The Empty ChurchHere comes a chopper to chop off your head… Abraham Wylie
As Abe’s blood dripped onto the corner of the book, a warmth spread right through the cover and binding, hot to the touch, but not hot enough to burn. It was the first spark of warmth Abe would have felt since entering the church. The journal would have felt as if a weight had been taken off it, and should he try to open in now, he would have found it opened very easily.
Should he have read inside, he would have found pages of writing, dating back to over sixty years ago. Much of it was just like any other journal, recounting the day-to-day events of one person. There was a name printed on the first page: Henry Bircham
. A young man writing about his life. There were a few select words that kept cropping up: one was a girl called Susanne, who appeared to be a good friend, and another was the word ‘Merchurdon’. There is something about this city which makes me keep coming back to it,
One passage read. It seems no matter where I travel in the world, I always end up coming back here, to this point, to Merchurdon. It feels as if this city is the closest I shall ever get to something…but what? It seems I do not even know what I am searching for. That is the most puzzling thing. It is as if I am searching for answers, but I don’t even know the question…and whatever it is I am looking for, the answers are here, in this city. Call it a hunch, or fate, or chance…but I feel like there is something important to me, in Merchurdon. Susanne says I am mad for all the times I mention Merchurdon to her. I can not say as I blame her.
There were a lot of accounts in the journal, and perhaps if Abe had had the time, he could have read them all. There seemed to be some interesting accounts of different events that had happened to Henry in Merchurdon…but no doubt the last entry in the book would have caught Abe’s interest the most. It was dated 58 years ago, but it was written differently to the rest. The handwriting jerked and shook, and the pressure exerted on the pages was a lot harder, making the lines thick and blotted in places. The entry was the shortest of them all, but it said would have no doubt sent a chill down Abe’s spine. I have visited the church again,
the entry read. The one that no one enters. Only…I have entered it. I am standing in the Sacristy, right now. Susanne is with me, helping me look through some of these papers. It appears this place has not been touched in a long time. I…I am writing this now only to stop myself from walking out. This church, it wants me out, I can feel it. But I can not shake the feeling…there is something more here…And there is this curtain…As I am writing this now I can see it, out of the corner of my eye. It is as if it has eyes…it stares…Susanne has gone to check it over and see what she can find.
My apologies. This place has such a hold on my fear…I am not quite sure where this ‘Susanne’ came from, in my journal.
Already there was something strange about the way the entry had been written. Not just the shaky hand-writing, but the content. Perhaps Abe would have noticed, but after that point, the Journal never mentioned Susanne again. Not even with her name crossed out.
And then, if Abe’s heart wasn’t already beating fast by this point, the next passage would have certainly set his heart racing. The writing was barely legible, even with a candle held up to it. It was scrawled across the page with the same urgency that the word ‘LEAVE’, had appeared on the front. PLEASE READ THIS
It began in big bold letters, about a third of a page down from the last passage. The urgency of the message was clear. If you are reading this, then like me, you have found your way into the empty church. And you have found this journal of mine. You ignored the warning I left on the cover of this book, and you have stayed, and opened my journal.
READ WHAT I WRITE NOW, PLEASE.
You have got to get out of here before it is too late. I stayed. I stayed, and now I have missed my chance. I get this feeling, like the church is alive, somehow. As maddened though it sounds, it has been trying to remove me as soon as I stepped within ten feet of it, and now I have out stayed my welcome. The ways are shut. Even if I finally do get out, I am leaving this journal here, just in case some other foolish soul like myself tries to explore this church.
I do not have much time. I so wish I could say that what I am writing is just the ramblings of a young delusional man, but everything I have told you is true, at least to the best of my knowledge.
I have seen so many things already, here in this church. Alas I wish I could write it all out and my discoveries...even my future discoveries. However I fear that the longer I spend writing, the longer you shall spend reading, and the deeper your situation will become. Here is my advice to you:
Check the exits.
Keep away from the stone.
Trust nothing and no one.
Take the key, but be careful what you open with it. The more you use it, the more it will cost you. That is why I'm leaving it here. I can not bear to use it anymore, but perhaps you can. You'll find it in the parish records, if no one has taken it.
For all our sakes, do NOT go near the curtain. Keep away from it. I cannot put my finger on it, but something terrible happens beyond it…like something is waiting behind it.
I am going to check the tower. I may not come back. Even this journal – my own journal, it frightens me, and yet I can not place why.
I write in hope that we can both escape these walls alive and in good health. And I hope that you are more fortunate than ---
The entry ended abruptly; the writing tailing off into a scrawl that couldn’t be made out, before the ink jutted across the page sharply and ended altogether. The rest of the pages after that, were completely blank. William Livingstone
As William opened the curtain, the first thing to happen was a cloud of dust lifted itself from the thick hangings. And then, the atmosphere in the room changed dramatically. If it was at all possible, the temperature plunged even lower, and yet instead of slowing the heart rate, it increased it. The whole church seemed take on a new, far more sinister air. Like a dream slowly descending into a nightmare.
Behind the curtain there was…
Absolutely nothing. Not that there was nothing remarkable, but that there actually was…nothing
. No light, no sound, nothing at all. Just…a gaping hole that lead to nowhere. The sight would have been enough to make a rational man reel back in horror and send his mind screaming. It was as if someone had drilled a hole in the world and left it open. However there was, something
there. From out of the blackness, dark shadows crawled outwards, twisting and writhing on the floor of the church.
And they were heading straight for William.