The Chamber

By: J. R. Guinness

As I traveled down the stone steps of the catacombs, a cold breeze came up at me from the depths. It wasn't so much the unexpected blast of air that stopped me as it was the nauseating scent. It was the scent of rotting flesh and sulfur. Nevertheless I pressed onwards, keeping one hand on the cool mossy wall. Whether this was to steady my body or my nerves I cannot say. These catacombs had been found by a construction crew that was making an addition to my New England house.

I lived in the small town of Conway, New Hampshire on a large manor on the outskirts of town. I had inherited the house the previous summer, from an aunt that I had never heard of before. Beatrice Simone was her name. She wasn't exactly liked by many of the townspeople. Apparently in her younger days people said that she had gotten around, mostly with other women's husbands. Then each one of the men would disappear without a trace. She was accused many times of killing the men but since enough proof could never be presented to convict her, she was let go every time. The school kids would call her “witch” when they saw her in town and the parents would call her worse things, but never to her face. That was all 70 years ago.

When the house came into my possession I decided to move my family and me into it and get away from the clutter of life in the big city. I was there overseeing the additions to the house before my wife Janie and the kids came. We were adding another room and a basement when the workers notified me that they had found a previously existing structure buried about 5 feet down. After digging out a sizeable portion of the land around it we found that there was a door leading down into the earth. After asking around with some of the older folks in the city and verifying that no one knew about its existence before, I decided to go down and inspect it myself.

"It's just an old storage chamber" I thought to myself as I went down those steps. "Yeah, right" said the little voice in my head "And that smell was rotting turnips." The flashlight that I had with me did very little to illuminate my surroundings, so I had to go down very slowly. I estimated that I was at least 30 feet under the earth by the time I reached the bottom landing. This landing led out into a stone hallway that was decorated with bizarre carvings of ancient rituals and was littered with bones. In one carving there were many men surrounding a naked woman who held the heart from one of the men whom she had sacrificed. It was probably just a trick of the light but I swear I could see the heart beating as she held it. The other carvings were very similar. All of them included some form of human sacrifice.

I made my way through this gallery of ancient rites into an antechamber. The walls were a good 10 feet high with moss growing down the sides. The air was damp and dusty. I started coughing and the echo was so loud that I thought I would wake up the dead. On the floor were some stone tablets with inscriptions on them. I was looking around the room when I heard a voice call my name. "Norman." I spun around, but there was no one where I had just come from. "I must be going crazy" I thought. "I'm starting to hear things." Then I heard the voice again. "Norman, come to me." It was definitely a woman's voice. "Norman, I'm waiting for you." The owner of the voice couldn't be more than 20. "Norman, you're almost here. Please come to me Norman." I followed the voice towards the big stone door on the far wall. "That's it Norman. Come to me."

I pushed open the door and the sight that befell my eyes was so horrible and shocking, that I won't be able to forget it until I die. There was a large room with vaulted ceilings that were 20 feet high. Stone pillars formed rows that marched towards an altar at the far wall. Torches cast their eerie glow onto the room's occupants. Around the room were bodies of men in various forms of decay. The hair was thin and looked as if it were brittle enough to break with one's fingers. Their bodies all had huge gashes that revealed to the viewer the various organs. The arms were bony and the fingers had long nails on them. But the worst part was the face. The eyelids were scarred from where the corpses had clawed them open to remove some sort of stitching. And although the sockets were empty, you got the feeling that when one of them looked at you; it was as if they were staring straight through to your soul. But on the altar was the most incongruous sight. There was a woman of remarkable beauty. She was dressed in a flowing, white gown that seemed to shimmer with an unnatural ethereal light.

"Come Norman. Come join our little party. It's been so long since we've had any visitors." "Who are you?" I asked. "I'm the host of this little soiree" she said. It was then that one of the corpses began beating on a drum. Slowly at first, the beating was rhythmic and haunting in the chamber, it was then that the other corpses started joining in. I never got a good look at the drums but from the few furtive glances I got, I could swear that they were made from human skin stretched over bones. The woman began chanting with the rhythm. Her voice took on an unearthly tone, as if it were something from the depths of hell using her to give voice to their demonic incantations. I can't remember anything that she was saying and even if I could, I would never dare to write or say out loud those horrible utterances that assaulted my ears. Then she spoke to me again. "Come to me. Come to Asha'nia, your lord. You are to be the final sacrifice that will enable me to reign on earth again."

