Lucifer's Abbey

By Michael James Smith

Horror, General fiction, Paranormal

Paperback, eBook

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7 mins

Chapter 1

Harold scurried rapidly along the tunnel from Cherie's cell aware that Hainsley-Sihl would seek him out the moment he left her. He was shaking and conscious that he'd been caught trying to take from Cherie that state of innocence that made her indispensable in Hainsley-Sihl's plans for the night ahead. Plans he had been making for many years. His anger would be uncontrollable.

Harold was cursing himself. The punishment for that would be worse than the one Hainsley-Sihl had handed out to Bartholomew. Harold knew that he would not accept any excuse or make any allowance. If Hainsley-Sihl caught up with him he would call forth the awful thing that resided inside him and it would send Harold to Hell as painfully as it possibly could.

The only thing, to do, an escape from the tunnels before Hainsley-Sihl could find him but that was easier said than done! The rest of the Coven was in the caves organising the night's ceremony and half the Police force of Torbay was outside trying to get in. He didn't want to meet them either!

He heard voices ahead and slipped into a tiny storage area, hiding behind the packing boxes that contained some of the goods removed from the mansion. Huddled down against the hewn rock, he berated himself for being stupid enough to let his desire for the Belgian girl get him into such terrible trouble.

It wasn't really himself! It was the terrible thing that had taken possession of him when he had been baptised as a Satanist on Christmas Night. He shuddered remembering the awful thing that Hainsley-Sihl had made them all drink. The heat of her still in it!

The blonde woman Magda passed with Hainsley-Sihl's Chauffeur. They didn't look his way, and he was relieved. She had strong psychic powers and would have been aware of him if she had let them enter his hiding place. Already she had used them to track the two women the night before. Getting away was going to be very difficult.

Making certain the tunnel was empty Harold sped along it and turned into a small tunnel that led him to a steep flight of stone steps. There were a lot of torches in a box on top of the steps and he took three, putting two into his shirt and keeping the other to use. He raced down the steps and in front of him was a large cave with many Stalactites. It was not lit and he turned on the torch. The light was strong so the batteries were good. He was relieved; he had a long way to go.

He ran across the cave which he knew well and found the thin crack in the wall that led out of it on the other side. It was well hidden, disguised by a layer of white calcite into which it blended so well that it was hard to see even a few feet away.

Inside he was in a much narrower tunnel that had been cut by water over millions of years. It was wet and the rock under his feet was treacherous. He didn't try to run, he'd slipped there before many times whilst they were hunting for the tombs. It was he who had found this place and Hainsley-Sihl had promised him everything he desired as a reward. He'd been a star that day and even Magda had been praising him. She'd be the one hunting him soon!

At the end of the narrow way Harold shone his torch into a small cave and carefully jumped down. He didn't want to slide on the slippery surface now because not far from his feet the water had cut through softer rock and a deep chasm lay there ready to swallow the unwary. They had never had a torch that was powerful enough to reveal the depth of it.

Nervously Harold turned and with his back to the wall he inched his way along the rim of it. After ten metres, the wall eased away to the right and he was able to walk properly but still he was careful until a new cave opened around him. He ran now lighting his way with the torch across the cave and into a small tunnel that exited in a new and larger open space. Ahead his beam revealed a bridge that been built across a deep ravine that cut through the rock.

They had been delayed here for two weeks whilst the bridge had been constructed, lowered across the ravine and secured and Hainsley-Sihl had allowed Harold to be the first one over it.

He walked over it gingerly, it was a flimsy thing and the drop below was unmeasured. The bridge moved as he walked and relieved he reached the other side.

He was in 'their' part of the caves now. He didn't like it here, since his baptism into the Coven he felt like an unwelcome intruder. Their Will was alive and rejected him. They were the enemy. He tried not to come here alone but now there was no option.

He ran down a long tunnel for several minutes until he was faced with a narrow entrance to a flight of rising stone steps. On either side, stood two life-sized statues of Monks holding fivefold crosses.

For a few moments, Harold stared at them. He'd been elated when he first found them, he'd been the first person to look at them for hundreds of years. Now he looked and with a sinking heart he knew that he was beyond the protection the crusader crosses could have given him. He had sold his soul to the Devil and the Devil's servant was going to make sure he honoured his bargain.

He passed between them, raced up the steps and stopped. What if he went back and threw the bridge into the chasm? They would not be able to chase him and they would be unable to hold their Ceremony! But could he move it alone? No! It was too heavy for one person alone. They would be able to get across and by now they might be doing so!

Harold's nerve was deserting him rapidly as he climbed the rest of the steps. He realised that even if he did manage to get out of the caves and avoid the Police he was going to be a fugitive and he had no money, nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

He ran along a broad tunnel at the top of the steps and passed many statues as he entered the part of the caves that had been adopted as a home by the Monks so long before. They must have been using them for centuries to have done so much work in them. Harold had examined them all hoping to find some gold he could steal and sell in Torquay in order to buy a new motorcycle, but he had never found anything but the Monks and their stone crosses.

They stood there endlessly staring out at everyone who passed, liked sentinels watching across the centuries. He feared them now. Their timeless gaze could see into his heart!

At the end of the broad way Harold entered the huge room that had brought them all there: Monks from the Temple Mount and knights from the defence of Jerusalem and finally with evil in heart Hainsley-Sihl and his Satanist covens.

The coven members had been working in the room earlier and the tall black candles, they had lit, had been left burning. The cave, they lit, was a perfect Church carved from red stone and large enough to hold a hundred people.

Directly in front of Harold a wide aisle led all the way to an Altar on which half a dozen candles burned. To either side of it tall candle holders added their light to the scene.

