“I collected bones from charnel houses; and disturbed with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.” Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
“Thank you all for coming to the Capella Delle Ossa, or the Chapel of Bones,” the tour guide said, smiling as she gently waved her arms to gather together the group of nine that signed up for the last tour of the day.
The tour group was in awe at what they were seeing inside the chapel on the northern edge of Protenza, Italy, surrounded by rich farmland and rolling hills. The tour brochure explained the macabre history of the chapel decorated from floor to ceiling in human bones. These chapels were found in various countries throughout Europe and Asia, and were a popular dark tourist attraction.
“My name is Isabella, and I’ll be your tour guide today. We do have a gift shop, but it will be closing in an hour. Our tour should take 30 minutes, so if you would like a souvenir of your visit, please do so before 6pm. My husband is taking me out for my birthday tonight, so I’ll be closing up promptly at 6.”
“Happy birthday, Isabella,” one of the male tourists said. His wife was glaring at the way he was looking at the long, slender legs of their tour guide.
Isabella nodded and kept her smile big and bright, her dark hair pulled back tightly in a bun. It was obvious she had done this many times before. She was a very attractive middle-aged woman dressed all in black. She spoke with a strong Italian accent, though her English was fluent. Her voice and high heels echoed in the spacious room.
The group was standing in the middle of the chapel with impressive vaulted ceilings adorned with intricately carved designs in dark-stained, massive structural wood beams. There were six smaller rooms connected to the chapel with arched entrances decorated in human skulls with incredible precision and uniformity. The bones within reach had darkened over the years from being touched by hundreds of visitors each month, despite the signs that told them not to do so. The tour group was in awe of the feeling that swept over them. It was as if the dead were calling out, telling their story to anyone who would listen. It was a moving experience for most who came to visit.
“Some of you were asking me about the history of the chapel. It was built in 1849, much later than many of the other bone chapels, churches, and catacombs. After the French armies were driven out of Protenza in 1848 by General Girabaldi, the chapel was built on this site where the French southern headquarters was located in Italy. A major earthquake struck Protenza and hundreds of their soldiers died in the rubble. The Italian armies slaughtered the remaining enemy before taking the country back from French rule. Many of the locals believed it was a sign when God struck the enemy dead with the earthquake. And some still believe that today. This chapel is a very special place.”
The afternoon sunlight was beaming through the magnificent stained glass windows on the west side of the room, as it did in the morning through the east windows. The various colors cast many strange shadows from the thousands upon thousands of human bones in various configurations. It was mesmerizing to look at the intricate designs that must have taken skilled craftsmanship to build. Rumors circulated that some visitors to the Chapel of Bones claimed to hear the dead whispering to them. This only added to the mystique.
The ceiling was adorned with a herringbone pattern of large femurs and tibiae. At the south end of the chapel hung an impressive chandelier made from every bone in the human body. The craftsmanship to make such a beautiful thing with bone was stunning. From the large trunk in the center of the chandelier were four curved spines with skulls on each end that were connected to the top with black chain links. Smaller bones hung from the spines like fringe. It seemed to radiate with energy, drawing every tourist to marvel at its sinister elegance.
In the center of the ceiling was a large skylight that allowed daylight to stream into the chapel, receiving an angelic beam through an otherwise dark and dreadful atmosphere. Tiny particles of dust, likely resulting from the slow erosion of bone, danced in the light as a breeze swept through. The chapel was the very essence of diversity, joining exquisite beauty with extreme morbidity. It was like nothing anyone on the tour had seen before. Looking at pictures of the chapel online did not capture it. Many of the tourists were taking pictures or video with their cell phones, but Isabella instructed them to not use a flash during the tour.
“The bones you see surrounding us were members of the congregation of St. Mark’s Catholic Church. It was a mile away from where we are right now. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1848 and the cemetery suffered major damage to the headstones and statues and had to close. The bones were brought here. The builders of the chapel decided to store the bones of the dead French soldiers below ground in catacombs they excavated by hand. This was meant as an act of dominance by the Catholic church over their defeated heathen enemy. The French considered the skeletal remains cursed and didn’t want them back home. The bones of the St. Mark parishioners would become part of the chapel decor to celebrate their lives in devotion of God. This was the reason most of the other bone chapels had done so. Some find it disturbing to display the bones, but people of that time wanted to be buried close to their church. Now they are physically a part of what they loved. The dead are honored to be here, so don’t look at it in a negative way. Rather, embrace their beauty in such an intimate expression of love.”
