The Midnight Hour

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Chapter 7

I push the door open, it creaks as the rusted hinges shift. The musty smell of the room burns my nostrils. I shut the door behind us, bracing it closed with a board that had fallen off the pews. At the very least, that should buy us some time if one of those things tries to get in.

I turn and walk down the aisle between the two sections of pews. I make my way to the podium at the front, an old ripped up bible is still opened, laying atop the stand. Zac stands guard by the front door, Brandy is cowering in the corner near him.

A small door is to the left behind the podium. I slowly walk over to it, pushing it open gently, afraid what may lurk behind it. I peek my head around, glancing inside, watching for movement.

I push it open, taking a step inside. It’s dark, only the glow coming in from the door. I can just make out a small desk in the room, random papers spread throughout the top. I feel around, my hand runs through cob webs, making my body quiver.

I turn and search the wall, praying for a light switch.

“Ha.” I whisper to myself.

My hand touches a switch. “Please work, please work.” I beg the switch.

I flip it upward; a dim glow shoots out from the bulb on the ceiling. A glimmer of relief washes over me. I close my eyes for a moment, letting out a sigh of relief. I turn, the desk is rotted, the old papers scattered on the desk are wrinkled and torn.

A cross is standing I the right corner, blackened with age. Spider webs cover the ceiling and walls. I walk back to the desk; four drawers are attached to it. I open the top one, another bible lays inside, a thick clear box surrounds it for preservation.

I open the second one, a set of keys, similar to that of a dungeon lay inside. I pick them up and shove them in my pocket, they may be useful. The third drawer is empty, just more spider webs inside.

I grab the last drawer and slide it open.

“Oh shit.” I scream, as a large rat jumps out onto the floor, scurrying off into the darkness. I place my hand on my chest, damn thing nearly gave me a heart attack. I look back in the drawer, shredded papers lay bunched up inside. Must have been that vermin’s bed.

I look around the room, what do these keys go to? I walk back out into the main area, Zac and Brandy still where I left them. I walk to the other side of the podium; another small door is placed on that side. I walk over and push the door open. Looking in I can see a stairwell leading down. The basement, maybe?

I slowly walk down the steps, it’s pitch black. I place my hand on the cobblestone wall for stability. A dim light is glowing near the bottom, I make my way down deeper. The air gains a slight chill the lower I go.

I reach the bottom; the glow is coming from an old lantern hanging on a hook. I reach up and grab the handle, lifting the lantern off its resting place, how is this thing still lit? I hold the lantern up high, illuminating a large wooden door. The door is half rotted with metal circles for a handle.

A large lock is centered on the door with chains attached to it. I pull the keys from my pocket, one of these must work on it. I fumble the keys around in my hand, shoving one in the lock, no good. I try the next key, too small. Third times the charm, the lock unlatches, slamming down on the ground with a loud thud. The chains swing away, collapsing along the ground.

I take a deep breath as I push the large door open. It’s black, so dark it’s like walking into a black hole. I hold the lantern up in front of me. The smell of rotting wood, moisture, and a faint smell like that of roadkill floats in the air making me gag.

You can hear the sound of flies buzzing around. I walk forward, shining the lantern high. It looks like a prison, cages and bars are everywhere. Meat hooks hang down from the ceiling, swaying back and forth. The buzzing of the flies gets louder as I go.

I walk over to a cage on my left, bloody clothes are strung out inside. I move on to the next, cracked bones and a skull lay on the ground. What is this place? I turn around and walk to the other side of the room, more cages. I walk up to one shining the light inside. A body is laying against the wall, its skin looks like is been sucked dry, mummified.

The hairs on my neck stand up as a shiver runs through me. I turn and head towards the sound of the buzzing flies. This room is huge, going on forever. The flies are swarming everywhere, smacking into me as I walk. I shine the light in front of me, the sight makes my heart drop. I feel a tight pressure in my throat. Bile rushes up my esophagus, shooting vomit across the floor. I rub my eyes, not believing what I’ve seen. I look back up, praying it was just my imagination. But it’s real, there swinging on a meat hooked, covered in flies and maggots, is Brittany.

Her clothes have been ripped off of her, her naked body swings on the hook. The metal tip protruding through her neck. Her skin has been shaved off, lying in chunks on the ground. Her body has been severed from her chest down, still dripping blood.

I can feel vomit rising up in me again. I stumble backwards tripping to the ground. I drop the lantern, snuffing out the light. The sound echoes off the walls.

“Jack!” I hear Zac screaming.

My body still in shock, I’m frozen in place.

“Jack, help!” He screams again.

I snap back into reality, and sprint out of the room up the stairs. I burst out into the main area. Zac is holding the front door shut as something repeatedly smashes into it.

“Help me.” He shouts.

I run over and stand there staring at the door. We have to block it somehow, I look around.

“Brandy, come here. Help me move this.” I say.

She runs over to me, we grab onto one of the pews and drag it in front of the door.

“Another.” I shout.

We grab another pew, sliding it over to the door.

“Zac help me lift this one.” I say.

We pick up the pew, stacking it on top of the other. The door pounds into the pews, splintering as whatever wants in smashes into it.

“It’s not gonna hold.” Zac shouts.

The pounding stops, we stand there in shock staring at the door.

“Did it leave?” Brandy whimpers.

A blade stabs through the center of the door, flying deep into the room. The long-jagged steel slices through the door like butter. It sways back and forth, cutting the door asunder. The blade slides back out.

“Run!” I scream.

A foot bursts through the wooden door, shards splintering out in the air. We turn and run away from the door, but where do we go?

“Over here.” I shout.

I yank a piece of wood off one of the pews and send it through one of the stained-glass windows.

“We gotta jump out.” I insist.

I leap out through the window; a piece of broken glass slices my shoulder as I jump through, sending a searing pain down my arm. I land hard on my feet then turn around, motioning for Brandy to jump out to me.

She cautiously climbs onto the windowsill, then leaps out.

“Zac, hurry.” I shout up to him.

He begins climbing out the window. A large hand grabs onto him, yanking him back inside. I jump up and grab onto his leg, trying to yank him out with all my might. He lets out a shriek, struggling to break free.

I hear a chain rattling inside as Zac begs for mercy. I keep yanking on him, trying to pull him out, then finally he flies out the window towards me, stopping with a brutal halt suspended in air.

A chain is wrapped around his throat, hanging him from the window. His body writhes as it screams for air. The mutilated man from the road looming above, gripping the chain. Zac grabs at the chain on his throat, gasping for air. His face is bright red, shaking in agony.

The large man yanks the chain upward, a snap bursts from Zac’s throat as his neck severs. His body dangles lifeless, swinging on the chain. The man pulls his body in through the window. I am frozen, I can’t breathe, can’t believe what’s happening.

All I can hear is the faint sound of the dragging chain as it fades away.

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