This is the tenth part in an ongoing serial I’m writing. To read from the beginning, click here. Or find the story index at the top of the page.
There was nothing for Damon to do but sit and wait and to see what happened. To see if the chance arose in which he could attempt an escape. It was clear from what the diminutive, sharp-toothed fellow had said he wouldn’t be coming out of this alive. And, to make matters worse, no-one knew where he was.
Looking about him, he could tell he was in one of the rooms beneath the fake mausoleum. And, to confirm his suspicions, as if after all he had heard and witnessed wasn’t proof enough, there was a newness to his prison that you just simply didn’t find with ancient tombs. There was no dust on the floor. No cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. The smell of damp and decay was missing too. The stone floor wasn’t cold from the earth beneath it, and the one wall Damon could touch, the one he was now leaning against, did not run with damp.
The sunbeams strengthened as the day wore on. Then they faded as noon turned to afternoon, and then afternoon to evening. When the sunlight had been exchanged for the softer silver of moon and stars, noise from the other side of the door grabbed his attention. He stood up.
It was Crispin. ‘Come along, dear brother. Your presence is required. And don’t try anything silly. I don’t think you would enjoy another bash over the head, given you’re having a bit of trouble with healing, so I hear.’
‘You really are detestable,’ Damon said with contempt.
‘Spare me the lecture.’
‘As if I would bother wasting my last breath on you.’
Damon was in fact pleased to be leaving his small cell. The only way he had any hope of getting out of this was to play along until things turned in his favour. And he held on to that thought like it was a life preserver, because if he let it go, there would be no question of the outcome. He would be as dead as a dodo.
Surprisingly, Crispin led Damon up a set of stone steps, which led into the ground level room of the imitation sepulchre. The room was in darkness except for the dozens of candles which were lit around the room. Yet they seemed negligible against the blackness. Shadows rose up around the room. The corners were pitch. If was there was anything hiding in them, Damon would not have known.
In the centre of the room was a stone altar. On the flat top sat a closed book; beneath on a second marble bed and surrounded on three sides by carved pillars, was the prostrate figure of the small, ancient creature who appeared to be master of these proceedings. Around this altar, at a distance of perhaps a metre and a half, was a circle of candles.
‘Master, it is time to wake,’ Crispin said. His voice was quiet but it echoed around the chamber.
Slowly the figure rose and announced, ‘It is time. Bring our…guest.’
Damon was led to the altar, but not before he had to carefully step over the barrier of burning candles. On the other side of the stone platform waited the little man who reverently laid his hand upon the book.
Now that Damon was closer he could see that the book was no ordinary book, for there was no cover to it as such. You could not simply lift the cover and turn the pages, the latter being also concealed somehow. And, the tome appeared to be covered in a thick, dense, dark fur.
‘I have waited a very long time to see what secrets lie within,’ the man Crispin had called Master said. ‘And now, my wait is over.’
‘If you don’t know what’s in it, how do you know you want to open it?’ Damon asked, looking aghast at the horrid item.
‘Be quiet or I shall silence you, demon. Now, to unlock the grimoire we need one drop of our sacrifice’s blood.’
Damon felt all eyes turn to him, and knew something very bad was about to happen.
To be continued…
Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 10 – A Grim Grimoire