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Cricket Lone Wolf Part 13
By
frogprince

Cricket Lone Wolf Part 13

Daria bothers Stefan and Marcia enters the locked chapel.

After the helicopter landed at the hospital seventy-five miles from the school, Daria entered the operating room to set and repair the damage to her severely broken leg. Two breaks were minor and easily set. The third break was a compound fracture that required surgery and a steel rod implant that was permanent.

The operation took several hours and went very easily. They examined her coma and found it to be the result of the horse kick to her head. No real damage occurred, but her body shut down her brain to allow everything to heal.

Her leg would be in traction for several weeks, while it healed. She would be in bed the whole time. When she did get out of bed, she would need crutches until her leg regained its strength. Her coma became the main focus of the doctors. They examined her brain, her eyes and other neurological functions. They saw nothing to cause the coma.

Something very strange happened in the room, while the doctors examined Daria. A wraith hovered in the room, which watched the doctors carefully. When it was satisfied, they meant no harm, it moved away to a more distant place. She moved out of her body and remained outside until she was ready to return. She had unfinished tasks to accomplish. She planned to watch the one she loved.

The wraith appeared because the host body was in a coma. Normally a ghost appeared, but in Daria's instance, she became a wraith. Her angry irascible disposition made her evil. The wraith had two images, which only the one she loved could see. The first was a shimmering plane in the air. It was as if there was a transparent window shade hanging in the air. The wraith, if seen, was the pure image of the live body of Daria. This visage could talk and touch her human love.

It was a long trip by automobile to the Bard school from the hospital, but the wraith passed the miles in seconds. She hovered over the school and looked around the grounds. She did not worry about anyone seeing her. The only person who could see her was the person she loved. That person was Stefan. She searched the school trying to find him. The stable was empty, his room empty, Marcia's room empty, other areas empty. Where was he?

Marcia, Naomi and Stefan sat in the abandoned classroom looking down on the chapel. Lately every time they visited the classroom, the chapel was a hub of activity. People came and went. It might be a good time to sneak in and observe the activity from inside. Marcia and Stefan spoke in soft whispers. They did not need to whisper, but it felt more mysterious if they did.

"Every time we try the door it is locked. How do we get around that?" Stefan started. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair, as Daria's wraith poked his ribs.

"I have a solution to the locked door. Polina is an expert in opening locked doors. She is willing to help us open it. She does not want to accompany us inside." Marcia added. "Stefan, what is wrong? You seem very jumpy today."

"I have a strange feeling and something keeps poking my ribs, as if Daria were here. Polina sounds like the right person to involve. What about Naomi?"

"I think for right now, the fewer involved the better. If they caught me or us, I want to have as few people involved as I can. That means I would rather it be only me."

"I am not going to let you go in there alone," Stefan protested. "You might be captured and tortured or worse, end up dead. I don't want that to happen because we are curious."

"Ok, but it will be just you and me, no one else." Marcia shot back. "The fewer of us directly involved in the chapel the better. What we are doing is fraught with danger. I don't want anyone hurt."

"Hey, why can't I go?" Naomi quipped. Marcia and Stefan looked questioningly at each other.

Marcia spoke up first, "Uh, um, we thought the fewer the better for right now." Stefan shook his head in agreement.

Naomi pouted, but let it drop. This was a planning session. Plans usually changed right up until it was time to execute. That was Naomi's thinking.

Part of the plan was to get Polina close to the lock to examine it. Marcia reasoned that getting close would be easier during the day. Students were in class and the staff was busy watching the inside of the buildings. On one of the few afternoons off, Polina and Marcia wandered the courtyard, while Stefan and Naomi walked his horse. They approached the chapel carefully, as to not attract attention. Marcia stood watch while Polina tinkered and examined the lock.

When Marcia looked around, she watched Stefan and Naomi talking. They seemed so at ease with each other, not the wary girl and fawning boy. Her eyes roved the courtyard and the lower areas of the buildings. A movement in an upper window in the building across from the chapel attracted her eye. She surreptitiously cocked her head, which allowed her eyes to survey the upper floor.

As she peered, a shadow crossed her vision. Someone stood in the window of the room she used earlier the night before. He was only a shadow, but seemed to be a familiar shape and build. She thought, "Is the headmaster watching us? Why would he watch this group of students?" She lowered her head and went back to survey the courtyard.

Polina cheered softly and whistled. The lock was open, it proved tricky but she succeeded. "The lock is open, Marcia. I can make a key for you in my room, if you like. It felt good to pick a real lock and not the toys they have here at school." Polina re-locked the door and met with Marcia, as she walked away.

Marcia checked off that task in her mental checklist. The plan moved along another step successfully. She smiled at the result. Polina and Marcia caught up to their friends. Naomi silently, secretly moved away from Stefan. Marcia noticed the change in Naomi's demeanor, but kept quiet. The wraith moved down behind Stefan and pinched his ear.

