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"Where to now?" Johnny inquired, as Caleb rounded yet another corner of the seemingly never ending passageway. "Is there a way out?"

"No idea..." Caleb answered. "We can not go back the way we came, the way is blocked and sure to be guarded. So there is nothing else for it but to keep moving ahead."

"And if we hit a dead end?" Johnny wondered out loud, not liking the sound of this at all. Caleb's reply was short and to the point.

"Then we might just go and give that name meaning" he stated quietly. Johnny really did not like the sound of that. Sure enough, up ahead the passageway suddenly ended, bricked up with what seemed to be far more recent masonry than was evident on any of the other walls. Caleb viewed this new obstruction with suspicion.

"It is a funny way for us to end it" Johnny observed, pangs of morbid humour now tugging at his usually morose consciousness. Caleb was not paying him any attention. Johnny winced as he suddenly slammed his fist smack into the middle of the wall, cracking brick and mortar with an unsettling ease. Caleb withdrew his hand as if nothing had happened at all, showing no signs of pain or discomfort despite the force of the impact. He then leaned forward and and examined one of the larger cracks in greater detail, a satisfied smile appearing on his cracked and crusted lips.

"Get back!" he ordered, a request Johnny was now loathe to refuse. He reminded himself to never underestimate the strength or perseverance of his friend again. Caleb then drew something long and cylindrical from one of his back pockets, preparing one of the surprises that he had only just recently acquired earlier in the store room. The Cabal's own tools would be used against them yet again. He quickly lit the wick of it with his lighter, before carefully placing the charge on the ground and running for cover. After an agonizing interval the stick finally ignited, throwing the full force of the dynamite against the already weakened masonry. Johnny just hoped that the roof would not collapse on them as well. Thankfully his wish was granted, and once the smoke and dust had cleared an opening became clearly visible in the wall.

Caleb and Johnny entered the new area in silence. On the walls were perched torches, and carved into the middle of those walls were hollows containing what looked like stone tombs. The same arrangement could be seen in almost every direction, with even more stone passageways winding all around them like a maze. They had walked into a crypt. Johnny thought back to the graves he had seen earlier on the outskirts of the city. He remembered the arm that he thought had moved, as if the corpse had been reanimated and was now trying to get them. Johnny then turned back to look at the damaged masonry that was now lying as rubble on the floor behind them. Maybe that wall had been made for a reason. Maybe it had been erected to keep them out. Maybe there were still more things that could be awakened by them down here. Considering all of the noise they had made, Johnny really did not like their chances.

"Tombs, graveyards... so many memories" Caleb commented dryly, not feeling any of the weight that had suddenly struck his current companion. He almost seemed to be enjoying himself, as if he had finally been returned back to his own element. He started lighting the burnt out torches with his butane lighter, illuminating the place so that Johnny could better see the catacomb in all of its morbid glory. Johnny was not impressed. All Caleb seemed to be doing was advertising their presence even further. He did appreciate the fact that he could now probably see them coming, but he would have much rather have had it so he did not have see them come at all.

Then he finally checked himself. What exactly was it that he was afraid of? Corner of the eye sightings and vague impressions? Before he had been captured by the cult he had never even heard of the undead. During the time he spent imprisoned in his cell he began to hear stories, tales that described the creation of zombies made to serve as part of the Cabal's army. He did not hold much faith in them at first. The people who were tormenting him may have been evil, but there were just ordinary men. Sick, twisted, warped men, but men all the same. Then he saw that Hell Hand dancing about as if it had a life of its own. Something must have been empowering that thing. There was also of course the matter of Caleb to consider as well. He was not a man like anyone else, by his own admission. Not quite dead, but not quite alive either. Still, maybe he was still just jumping to conclusions here.

Just then, a bloodcurdling scream spread through the musty fetid air as if it were a dark wind. Johnny had not imagined or fancied up that. Something must be down here with them. He turned to look at Caleb, who had also heard the scream. He simply bobbed his head in some sort of strange acquiescence; whether it was to acknowledge his own questions or just the card that fate had played them Johnny was not quite sure. Another scream could then be heard, this time far more guttural. Something was killing someone. "Fresh victims for the ever growing army of the undead" Caleb decided, heading down the passage that offered them their best chance of rendezvousing with the screams. Johnny definitely did not like any of this at all.
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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Submitted on
June 22, 2014
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