questions about the torture instruments, and she would shiver with delight at the most gruesome details. That was the way she was, she just loved to be scared. But now, her overdriven imagination was bringing her on the edge of panic.

Shaking, she tried to climb up, struggling to get a grip on the damp stones, and she had just pulled herself up when she yelled as the wall gave in under her weight, half burying her under the rubbles. She stood back up with difficulty. She would have plenty of bruises to explain after that! She sighed as she saw her tights were ripped. These were part of the uniform, she wouldn't be allowed back at school until she paid for new ones. Great!

"Help!" she cried out. "Somebody help me! I'm down here!"

No response. She felt tears of distress coming up. Nobody could hear her. It was getting darker and darker, the sun was setting. She was sure her classmates were already in the bus, back to the school, and everyone would have dinner with their families tonight, in their warm, cozy houses, while she would be left here alone in the cold...

Something caught her eye, and distracted her from her predicament. There was something among the rubbles, an object half buried that seemed to be emitting some kind of faint light. No, impossible, how could it be? Something that made light in there? Maybe it was a lamp, but even then, it would have to be a World War II lamp, there was no way it could be still working! Intrigued, the girl decided to investigate, she knelt down and dug out the object. She held her breath in awe. It was a beautiful Celtic cross, made of silver, engraved with ancient, mystic motifs that evoked the distant era of Druids and cursed forests. The girl saw that the light it had seemed to emit was actually just a reflection... but looking around, she could see there was no light source the cross could reflect. It seemed to be reflecting a light that wasn't there. And it was strangely heavy for its size, and warm too... it gave Rebecca strange feelings, she felt as scared of it as she felt attracted to it, fascinated. This cross seemed to have been through centuries, and to bear some forbidden secrets and terrifying powers...

A loud clatter of voice shook her off her fascination. It was her name being called. A smile drew upon her face as her salvation was at hand. "I'm down here!" she called out, and soon after, a man from the LBPS appeared above her. She knew she should have given him the cross. After all, it was their job to salvage theses treasures. But she didn't really know why she instead hid it in her jacket and didn't tell anyone on the way home. After what she'd just been through, she deserved a little... souvenir, didn't she?

The End

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