Content Warning: Bones, gore.
The Lost Parisian Ossuary
‘Don’t you think it’s weird that all records of this place were destroyed, though?’ The questioned echoed in the tunnel’s narrow walls and arched ceiling. Taylor’s torch roved over gaping side tunnels, barely chasing back the black as he hurried along. His broad silhouette cut a manly, roguish figure in the torchlight, and I finally saw in him the Indiana Jones he always saw in himself.
‘Of course, someone wanted to hide it; it’s rumoured to hold a stash of gems. What fool would leave directions to their hidden treasure in the public record? Le Chat Noir was wise to scrub it from the plans after the renovations.’ I kicked a pebble and it clattered down the corridor at Taylor’s feet. I let out a little involuntary squeak at the sound. Taylor sighed.
‘Pull yourself together,’ he demanded. ‘There’s nothing down here but rats and bones. And cave dwelling crabs, apparently.’
‘I don’t think those gems exist,’ I confessed, as we hesitated at another cross roads. Taylor stopped to play his light over a yellowing map in his hand. The humid air was thick, faintly mouldy. ‘If this jewel thief existed, why didn’t he go back for his stash?’
‘Here,’ Taylor pointed, and plunged off to the right. ‘I told you; he dropped dead in the street. It was only the gendarme’s search of his apartment that revealed that he was La Chat Noir. It was only my little stroke of luck – and a dose of genius –‘ he said this bit under his breath, barely audible over the march of our feet, ‘that led to my discovery.’
‘I think someone destroyed those records to stop people finding this place,’ I said, bumping into Taylor. Our tunnel had stopped as abruptly as Taylor, opening into a circular room.
The walls were lined with bones, a regular repeating pattern of tibias alternating with skulls. Their empty eye sockets stared at us in surprise, as Taylor washed the room in the torch’s sterile light.
‘I can’t believe I found it,’ he whispered.
He stepped into the room and a chill wind blew out of it. I could have sworn I heard someone whisper something in French, but I couldn’t make it out.
‘Come out of there,’ I told him quietly, but he just glanced back, rolled his eyes and took another step.
There was a cracking noise, and Taylor jerked, frozen on the spot. The wind blew again. I definitely heard a whisper this time, but not loud enough to discern. He staggered forward one last step, and there was the crack once more, and the spectral voice. I finally understood it.
Taylor jerked in agony. His torch clattered to the floor. He held up his hands in wretched horror, the bones exposed as the flesh peeled itself away. His eyes grew wide, his face of agony growing into a rictus as the flesh shrank and sloughed away, a soundless scream trapped between his skeletal jaws.
Word Count: 498
Shocktober Day Two down! I think this one’s better. I did some brain storming and research and got some good non-fiction details, with some fascinating history. The Paris Catacombs are a real place! There’s probably not any curses or hidden treasure or anything down there, tho’. Probably….