I apologize for the abrupt stop. In the middle of my typing I heard something move just outside the window. Given the events I was in the process of telling you about, I’m not in any mood to fuck around and let things slide. I did some investigating, but I couldn’t find a damn thing. I guess now that that’s over with, I can resume from where I left off.
I heard the gravel shift from within the grotto, but I could not discern how or where. Everything around me was still empty, with no figure in sight. I took a step back from the altar as fear swelled in my chest and tripped on something. I fell on my ass and looked down at what I thought at first was a snake coiled around the base of the altar. Only I realized that this thing had no eyes, or a mouth. It was a long, solid black mass of darkness slithering across the floor, and it wasn’t alone. On either side of the altar, three, maybe four more of the long slick appendages slid out of the fog and around the stone construct in the middle of the grotto.
I wanted to throw up. I wanted to scream. I don’t know why I didn’t.
I scrambled on my hands and feet backwards, till my head bumped against the crucifix. I looked up at it as the light shone down into the room. The diffuse light of the lamps above the crucifix shone onto the fog and partially illuminated the writhing black masses in pale light, making them shift in the fog like the long fingers of some malevolent and incorporeal spirit, like shadow puppets bleeding into their hazy surroundings. It was at one with the mist, which took on a new and gruesome character with the arrival of these avatars of darkness. The tentacles slid downward onto the floor, getting lost in the heavy fog. I heard the terrible sound of gravel being moved again. They were coming for me.
I’m thankful that I somehow managed to maintain enough resolve to do something. With no way of escaping the grotto behind me, I did the only thing I could have done to escape. I leapt up, pushed down one of the racks holding the candles, and ran forward. I leapt onto the altar, eager to get my feet out of the fog and away from the tentacles that slid down below. I looked outside again, uncertain as to what lay out there. I couldn’t make out anything in the dense fog, but I knew that out there could be no worse than being stuck in here with those things. I leapt down from the altar towards the only way in our out of the grotto and immediately turned right as soon as my boots hit grass. Behind me, the all too familiar scraping sound became more pronounced. I scrambled forward as I frantically tried to make my way towards the stairs. Faster I ran as behind me, the slithering became louder, this time on grass and away from the gravel. I reached forward…and ran into the chain link fence. Suddenly, I was filled with pure terror. No, it wasn’t possible. The chain link fence was in front of the grotto. I hadn’t gone that way. I should have been at the stairs! How did I get here?
I screamed and kicked the fence, then climbed over it as fast as I could. As I hit the ground on the other side I heard something hit the fence. One of the appendages had ran into the chain link fence. The tendril slid upward along the metal links. I put one hand along the fence and ran parallel to it as fast as I could, determined not to lose my place again in this fucking fog. After running a good 40 feet, I leapt over the fence and ran forward where I was almost certain the hill sloped up towards the parking lot outside the newest dorms. Mid run I stopped and turned around. I couldn’t hear movement anymore. There I was, in the middle of this thick fog, and everything was dead quiet except for the beating of my heart. I took deep breaths and walked backward, slowly. My mind raced. Somehow, the silence was even more frightening than the damned noise those tentacles made. I had no fucking clue where those things were coming from. And then I slipped again, but not on a tentacle. My heel hit something hard, and I feel back…onto a flight of cement stairs.
No. No, the first time I mighta gotten lost in the fear and confusion but there was no fucking way that I’d gotten to where I was. This isn’t possible, and I swear by it. I looked up and sure as Hell, there were the cement steps, the metal handrails, and the dense foliage on either side above the stone walls. I didn’t understand how I’d gotten there, but I realized that I didn’t care. I could finally get up the hill and towards the damn street. I clawed my way up the steps til I got on my two feet and made it to the top. There was the sign with the familiar “Lady of Lourdes Grotto” written on it. I never thought I’d be so fucking happy to see those words written on a bunch of scrap metal before. My heart was racing. I was panting heavily, trying desperately to breathe again at a normal rate. But the fog was still thick. I knew I wasn’t safe. I had to make it back to the apartment.