The members of the tour continued to stare at the many configurations of bone that surrounded them. Their eyes couldn’t get enough of it. As Isabella continued to talk about the darkly fascinating history of the chapel, the group began to split up and explore the other adjacent rooms. Each of the six rooms were also covered in human bone, but each had a macabre theme. There was one decorated only with hand and finger bones, another contained only pelvic bones. It was bizarre and the mesmerizing to members of the tour group.
“Please be careful in the center room on the east side of the chapel. That’s where the staircase can be found that leads to the catacombs below. That area is off limits to our visitors. It’s under construction and not safe.”
There were a few murmurs among the tourists and one older man stood in the threshold of the center room and noted the locked gate at the top of the staircase. There was a “no admittance” sign on the door in Italian, French, and English.
“Someone just asked me a great question. Who was it that decorated the chapel with bones? It was the work of Father Marco, a half-blind retired priest and a master carpenter from Florence, Maurizio Iacona. Father Marco kept a journal throughout his 22 years here working on the project. It was incredible what he did with his diminished sight. He painstakingly cleaned and prepared the bones for Maurizio and provided his artistic ideas for the concepts you see here in the chapel. You can purchase a beautiful reproduction of Father Marco’s journal in our gift shop. The actual journal is currently being restored in Rome.”
Two members of the group drifted toward the public restrooms where Isabella’s voice and the conversations between the other tourists dissipated. They were Dylan Briscoe and Evan Chamberlain, enjoying a 30-day European vacation their parents bought for them as a graduation present. The two were recent graduates from the University of Iowa School of Engineering who met as freshman in the dorms and were as close as family. Both families knew each other over the four years the boys went to college and decided to reward them for graduating with excellent grades. They also purchased tickets for their girlfriends, Chloe and Rebecca, to go with them. The girls were together in Naples, enjoying a girls’ night dancing after a long day of shopping and enjoying the beach.
The four started their tour in England, then Germany, France, and now Italy before ending the trip in Spain. It had been an incredible experience. It was a nice break after a hectic schedule of classes and part time jobs to help pay their expenses. Dylan was going to work with his father at a large electrical engineering firm in Des Moines, while Evan was moving to Indianapolis. Rebecca’s father helped get him hired by the State of Indiana as a civil engineer. They planned to be married in a few months.
Dylan had a penchant for horror movies and ghost stories. He often dragged Evan along with him to various haunted locations in the Midwest. They visited abandoned insane asylums, crime scenes, and cemeteries rich with stories of strange sightings and apparitions. They were at nearly every premiere for new horror movies that were released. Dylan would recount the tales of the haunted locations and immersed himself in their history. He was usually watching YouTube videos or listening to podcasts about horror, true crime, or haunted locations.
In their hotel room, Dylan found a brochure for the Chapel of Bones, and it piqued his interest. He heard about creepy stories from Europe, but didn’t think they would have time for much of that on this trip with the girls. Neither of them would have been interested in it. A quick search on his phone found information about the chapel’s history and stories of ghosts that roamed the catacombs below. Once the girls mentioned doing their own night out, Dylan decided he and Evan needed to go to Protenza to see the Capella Delle Ossa for themselves. It wasn’t until they were in the middle of the two-hour trip that Dylan told Evan his plan to spend the night in the chapel. Evan thought he was crazy, but like usual, he gave in and wondered if they would end up in an Italian jail cell before the night was over.
Without hesitation Dylan turned the knob on the door between the mens’ and womens’ restrooms. The door opened into a small janitorial supply closet. The men went inside and shut the door quietly.
“Just what I thought. They always put these between bathrooms,” Dylan whispered, pulling a small penlight from the cargo pocket of his pants.
The closet was filled with brooms, mops, and containers of various cleaning products.
“What if it was locked?” Evan said under his breath. “What was your back up plan?”
Dylan smiled. “Well, it wasn’t.”
He wouldn’t admit he didn’t have a backup plan.
The two men stood as still as possible, straining to hear the tour guide. Her voice was muffled and barely audible. Dylan looked at his watch and noticed it was almost 5:45 pm. The chapel would be closing in 15 minutes and they would be left inside. He hoped that there were no alarms. When he considered the age of the building and the fact they wouldn’t want to disturb the bones to install a security system, he was confident there wasn’t any. Dylan thought the place would be theirs until morning when someone came to unlock the doors to open at 9:00 am. They would hide in the closet once again before blending in with the tourists before leaving. What could possibly go wrong?
