14 August, 2018 by katelaity
‘We must be getting rather deep now,’ Chambers said with an air of unhealthy excitement. He doubtless would have preferred us to stop so he could make notes and sketches in his memorandum book, but the darkness precluded such an activity. I began to wonder how long our torches would hold out as we paced ever deeper into the earth, but noting a good amount of fuel left to my own torch, I decided not to mention it for the nonce.
After all, Tansy held a lantern that was well-filled with oil. If need be we could surely find our way back to the abbey with its light alone. Though our flickering torches gave more direct light, they also flickering in the subterranean air in a most unsettling way.
Almost as unsettling as being led into the depths by a spectre!
But such a spectre she was. I gazed in admiration at her face. What culture! What beauty! To have a superior woman of this sort guide us was surely a pleasure. If only she had lived. I felt a joyful melancholy that we would be forever parted by cruel fate, that I could only admire her from afar like Endymion and his goddess. I wondered if this Selene would guide us to amazing treasures that would make us famous as well as rich.
I stumbled over a rock in the cave and nearly lost my balance.
‘You would better to watch your feet than our ghostly guide,’ Tansy scolded with a chuckle.
‘I am quite capable of walking on my own for some years now,’ I said, stung a little by the laugh.
‘I do often wonder when I see you in the club after a night of reckless abandon,’ Tansy said, no chuckle now but a hearty laugh.
‘What one does in his club is a matter of privacy.’ I thought it most ungentlemanly of Tansy to bring it up but when he was a she these issues did raise themselves up more often. It was almost like Tansy saw things differently.
‘What’s that horrible smell?’ the abbess asked, drawing back from the unseen assault.
We paused in the dark corridor. Its rough-hewn walls seemed to close in for a moment. There was something familiar about the awful pungency.
‘It’s death,’ Tansy said in a quiet voice that echoed around the chamber.
The lovely ghost showed her sorrow more deeply than before and nodded an assent. No doubt her terrible fated awaited us. Perhaps we could offer her some consolation in bearing witness. I steeled myself to be strong for her.
As we turned the next bend with slow steps we were unprepared for the sight that met us in the gloom. If I had not been frozen in my tracks, I would surely have dropped my torch.