[WP] You know your town is old, you just didn't know how old until a hurricane rips through it. An ancient tree is ripped from your backyard, revealing a door in the ground where it once was. [Part 2]
"The Well of Souls?" Michael repeated dumbly, keeping his eyes firmly locked on the door.
"You don't want to know," Juliet answered.
The door shook, its hinges creaking.
Christopher began wheezing. He could feel his chest tightening as the asthma attack began. He slid down onto his butt and gasped for air.
"Christopher!" Juliet said, kneeling next to him. "Are you okay? Have you got your inhaler?"
Christopher tried to speak but his voice caught in his throat. Instead, he shook his head. The dust and mud fell like ashes onto them, as the pounding continued.
"We need to get out of here," Juliet said, looking up at Michael. She lowered her voice to a whisper and leaned over to Michael. "The dirt is killing him."
"Agreed! Let's get out of here," Michael replied, already clawing at the sides of the pit. He grabbed hold of a handful of roots and pulled himself a few inches off the ground, before the roots snapped and gravity placed him hard beside Christopher.
"Shit!" Juliet said. "Shit!"
She squeezed her eyes closed.
Juliet took a deep breath before opening them again. Then, she strode forward, grabbing hold of the iron handle on the wooden door.
"What are you-" yelled Michael, as the girl twisted the handle and yanked the door back.
A skeleton clattered to the ground as it fell through the open door, landing at Michael's feet. Michael screamed and pushed himself back against the dirt wall behind him. Christopher tried to scream too, but only managed to a thin wheeze.
Juliet, her face pale, watched the unmoving body of bones for sometime, before she dared take her eyes away from it.
"It's... just a skeleton," she said. "A man's."
"Jules," Michael said as he got back to his feet. "That thing... it was knocking on the door." He pointed accusingly to it.
"It can't have been. We must have imagi-"
"It was, Jules. You know it!" He walked towards it, swung his leg back and kicked the ribs of the skeleton. A bone came loose and was flung against the pit's wall.
"It looks dead to me," Juliet said. "Look, we need to get Christopher out of this dust -- now! Help me bring him inside."
Michael clenched his fists and was about to protest, when it suddenly dawned on him that there was no other option.
They each draped one of Christopher's arms over their shoulders, and together, they lifted him over the skeleton and into the chamber beyond. Michael shone Christopher's phone around the area with his spare arm. They were at the top of a grand stairwell. The ground under them was a huge single slab of rock. The stairs leading down were marble with rich black veins running criss-cross through them.
"Put him down," Juliet commanded.
They placed him, sitting up, against a silver wall. Juliet then walked back outside, dragging the skeleton by its arm out of the doorway. When she came back in, she closed the door. Then she leant down and took hold of Christopher's hand.
"Listen to me, Chris. I need you to take a deep, slow breath. That's it. Now hold 3...2...1, exhale. That's good. That's really good." She patted his hand.
"What is this place?" Michael wondered out loud.
"And again," said Juliet, ignoring Michael. "Okay, great. Keep going. It's going to be okay."
"It's like... a temple or something," Michael continued, shining the beam down the stairs. "Do you hear that, Jules? you can hear the wind down there. Listen -- you can hear it howling! There must be another way out." He turned to Juliet, aiming the light at her face and sending a gargantuan shadow onto the wall above Christopher. She seemed very pale, Michael thought.
"Stop it," she said, raising a hand over her eyes.
Michael tilted the phone down. "You've heard of this place, right?"
Juliet glanced at Christopher. He was concentrating on his breathing. She looked back at Michael and nodded.
"So?" Michael asked. "What do you know?"
"It's a religious thing."
"Oh. Sunday school made-up crap?"
"Yeah, exactly. Only, it's starting to seem less made up."
"What is this place, then?"
She looked at Christopher again, her face lined with concern. "Maybe we should talk about it at the bottom of the stairs."
Christopher raised a thumb in reply. "I'm okay," he croaked. "Don't worry about me. Besides, I want to know."
Juliet sighed. "Have either of you ever heard the story of Abraham?"
The two boys shook their heads.
"Figures. They didn't even tell it to me, in Sunday School. It's one of those stories the older kids like to tell the younger. Okay, so there's this guy called Abraham, who was a very religious man. A descendent of Noah, I think. You've heard of Noah's ark, right? Right. So God wants to know just how religious Abraham is -- he wants to test his faith."
"How?" Christopher asked.
"Abraham has two sons. God says he wants Abraham to sacrifice one of his sons -- Isaac -- in God's name."
"You can't be serious," said Michael.
"This is old school God. He spends most of his time disturbing the innocent and slaying those he deems... not so innocent. So yeah, I'm serious."
"Does Abraham do it?" Christopher asked.
"I'll tell you if you both shut up for a minute. So, he ties Isaac up to a big slab of rock and gets his knife. He's just about to kill him, when God pops up and goes, 'just kidding, only wanted to see if you would'."
"Yeah," said Juliet, nodding knowingly.
"But that doesn't explain the Well of Souls," said Christopher.
"That slab of rock, where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, was a marker. Beneath it, was the Well of Souls."
The two boys gulped as they looked down at the ground beneath them.
"And what- what's in the Well?" Michael asked reluctantly.
Juliet looked at her shoes for a moment, deciding whether to respond. Then she looked up.
"The spirits of the dead. They wait there for Judgement Day. It's said that from the rock, if you listen carefully, you can hear them wailing."
Yes, but it will either be after a bit of a break or tomorrow.
Is there gonna be a part 3
!remind me 1day part three well of souls
Part 3 !remindme