's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"Tomb of the Ancients"

Submitted by Xavier Patterson

I awoke in a dizzy haze. As my mind pieced itself back together I looked and felt around for a frame of reference of my location. I felt the back of the head where an alarming amount of blood was which disgusted, confused and horrified me but I do not think some of it was mine as this was too much blood for a man to lose and live. It was a pitch black area and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could barely make out what I was seeing. In the distance there was a pillar shaped object and I could make dark blobs of brick lying around the ground. My mind could not remember where I was, how did I get here and why I was here. Suddenly an unknown fear griped over me. My head felt awake enough to feel a surging pain that made me almost faint, it felt as if something was seeping into my brain and forcing it to remember anything. I immediately decided it was best to stand up so I fumbled to my feet where I decided to try to look for any source of light. As I carefully stepped into the unknown darkness unaware of what I would find my mind had a sudden kick of memory….

…My name is Vincent Usher; I am an explorer and archaeologist specializing in Ancient Civilisations long since dead. I arrived in Chile where a mine had found some sort of ancient tomb by accident I had come to this area to explore this tomb and find out what civilisation it was. Accompanying me was my frequent companion and partner Randolph Constantine whom was a man of impressive height who stood near six and a half feet he towered above many men, he was always mistaken as a brute due to his height and his masculine features such as his grizzled chin, dark sunken eyes which could give off a stare which never seemed to end even if he turned away, his large protruding scar which was on his cheek and gave off the sense that he was a man of action but this was not the truth as I cannot recall exactly how he got that mark but all I can recall was an incident of drunkenness and the attempted cutting of vegetables. His hair was jet black and almost always filled with dust and unkempt due to his occupation. His muscular build strengthened this stereotype of the rugged alpha male but this was him wanting to keep healthy as he was a man of logic and philosophy studying such philosophers as Friedrich Nietzsche whom he believed was right in the myth of the superman. He was also an explorer who's want of finding evidence of a god. I am taller than my friend but much skinnier with bony fingers, long skeletal arms, and stilt like legs. My hair was blacker than a badly burnt body. People say I reminded them of the personification of death itself as I usually wear a black suit with a red tie reminding them of the devil himself or death. This amused me to some concern. I was not an idealist like my friend instead I opted that man controls his own destiny and no guiding hand from some mythical omnipotent being was helping us, I believe in what I see and I can comprehend everything else is meaningless folklore used to scare the masses away from “sinful” deeds. I study under science and not some philosopher asking unimportant questions.

Randolph and I went to Chile to look at this supposed geological structure inside some hollowed out mine. When we reached us the weary and superstitious villagers guided us to this mine. We stepped into the abysmal abyss with our torches lighting the way and a Villager guiding us to the area. The mine was dark, damp, smelt like the blood and sweat of hard working miner's whom I had a certain respect for digging on in this stagnant abyss. We reached our destination and we were both in shock and awe at this marvel. It looked like a tomb but not of any civilisation we had ever seen its entrance was filled with markings we interrupted as some language yet the characters looked Egyptian but at the same time Chinese and Aztecan. We immediately went to investigate further into the tomb to the entrance which was a giant stone door of magnificent size its colour brown from being underneath the earth but still very sturdy. Randolph and I immediately set off back to England to hire a team of researchers, construction workers and funds for the exploration of this wonderful find….

….I got up as that tidal wave of memory knocked me back in confusion a bit. I now know my name and what I look like. I would venture this is the tomb I was so excited to study. A sudden horrific thought dawned on me. I assumed we did bring a group with us but where they are and why are there no lights set up. This thought chilled me to the bones what fate had I been left to, was I abandoned, did they just disappear. I had to find out even if it meant struggling to walk in this wretched place. I set out to first find a torch as I hoped there would be one.

I blindly followed some vague path I set out to myself which gave me direction when suddenly I tripped over something and landed foolishly on the ground. I angrily cursed as my chest felt the stinging pain of the physical act of falling and the feeling of stupidity afterward. I got up in a vindictive manner wholly wanting to destroy whatever dared to get in my way. When I realize what it was I was about to recklessly ruin. It was a torch, I could not believe my good fortune I was overjoyed at this finding and immediately clumsily started feeling for the switch. Whence I found it the light poured out of the contraption giving light to this Darkened hell. Immediately as I began to admire the light bouncing off the walls a flash flood of memory came back….

