Voices of the Dead

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There were voices. Slurred murmurs, echoing from someplace ancient. They sounded in pain. Disoriented. Lost. Undeniably sinister.

Samantha Akiena Olakk stood unmoving in the darkness. The chambers of the dead were normally said to be silent. Tonight was different.

What troubled Samantha, was not that there were voices coming from any of the tombs or graves, but that they were coming from inside her head. There was a presence in her thoughts. Something slow moving. Filthy, and malevolent. Her heart felt haunted. Her soul unclean. The words were impossible to make out, as if they were meant to be felt and not completely heard. It was as if they were lurking somewhere in-between her many thoughts, running dirty fingers along the walls of her sanity, and scraping at the edges of what she believed to be reality.

The witch had told her that the dead would speak to her tonight. That was why she was here. It was why she had gone through the dark ceremony. Why she was now dressed in a ceremonial robe, and her face and arms painted in symbols made from the black ashes of strange smelling roots. She just didn't realize that the voices would be inside of her mind. That they would be a part of her. Possibly even making a home inside of her.

The sword she brought with her felt almost useless. She felt naive for insisting to keep it with her. Naive but unapologetic. She had come so far and lost so much, yet she still felt an unexplainable need to have sheathed and strapped to her back. The weapon was unusually large for such a small woman, but it was the only thing left that she had from what she called her "other life".

When she was younger she had found the weapon in a field, wrapped in rags, and set atop of what looked like an unmarked grave. That day she had wandered further outside of the village than she was supposed to go. She had never done this before. The elders would have punished her if they had survived what came after. She remembered that afternoon so clearly. The pale blue sky flecked with wisps of clouds, and seeming to go on forever. Her heart full and free. The smell of early spring. Her bare feet against the grass. The horror of when she saw the dark smoke rising from the direction she had come.

It was a turning point in her life really. Everything was different after that.

She felt her thoughts drift back into focus.

The large doors behind her were open wide. If she were to run, this would be her only chance. She stared outside for a moment. The large, muddy colored moon almost seemed to be calling to her. Begging her to reconsider. To leave the dead alone. To forget, and to move on.

But this is where she was meant to be, and tonight she would not run.

She would face these inner monsters.

She turned back towards the darkness, struck a match, and lit a lantern. Long shadows arched out from the light, as if trying to hide. She turned and closed the large doors behind her, the deep thud filling her heart with a strange sensation.

There were no bodies in the room she was in now, but it felt as if there were unseen things scuttling around her, crowding in to see why she was here. Besides the murmuring voices in her head, all else was completely silent. This place had been long abandoned. Surrounding her were peeling walls with faded paintings which had been made by the grave keepers so many years ago. The entrance hall was quite large, with stone pillars reaching up to a high ceiling. There was also what looked like broken furniture sprawled out chaotically across the tile floor.

She proceeded forwards, ignoring many of the wooden doors along the sides of this entrance chamber. Those would lead to the living quarters for the grave keepers. What she sought after was further in.

She found a stairway ahead leading downwards. The steps were broad, and very dirty. As she began to descend, she felt as if she were climbing into the belly of a sleeping monster. Something that if awoken would devour her, and keep her forever from daylight.

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