Chapter 4: Church of the Unholy

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“In there!” Amanda shouted to the others. The four had followed the cries for help through a slightly wooded area behind the school. They entered a clearing and an old cathedral laid in front of them. Blindly, they all ran inside thinking that Duncan and Balder may be inside. James was the last to run inside, and the big wooden doors shut loudly behind him. He turned around and tried to open them, but to no avail.

“Wonderful.” He said sarcastically and joined the others who were busy taking in the cathedral’s interior. The building was massive. Large chandeliers hung above with burning candles and rows upon rows of pews surrounded them. At the front was a large alter and high above behind it was a large stain-glass window depicting Christ on the cross. Torches that were hung on the walls all around lit the entire place. For a moment, everyone had forgotten about the cries that led them here. They all broke away for a few minutes to look around but eventually gravitated to the alter.

“Man, this place sure is something.” Mara gasped while looking up.

“I’ll say. But what is it doing all the way out here? It’s so far away from everything else. I wonder how many people know it’s even here.” James had a feeling that something wasn’t right about this place, he just didn’t know what.

“Guys, I don’t see Balder or Duncan anywhere.” Amanda’s voice was still a bit shaky. “If they’re not here, then…”

“Nah, they’re here somewhere. Their voices definitely came here.” Mara turned to Amanda.

“Then why haven’t they come out to see us?”

“Maybe there’s another room or lower level or, something.” She gave a reassuring smile. “We’ll find them.”

“I thought I saw a door over there.” Vladimir pointed to his right at an old wooden door. Without saying another word, everyone quickly walked over to it. Cautiously, Vladimir opened the door and revealed a staircase that lead somewhere below the cathedral. A faint clicking noise was heard coming from it’s depths. “What is that?” Vladimir leaned in to get a better listen.

“Only one way to find out Vlad.” Mara stepped in front of him and stepped down two steps. “Let’s go.” Mara began her descent with Amanda and Vladimir following close behind. At first, James was reluctant but he eventually caught up with the others. The dark, narrow staircase seemed to go on forever. It would’ve been pitch black if not for the occasional wall torch. The air became dank and heavy the farther down they got. After what seemed like an eternity, the four finally made it to the bottom, entering a sprawling library. The ceiling was so high up you could hardly see where it ended. The walls were lined with massive bookshelves, all filled with books and old tomes. Free standing bookshelves full of even more books also littered the room. The way they came together was almost as if it were a maze.

Vladimir whistled in amazement, “Wow.”

“That’s putting it mildly.” Mara said while taking in her surroundings.

“It’s like it could go on forever. It almost doesn’t seem like it could be real.” Amanda gasped.

“Duncan?” Mara’s voice echoed around the room, but nobody answered back. Though the faint clicking noise heard earlier came from somewhere nearby.

“There’s that noise again.” Vladimir said, still curious as to what it could be.

“It’s probably just the shelves settling. What’s important is that we find Duncan and Balder. If they’re not answering us, something might have happened.” James’s voice sounded cold, but deep down he was just as concerned as everyone else. Vladimir didn’t accept his theory about the clicking noise. He knew something was odd about it. Amanda on the other hand felt her heart drop when James suggested something may have happened to Balder and Duncan.

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