The Crypt – or – a Tale With No Ending (Yet)

IMG_2594Wow! On Saturday night, as a bit of fun, I posted a story that Craig Boyack had started based on a photograph I’d taken, in the hope we might get a few other writers to contribute to the tale of the archaeologist in the crypt. And we did! So many comments, in fact, that I’ve decided to collate them here in the order they were received, so that hopefully we can finish the story and get this poor archaeologist out of the crypt, or into the monster’s lair, or Janine’s embrace, or wherever he ends up. I won’t tag the commenters – if you want to see who added what, head over to the original post and scroll through the comments. So, here we go:

For over a thousand years, the ancient evil remained walled up behind a blessed doorway at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
In the summer of 2016, an overzealous archaeologist detected something behind the wall using electromagnetic sounding equipment…

…entering through the old crypt, the archaeologist made their way through the vaulted chambers, footsteps echoing as they headed deeper into the dark…

The smell of moss and rot filled their nostrils. The light failed. A slight dragging noise came from farther down…

… the smell grew stronger, but with a hint of something darker, like smoke from a funeral pyre. All at once the archaeologist was aware of the great weight of stone pressing down from above…

Go back. Wait for the others, that would be the sensible move. A dark mist, present and palpable seemed to ooze from the floor, tendrils curling and clawing at the archaeologist’s feet, impelling them onward, deeper, consuming the pale beam of the torch. To hell with the others… a cold smile and a glint of teeth in the darkness…

A low rumble filled the tunnel and the torch light sputtered out. Squeezing his eyes tight shut the archeologist opened them again hoping to see through the velvet black that filled the tunnel. He felt something drip on his face. Looking up two green eyes greeted him.

The archeologist wanted nothing more but to turn and flee, but alas his legs had turned to jelly. Frozen in place, his only option was to wait like a lamb to slaughter as those piercing green eyes drew nearer.

Out of the darkness the eyes moved towards him, the creature’s feet scraping along the floor.

Not for the first time, the archaeologist thought about all the other career choices he could have made, choices that would have included nice offices and bright lighting, not dusty crypts and lurking monsters. He closed his eyes, bracing himself. Then a hand gripped his shoulder.
‘What the hell are you doing?’
Janine. He exhaled in relief. That was one thing he never regretted about becoming an archaeologist – the fact that he had met the extraordinary Janine.

Janine smiled at him, revealing two fangs and a tongue that had the shape of the end of the Devil’s tail. She hissed at him, making him jump back in terror. What on earth had happened to the woman he had so much wanted to ask out?

Janine said, “I want you to meet my mother.”

“Er, Janine, hi. I was about to call you on your cell…” (Always thought it felt a little strange when we did a bit of tonguing) “Can meeting your mother wait, I’m kinda caught up in the middle of something right now.” The archaeologist puts on his innocent smile and shrugs.

Archie shook himself. This was getting too bizarre – like something out of a nightmare. Wait – *was* this a nightmare? He squeezed his eyes shut, took a deep breath, counted to ten, then pinched himself, hard. Ouch! His eyes snapped open, and his gaze met the crumbling stone vaulting of the crypt. He shone his torch up, down, and behind himself. Nothing. A slow sigh of relief escaped him, and he chuckled to himself. How silly of him! Janine, with drooling fangs, wanting him to meet her mother! He directed the torch beam ahead and took a step further into the vault. He was an archaeologist, a scientist – he had no time for silly fancies.
From out of the deep shadows, the green eyes glowed as they watched him, narrowed in speculation.

It would make sure that he met her mother all right. On a cold slab in the deepest portion of the crypt. After all, a mother had to put out the welcoming mat…

The archaeologist, unaware of the shadowy watcher, pressed on, wiping sweat from the back of his neck as he moved further into the crypt. According to the old plans, he should be almost at the other side of the sealed door- He stopped short. A wall was in front of him, blocking his way. Shining his torch on it, he could see it was built of the same ancient stones as the rest of the crypt, and that it stretched for a couple of metres in either direction.
‘Christ Al-‘ Then he stopped, remembering where he was. Right. What to do now? This was almost his last chance to make that elusive big discovery, every archaeologist’s dream. And there was no way he was letting hallucinations and old stone walls stand in his way…

He took his rucksack off his back and, on opening it, took out a hammer and chisel. He would hack away at some of the old bricks and try and dislodge them so he could shine his torch through the gap and see what was on the other side of the wall. Just as he was about to make the first blow, he was shocked to hear some tapping come from on the other side of the wall.