….Randolph and I had returned to the tomb in the mine with a crew of experts ready to do what we command to examine and exhume this ancient building of astonishing architecture. We started off by opening the large stone door with the manpower we now owned as soon. Inside was pitch black; we had to set up some sort of lighting fixtures in order to do our work. We immediately set up a generator and connected it to some lights. We turned on the gas guzzling beast and it roared its noise of triumph as it did its work. The lights flickered and then turned on dazzling us with its heavenly light. Inside the tomb it was strangely empty, no bodies in a tomb maybe our examination of this area was wrong. The tomb had huge vast pillars that had more strange inscriptions on them. The floor was stone almost alien as it was decorated with crystals and diamonds of shape and colour I had never seen before. The colour I had never even seen before it looked orange yet purple but even that was a vague description it was completely alien and incomprehensible I had to look away as it hurt my head for some reason to stare at it for too long. The entrances to different parts of the tomb were lined with a sort of giant stone frame that had more inscriptions on it, Randolph and I would have to translate this strange language. We had discovered how to as this civilisation seemed to start before the Egyptians and the Chinese. This is where they originated from there must be tombs like this around the world if this was true. The walls were lined with silver and gold mixed with that blackish stone these people seemed to love to decorate their tomb with. Randolph and I immediately set out to do our work….

…. As I got to my feet I looked at the ground at the alien colour which interested me earlier now seemed to mock me even laugh at me and my fumbling stupidity in this damned tomb. I grabbed my torch and looked at the pillars which seemed cracked and ruined yet in my memory there was no such signs of age. Even stranger was the fact the inscriptions on the pillar changed they went from some strange Egyptian, Chinese hybrid to a mixture of Mayan and Aztecan. This startled me to a degree. I decided to head to the exit of the tomb as I vaguely knew where it was now. I noticed that the stone frames on the entrances were changed indefinitely as well. I didn’t know why but I did not want to know, I was too frightened and worried about my friend to care all I wanted to do was leave this place. Maybe Randolph and the crew had finished. Maybe I wandered in here in a sort of sleep walking. I had not known as I stepped out of this room I noticed dried blood on the floor which sent a rush of memory flooding back….

….A few days into our work Randolph and I have managed to translate the writing on one of the pillars it was a very foreboding sentence probably to scare off some superstitious natives. It said “This tomb is not to be disturbed a great evil slumbers here” My associate found this disturbing. He was visibly shaking for the night. I had to tell him to calm down that is wasn’t real it was just some natives being superstitious. Despite my negotiations on what are real and what isn’t Randolph started work with red tired eyes and a strange affinity for caffeine. I avoided him the whole morning fearing that he would be easily agitated. I eventually had to work with him in the afternoon as I was not as adapt at translations as he was. We got to work quickly and efficiently Randolph was not working as a human he was translating these symbols as if they were his native language. I looked over at him while we were working and what I say confused me for a second. I could have sworn his eye's went completely black for a second….

Getting back to my feet after that flash of memory was not easy as my head had a splitting headache added with a ringing in my ears that would not stop for even a second. This was beginning to drive me mad and I started punching the area of dried blood until my fist poured out fresh blood on the mark. I stopped out of pain and fatigue. How long had I been down here. Minutes, Hours maybe even days I had no idea time seemed to stand still down here. What I did know is that I was getting hungry, dehydrated and fatigued. It began to become an effort to walk any further blindly following my memory of where the entrance was. When I reached the entrance or what I think was the entrance. I saw that it was blocked up with rock and debris I howled in despair and quickly ran around the digging site looking, praying for a way out. I started clawing at the wall until my nails ripped from my fingers in giving a sound of bitten nails except louder and more painful. The pain made me stop. The panicked adrenaline rush had ceased and I decided to sit down to calm my worried bones. I looked at my hands which were scarlet red from the blood pouring from where my nails used to be. The pain had gone away almost as sudden as it had begun. If I was trapped in this tomb why was I not suffocating. There was no ray of light coming from the covered entrance. That must mean there could be a different way out of this place. I didn't get up as another memory decided to attach itself to my mind while I had this revelation...

…. We worked for days upon end digging up new areas of this tomb discovering suspiciously empty burial chambers and hallways. I wondered where the bodies had went to. I was so hoping to examine them just to discover how old this civilisaiton was. I would not be surprised if it was fossils we would find. My partner Randolph had started convulsing and moaning the night before about ancient gods, star signs, weird sacrifices and the ancient writing describing our own demise at the hands of some sort of ancient beast. We thought that the claustrophobic atmosphere of the tomb had finally gotten to him. He seemed to be getting crazier and crazier after I had saw those black eyes. He started getting agitated, violent towards others and working tirelessly without rest or food. Last night after his episode he attacked me with a pickaxe. Me his colleague since we went to college together, we had him tied down to his bed to prevent him from hurting himself and others. As we tied him down we noticed he had self-inflicted the carvings on the walls of the tomb on his arms. They were crudely done and by the looks of it done by his nails which were hanging on by a thread. He has never acted like this not even a slight bit of madness, this deeply disturbed me. Maybe those black eyes I thought was a hallucination were real. No matter no helping it now. We dug on. I had finished with the writings. Randolph had already translated them. They wrote about how the skin would be flayed from our bones and how our bodies would be eaten alive by some ancient creatures. For some reason these descriptions were getting to me who would usually laugh at such foolish superstition. I decided to blame it on the Randolph's madness affecting me. When we dug we found a hole not very deep and not very big around enough to fit a large man through but we decided it might be useful to dig deeper. I don't know if it was the air or something else but I heard from this hole a wailing. Some kind of inhuman wailing almost like something was in insufferable pain from which there is no stopping....

