The Catacombs (World's Scariest Places #2)

By Jeremy Bates; Published In 2015
Genres: Horror, Thriller, Fiction
#1 with the wall fetish didn’t move to let her pass, and she was forced to stop directly before him. He stank. She couldn’t remember ever smelling something so vile. There was the feces and urine and body odor, but there was something else mixed with all this, a peaty rottenness she associated with bogs. She guessed he was anywhere between forty and sixty. He was mostly bald, with greasy tufts of white hair sprouting above his ears. He had the normal disfigurements (God, was she already beginning to think no nose or lips as “normal?”), and his albino-white skin was etched with burst capillaries and scabs and smeared with mud. He wore a torn Rolling Stones T-shirt and frayed track pants soiled in the groin and knees. The body beneath the clothes seemed lean and hard.

A ball of searing light was trapped inside my skull and wanted out. That’s what it felt like when I opened my eyes. I remained still and prayed for the pain to subside. It didn’t, but the white stars cleared from my vision, and I was relieved to find I wasn’t in total darkness.

About time,” Danièle said, exhaling heavily. “Some quiet.” I said, “You understand why he doesn’t like me, right?” “Who? Pascal? Yes, I told you. Because he has a crush on me.” “Right. So do you think it was a good idea announcing that we’re going to sleep together? I think that’s what he’s pissed about.” “But we are going to sleep together.” “No, we’re not.

and Pascal jumped to their feet. Rob grabbed Pascal’s bicep, preventing him from leaving, but Pascal tugged free. “Something happened!” he exclaimed. Rob shook his head, watching Pascal. Understanding registered in his eyes, and they thundered over. He flinched backward, almost as if slapped. Rob wanted to say something to him, but there was nothing to say. Pascal

and she lost her footing and dropped her Kewpie doll. It fell between a crosshatch of sticks and logs too small to climb through. She began bawling. She’d gotten the doll less than two weeks ago for her sixth birthday, and it was her prized possession. I told her it was okay, I’d get it, and so I climbed off the dam and made

bought myself

Chapter 24

Come on, Danièle, you don’t know that. The guy’s a lunatic.” I paused, remembering something. “What did he mean by ‘Raviolis?’ When he was speaking to Pascal, he said he hated Raviolis like us.” “I do not know for

Don’t what?” “Just don’t.

hearing it here in the catacombs where it happened, in the unprecedented blackness, was borderline terrifying.

long-ago memory. It was spring. I was eight years old. Bulldozers had recently cleared a patch of forest behind our house in the suburbs of Olympia to make room for a new subdivision. Maxine and I were forbidden to play in the tangle of felled trees, but of course we did. What kids wouldn’t? It was a gigantic fort full of nooks and crannies and passageways. We nicknamed it the Beaver Dam. One afternoon Max and I had been

man who had attacked me must be the girl’s father, I thought. He had been maimed in a horrible accident—a fire, an explosion, perhaps exposure to acid—or he had leprosy or another flesh-eating disease. Either way, his life was ruined. He couldn’t go out in public without people pointing and staring and viewing

mature, Robert.” “Fuck you, Dev.” He made to leave the kitchen. “I don’t know anymore,” Dev said. He stopped, turned. “You don’t know?” “Nothing,” she said quietly. “You don’t know?” he repeated. “Go, Robert.” “Go fuck yourself, Dev.” “Yes, maybe I will. Why not? I do everything else myself.” He grabbed his jacket

men halted at parade rest: chins up, chests out, legs apart, arms behind their backs. They were in their mid-forties and dressed identically in high leather boots, military-style peaked caps, trousers, and tunics. Everything was black except the red arm bands emblazoned with the swastika and the white runic insignias patched onto their collars. They each carried 6D flashlights. Pascal was right! Danièle thought. It’s them—the Painted Devil and his henchmen. It has to be. Who else dresses up in SS uniforms?

mummified body of a London man who

No cheap prescription Lenscrafters,

nodded. “If you assume she was lost down there for days without food or water, she would have been weak and dehydrated. She would have been exhausted, mentally and physically. So she snapped.” “Why’d she start running?

Right. McMuffin,” she repeated, smiling, and I realized she was having me on. Rob

there is no acid rain or

the table Danièle was sitting ramrod straight, her hand out before her, fingers splayed, as she told of the time she had met the Russian ambassador to France at Place de la Bastille. She was up to the point when she had pretended to be Russian to gain access to the VIP room, where all the diplomats were knocking back free champagne during the ballet’s intermission. Obviously she was trying to impress Will, who was listening stoically beside her, staring into the beer he’d ordered. Pascal slurped a second oyster from the shell and entertained himself for a bit with all the different ways the American could meet a grisly demise in the catacombs tonight.

The walls were smooth and whitewashed a pig-blood pink. Pascal folded the map he’d been studying

very far in, very deep.” “How do you know it’s a woman?

warning he swung his bone. It struck the side of my left knee. I dropped, landing hard on my side. I pulled my knees to my chest in expectation of another blow, but he turned away from me and shook his weapon in the air and howled. The mob responded in a cacophony of celebration. Then he leveled the bone at Pascal and barked what might have been an order. Two males went to Pascal and heaved him to his feet. His limbs dangled lifelessly. His head was lolling from left to right. The torchbearer crossed the room and slapped Pascal hard across the face. He peeled Pascal’s eyelids open with his thumb. Then he stepped back, lifted Pascal’s shirt, and thrust the flaming end of the torch into his stomach. Pascal’s head snapped back

we going to pass it tonight?” “Unfortunately, we are not going in that direction.

We’re going to get out of here.” I wondered

what was that? To use us as slave labor? To play out sick torture fantasies on us? Or, as Danièle suggested, to fucking eat us? I shoved

why wasn’t he screaming like she had when she came around, screaming in despair and terror at the unjustness of this incarceration, screaming until his throat went raw and he couldn’t scream anymore? He called

Why won’t you let me see?” Her voice had turned petulant, and it wasn’t Bridgette anymore. It was Danièle. She was naked. “There’s nothing in there.” “Why

wrinkled my nose; the stench of urine was strong. “This is the entrance?” I said.