And in the dark he heard her scream. Her scream was abruptly cut off and he heard a thump to the floor. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the glistening of her hair on the floor and with his lantern he couldn’t bare to move it to the right. What would he find? Her eyes wide open and dead with the glaze of fear? He felt a fog come over his shoulder and as he willed to escape, his body betrayed him when he needed it most. The scent was a foul, sour burning. The breath of a dark, obscure, ancient beast for sure. For as the scent drew nearer, the wheezing of the beast enclosed him further.

He wouldn’t let that stop him though. He’d looked death in the face more than a few times. Now, where had Janine disappeared to? It wasn’t like her not to be down in the depths of things with him. Just a little further, that’s all he needed. Blood speckled his shoulder…

The speckles rapidly developed into great gobbets of thick, foul smelling liquid that was more than just blood – it glistened like saliva…

And it was coming from high above his head…

He brushed the gobbets from his shoulder. ‘Bloody pipes,’ he thought as he kept working at the wall, hoping to dislodge more of the great stones. The tapping became louder, as he pushed one through to the other side…

The red eyes glared at him. While he had been distracted, the archaeologist had completely forgotten about the beast, and now it was almost upon him…

He backed away, stumbling over a brick on the grass behind him.

“Do be careful,” the beast licked its teeth. “I would hate to have to explain your death to the Queen. Follow me,” it turned mumbling something about clumsy humans…

And there we have it, folks. I think there’s the makings of a great story here – thanks again to Craig for starting the ball rolling with his story idea. Let’s see if we can take it all the way to the end – we have until Thursday, August 4th to make it happen!


28 thoughts on “The Crypt – or – a Tale With No Ending (Yet)

  1. He had no choice. Shadows herded him onwards, a lamb to the slaughter. Shadows swallowed the shape of the beast that led him down the dark, labyrinthine passageway, but he could hear the metallic scraping of its body on stone… and a hollow, humourless laughter…
    It seemed an eternity before, disoriented and lost beyond recall, he sensed the walls opening wide around him. The sound of his heart thumping loud in his chest seemed to echo as if in a vast cavern…and all around him, emerald eyes glowed in the blackness…

  2. …and a thousand metallic claws scraped over the rocky cave bottom as the green glow of the beasts’ vicious eyes closed in on the archeologist. Then the glow shifted to red – then green again – then red. Blink, blink, blink, off and on… Like traffic lights…
    Like *traffic lights*?
    An awareness of the utter confusion of this situation slowly penetrated the haze of terror that was fogging up Archie’s brain. This was a dream! It had to be! There, Janine’s face swam in front of his vision, dimly illuminated by the now-green glow of the monsters’ eyes.
    “Aaaarchie,” she said, and her slender hand reached out to touch his face, “faaaancy meeting you heeeere…”
    A slimy tentacle slid down his cheek.

  3. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    The story has moved a long ways. Helen needs someone to bring it to a conclusion. Take a read and bring it to a satisfying ending, or I’ll show up with a mariachi band, a showgirl, a bag of limes and make a musical ending.

  4. The tentacle moved lower, wrapping around Archie’s neck. “Have you been a good boy?”
    He nodded.
    “I’ll be the judge of that,” the Queen said, her emerald eyes freezing him in place.
    Run, some part of his brain shouted. Could he? No, the tentacle held him too tight. Janine smiled at him. “Meet my mother.”
    “Your m-mother?”
    “Of course. Who else did you think the Queen was?”
    Archie couldn’t decide if the monster in question wanted him to be her daughter’s whatever-she-decided or simply–food. He gulped in air. The emerald eyes followed his movement.
    “Not thinking about running, are you, Archie?”
    Beads of sweat popped along his forehead. Hell, yes. If he was sure he could make it–
    “Hold that thought. Here comes Janine’s father. He’s most anxious to meet you.”
    A large mouth with thousands of teeth bumped into his backside. The Queen smiled. “Janine’s never brought anyone home before.”
    “P-pleased to meet you,” he said in a pinched tone.
    “You’re not a coward, are you, boy?” the father asked. “I’m not fond of cowards.”
    “Me? A coward? No, Sir.”
    The needle teeth nudged closer, stained crimson from their last meal. “So, will you be joining the family?”
    Janine smiled seductively. He took hold of her tentacle and stroke it. “Of course.”
    Well, what else could he say?

    • Hi Tom! Just add your bit of the story as a comment – I’ll post the story with all the new comments on Friday, I think! Thanks for dropping by, look forward to reading your contribution 🙂

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