Reverend Carter Stewart sat in his train compartment and read from the Bible he carried faithfully with him. The book had become an old friend to him, and a reminder of his younger days as a gunslinger. Finding this worn book changed his ways, and he vowed only to use his pistol in defence of the weak, and only as a last resort. His imposing frame often times would sway an attacker quickly.
Stewart looked up as the door to his compartment opened. The conductor peeked inside and quickly apologized for the intrusion. “Sorry, Reverend,” he stated with a tip of his hat. “But this car’s full up and there’s not many more compartments. Would you mind sharing with these two ladies?”
“Of course not,” Stewart replied with a smile as he rose to his feet. He held the door open as a pair of diminutive women made their way into the compartment. He took note of each in kind; both were short and seemed slight of build, but graceful at the same time. The dark haired one was a little rougher around the edges, while the blond seemed more debonaire. “Good afternoon, ladies,” Stewart greeted them with a tip of his hat.
“Oh my,” Pania said with a smile and responded in kind. “Thank ye kindly, sir.”
“No thanks necessary, ma’am,” Stewart replied as he waited for the two to take their seats. He took note each carried two pistols, the blond also carried a rapier. “If you don’t mind my sayin’, you two seem like you’ve been travellin’ a great deal.”
“Well, I guess ya could say thet,” Shani remarked as she settled in. She took her hat off and tussled up her hair a bit. This action revealed to Stewart the dark haired gunslinger’s heritage, and at the same moment, Shani took note of the priest’s collar around Stewart’s neck. “Jist ta let ya know, we ain’t demons ‘r nuthin’.”
Stewart chuckled a bit and shook his head. “And whatever possessed you to make that remark?”
“It’s cause o’ the ears,” Pania replied quickly as she grabbed hold of one of Shani’s long, elven ears. The lithe gunslinger furrowed her brow and made a painful cry as she gave Pania a swat on the arm. The elven bard only chuckled lightly.
“I had noticed,” Stewart chuckled as he watched the pair. He assumed they were adults, but acted like children in some way. “But it’s not my place ta say. I cannot judge someone I don’t know. It does make me a bit curious.”
“We’re elves,” Shani explained without hesitation. “Ya know, fae folk, faeries an’ the like. Ifn ya don’t mind my sayin’, usually men o’ the cloth tag us as bein’ demons ‘r devils.”
“Most men, whether they are of the cloth or not, have a tendency of misinterpreting what they see,” Stewart explained with a smile. “I only see more of God’s creatures, put on this Earth. And admittedly, I have seen you before. And have heard of you.” He arched an eyebrow and smiled as Shani and Pania shared a worried look between each other. “Neither of you need worry. I have come to find most stories on wanted posters are just that; stories. I speak from experience, of course.”
Pania took note of the gun belt that lay on the Reverend’s hip, and believed he spoke the truth. Still, she extended her hand in greeting. “Ye may call me Pania Alow,” she stated with a broad smile.
“Reverend Carter Stewart,” he replied as he took her hand in his, not in a firm grip, but one that displayed his kindness in greeting. He extended his hand to Shani in turn.
“I’m Shani,” the elven gunslinger announced without hesitation and clasped his hand, giving a firm grip and a good pump in her greeting.
“May I enquire as to your destination, ladies?” he asked as he sat back in his seat. The conversation paused as they heard the bellowing of the conductor announcing all to get on board. A few seconds later, the train lurched forward and slowly began to increase in speed.
“We’re ‘eadin’ up north,” Pania explained as they settled back into their seats. “Inta the British Territories, an’ may’ap from there ‘omeward.”
“I’m headin’ north myself,” Stewart stated with a firm nod. “There’s a parish near Battleford that I hope to join. Maybe there I can finally put to rest this cold iron that’s weighed me down for so long.”
“I gots ta say, yer the first person ’round here thet ain’t been real eager ta draw pistols,” Shani observed with a nod. “Most people we run inta jist wanna challenge someone ta a standin’ fight in the street.”
“I don’t find the need for it anymore,” he said with a smile as he held up the worn book in his right hand. “I’ve found my peace, and moved on with my life. I can only pray that others can do the same.”
