This picture is the inspiration for the story below it. It was issued as this week’s Sunday Snap challenge by Ken Broad over at Fictional Campfire. Warning it is a longer one than usual.
I yawned and rolled my eyes which resulted in a sharp jab to my ribs by my mother’s elbow. It was her fault we were there in the first place. She felt we needed one more family holiday before I went off to university in September. I wanted to spend a couple weeks at the beach with some friends. She was paying for my studies, so she won.
We stood outside York Minster, listening to some old man tell us all about the ghost of a sailor, who appeared to his sister, after he died at sea, a long time ago. I thought a ghost walk would have at least raised a hair or two on the back of my neck but I disappointedly felt nothing. The only remotely creepy thing was the way the fog and night sky were framing the old church before us.
The ghost walk ended and we quickly made our way towards the minster, my father had purchased us tickets to the evening symphony. We found our seats and the noise began. I was convinced I might have died from boredom.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I got up and wandered in the direction of the toilets. I could try and text my boyfriend Ben, from in there. I was stopped by an old woman with an odd foreign accent and a tour guide polo shirt on. “Where are you going young lady?”
“I just need to use the toilet and then I will head right back to my seat,” I lied. I had no intention of getting back to my seat for quite some time.
She eyed me up and down and then smiled, “Can’t use those ones, they aren’t working. I will show you where there are others.” She led me out of the main area back towards the south entrance then down some steps. Then she told me that I should carry on through to the right. “Can you make your own way back?”
I nodded. The lady seemed a bit strange. I did not want her lingering around.
“Well then I’ll leave you here,” She started back up the stairs before shouting, “Say hello to Lizzie Bath for me.”
“Who the hell is Lizzie Bath?” I asked looking up from my mobile phone but she was gone and so was my phone’s reception.
I headed towards the direction she indicated. The ceilings were low and arched. There was not really any proper lighting either. I did not see anything that looked like a toilet. I heard a faint banging sound in the direction I had just come from. The hair on the back of my neck rose just a little.
I turned and headed back towards where I had come from. The open door had been shut and locked. Panic kicked in and I banged on it but nobody came.
I decided there must be another way out so I began to explore the various sections leading off from the main area. The majority of the undercroft was poorly lit to protect the items on view during normal public access hours. Then I found a little door that had a sign saying the area was off limits to members of the public. I of course ignored the sign and went through the door. After all it was not locked.
The area led to what looked more like a crypt than the part I had just been in. The stone walls were crumbling. Ancient coffins lined the walls with their intricate carvings and effigies marking their owner’s past importance in the world. It was very dark so I used my phone as a light. I rounded a corner and saw light coming from a recessed area up ahead.
As I neared the recess there was a plaque on the wall candle light danced over the words:
Beware of the Devil, who lives within Lizzie Bath,
Entombed here for eternity 30 December 1710
It had been remarkable quiet in the crypt until I neared the walled up area that must have been Lizzie’s tomb. I began to hear scratching and moaning coming from the other side of the wall. I decided it might be a good time to run. The path underneath me was loose and I tripped. I bashed my knee on the stone tiles and cut my hand on the wall. As I willed myself to stand, I realised the cut on my hand was more like a gash. I tried to put my sleeve over it to stop it from pumping blood everywhere. My knee betrayed me and I could not get up.
The wall in front of me began to crumble slowly. I tried to push myself along the ground as far away from it as possible but ultimately I had no choice but to sit and watch as it came crashing to the ground.
A weakened yet sinister voice called out, “Who has come to give me the gift of their blood?”
I tried to get up and failed again. Then I looked up to see a woman stood before me. She had long dark hair, dark piercing eyes and was dressed in a silken gown from long ago. I feared her and envied her at the same time. My heart raced as she grabbed hold of my bleeding hand. She placed a handkerchief over it and as if controlling my body helped me to my feet and led me into her tomb.
Once there she removed the handkerchief and fed on my blood until I was an inch from death. I heard her whisper in my ear, “Do you want to live child?”
I mouthed the word yes.
She pulled a small knife from her sleeve and slit herself at the wrist. “Do you promise to be my companion and do my bidding?”
I tried to shake my head again. I was not in control of my thoughts but I knew the words and gestured I made were an unbreakable pact. As she fed me her blood I felt my strength return slightly. Then she took the knife and pierced my heart, I died almost instantly.
When I awoke the world seemed different, the dark seemed brighter and my hunger grew with an intensity I had never felt before. That was the night Lizzie passed on the gift. Between us we have given a new life to over one hundred fifty young ladies and everyone is now happily doing Lizzie’s bidding.