Part 27 - Upstairs

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SKYLAB STALKED TO the back, wondering which way to go. Pru asked for more water and rags, Far ran to find some cloth in a storeroom. The man fetched some water from the kitchen.

Skylab was asking herself, "What is all the fuss was about going upstairs?"

She noticed there was no decoration, no pictures and no cross on the wall. The stairs continued up one more floor, but Skylab looked in at the first door she got to. The door was unlocked.

Pushing back the wooden door, Skylab looked inside. In front of her were three single beds, all unmade, blankets and sheets balled up. Next to the furthest bed was a room divider, beyond it was the fourth bed, also messy. There were coat hangers with black robes hooked on an unstable framework. Nothing else in view, no decoration, no photos, no personal items. Skylab turned and left the room. Returning to the hallway, she climbed the final flight of stairs.

The walls were all painted matt black. Very little light illuminated the passageway. Skylab tried the first door, it was secured fast; she moved to the second door. This was a bathroom, four toothbrushes, old and curly bristles, empty and upturned bottles on the shelf below the window. There was no first-aid container in the scruffy bathroom. After checking under the washbasin, there was nothing but dust. Quickly exiting the filth, she moved to the last room.

The door was unlocked, Skylab suddenly felt a chill, she became nervous; her trembling hand pushed the door open. She gasped. The dull glow of candles almost burnt to nothing cast enough light to see the red, black and gold offerings on display. A shrine to the devil surrounded with broken cups holding some unlit black candles. Skylab took care to walk near the display as she noticed the rusting nails littering the floor, it was only then after a second glance that she noticed the nails had been arranged carefully, the design spelt 'Borborites', she bends for a closer look, the nails were covered in pink-coloured goo. The smell was of rotting sanitary towels. Skylab gagged and stepped back.

Looking around she saw plastered on the wall a giant pentagram, five points, the top two were the goat's horns, at the bottom point was the animal's chin, either side were his ears. The eyes appeared to watch Skylab's movements. Between each point was a design, Skylab didn't realise they were Hebrew letters. She did not understand what it meant. Looking closer at the items scattered around the goat, she was sure it was an altar to the devil.

Four leather-bound books caught Skylab's attention.

"What language is that?" She asked herself.

She thought it was upside down as she held one volume open. Triangles and strange symbols decorated most left-hand pages with unfamiliar text on the right-side page. It chilled Skylab. She felt herself shiver as she hurried downstairs.

"Must be damp from the rain," she muttered to herself, but not believing it.

She reentered the church. The older man and Far stared at her in awe without speaking. Making Skylab feel uncomfortable and unweary. Pru was bent over her patient, whose clothing had been loosened or removed. The woman's head was now rolling from side to side. She was mumbling.

"At least she is moving now," said Skylab.

Pru looked up at Skylab, hoping for some medical supplies. A shake of her friend's head confirmed the negative reply.

"My God Skylab, you look like you've seen a ghost."

"No, I haven't seen a ghost. But not what I expected and no bandages." Skylab looked at Far, "Do you know what is up there?"

"No, none of us are allowed upstairs."

"Who goes up there then?" asked Skylab.

"Her for one," the man pointed at the stricken woman.

Far added, "Only four or five people we've seen go up. But they stress no one else can ever go up."

Changing the subject, "How is she?" asked Skylab.

"I think her rib has punctured her lung, you see the bubbles," Pru pointed just below the woman's bra.

"The other injuries are just bumps and grazes. She must have fallen hard somehow," said Pru.

"She needs hospital care then?" Skylab asked.

"She could die otherwise," Pru stated.

"Any ideas you two?" Skylab asked. "How far is the hospital, can we carry her?"

"It's far enough, I'll get my brother to take her in his boss's car."

"Nooooo."

Wailed the injured woman.

"Upstairs," she grunted and pointed.

Far and the man looked at each other before nodding. It took the four of them using all their strength to get her up the flights. The woman then pointed to the last door. It terrified Far and the man.

The injured woman urged them on, "You'll be one of us soon."

She passed out.

I promise I won't pass out if I get a vote!

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