I couldn't believe my ears. I was utterly horrified. I was going to be a sacrifice so that some ungodly demon could wreak havoc on earth. Then I felt the hands. Some of the corpses had come up behind me and grabbed me. Their hands were cold and the skin felt wholly unnatural. It was like rotten bananas but there was strength in them. I resisted, trying to turn this way and that, but they held me firm and moved me closer to the altar where Asha'nia was waiting with a dagger that looked like it would cut through stone. As I was being herded to the altar Asha'nia was still chanting but she had changed. She no longer looked beautiful, but now took on a rather demonic look. She had two massive horns, each about a foot long, coming from her temples and curving forward, making her look incredibly menacing. Her clothing had turned black and now clung closely to her rippling body. Her teeth were long and jagged and looked very much like the dagger that she wielded.

I don't know how I was able to but I jerked my arm free of one of the ghouls that held me. I don't know what it was that gave me the strength to fight free but it was so powerful that in the freeing of my arm I pulled the arm of one of the corpses from its socket. Putting all disgust aside I grabbed the still attached arm and, using it as a weapon, was able to fight off my captors. One by one I struck them with the disembodied arm. As I was engaged in this unorthodox combat, Asha'nia had started chanting again. This time there was an unmistakable malice in the words. I stopped fighting for a second. The once empty eye sockets of the animated remains were now glowing with a fire from hell. I started running towards the stone door. The corpses would reach out to stop me but would only tear my clothes as I charged towards my goal. Right as I was about to reach the door I felt the blast. It was like a giant hand had hit me from behind, slamming me against the stone door. There was a rush of air, both immensely cold and hot at the same time, flowing around me. I struggled against the force and turned around to see what devilry was now at work against me. Asha'nia was holding her hands out in front of her and a blue light was emanating from them. This light was holding me against the door as her minions came to get me. They came in that slow gimp walk that suggested years of disuse of parts that were supposed to be fixed. My mind raced. My heart seemed as if it would explode. I had to escape. Having dropped my makeshift weapon on my sprint to the door, I had to find another option. I looked to my left and saw an open casket, some scattered bones, and a lot of cobwebs. There was nothing there that would help me now. To my right I saw a torch mounted to the wall. Desperately I groped for it, stretching my body to its limit; slowly my fingers grasped the base of the torch. I ripped it from the wall and flung it at the demonic necromancer who held me against that cold stone door.

The torch didn't do any physical harm to Asha'nia but it did distract her from her spell long enough to allow me to escape from that chamber of evil. I slammed the stone door shut behind me and propped one of the stone tablets against it. Even through the thick stone I could hear the minions on the other side banging on the door. I didn't think the tablet would hold long so I groped my way through the antechamber until I reached the stairs. The stairs. I could see the light at the top of them. Frantically I climbed the stairs; slipping and cutting myself many times. Finally I made it to the top and I raced out into the light. I hadn't gotten three steps from the door when I tripped on something. I looked down to see what it was that had impeded my escape and saw that there was a box of dynamite there. "Yes. Dynamite" I thought. The workers were going to blast a cellar for me. I grabbed one of the sticks of dynamite and shoved a fuse into it. Fumbling around in my pockets I found a lighter. As I lit the fuse I heard the sound of the tablet breaking echo up from the depths of that abominable chamber. I flung the dynamite down the stairs and yelled in the mosy commanding tone that I could muster "Go back to Hell!" The blast shook the ground and knocked me off of my feet. A gust of wind and dust came up from the stairs. I peered down the shaft and made sure that it was sealed by the cave in. I was safe.

The next day I had the workers seal the door to the stairs and cover the entrance with concrete. Then I had them build a high fence around the entire property. When my wife and kids arrived I sent them back home. There was no way I was going to let my family, or anyone else for that matter, anywhere near this place.

J. R. Guinness Posted at 10:03 AM

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