…..The hole of course that might be my way out of this cave. I quickly ran to where my memory guided me. Running past empty tombs but this gave me a thought. What if in this hole there was the bodies of this ancient civilisaiton and worse what if this hole was the reason I woke up without memory and the reason no one else is here. These thoughts frightened me for my only exit could be my very doom. I decided to press on. It was either die of starvation or face whatever was in that hole. I would rather face the hole than die slowly of starvation or dehydration. I walked slowly with each step the intensity of my breathing heightened till I found myself breathing loud enough to wake the dead. Which my mind was praying would not happen. I had become a frightened wreck at this superstitious nonsense which for some reason seemed so real to me now when a few days ago I would laugh at someone who thought such things. I had reached my destination. This was it the end of the line. There was a burst of air coming from this hole, stagnant rotten air which made my stomach give up whatever contents that was left. I heard crawling coming from the hole. I stopped in place, I could not move, my own body betrayed me and stayed still as I head grunting, moaning and crawling. I begun to see a shadow of a large man crawl through the hole. I waited with baited breath. Then I saw what the figure was. Gods it was horrible it was Randolph but he was ruined. His clothes torn and ripped by claws blood was all over him. His eyes had been plucked as blood poured down from the holes like sickening waterfalls. His hair was gone and bits of pulsating brain was showing. His skin was flayed and oozed red muscle. His arteries were cut and his bones were broke. His fingers were bloody stumps which were encrusted with dirt. He opened his mouth but there was no tongue and his throat had glass stuck in it which made him spit blood at every syllable. It was a miracle he was alive but as soon as I went to comfort my friend his chest exploded exposing his ripped lungs and black heart which looked dead for days. I was confused and horrified if I had not just vomited I would have vomited up my stomach lining at this sight. My colleague lay dead at the entrance at the hole dripping blood which was turning black as I looked like some sort of quickened rot. His body even began to turn leathery. Maggots were chewing on his legs. I removed the body. I did not feel any emotion for my colleague as a maddening curiosity had formed in my emotions over what was in the hole. The same curiosity that makes man see what lies beyond the veil of life, the same curiosity that cause's man to pull the trigger on himself. I crawled into the hole when my memory attacked me and made me surrender consciousness....

…. We finally neared the end of this hole. It had been two days since we found it. Randolph had warned us not to see what was at the other end but we ignored him and pressed on. As I heard the last remnants of rock fall off we all heard a scream of the worker which was silenced almost immediately. Two men went in after him only to be met with screams which were silenced. A gas burst from the hole which sent my flying back. The gas didn't affect me other than that push but it seemed to effect the crew who went mad and started screaming. They started tearing out their own eyes. Their own tongues and their own throats. Some of them used the tools that were used to excavate the hole as weapons. Ramming pickaxes into skulls and using jackhammers as spears. As I observed this madness. Randolph broke out of his bonds and hit me in the back of the head with a stone causing blood to pour out of the back of my head. I slowly went out of consciousness as I saw Randolph crawl into the hole yelling BACK BEASTS....

That was why I had woken with little memory. I think this was Randolph protecting me in his madness from this strange insanity gas which unleashed strange afflictions onto our associates. Why was there no bodies. I had seen workers die in drones before I was knocked out. I decided I would probably soon discover going down this hole. I knew it would lead to my death but I did not care anymore I was going to die either way at least this way I would have some answers. I went down into the abyss of the dark hole crawling through the blood of my colleague who lay in the tomb. I reached the end. What I saw broke all sense of reality I had left. It was a large room with four pillars with torches of fire coloured like that alien colour. There was the same writing all over the walls except more frantic and hideous like the words themselves were going to attack me for daring to look at them. At the center of this room was a pile of dead bodies all of them like Randolph except they had rotted even more but maggots were not devouring them instead they were being eaten by horrifying beasts. These were the gods these people worshiped. Looking at them caused my sanity to break into pieces and scatter never to return. They were huge twice the size of a man. They had long thin arms or something close and there hands were huge and black. There bodies were tall, there eyes black and there mouths filled with black teeth where blood had covered most of it. These were only descriptions my mind was trying to comprehend but they could not be comprehended they didn't even look like they came from our dimension. They seemed to be made of four dimensions instead of three dimensions. They saw me with what my mind thought was eyes but I was long past trusting what my mind had comprehended. All I could do was let the tears come down my face as they slowly came towards me gliding almost gracefully towards me. These were my doom and all I could do was laugh at how small and insignificant I was. At how my comprehensions of the universe were wrong and I would never understand anything anymore. All my research had lead to being the food for some horrible beasts ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA.