Friday, 23 August 2013

Skeletons in the Closet: Part Nine

Hey everyone! So, here's part 9; there are two more parts after this, with the last part a special extended edition in the traditions of serials everywhere. Here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8! Enjoy! 

As many of us have found to our consternation, even the most intimate moments never seem to last long enough; and soon the shuddering impacts on the chapel door shook the reverend and the youngest Tunnicliffe from their dual reverie. Releasing each other from their embrace, they noticed, with some alarm, that the door was starting to show the strain; the hinges, sunk into the stone around the one barrier saving the pair from a horrible and messy death, were starting to buckle with the force of the monsters’ blows, and both Lydia and Maxwell knew that the end was near.

They rose, and stood facing the source of the crashing beats that were measuring out the last minutes of their lives. Lydia’s hand found Maxwell’s, and gripped it tight, not seeming to mind its clamminess. This would usually be a good omen for their future relationship, but such concerns did not seem particularly applicable at the present time.

 “What… what do you think they are?” she asked him, her eyes fixed firmly on the door. Her mask had slipped back over her face as she strove to hide her fear, but Maxwell fancied he could still make out some of the softness that lay beneath her carefully crafted countenance.

“I have no idea. I’ve never seen anything like them before,” he answered. He tried to keep his gaze on the door, too, wanting to keep an eye on the situation, but he found it kept sliding back towards Lydia, her hair, the lines of her face…

They say the course of true love never did run smooth. In this case, what with social differences and the group of murderous fiends outside, love was having to run an assault course made of sandpaper and broken glass; but despite this, as you have no doubt been able to tell, Cupid’s arrow had found both Lydia and Maxwell’s hearts.

It was a shame that those hearts seemed shortly to be placed in a separate geographical location to the rest of their bodies, but every relationship has its teething troubles.

Lydia spoke again. “What are we going to do?”

Maxwell had no idea; his priestly training hadn’t prepared him for anything like this. The demons of Hell’s pits were, he had been told, insidious and persuasive, capable of altering the alignment of a man’s thoughts and feelings without him even knowing; but these were fully and obviously capable of permanently altering the alignment of a man’s limbs without caring if he was aware of them or not. Still, and though Maxwell, as has been said, was in many ways wetter than a glass of water, one of the duties of a vicar is to administer comfort in times of need. He glanced around the chapel, seeking something he could use. The windows were far too high for them to climb out of; there was no other exit from the chapel save the door which seemed soon to give way; and Maxwell knew that he and Lydia would be no match for the slavering fiends outside the door, even if they were to somehow fashion weaponry from the sparse materials inside the chapel. There was only one thing, then, that they could do; and they were, after all, in the perfect place to do it.

“We pray,” he said. The solemnity in his voice made her look away from the door for a moment; she nodded, and they both closed their eyes, ready to perform their last actions on the Earth.

Neither Maxwell or Lydia, it had to be said, could see this prayer having a great deal of an impact on their present situation. After all, words can only go so far; and if God had allowed events to carry on this extent, it was unlikely that he would suddenly change his mind. There is no prayer in the Christian religion specifically designed to cover impending death through dismemberment by unknown supernatural beings; perhaps the founders of the faith did not realise such a prayer might be needed (if so, they must be kicking themselves right about now).

Therefore, Maxwell decided to fall back on an old standard. He clasped his hands together as, standing beside him, Lydia did the same. “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy...” he began.

It was a sentence that was never to be finished, as at that moment, there was an almighty crash, and their eyes both snapped open so they could see what they were sure was about to hurl itself through the door. A door which remained, miraculously, intact.

“Good evening, sir and madam,” said a smooth voice behind them. They looked up to see a man standing in the tall frame of one of the now-shattered stained-glass windows, silhouetted against the glow of the sun. He had a rope tied around his waist, which played out through the window behind him. Taking it in his hands, he now used it to shimmy down from the window to the ground, delicately picking his way through the shards of broken glass that now covered the floor.

“I am most dreadfully sorry about the mess,” he said. “I shall, of course, have it dealt with the moment our current crisis has been happily averted.”

Lydia and Maxwell just stared at him in amazement. It was Crichton.