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Caleb's strides did not suggest that he had any misgivings at all, but Johnny sure as hell did. The screaming had stopped finally; the last sound that anyone had heard was that of a muted death rattle. Whatever was killing whoever must have finished. Caleb continued to march in the direction that the sounds had been heard from, a torch that he had casually pilfered from one of the walls burning brightly in his hand. So far all Johnny had seen was just more and more rows of tombs neatly slotted into the walls, most of them intact but some with some worrying signs of damage or other indications that they may have been opened recently. "Come out, come out, whatever you are..." Caleb beckoned, as a strange gnawing noise began to become audible in both of their ears.

Then Johnny saw it. Lying prone on the ground was the corpse of a man, a nightwatchmen judging by what was left of his attire. On top of him was another man, or at least, something that must have been one at some point. Flesh hung in ugly patches on top of a gaunt skeleton, tattered rags worse than the ones that Johnny had been wearing covering up what little was left of the thing's dignity. It had its mouth hovering over the other man's head, seeming to be slurping and gnashing up something from its now exposed cranial cavity. Johnny wanted to look away but found that despite the turning of his stomach he could not help but stare at the creature, becoming transfixed on the ghastly scene that was now unfolding before him. Caleb had seen it all before of course.

"You need to learn some table manners..." he said after depositing the torch, right before wrapping his right arm around the zombie's neck and forcing it back onto its feet. It moaned and groaned in what Johnny could only imagine to be surprise as Caleb searched for his knife with his left hand, right before shifting his arms and bringing the now found implement before the undead creature's neck. He then began to slit its throat, moving the weapon right around the full circumference of zombie's head. Before long the only thing that kept it attached to its body was a thin bit of flesh and what was left of its spinal column. Despite this, Johnny still saw the same glowing intensity in the thing's eyes, as if it still did not feel as if it had been injured at all.

"If you're happy and you know it, pop some brains!" Caleb called out in a sing song voice. He began to yank on the zombies now almost severed head with such severity that the sound of ripping flesh started to reverberate around the passage. "If you're happy and you know it, slice some veins!" With a satisfying pop the head finally severed, causing Caleb to hold it triumphantly in the air. Johnny saw the light in the zombie's eyes fade at last, the strange power that controlled it now having finally been put to rest. "If you're happy and you know it, bouncing heads will clearly show it!" Caleb dropped the head from a height and gave it a sharp nudge with his knee, sending it spiralling into the air again. Caleb continued to bounce the impromptu ball on his knee until, having finally grown tired of it, he delivered a sharp kick with his boot that sent it shooting off into the darkness.

"Nothing like loving one's work" he commented serenely. Johnny just stared at him blankly. What really was there to say upon seeing that? Caleb then turned his attention to the man that was lying on the ground, peering into the hole that the zombie had previously smashed in its head. "It looks like our friend had already finished his final meal..." he concluded, getting back onto his feet.

"Do we really need to linger?" Johnny inquired, fretfully glancing all around the passageway.

"What are you afraid of kid?" Caleb replied, casually nudging the corpse with his boot. Then like the purported walls of Jericho, all the walls started to crumble down in around them. Johnny did not feel the need to answer that question. The zombies had just did.
Some might recall that I had previously made mention as part of the Blood Wiki's sixth anniversary that I had plans to once again invest some of my time in an area of Blood fandom that I had formerly been quite involved in. To that end I present Scroll, a story I originally began in the summer of 2008 as a kind of retelling of the story behind Cryptic Passage in an attempt to bring it further in line with the main Blood canon. Designed to be published in multiple parts, I shall endeavour to release a new instalment of Scroll every Sunday from March 9th on until the story is complete.
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June 29, 2014
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