We made our way through the twisting stone corridor, its dead grey walls enclosing us as we went deeper into the darkness. The only light came from the occasional old rusted wall sconce that held up a slumped candle, illuminating the path as the light darted and bounced off the damp stone walls. If something were to be following us, then there would be no option but to run forward into the looming darkness ahead. Despite the fact we were in a cramped, dark and seemingly endless corridor, we remained somewhat calm as the only noise we could hear was our own breath echoing along the pathway, often accompanied by the distant drip of water. My mind clung onto the sound of the water. Surely it meant there should be an opening nearby.
After what seemed like hours of stumbling through near-total darkness, we reached what appeared to be the end of the corridor as we came to a large, crude wooden door that stood embedded into the rock. Accompanying the door to the left and right were two small candelabras, the flicker of their flame revealing a circular iron handle in the centre of the antiquated door. In the depths of my mind i knew something wasn’t right. I couldn’t tell what it was, so i ignored the warning signs from my brain and grasped the cold rugged handle and pushed forward. The elderly wood groaned and creaked in complaint but remained shut tight.
We had to get through this door, it had taken us ages to get to this point and turning back into the claustrophobic dark corridor was out of the question. Settling on what seemed like my only option, i took a few steps back and prepared my shoulder for the impact as i ran with full strength at the senile door. The sound of ancient wood splintering tore through the ominous silence as the door was woken from its eternal rest as it flung open, bits of wood flying everywhere while a cloud of dust swam through the air and engulfed everything in its path. I stood there frozen, half-expecting something to come barreling down the pathway behind us to investigate the noise. Instead, the silence returned from its brief absence and the room was quiet again.
Another corridor lay behind the doorway, this time however the walls were made of smooth cut stone bricks, and it was considerably wider and less claustrophobic than the one we traveled through to get here. The sound of water droplets became louder as we passed the carcass of the door into the hallway, and as we went deeper i noticed another flickering light at the other end of the tunnel. I turned to Clara, and our eyes met. It was obvious we were thinking the same thing. This is it.
The walls of the room were made of polished grey brick that reached high above us, and resting against each wall were thick mahogany bookcases laden with cobwebs that nearly reached the ceiling. In the middle of the room was a small wooden circular table that held yet another burning candle. The feeling that something wasn’t right returned to my mind, this time more intense, however my mind changed focus as i realized what lay upon each bookcase. Instead of books, there were rows upon rows of corked; clear glass bottles, the type that might contain a model of a sailing ship trying to overcome waves. I stumbled around the room, peering into each bottle to see their contents. The sound of glass chinking drifted through the air. Instead of containing a sailing ship, I soon discovered that some bottles were empty, while others contained little trinkets such as a ring made of a deep glittering red stone and a bangle made of an ominous black material. “Clara, isn’t this just fantastic!” I said with awe while peering into another bottle, this time containing a little shiny grey sphere.
I turned around, Clara was stood close to another set of bottles.
“Clara are you okay? what’s in those bottles?”
Again no answer. I could see Claras lips moving faintly. The sound of glass chinking drifted through the air again.
“What? I cant hear you”
Clara suddenly twisted her head to face me, her eyes wide. She was mouthing something.
“What are you say-”
My eyes darted around the room, eventually settling on a bottle that had fallen on its side, slowly dripping a strange red liquid onto the floor. How can that of happened? I wondered. Again the sound of glass chinking drifted through the air. What is that chinking sound? Clara began to mouth the word as if she was screaming in silence.
Then it hit me. I understood what the bad feeling was. Nobody had been through that corridor and door in centuries. So who lit the candles?