This is a Choose your Own Adventure type story. I'm writing it chapter by chapter, and I'm doing it all in a couple of days. As such, these are going to be very rough and not super well written, so please keep that in mind. Also I don't know how cathedrals work, so I'm definitely going to get something wrong. I hope you enjoy the story.
This is the second chapter, you can read the first chapter here.
“Alright, let’s split up!” Mark exclaimed.
“Split up?” Rebeca questioned, “Really? Have you never seen a horror movie?”
Mark rolled his eyes at Rebeca and said, “We’ll save more time if we break off into groups. Unless you want to spend more time in here?”
Rebeca opened her mouth to argue, but some debris fell from the cathedral’s ceiling and crashed behind her. Startled by the loud noise she yelped out in fright and shook her head, deciding she wanted to be out of this infernal place as soon as possible.
Mark pulled out a map of the cathedral. He began, “Okay, so this is the map my brother and his friends used when they came here.”
“Wait,” Helena remarked, “Your brother had a map of this place?”
Victor answered, “Yeah, Mark’s bro and his friends found the blueprints at the library. They made a copy.”
Mark nodded and added, “Todd made another copy at home and left it in his room. I found it a few months ago. My parents left his room the exactly as it was before he disappeared.”
A silence filled the room. Mark looked like he was fighting back tears, his knuckled turning white from clenching his fists. He continued, “I showed Victor, Dan, Fred, and Will. He talked about it and made a pact to come here and find out what happened. We chose Halloween night, since it was the same night Todd disappeared.”
Another silence fell, to be broken by Will asking how the group will split up. Rebeca immediately latched onto Victor. Mark scowled and said, “We’ll draw straws.”
Rebeca frowned and yelled, “Like hell we will. I want to be with Victor.”
Victor laughed and said he agreed. Mark scowled again and shook his head. “No freaking way,” he disagreed, “If you two split up you’ll end up messing around. And that’s not why we’re here.”
Rebeca started to argue, but Victor stopped her. He said, “He’s got a point, babe. Plus, if we draw straws we could still end up together.”
Rebeca pouted at him, but reluctantly agreed. Mark rummaged in his backpack and pulled out some matches. He cut them into different lengths, two short, two medium, and two long. He turned around and arranged them so that they all looked equal length in his hand and told everyone to pick one. One by one the matches were taken until only one remained in Mark’s hand.
Fred held out a medium length match and looked around to find his partner. His partner was Will. He walked over to his friend and wrapped an arm around him, whispering, “Looks like lady luck is on our side, eh?” Will smiled back weakly and let out a nervous chuckle.
Victor held out a long match, a smile beaming on his face. His smile disappeared though as he turned to Rebeca to see her holding a short match. He turned to Mark and Helena, who were holding the remaining short match and long match respectively. Helena smiled and wiped her forehead in exaggerated relief. She sauntered over to Victor and place a hand on his shoulder. She then looked at her cousin and waved her over to Mark. Rebeca trudged over to her partner, muttering under her breath.
The group huddled around the map and Mark pointed to three locations. He explained that these were the areas Jerry and his friends had explored. He told Victor and Helena to check out the west tower, the only tower to have survived over the years. Fred and Will were assigned the cellar, to Fred’s delight and Will’s horror. And that left the high priest’s chambers for Mark and Rebeca, located at the very back of the cathedral.
The teens split up and went their separate ways.
Victor and Helena began climbing the stairs of the tower. Step by step, they ascended the dilapidated structure. A few times, the staircase had deteriorated and the pair had to leap across. Helena also took every opportunity to squeeze in close to Victor. After the third time Victor sighed and said, “Not sure why you’re doing that. Rebeca’s not even here to see.”
Helena shrugged and said, “Force of habit I guess.”
Victor gave her a stern look and grumbled, “Well try to break that habit okay? I know you like making Rebeca angry, but it makes me uncomfortable.”
Helena looked down and said, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. But for the record I don’t do it to make Rebeca mad.”
Victor raised and eyebrow and inquired, “Oh, the why do you do it?”
Helena fell silent and furrowed her brows, thinking of what to say. After a bit she answered, “I do it because Rebeca makes me mad. She acts like she’s the greatest goddam thing on planet Earth. All our lives she’s acted like she’s better than me. And for a while, that appeared to be true. But then when I went of to college it all changed. I got popular, and I was doing well in school, meanwhile she was getting into trouble and barely passing her classes. It felt good, after all the years of her lording her perfect little princess self over me to finally be “better” than her. And then you came along.”
Victor gave her a confused look and asked, “What about me?”
“Do you know why Rebeca asked you out?” Helena asked.
Victor flashed a shit eating grin and responded, “Uh, duh. I’m sweet as hell.”
Helena stared blankly at him and with a small chuckle said, “Well, I can’t say that that’s inaccurate, per se. But it’s not why she started dating you.”
“Then why?” Vic asked.
Helena stopped Victor and stared him in the eyes. She answered, “Because she knew I had a crush on you.”
“Wha?” Victor sputtered out.
Helena continued, “You and I first met at Rebeca’s 18th birthday party. I fell for you that night. Somehow Rebeca found out and started dating you to spite me. Now I’m not saying she doesn’t like you now. I mean, really, why wouldn’t she. But when you started dating, she did it to get back at me.”
Victor let this information sink in. After a bit he said, “Well I guess I get why you do what you do then.”
Helena was about to speak, but Victor cut her off saying, “But that doesn’t change things. I don’t care why Rebeca and I are dating. Doesn’t change the fact that we are. And as long as we are, I expect you to respect that. If you actually like me, you ‘ll do that for me.”
Helena sat in silence before sadly nodding. The two walked up the last few steps and were met by a small area at the top of the staircase with a large wooden door and a hole in the wall revealing the dark, foggy night outside the cathedral. They approached the door and Helena tried to open it. The door didn’t budge.
“Locked,” Helena sighed. She examined it a bit and said, “I think I can pick this lock. But it will be a while.”
Victor nodded and Helena pulled a lock pick out of her pocket. She started messing with the locking mechanism. Minutes went by with no real results. Victor started to get antsy. She looked out the hole in the wall and noticed an open window that led into the room they were trying to break into. He then began to look back and forth between the hole and the door. A couple of ideas started to form in his head.
In the cellar, Fred and Will shone their flashlights around the dark, dank basement. Fred kept giggling at the sight of the weird items that were strewn about while Will cowered behind him. The two walked like this, Fred giggling like a moron at miscellaneous garbage and Will jumping at every shadow.
Eventually Fred told will to calm down. He said, “Look Will, I know you don’t like this stuff, but don’t worry about it too much. All we’re going to do is look around and report what we find to Mark. And honestly, I don’t think we’ll find much.”
Will asked, “Really? Why not?”
Fred sighed and said, “Don’t say anything to Mark, but I doubt we’ll find anything regarding his bro here. Jerry disappeared years ago and any trace of him that might have been here is definitely long gone. Assuming there ever was anything to begin with.”
“Well,” Will started, “If you don’t think we’ll find anything then why did you come?”
“Because,” Fred started annoyed, “Mark is my friend, and this is important to him. Even if we don’t find anything, maybe he can have some closure. Todd’s disappearance really rattled him. He was never the same.”
Will nodded before running into Fred’s back. After regaining his balance he asked Fred why she stoped. Fred answered by pointing to where his flashlight was pointing.
Before the pair was a large, strange machine. It had millions of weird pieces of parts, including an enclosure that looked like a telephone booth. The two examined it all over. Will asked, “What is this?”
Fred responded with, “Not sure. Considering the rumors about this place, I don’t think I want to know either.”
Fred examined the telephone booth thing. He could smell a faint burnt smell from it. He noticed some webs inside, filled with spiders. He was about to tell Will they should move on when Will called out to him.
Fred turned to see that Will had wandered over to a spot further down the wall. His light shone on something. As Fred approached he saw what it was. A lever. One that was attached to cables. Cables that led to the machine. He looked to Will who nervously asked, “Should we pull it?”
Outside the High Priest’s chambers, Rebeca and Mark walked in silence. Rebeca looked at Mark with a combination of intrigue and fear. Deciding she was sick of the silence she asked him, “So what’s the full story about your brother?”
Mark looked back at her and asked coldly, “What do you mean?”
Rebeca gave him a sarcastic look and said, “You know what I mean? You said he came here and never came back. Surely that raised some sort of red flags. Didn’t anyone go looking for him already? You know, like the cops?”
“Of course,” Mark shot back, “Not that they would have found anything, considering they didn’t know he came here.”
‘They didn’t?” Rebeca asked.
“No,” Mark said as they approached the chamber doors. “No one knew he and his friends were coming here. I only found out after I found the map. Even then I had to ask one of the few friends that came back that night. They wouldn’t tell me much, just that they went to the cathedral and that he never came out. I tried to press them for more info, but all they would tell me was to let it go and not come here.”
“So naturally you just ignored that?” Rebeca asked sarcastically.
“Yes,” Mark said darkly as they reached the door to the High Priest’s chambers. Mark reached out to the doorknob and turned it. He tried to push the door open, but it barely budged.
“Locked?” Rebeca inquired.
Mark shook his head and said, “No just stuck.”
Mark started pushing against the door, but nothing happened. Rebeca watched him try to shove the door open, as he became increasingly annoyed. Eventually she put aside her pride and helped him out. The two plowed into the door hard and managed to budge it a bit. So they rammed into it again and again. The door was mostly open, but not enough to get into the room yet. They sat, tired and sweating from the exertion. After catching their breaths Rebeca said, “Alright, one last time should do it, don’t you think?”
Mark nodded and added, “Okay, on the count of three.”
They both got ready to plow into the door one last time.
“One…” Mark said, his eyes narrowing.
“Two…” Rebeca continued, squaring her footing in preparation.
“THREE!” they both exclaimed as the sprinted forth and hit the door with one last effort to get the door open. To both of their surprise the door didn’t just open, it busted off it’s hinges. They crashed to the ground and lay there a moment as they came back to their senses. Mark got up first, Rebeca having fallen headfirst and being quite disoriented. He stood and shone his light around. His gaze fixated on something and he walked toward it.
Rebeca started to complain about her head and how dark it was when a flash of light suddenly blinded her. She rubbed her yes and opened them to see that the whole room was lit up. She looked to Mark who stood next to a light switch.
“What?” she began, confused. “This place still has power? Wait…this place has power? Wasn’t it built like a long ass time ago?”
Mark didn’t answer, his eyes stared straight past Rebeca to the rest of the room beyond her. Rebeca turned to see what he was seeing.
Behind her was an immaculate room, distinctly different than the rest of the cathedral. It was ornate and decorative, covered in gold and fancy wooden decor. It was free of dust and showed no signs of the decay of the rest of the building. A large oak desk stood in the center, with a beautiful throne sat at it. A large book sat on the desk, opened to about halfway through.
And then Rebeca noticed something else on the desk. Something that seemed out of place. A modern notebook. She stood up and walked over to the desk. Mark followed. As the approached the desk they leaned over and looked at the notebook. It was a standard, blue spiral notebook. There was nothing significant about it, save for one detail. It had a name written on it in black marker.
End of Chapter 2
It’s time to decide how to continue the story. This time will be a bit different though, as you’ll be making two choices. Both will affect the story, and each set has at least one choice that will have dire consequences. Lives may very well hang in the balance. So choose carefully.
Victor and Helena
1 - Victor gets impatient and tries to knock the door down by slamming into it.
2 - Victor gets impatient and tries to climb out the hole to the open window.
3 - Victor waits like a good boy for Helena to pick the lock.
Fred and Will
4 - Fred tells Will to flip the switch.
5 - Fred tells Will to leave the switch alone.
6 - Fred pushes Will out of the way and flips the switch himself.
Vote for your choice by commenting below. Just say the numbers of the choices you want.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter and I hope you'll read the next one. Thanks to everyone that's played along thus far.