“Tha’s very noble o’ ye, Reverend, I mus’ say,” Pania said with a grin. “There’s no’ many like ye ’round, tha’s fer certain.” She looked to Shani who just rolled her eyes and slowly rose to her feet. “Where ye off ta?”
“I heard there were a decent dinin’ car on this here train,” Shani announced as she opened the door to the cabin. “I plan on gittin’ me some grub.”
“An’ a wee shot o’ whiskey, no doubt,” Pania remarked with a teasing gesture.
“Maybe,” Shani merely shrugged as she let the elven bard’s jibes roll off of her. “I am a bit peckish, thet ain’t no lie.” She turned to Stewart and gave a nod and a smile. “Reverend. Ifn y’all excuse me.” Shani turned on her heel and shut the door to the compartment as she moved toward the rear cars. She passed by several other passengers as she moved to the next car, nodding politely as she went. They nodded in kind and smiled pleasantly, something Shani found with each person. A touch unnerving for her, as she’d come to distrust most humans on this world.
As she reached the door to go to the next car, she stopped. There was a feeling at the base of her skull that something wasn’t right. In the next car, she took note that all the windows were darkened, letting no light in at all. Which wasn’t that different from the car she was in.
She looked back to the windows. All the blinds had been closed, the only light came from the lamps that rocked back and forth on the walls of the car. Then she took note of the passengers.
They all looked at her, and smiled toothy smiles.
“Shit,” she spat out quickly as a hand reached her Colt. “Shit! It would haveta be vampires on this train.”
Paris. The city of romance, adventure and food. At least on the surface, but did you know that under Paris is a large mass grave?
The Catacombs of Paris are a famous underground grave site known as Oussary. Due to an act of vandalism in September of this year, Paris officials closed the gates to the once open to the public area. Officials didn’t say what the extent of the damage was; just that it had become hazardous for the public.
These extensive tunnels under Paris began in the 18th century. This was when cemeteries couldn’t handle the amount of dead that was coming in. Neighbors to the cemeteries were getting sick with diseases because of the open graves, improper burial and all around improper care of the dead.
Based on the idea of Police Lieutenant General Alexandre Lenoir, the remains of the cemeteries were removed and placed in the abandoned quarries under the city. This was done as discreetly once the cemeteries within the city were condemned. The process of disinterring the bones from the cemeteries, moving them solemnly into the quarries, and arranging them there took several decades.The tunnels that are under the city were used to mine rock and other materials to build Paris. Once abandoned, they served no other purpose.
The current size of the Catacombs has been recorded at 300km (184.62mi) under the streets of Paris. This makes building extremely difficult and often dangerous.
The entrance to the catacombs isn’t a grand one like most of the museums that fill Paris. It’s nothing more than a simple black door which you would miss if you aren’t looking for it. It’s a long walk down to the main entrance, which is marked with a sign.
“Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la mort.”
Stop! This is the empire of death
The walls appear to be stone at first, but upon closer examination it begins to take on a more macabre tone as the features become more distinct. The wall consists of human remains all neat and orderly as they sit upon each other.
Tibias and femurs by the thousands are stacked, interspersed with rows of skulls, which were sometimes arranged very artistically in a cross or other pattern. There isn’t a single skeletons intact; the goal of the arrangement had clearly been maximum compactness. Ribs, spines, and other bones filled in the spaces behind the walls of large leg bones. The tunnels of bones stretched on and on; many side passages were blocked with locked gates, but even the path designated for tourists was about a mile long.
No one has made an attempt to identify the bodies, but they do have plaques stating which cemetery they came from. There is also no map of these tunnels; rather there is nothing extensive.
The Catacombs are ever growing, and heavy fines are placed on the trespassers who go where they aren’t supposed. It’s not uncommon for a “cataphile” to get lost in these tunnels. A Cataphile is a spelunker for all intents and purposes. They explore the caverns in hopes of finding a new area.
Except for the sounds of tourist chattering, flashes of lights from cameras, and dripping water, the tombs are quiet. Eerily so. As for haunts. There’s the remains of six million or more people. You tell me.
Keep it real and rockin’