Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
Church bells rang through the cold December night as softly as a whisper. The final ring hung in the air as she held her breath. It sent a chill down her spine that no cold night could. She’d seen no church before, but there it was sitting, before her, door open as if someone expected her.
It had been a rough night to that point; losing her license and hitting an animal that ran away before she could catch a glimpse of it. The impact caused her car to swerve into a tree and luckily she was relatively unharmed, save a few cuts and bruises. But her car was totalled and she couldn’t use the heating system for warmth, so she decided to test her luck and try to walk back to a town she had passed a half hour before the crash. It would take hours to get back, and after passing the town, she had seen no sign of any sort of church or anything other than trees for that matter. But she was not going to pester herself with pointless dilemmas, she needed to get out of the cold and a small church with electricity was sure enough to warm her up.
It was through the trees with no sign of any sort of path that led to the road. Maybe that was why she didn’t see it? It was practically invisible from the road and the lights were likely to have been turned on only recently. She cut through the trees and through brushes and stickers, tripping on a few roots along the way. But her relief of shelter was quickly vanquished.
The smell of a dead animal filled her nose. It couldn’t have been the one that she hit with her car because not only was that miles back, this was the smell of something dead for much longer than that animal could be. Regardless, she pressed on, but the smell only worsened. Each step she took now was slower and more hesitant than the last.
Once she stepped through the door of the church she realized that this place was not what she thought it would be. Other than the smell of rotting flesh, the church was colder on the inside and there wasn’t even any electricity. The room was lit by only candles. The windows were boarded from the outside, blocking the moonlight from entering and upon closer inspection, so was the door. Well, once upon a time anyway. All that was left were a few nails and splintered wood along the doorframe.
This was only the foyer. Straight ahead was the entrance to what could be rightly assumed to be the congregation room. It was cracked open to reveal even more candles on the inside; it was glowing enough to hurt her eyes that had adjusted to the darkness not long ago. As she stepped, the floorboards creaked and whined making her believe that she was going fall straight through at any second. She placed her hand on the door gently and rapid whispers radiated from the other side. Immediately, she had the overwhelming sense of dread. She knew that walking into this place was a mistake. She did not belong here.
Still though, something pushed her on. Whether it was her own curiosity or something more sinister, she could not say. But even as she opened it, she regretted it instantly. Surprisingly, there was no one in the room, but the whispering continued. Not so surprising was the dead and decomposing deer laying on the altar. There were no flies eating at its dead flesh but even from the doorway she could see the bite-marks and claw-marks tattooed on its body. Its guts were removed savagely and blood stained the wooden floor below it.
That was only what she first noticed, however, directly behind the dead deer was a human body, long dead and missing it’s left leg but well preserved. It was standing upright in a coffin that leaned against the back window of the church. Engravings flooded the walls and even the ceiling, each marking a similar size. When she got close enough to read the markings they only said one word, a name.
Carol. Her name.
Repeated thousands upon thousands of times. Her thoughts were racing faster and faster until she heard her name spoken once and sharply. She turned to the human body leaning in the coffin. It was long dead, but there was no doubt that that is where the voice came from.
Common sense would tell her to run. Run as fast as she could until her feet bled and she could no longer hear the soft church bells ring softly in the night. But that was far removed from her now, whether or not it was curiosity it was still sinister. She approached slowly and the whispering continued and became clearer. It sounded like a conversation between a man and a woman.
Once she had come face to face with the body she heard the woman’s voice hush the man followed by a couple seconds of silence. Then as loudly as she heard the first voice and without the body’s mouth moving an inch, the man said.
“Finally, she’s here.”
The candles went out first followed by the air getting even colder and the silence became deafening. It was pitch black. Only the moonlight from the outside illuminated through the doorway.
Carol began to make her way out of the hellish church, making sure to not trip over any benches or the deer corpse. She couldn’t move fast enough, though. No matter how quickly she was able to run, it wasn’t fast enough.
Once she reached the inner doorway a small, squat figure appeared in the outside one. It was very low to the ground and very inhuman, but at the same time obviously human. It was a woman in a squatting position, that was all she could make of her appearance before she dove to the left into the corner of the church. There was an extra bench pushed to the wall opposite the altar that she hid behind as she hoped that the woman had neither seen nor heard her. But it was hopeful feeling, or was it?
Light from the first room erupted as the candles were no doubt lit again. Wet skin slapped the wood beneath it as the woman walked, or crawled. Once it came through the second door way she saw a feature that she had not seen before, a third leg. But it was still too dark to discern anything else. Until she lit the next set of candles.
Carol almost gasped and gave her hiding spot away. There was no way, in her mind, that this thing was human at all. It was completely naked with it’s skin pale grey and loose at the hips and thighs. It’s face was stretched as it seemed to have a slight and pronounced snout and it’s eyes were blacker than the blackest of nights and piercing. It had long black hair that dragged behind it like a dress when it crawled. But the third leg wasn’t even it’s leg. It was black from rot, the same color as the body in the coffin, and broken with the bone protruding from the side. The leg had tire markings, no doubt from Carol. Even though the leg wasn’t apart of the creature, it still favored it’s side like it could feel the broken bone.
Carol wondered if the thing could see her, a wonder that was short lived as it turned to look at her with it’s feral eyes.
“Nice of you to accept our invitation,” it croaked and showed a row of jagged, razor sharp teeth. “Please, stay for dinner.”
CREDIT : infuriatedsloth