This church (which somehow looked more like a manor) had a handful of guestrooms, so for the meantime we decided to occupy some of them and share two for each. From how we shared our dorms, it would be Utterson and Normand, Sawney and Lucius, Patrizia and Gabriel, and Sevrin and Neilan. Pierre, Silvia, Penny and I didn’t have our roommates, so we had our own rooms despite being able to pair with each other.
Utterson asked to stay with me while Normand was out (as usual), so I asked him if he saw Sawney. It turned out that Utterson had also talked with him a while ago with a similar outcome. That said, I went to ask Sevrin and Neilan, two of their closest friends, for help. They had no idea where they had gone to, but they volunteered to search for them as well.
The search proceeded with little results. We gathered more people, with Normand as the only person dead drunk. At some point we split into two groups. My group (Penny, Neilan, Gabriel, and Silvia) went after the chapel and the towers, while the the rest revised the guestrooms on the upper floor. Using the flashlights of our phones was easy. The hard part was dealing with dust and stuffy air.
Other than that Necronomicon circle, the chapel was no different than a typical church room; an altar, a baptismal font, chairs, and stained glass windows. The only things it lacked were a pulpit (probably reduced to ashes) and Christian worship.
The towers seemed much more withered. As soon as we stepped foot inside the left tower, we could feel the coolness sprinkling from the spiralling stairs and the faraway ceiling. A droplet landed straight onto my head, leaving me to wonder how the other side was doing. ‘I’m sure they’ll be alright,’ said Neilan. ‘I think they’ll be in more danger if they somehow find them...’
I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I got the impression that he was masking his pessimism. He was no different from me. Even I thought at some point that it might not as simple as suicide or a murder mystery, but rather a cruel prank from Sawney and Lucius. I then imagined myself slapping them with the holy Bible.
Penny wondered out loud where the other group might have gone to. I answered somewhere outside our agreement, as they always overcomplicate things. ‘Really, Marf. I know you’re praying for them,’ she said.
I noticed she was looking at my rosary, so I tucked it under my jumper and asked what it had to do with anything. She shrugged and simply encouraged me to keep it up.
Nothing seemed to be out of place except a mossy rope hanging from the top. We thought it was a bell until Penny went ahead and pulled it without a second thought. A heavy thud followed. We turned our heads in different directions as the echo went from nowhere to everywhere.
All of a sudden, Gabriel pointed at our right and rushed back to the chapel without a word. Our feet were planted on the floor until Silvia followed first. Wasting no more time, the rest of us did the same.
We could smell something. Gabriel went to examine it on the stairs, while Silvia stopped in place. Turning toward us, Silvia opened her mouth, about to mutter something. Penny cut her off with a scream.
It was a rubbish bag; and inside were Sawney and Lucius. What had become of them dropped onto the chapel’s stairs and rolled down onto the bottom floor. Gabriel grit her teeth, about to set foot to get the rest; but we found them rushing into the scene in time. So instead, she spread one arm to prevent them from advancing.
Sevrin’s knees dropped.
Half of Sawney’s face was demolished. Remnants of his brain crawled away, blood trailing alongside, leaving a hideous aspect on the other side of his face. Lucius didn’t have that same fear, but his eyeballs were gouged out like a hole dug-up by a stray dog. On his left hand was his amber eyeball. Only one of them; the other was absent.
One thing in common was their deformed shapes, as their limbs were bent in awkward angles. And the smell…It didn’t show much at first, but staring at them for long enough, we could sense a revolting stench. How long ago had they died? And assuming the storm not to stop any time soon, how many more would have to die?
Silvia’s tears were still running down her face. The only thing she could do was resist any urge to sob. But when Penny turned her away from the view and accepted her seek of comfort, she let everything out. When we were too shocked to even respond, she was the one representing our feelings.
After some time, Gabriel walked up and asked if she could examine them a little. Penny shook her head. ‘This is a crime, isn’t it? Call the police and wait for them to investigate. We can’t trample with the corpses no matter what.’
‘First, we don’t know when the storm’s going to stop, so we don’t know when the police will come, or if they’ll even do their job.’ said Gabriel. ‘And second, we don’t need them to know one of us is the killer.’
'We’re human, Gabriel! A human wouldn’t even do this! It’s a work of the devil!'
Meanwhile, Utterson was looking at her with disdain. Penny stared back and asked if he had a problem. He ignored her before he spoke up. ‘That’s right! Witches? Rituals? Cults? It’s nothing but a children’s game! Sawney and Lucius must be paid actors, right? It’s all a murder mystery, right…?’
When no one reacted, Utterson sighed. ‘Fine…Let us leave. We can’t stay here any longer. Looking at them would only deter our mental health.’
Sevrin later told me that Pierre had developed a serious fever, and he had gone unconscious. I checked the patient’s temperature and told Sevrin to drag him back to his room. Silvia was to keep watch of him and question whatever she could think of. He was also not to leave.
Utterson volunteered to explain everything to Normand, but 'If he’s not there, he’s in big trouble.' Penny whipped her phone up and took a picture of the corpses. 'I know I’m not supposed to, but…yeah. Just in case.'
Gabriel told Patrizia they couldn’t stay any longer. They were the first ones to leave. From there, we left one by one. The only ones who stayed were Penny and me.
Even though Penny had told Gabriel not to trample with the corpses, I pointed out that she had already done so. Penny bit her lip. ‘She’s basically asking for a prison sentence. Doesn’t she know any better?’
But I suggested her to look another way. If Gabriel was hiding something from us, then she would’ve done so before she set that contraption up. Even if she’s helping the killer, the other end would’ve stolen whatever they had beforehand. For the fingerprints, she probably didn’t think things through; but I agreed with her that it’s too early to wait.
Penny told me she had something important to ask. Before she did, though, she hesitated to bring it up. It was only when I gave her a green light when she was sure she wouldn’t offend me in any way.
She asked me if the Necronomicon could really bring the dead back to life. I was dumbstruck. She explained to me that if I could do that, Sawney and Lucius might be able to tell who the killer was. ‘It’s gonna be much easier if it can…you know…Ah, forget it. You’ll probably have to touch the corpses, anyway.’
The first thing that came to mind was Papa’s death. With what he’d taught me, the last thing I wanted was to disappoint him. Nevertheless I shook the sentiments off and told Penny that there were plenty of times necromancy had become successful. Penny's eyes sparkled.
She then asked, with desperate delight, if I could bring them back. Certainly, I could; but should I? They say necromancy was an abomination, but the consequences weren’t clear. I didn’t even know whether it had consequences, or if they really relate to necromancy itself. But if I decided to raise the dead, I would bear a horrible sin and feel unbearable guilt, knowing that I’d broken Papa’s promise.
So I crossed my arms, sighed, and gave her a false promise. ‘I’ll think about it.’