A short piece written as a Halloween writing exercise.
It was dark, cold and dank. Water pooled on every step, rough crags on either side. Within each alcove, a shadow, some still, others stirred, rattling their chains. One struggled to speak, but only managed a weak hiss. Through it all his hand urged her onward, past piles of bones, and cavernous teeth.
Up ahead a faint glow filled the corridor, spilling out of a side chamber. Inside hung a dried husk; wreathed in thick snarls and parchment skin. From within it a glow began to blossom, filling her flesh, warming her eyes, and for a moment they could see the woman she had once been. Then it was gone. Her hollow skull stared at them.
“Why have you come?” Her voice surrounded them, the rasping breath of the dying. Anna stepped forward. This was her task, but the words would not come.
“We seek a cure for this girl’s affliction.”
The skull turned at Gerrard’s words, the light returning to fill her face, and for a moment Anna looked into her eyes, her cold, harsh eyes. “Let her speak,” it hissed, turning its hollow holes back at Anna, and she stared back. Part of her yearned to run, order Gerrard and the others to seal it away, burn every page that might lead to its discovery. But she could not. She needed it.
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