Dylan and Evan waited inside the janitorial closet for an additional 15 minutes after closing to be sure they were the only ones in the chapel. While they waited, Evan listened intently as Dylan explained the legend of the haunted catacombs. Dylan was careful to give his friend the sanitized version of the story because he didn’t want him to panic at some of the controversy. Building a chapel literally on the flesh and bone of your enemy was asking for the place to be haunted. To be totally honest, as interested as Dylan was with scary stories, even hewas a bit freaked out when it came to the catacombs beneath the chapel. That fear made him want to go even more.
Dylan read a blog on one of the websites he liked to visit. There was a thread of posts about the Chapel of Bones in Protenza. The fascinating stories he read were from others who planned to hide in the janitorial closet during the last tour of the day, just as Dylan and Evan did. Specifically there was a man from Hamburg, Germany, who used the screen name Spectral Evidence that claimed his roommate had plans to hide in the closet and explore the catacombs. The roommate was never heard from again. Spectral Evidence said his friend was engaged to be married the following month and would have never disappeared like he did. Not on purpose. There were also people that posted stories about the half blind priest, Father Marco, and how he haunted the chapel at night. Some said that if he caught anyone in the chapel after hours, their bones would become part of the decorations. It all sounded like fantastic stories passed down through generations and not based in reality. What bothered Dylan was the German who disappeared after going to the chapel. But, part of him was more intrigued because of it. Like with anything he read online, Dylan couldn’t be sure what he was seeing was anything more than ghost stories told around the campfire. A search for news stories about missing persons from Protenza yielded few results that didn’t appear to be related in any way to the Chapel of Bones. Dylan convinced himself the stories were just that - stories.
“Do you think the coast is clear?” Evan asked.
Dylan checked his watch. It was 6:15 pm. He strained to listen for any noise and didn’t hear anything.
“I think so.”
Dylan twisted the knob and hoped the old door wouldn’t creak. Thankfully, it didn’t. The men carefully stepped out of the janitorial closet and were shocked at what they saw. Both expected the chapel to be bright after being in the dark closet for the past 40 minutes. Instead, it was pitch black. Dylan found this odd, since sunset was still 90 minutes or so away. He figured the chapel would still be full of sunlight from the west. As they crept quietly down the short hallway that led to the main room of the chapel, they were increasingly more confused at the darkness that surrounded them. They felt the walls for a light switch but found none. To add to the odd sensation, distant soft whispers could be heard, but neither of them could figure out where they were coming from.
Dylan handed Evan the other penlight he brought with him. They shined the narrow beams of light along the walls where the massive stained glass windows were located when they were in the chapel earlier. There were no windows there. Instead, the space was filled with row upon row of bone, just like the rest of the chapel. It looked like it had always been like that. Where had the windows gone? They shined their lights to the opposite side of the room and found the same thing. It was bizarre! There were stacks of bone, aged like the rest. It was as if the entire building was in a foreboding embrace with death. More than 100 years of it surrounded them in every direction. The floor was a polished emerald and black terrazzo and was the only piece of the structure not decorated in human remains. In the dim light, Dylan began to think more about the dead surrounding them and found himself on the verge of an anxiety attack. Visions of the dead rising and chasing the men flashed through his mind in grainy still shots one after the other. He closed then opened his eyes quickly and they were gone.
No light permeated the chapel. Anything outside of its walls didn’t seem to exist. The men both noticed their heart rates increasing just a bit, sweat began to bead up on their foreheads. Dylan was consciously slowing his breathing down to avoid panicking further. He couldn’t have possibly fathomed that the chapel would transform into what it was now. He feared the visions of the dead coming to life would come back.
Evan was also sweating more than usual, his curly brown hair was close-cropped and allowed it to trickle down his face. He could sense Dylan was afraid, so that didn’t help matters. Dylan was the guy who always had things figured out and was prepared. He acted like someone who had been in the military, though he entered college straight from high school. He was an all-state wrestler and got a scholarship to attend the University of Iowa. The fact he was obviously shaken by what they were seeing concerned Evan a great deal.
Evan was small in stature and the more studious of the pair. The wire rimmed glasses with thick lenses didn’t help when it came to trying to fit in. He had a 4.0 in high school and was a member of the National Honor society. He got a full ride scholarship to the University of Iowa. He always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a civil engineer. He was thankful to be done with school and to start a new life with Rebecca in Indiana. He tried to focus his thoughts on her and the good things ahead, despite the bizarre situation they now found themselves in. Still, the fact Evan was visibly shaken by all of this didn’t help matters. Evan felt as if someone was watching them and couldn’t shake the feeling. He imagined every skull in the chapel had eyes that were glued on the two of them, but the thought of thousands of eyes staring at them was horrifying. He tried to think only about Rebecca but continued to go back to his vision of the eyes staring out of their bony vessels.
