This week: add another 200 words. Pretty straight forward at this point. Next week is the conclusion, and lots of fun will be had reading the results of this challenge.
Part One (by Mildred):
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but I will try to paint for you a picture of what I found, using only nine hundred words. Why nine hundred? Because any more than that and I will have run out of time!
It is the smell that greeted me. I could actually see vapours of this smell seeping underneath the big, oak, door. These vapours were – for lack of a better word – intelligent. They forged a path that went into the chilly night, a path that clearly avoided the area I was standing on. If I wasn’t so horrified by what I was seeing, I would have taken offence. No one likes to be avoided, whether by other human beings or by intelligent vapours.
I was determined to complete this doomed mission so I walked to the door and opened it. There was a slippery substance on the door knob but I refused to dwell on what I had touched. What I saw inside was far more horrifying. There wasn’t a single drop of blood on the floor and the absence of blood was somehow more disturbing than if the room had been flooded with blood.
Part two: (by Dean):
The smell of blood, heavy with copper filled my nostrils, making its absence all the more confusing. I sniffed at my fingers, if only to see if they had picked up any of the crimson fluid; they hadn’t. Instead they smelled of seawater and fish, grown old and pungent. I pulled them away quickly, my stomach, already threatening revolt, at risk of an out right rebellion.
This can’t be real the sensible part of my mind whispered. You don’t have a mausoleum in your garden. This must be a dream. Yet here I was, inside it, unable to convince myself that I was asleep. Yes, I was dressed in my pajamas, but the floor felt icy cold under my feet, a breeze played around my neck and somewhere nearby I could hear a whippoorwill calling. Could you hear things in dreams?
I shrugged, determined to see this thing through. No blood? Check. Stinky fish smell on my fingers. Check. What else was in here? From where I was stood by the door I could see a half dozen shelves, laden with coffins, all of them heavy, lined with brass on the outside. One was partly ajar, the tendrils of amorphous vapour leaking from it.
Part Three (by J):
I shuffled toward the open coffin, foolishly, I suppose. It is what one is meant to do in a dream, is it not?
The vapor oozed out of my path unlike any kind of gaseous emanation I had encountered before. To the eye, it was more like an oil slick upon water than like smoke, fog, or steam. Tendrils of the stuff seemed to beckon.
As I approached the coffin, the rank smell of a dead and abandoned tidal pool emanated from its confines. My stomach, momentarily forgotten, lurched at the odor and acid burned in my throat.
It seemed to me that something rustled within.
I contemplated ancient desiccated flesh, its forgotten owner now woken into this nightmare, somehow shared twixt the two of us. The mere thought was repellant and filled my mind with instinctive reptilian dread. I wished for nothing more than to flee from this dreadful phantasmagoria and return to my bed.
Alas, I was rooted in place by some inexplicable force. It required me to continue, somehow I knew.
I hesitated but the sound did not repeat itself. I must have imagined it, I thought.
Reaching out, I pried at the coffin lid.
It didn’t budge.
Stepping closer, I grasped the lid in my hands and pushed. There was enough space for the lid to open another few inches, and it took all my strength to raise it. The hinges cried out in protest, filling the space with a chorus of deafening squeaks before the lid banged into the shelf above.
A dim blue light pulsed from within the coffin. I leaned closer for a better look. The breath I didn’t realize I was holding came out in a rush when I saw what was inside. Nothing. I reached inside, searching for the source of light.
Suddenly, the lid snapped down, pinning my arm. I struggled as the vapor closed in around my feet, feeling like a cool ocean mist. It billowed up around my legs, the chill going straight through my pajamas, the smell assaulting my nose. I struggled harder, my breaths coming and going rapidly. I watched the vapor as it reached the top of the coffin directly under the one I was pinned in. In an instant, its lid popped open, and two skeletal arms leapt out, each boney hand wrapping itself around one of my legs and pulling me forward. The vapor crept higher, and I wanted desperately to wake up.