El Maleh Rachamim

The long bell rang, and we rush to the church in our school. We decided to go to the church to pray and ask god to change our marks as we were informed that our report cards would be given tomorrow. "It's okay Shwetha just come along" said Chandrika holding my nervous hand as we stepped warily inside the church which was empty as all the students were leaving home. I always felt agitated to enter this church. I was told that my school was built on a grave.

I still remember the day when my cousin came to me and said "I saw a big hand in the ceiling moving towards me trying to hold me and I came running out." I can never forget the frightened look on her face. She was terrified to enter that church again. My mother told me that is just her imagination and she was trying to scare me.

The walls painted in a faint and dull turquoise green make it feel like shadows are evolving from the cracked roofs. It still felt gloomy with the faint lights all around. The church is structured like a cross with the sports ground and the primary section on either side, a college on the north of the church. Four pillars at the entrance of the church always closed had a balcony suspended on them facing towards the altar. The tranquility of the church consistently remained the same even with the primary section of the school being fifty steps away from it.

I forcibly close my frightened eyes and scarcely enter into the church forcefully taking brisk steps to reach the benches assembled in a systematic order in front of the altar. I kneel down on the foot of the bench, my shoulders feeling heavy with the load of my bag. I shut my eyes tightly I start offering my prayers in a desperate rush just to get out of the place. "Amen!" I said and unclosed my eyes, struck with an intense fear of terror. Chandrika and Sai are not next to me, and I turn back to see if I can find them siting behind me. All I can sense is quietness filled with dread and I can witness them nowhere. I quickly stand up calling out their names waiting for them to respond, but I hear nothing. I immediately step out of the bench to make a swift run from the door to my left through which I entered. Suddenly I see a part of a bag at the closed entrance right behind the pillar, there was somebody standing.

"Oh wait, I know this bag," I thought to myself. "Sai, What are you doing there?" I asked her with panic. She looked at me "Come over here," she said giving me a smile and turned away. I take slow steps keeping my eyes looking straight towards them avoiding to look at the gloomy balcony above them.

As I get closer to them, I see Chandu standing on the small footstep of the pillar with her left arm behind the statue of Saint Joseph trying to grab something with maximum efforts. I look at Sai with astonishment, and she with an intrigued face said "There is a key hanging behind the statue, it seems like someone must have hung it so high that we don't reach it."

"Then let's not take it. Get down from there. We will be in trouble if someone finds us here," I said while I tried getting her off the pillar.

"Here!" She said holding the key on her hand. "Seems like a key to a secret door," said Sai taking a look around to discover a locked door."There!" she said pointing towards two locked doors next to each other. These doors on the right side from the sealed entrance were always barred. I must have come to Church since I was in my first standard but never seemed to notice it until now. We quickly walked towards the doors and tried to open the lock. The screeching sound of the bolt in the silent space was producing a sense of terror in my mind.

"What! Is this for real?" said Chandrika. The small square room had a commode in the centre covered with cobwebs all over. We moved closer to obtain a keen look. "Guys, see that" said Sai pointing out an opening which could be witnessed only after we entered the room. "Let's not go inside, it seems like no one wanted us to enter here" I said trying to get them out of the room. "We have to see what is in there, Shwetha it's okay Sai and I will be right here, let's go inside and check what is in."

I desperately want to go home right now it doesn't seem right to me. Chandrika was the first one to enter the dark space and I followed her. I was clenching their hands as we finally entered the room that was filled with darkness which made us hard to see each other. There was a staircase in the centre of the room leading its way upwards. The only stream of light was through the opening at the ceiling were the stairs ended. We took hasty steps trying to reach the spot to find some light above the stairs. The light was dull and the room was bleak. There were broken status everywhere and also was a rectangular box on one side of the wall. We went closer examine the box which seemed considerably old because of the scratches it had.

Chandrika immediately knelt down trying to unlock that box. The box had a heavy bolt on that which made it impossible for one of us to unbolt the box. "Give me a hand let's see what is in this," said Chandrika trying to pull Sai and me to help her. I definitely did not want to do this.,"Guys, let's nothing but leave I don't think anyone wanted us to be here."

"Let's just see this and we will leave we will never come here again. Just help us unlock it Shwetha" Sai said.

I was praying earnestly not to discover anything that might hurt us. If someone kept it away, it was not meant to be discovered or opened. We knelt down together and opened the box. It started feeling extremely cold. "Ahhhh!!" we screamed and fell down on hearing loud voice of the doors shut downstairs as we unlocked the box awestruck to what we have seen.
Jennifer Winx