Now they shined their lights straight up to the ceiling where the large skylight was. Just like the windows, the skylight was no longer present. Bones covered the space with the same herringbone pattern as the rest of the ceiling. It made no sense to them at all. Surely the chapel wasn’t equipped with retractable window coverings. Not in an old place like this.
“This is crazy!” Dylan said quietly with a slight quiver in his voice.
His eyes drifted to the chandelier they saw earlier. His penlight glistened off the skulls at the end of each arm, extending from the center spindle made from several fused human spines. The decorative piece looked more ominous in the low lighting. Shadows seemed to move around it as if it were alive.
The horrible visions came to Dylan once again. This time the dead were moving faster, chasing after him. They seemed so real. A quick closing and opening of his eyes made it go away again, yet his heart rate continued to race.
“I agree. Look, there’s no door, either.”
Evan shined his light at the end of the room where the main lobby and gift shop were located. Now that space was filled with more human bones, just like the rest. There didn’t appear to be any way out of the chapel. Evan felt a chill that started at the base of his spine and wound its way slowly toward his brain. He shivered and tried to control his breathing as he felt himself become very anxious in this stressful situation. It still felt like he was being watched, yet each time he looked at the skulls surrounding them, there were no eyes staring back.
In that same instant, both men noticed a strange red glow spilling out from the center room where the staircase was found. The red glistened off the terrazzo floor and looked like a pool of wet blood. This was the area Isabella pointed out to the group that was off limits to the public. Dylan thought it could possibly be an emergency light. He figured the door to the catacombs would be locked, so he brought with him a lock pick set that his uncle Tim got him years ago for Christmas. He got very proficient at picking just about any lock. It was one of the many odd hobbies that Dylan had. He thought maybe they lost power and that was why everything was so dark. His brain wasn’t able to accept the fact there had been a strange transformation inside the chapel while they were hiding in the closet. It didn’t make any logical sense to the two intelligent men.
“Do you hear that?” Evan said, his eyes darting around the room. The sound was coming at him from every direction. He spun in place, trying to figure it out.
“Yeah, I do. The whispering? I thought I heard that earlier,” Dylan replied, also getting the sense the noise was omni directional.
“It’s louder now.”
Evan nodded and didn’t respond. He agreed that the strange whispers were getting progressively louder.
Dylan didn’t read about the whispering sounds in the blog. Where was it coming from? What he didn’t consider at first was that it was the dead whispering to them. Now he wondered if they actually were. It sounded like something out of a bad horror movie. He surmised they were listening to the people whose bones resided there - hearing their stories. Dylan believed that some people were more perceptive to the supernatural than others and could sense things. But at night, everyone in the chapel sees, hears, and feels those incredibly strong sensations as a cacophony of the dead tell their tales. As they got louder, certain voices seemed clearer to them.
I was a young man in the prime of my life when I drowned in the river.
My brother and I fell into a deep well in the field behind our family home.
I lived to 96 years old and always wanted to be a part of the church.
I never heard the gun go off. It blew the brains out of my head.
Each of the voices whispered their story, one after the other, layered on top of each other to the point of madness. Dylan and Evan noticed the volume increasing even more, as if someone had their finger on the volume knob and was barely moving it. The men felt as if their heads would explode. The only thing they could think to do was to run for the catacombs. Maybe they could find an exit out of the building from there? Anything was better than the incessant chatter of the dead. Thousands of voices all talking at once. Every now and then they could make out a word clearly, then it was buried in the jumbled mess.
Dylan reached the staircase first and jumped over the gate that blocked it. He bounded down the steps as quickly as he could, with Evan right behind him. The noise inside the chapel was nearly deafening. As they approached the door, it quickly swung open. The men didn’t hesitate to run headfirst into the blackness of the catacombs as the door shut with a resounding thud behind them.
Inside this space they could no longer hear the madness of the dead talking over each other. Instead, they both had the feeling of being watched. They were being watched. The dead were well aware of their presence.
“How are your flashlight batteries holding up? Mine are almost empty. As soon as we got down here they dropped to almost nothing,” Evan said, his eyes slowly adjusting to their new surroundings.
“Same here. What the hell is going on?” Dylan’s voice was cracking as his throat became incredibly dry all of a sudden. He felt something brush up against his legs and jumped back.
Evan also felt a strange sensation wash over him, starting at his scalp, which began to tingle from a palpable fear. This feeling continued down his body like the tide rolling in on a beach. He felt nauseated.
It was the ghost of Father Marco they were feeling. The old half-blind priest was moving about the entrance of the catacombs as Dylan and Evan walked slowly down the hallway. To either side of them were the first two rooms. Father Marco allowed a series of wall sconces to illuminate, slowly at first. The men gasped as they were able to see the vastness of the catacombs. It seemed to go on for miles. Their heavy breathing was the only sound they heard.
The hallway they stood in was ten feet wide and constructed of human bones, just like it was upstairs, except down in the catacombs it was more crudely done. It was as if the half-blind priest had constructed it without the help of the master carpenter, Maurizio Iacona. The ceiling was also done in a pattern of bones, though they were more random than the exquisite craftsmanship in the chapel. There was something ominous about the childlike nature of the crude designs that made the catacombs more sinister. The floor appeared to be well-packed dirt from thousands of trips made during the construction of the underground labyrinth. Their footsteps made no noise as they moved gingerly, wondering what could possibly be down here with them. They were unable to shake the sensation of being watched. Both men were overwhelmed with what they were seeing and had forgotten about the deafening noise upstairs. They couldn’t hear anything down in the catacombs. It was completely silent, which was eerie.
The first room to their right was made up entirely of human teeth, except for one wall that was made from row upon row of jaw bones in creepy smiles. It was strange, and both Dylan and Evan were captivated by what they saw. Something was drawing them further and further into the catacombs. The next room was made up of nothing but thin bones from the human hand, and just like the room with the teeth, there was one wall of nothing but complete skeletal hands fanned out in rows. It was incredibly odd, yet captivating.
As they moved further inside, something continued to tug at the men. Their thoughts were consumed with the vastness of the catacombs that appeared to go on forever. The force that was moving them along was stronger as they continued down the hallway, not realizing that Father Marco was the one commanding them. It was as if a strong current was sucking them into dangerous waters. Down in the catacombs, a charnel house of enemy soldiers, was something more malevolent than either man could conceive. Even the blogs that Dylan read, full of wild stories of ghosts, devils, and demons, could not compare to the utter horror of what lay ahead at the end of the long, dim hallway.
Neither man was able to speak as they felt the pull grow even stronger. An odd yellow glow was visible in the distance. It slowly became brighter. As they got closer, the light began to pulsate, and they had to shield their eyes from it with outstretched hands. Father Marco’s force drew the men along with him toward the bright yellow light.
Dylan’s breathing was heavy as the men trotted down the hallway. He was doing his best to keep up with what felt like a strong magnetic pull. No matter what he did to slow himself down, the force that was pushing him along kept the pressure strong.
Evan was also struggling to keep up. It felt like they had been jogging for hours, though it had only been ten minutes. His legs were heavy and he was dragged along. He was also breathing heavily. It was the only sound he heard as the pace increased.
Suddenly the force that was pulling them stopped. Dylan and Evan were standing in front of a set of metal double doors. The intense light dissipated and in its place were the doors and a sign over it that read, Father Marco’s Workshop. There was something bad on the other side of the doors. They could both feel it in the pit of their stomachs. Neither was able to move. They wanted to run the other way. But now they could only focus on the crudely drawn sign above the doors. What in God’s name could Father Marco be working on in this awful place?
A moment later the double doors slowly opened and an awful stench spewed from the workshop. It was the miasma of rotten flesh that hung heavy in the air with a disgusting sweetness that made the men want to vomit. Since they had been in the chapel and catacombs, they had seen, heard, and felt death around them. Now they were smelling it, pungent and foul as it continued to waft around them like a bloated, rotten cloud.
It was dark inside the workshop as Dylan and Evan felt a slight pull again, they were unable to break free and leave the abominable space no matter how much they wanted to. The doors shut behind them as they looked around the large room that was approximately 30 feet by 30 feet. There were piles of bones in every direction. Though it was difficult to tell by looking at it, there was a method to the disturbing madness.
The bones were in various stages of being prepared for use in the catacombs. There was a large wood table in the center of the room. There were pieces of human bodies in various stages of decay with a variety of knives, cleavers, and saws caked with blood and viscera. Blood stains in the wood had become a part of the table itself. The stench was staggering.