Along the sides of the Church, a row of statues in alcoves stared down at the body of the Congregational: Monks with their five pointed crosses and knights whose armour was emblazoned with their Crusader emblems.

Harold was surprised to see that the crosses of the monks had been defiled. The points of their crosses had been broken and from each hung an inverted crucifix with a sacrificial animal or woman attached to it. The knights had had their swords broken and were similarly adorned. At the foot of each alcove, a tall black candle burned in the half-light.

It was an eerie scene that made Harold feel fear. This was Hainsley-Sihl's work. He could almost feel his malice like a physical presence.

Nervously Harold moved forward casting his eyes in all directions.

Beside the Altar another supporting frame stood. Upon it a large wooden chest was placed the long handles, by which it had been carried, were still in place passed through loops which had been affixed to either end and the whole was partly covered with goat skins.

In front of it a line of kneeling knights on one knee, hands on the hilts of their swords knelt. They were so real they looked as though they had been turned to stone on the spot. To their left in front of the Altar a single monk knelt holding a cross; the most lifelike statue that Harold had ever seen. For a moment, he thought he was real until the flickering flames from the Altar revealed the coating of dust that had settled upon the stone that formed his shoulders.

Harold looked over their kneeling forms at the chest. He knew what the chest was and suddenly he remembered that it was supposed to contain: Some of the most valuable religious artefacts in history, they would be worth a king’s ransom! He could live like a millionaire on the proceeds of selling any one of them!

Behind the Alter and the chest a huge wall tapestry had been hung. It covered almost the entire end wall of the Church. Upon it was woven in silver and gold and red thread, a picture that Harold recognised as Ill Diavolo, the Tarot card symbol of Hainsley-Sihl's coven into which he had been baptised.

The cloven-hooved God of Pan lifting Lucifer upon it's back.

It was a striking work, and in the reflected light of the Altar candles it looked alive. It was tangibly malevolent. The eyes of Lucifer were looking straight into Harold's mind.

Harold could not keep his gaze on it. He cast his eyes down and walked down the aisle shaking with fear. The goat skins he pushed to one side until they fell upon the floor.

The chest was sealed by a golden clasp and he lifted it and raised the heavy wooden lid with both hands. It remained open and Harold stared in wonder at the golden treasure inside. Two cherubs sat upon the lid of the Ark immediately reflecting the light of the candles and Harold was unable to breathe as he realised that he was looking at the holiest thing in the world.

It was completely covered in gold and there were many carvings upon it. At each end, were two handles and the base was broad and strong and formed also of gold. It looked to Harold as though it had just been polished; it was brilliant in the light and he could feel it almost as though it was looking back at him.

He stepped back, unnerved by the overwhelming feeling that he was being observed.

Hainsley-Sihl would know he was there! That he had dared to touch the Ark. They would all come after him at once now, worse still he would send his 'familiar' after him! From that there was no escape for anyone.

He had to take something or he would have no money to escape with. He felt quickly around the body of the Ark, found the under edge of the heavy golden lid and tried to lift it. It was extremely heavy. It didn't budge.

Leaning over, he got his hands on either end and tried to lift it. It moved a fraction and he realised that it would take all of his strength to lift it to one side far enough to enable him to get a hand inside of it.

Above him unseen as he struggled head down with the lid of the Ark of the Covenant dark oily smoke had begun to issue from the mouths of Lucifer and Pan in the tapestry that loomed over him. It ran quickly down the length of the tapestry and began to form on the floor. The clawed feet of the ungodly Imp that was Hainsley-Sihl's 'familiar', solidifying almost at once, followed by its scaled body and forked tail.

Harold had managed to create a space through which he could insert one hand into the Ark of the Covenant. As the scaled Imp finished forming and the eyes opened to pierce the gloom with their red glare Harold slid his hand inside and felt it touch some sort of rod. He felt it and thought it was made of gold!

Elated he grasped it greedily and then he screamed a terrible scream. His hand felt as though it was attached to a searing hot electrode and he arched backwards falling against the kneeling stone monk and rolled upon the floor in agony.

His arm was on fire. The flesh itself was flaming and he screamed aloud into the empty Church. He got up still screaming in pain and began beating his arm against his body trying to stop the flames from consuming his flesh and at the same time trying to get away from the Ark from which a bright white light was beginning to emerge.

The flames finally went out and Harold bent in agony. He had never dreamed his own body could hurt him so much. His fingers were gone!

Bent in fear, he cast an eye at the wooden chest. The white light was beginning to fade but to one side of it Harold's worst nightmare had appeared. The Imp stood watching him. Fire was dancing on the glistening lips, deep red flaming eyes were terror itself.

Harold stepped back. He lifted the stump of his arm and held it across his eyes to fend off the terrible stare. Slowly he walked backwards. The pain was unrelenting, great waves of it running up his arm and wracking his body.

The Imp followed him. It made no attempt to attack him. It was watching his pain and the forked tongue moved across parted lips.

Harold fell to his knees. He was beaten. If dying was the price of escaping further pain it was best to die.

The Imp approached and looked down at him. The fearsome eyes held Harold's gaze and Harold could not look away. He saw Cherie in those eyes, naked, seductive and beckoning to him as he whimpered in fear. This dreadful emanation from Hell knew everything that Harold had planned for her.

It reached forward and took his head between its clawed hands and held it tightly, the claws slowly penetrating into his scalp. He could feel them scraping the bone of his skull; peeling his tissue away.

Harold screamed, but he could not move as the thing lowered its awful mouth and sank long sharp teeth deep into his neck. It drank for some time before it straightened up again. Harold's blood dripped from its chin.

“Cursed you are!” It spoke with a voice that was awful to hear. Harold knew whose voice that really was.



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