"OUCH!" Stefan yelled. "Which one of you pinched my ear?" He searched the faces of his friends and saw surprise on all. Was he imagining things? Was this a joke or just a hallucination? Several mysterious things occurred, which resembled little love taps Daria did. He stopped walking and looked first at his friends, but they looked innocent. He looked over his friends' heads and saw a shimmering in the air. The shimmering moved against the slight breeze but had no real shape. Once again the irascible wraith of Daria struck.

Stefan abruptly turned his horse and quickly returned to the stable. The girls followed, sat on some hay bales and watched as he brushed his horse. Stefan looked around the stable and noticed the shimmer followed him. He wanted to say something to the girls, hoping they saw it too. Fear that he was haunted prevented him. He did not like the eeriness of the shimmering.

When Stefan finished working with his horse, the group went back into the school. Stefan sat with the girls at dinner that night. He chatted with Marcia about getting into the chapel. Naomi purposely sat as far away from him as possible at the table. Stefan didn't mind, he was more interested in breaking into the lock. Polina explained how easy the lock was and she could make a key. Stefan smiled.

When Polina told Marcia she could make a key, she did not say it would take a few days. Three days later after class, Polina gave Marcia a heavy key. Marcia looked at it and smiled. It was a work of art, with raised creatures and a long shaft. "Can we go out to the chapel and try it today?" Polina commented.

"I think Stefan is out working his horse, so sure why not?" Marcia praised Polina. "I love the work you put into this. It truly looks as if it were an original key for the lock."

Stefan watched the girls approach, as he put his horse away. When Marcia was close enough, she waved the key at him. He smiled and raised his hands in mock applause. He went quickly to Marcia and examined the key. It was heavy in his hand but it looked authentic and made for the lock when installed centuries ago. He took the key and walked briskly to the chapel, with the girls in tow.

Polina stayed far enough away that she could watch for people. Stefan inserted the key in the lock, twisted it slowly and the lock smoothly opened. Marcia pulled on the big iron handle and the door swung open quietly on well-oiled hinges. Stefan quickly stepped inside followed stealthily by Marcia. They stood looking around while their eyes adjusted to the limited candlelight.

The nave appeared to resemble a small version of the village church. Marcia walked down the main aisle to the altar. In front of the altar was a strange sight. For a chapel, which was supposed to be sealed, there were three new coffins on biers. Each coffin had a brass plaque on the top, which had the name and date of the deceased. She took a candle to read the names easier.

As she read, her mood changed from one of wonder to one of terrified horror. She knew all the deceased. She grabbed Stefan's arm so tightly he tried to shake her off. With her mouth moving, but unable to speak, she pointed a shaking finger at the dead. Stefan went to the coffins and read the names. As he read, the color drained from his face, his legs grew weak but he stood very still and stiff. Marcia and he slowly moved away from the coffins and sat in the front pew. The two teens hugged tightly as fear caused their bodies to shake violently.

As they sat, Marcia's eyes surveyed the altar and the doors off to the side. One door opened into a storage area for the altar. The other looked to be a set of wide stairs, which descended under the chapel. The stairs were wide enough to accommodate a coffin carried down them. Marcia slowly and deliberately walked to the door and looked down the stairs. She saw a set of much worn stone stairs and several scratches worn in the walls by coffins.

Stefan joined Marcia at the door taking her hand. They descended the stairs quietly, as if they would wake whoever was alive down there. The stairs wound down into a large room with coffin-sized holes dug into the walls. Beyond the room was another area that led through a tunnel to a modern paved garage. That was where the smell of gasoline came. Marcia searched earlier for this rear door.

They walked into the garage. Remnants of round tether rings hung on the walls where horses once waited for visitors. Marcia walked to the end of the garage and saw it open into the forest as part of the large stone compound she saw on her walks. She thought, "Next time I walk in the forest, I will examine the compound more carefully." Stefan tugged her arm, as he urged Marcia to return to the nave and leave the chapel.

Reluctantly, Marcia followed him into the crypt and up the stairs. She replaced the candle in its holder. She stood in front of the coffins and ran a hand reverently over each. She remembered the names of the dead, which conjured up memories of them. A nagging question caught in her throat unsaid. She wanted to know, why these three human bodies interred here. Another mystery yet remained to solve.

As Stefan and Marcia closed and locked the chapel door, Polina ran up to them. She saw the shocked look of horror on their faces and cringed afraid to go closer. Polina gulped own air and went to her friends. She wrapped her short arms around them giving comfort. Marcia rested her head on Polina. Stefan stood stiff and straight. Not a word passed between them.

All Marcia saw was in her mind. The names of the dead etched permanently there, never to leave. She saw the coffins and the memories of Chantel and Naomi's mother and father. Her only thought was for Naomi. Should Marcia tell Naomi what she saw or should it be a secret, which Marcia took to her grave?

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

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