Dylan and Evan stood next to the table in utter disbelief at what they were seeing. Surrounded by piles of bones and the pieces of flesh on the table made them both wonder whose bodies were they were. They couldn’t be from dead French soldiers from 175 years ago. Their flesh had long since rotted away. What they were seeing was from people who died recently. Were they in a horrible dream? This was like something from the worst nightmare possible.
“Do you like my workshop?” a loud voice came from behind them.
They were unable to move to see who it was. Neither was able to speak, nor did they want to. Hearing someone inside this horror show was the last thing either man wanted.
Dylan wondered if this was what people claimed was Father Marco haunting the catacombs. He made sure to leave out of his story to Evan the part about the priest claiming the bodies of anyone caught in the chapel after hours and making them part of the decorations.
Evan wanted to scream and run but he couldn’t move. His mind was racing with thoughts and none of them were good. He wanted to choke Dylan for convincing him to make this trip to Protenza. He would rather have stayed at the hotel and watched movies until he fell asleep, only to wake up with Rebecca in his arms. Her soft skin and long dark hair that smelled like lilacs seemed like a distant memory amidst the hell they were now experiencing. He wanted so badly to think about lying there with her but he couldn’t.
Dylan saw movement to his left and his eyes followed it in the dark shadows of the workshop. It made no sound. What could be moving around in here? Who was the man who spoke out? Could it be Father Marcos?
Evan also saw something move out of the corner of his eye and wondered what it was. Then there was a figure that stood up from a pile of bones in front of them. It was the rotten body of one of the French soldiers, its tattered uniform hung by threads. Then there was another one, and another. Within moments they were surrounded by a least twenty of the infernal things, grinning and moving closer, inches at a time. A low growl came from deep inside them.
“No one escapes if I find them here in the catacombs,” boomed a loud voice, yet this time the men were able to see the apparition they read about. “No one!”
Dylan and Evan were frozen in place. Their bodies were rigid with fear as the undead continued to come toward them with outstretched hands. The figure before them was a man of average height wearing a brown robe, one of his eyes was milky white and dead, the other bloodshot and seeping pus. His skin was gray and rotten, falling off the bone as it cackled with laughter. The insane laughs sent chills through Dylan and Evan.
“Yes, I am Father Marco! You are in my workshop now!”
Suddenly Dylan noticed his feet were no longer stuck in place. Same with Evan. The men spun around only to see a large circle of the dead moving in closer. They seemed to move in time like soldiers marching on parade. Father Marcos stood next to the large wooden table, his arms up as if he were commanding a room full of marionettes. It was a hideous display as the fetid monsters moved closer and closer, the hideous laughing priest filled their ears.
Within moments Dylan and Evan were overtaken by the dead. Their final moments were filled with pure terror as they were thrown down on the table before the hideous half-blind priest. He raised his hand which tightly clutched a blood-caked meat cleaver. That was the last thing both men saw as he brought it down with vengeance as the dead held them in place.
The following morning Isabella arrived at the Chapel of Bones 20 minutes before they were open for the day. She had a late night with her husband, who took her to dinner and a play for her birthday. He also bought her a lovely necklace, which she was wearing. The sapphire brought out the blue in her brilliant eyes, which stood out amongst the black dress, hosiery, and heels she was required to wear by her employer.
Isabella loved getting to the chapel before anyone else. She had many relatives that were buried in the old St. Mark’s cemetery, only to be relocated here. That was why she took the job as tour guide in the first place. There was something peaceful about it. She wondered if someday she would also be a part of the chapel.
As much as she loved getting to the chapel early, the one thing that Isabella refused to do, was to stay late. During the daylight, she felt the chapel was alive in celebration of the lives they lead. But at night, there was a foreboding doom that seemed to permeate the entire chapel. She heard stories and rumors about the ghosts that haunted the catacombs. She didn’t want to be there to see if there was any truth to the shocking stories.
Isabella remarked at how beautiful the sun from the east looked as its light poured in through the massive stained glass windows that nearly covered the wall. Looking up, she noted how blue the sky was and how beautiful it looked through the gorgeous skylight in the center of the ceiling. The chandelier seemed to pulsate with positive energy as Isabella made her way past it.
She walked toward the lobby and gift shop to open it up before the first tour started in 30 minutes. As she approached, she noticed something different about the arched doorway nearest the lobby. She grabbed a handkerchief from her pocket and used it to wipe off two skulls that stood out to her. They didn’t seem to glisten quite like the others, so she buffed them quickly with the handkerchief and stood back, admiring her attention to detail.
This story appears in Creation of Chaos: Volume IV - buy your copy now!
Buy a copy of Creation of Chaos: Volume IV