This is a companion piece to my post “Eight Points of View – First Person and Limited Third”

At last, Professor Ellar, Garrett and Dora reached the heart of the facility. As his eyes adjusted to the dimness, Ellar found himself in one of the most confusing places he’d ever seen. Hundreds of human skulls lined three walls. It reminded him of the catacombs beneath Paris. Then there was that unavoidable pentagram drawn on the floor, presumably with chalk, judging by the smell.

“Dora?” Garrett asked.

Ellar noticed that Dora was shivering, staring wide-eyed at nothing. She looked terrified. Ellar feared that Dora might be having another panic attack. “Are you alright, Ms. Marcel?” he asked.

“We have to find Dr. Allen,” Dora replied. “We have to get her out of here now.” There was determination in her voice. She was being brave for her friend. So Ellar decided to leave her be.

He turned his attention back onto the chalk pentagram. All he knew was that it was an important occult symbol. He noted smaller ones written around the pentagram’s outer circle – astrological symbols and others that he vaguely remembered from the more esoteric artifacts and documents he encountered in his research. What it all meant, though, he couldn’t begin to guess.

A familiar voice said, “Don’t touch those. Old bones are awfully fragile.” Standing in front of the red curtain at the far end of the room was Niles Vasco – their primary suspect. “Professor Ellar, I’m not surprised you’re here,” he continued as he approached the group, unrolling the sleeves of his stained, over-sized shirt. “Unfortunately, you’re too late.”

“Where’s Dr. Allen?” Dora demanded. “What have you done to her, you monster?!”

Ellar stepped between Dora and Vasco. The poor woman was stressed enough. “I know you are behind the kidnappings, Mr. Vasco,” Ellar began. “What I don’t understand is why. What is this place? Why did you bring your victims here?”

Garrett added a few questions of his own. “Why are we too late? And what about these?” He pointed at the skulls. “Are they your victims too? Do you keep their bones as some kind of sick trophy?” The boy was angry, so angry that his voice cracked.

Vasco chuckled. Whether at the question or how it was asked, Ellar couldn’t tell. “Those people are long dead, kid. I simply gathered them here to witness tonight’s ritual.” Grave robbery is still a crime. “My victims, as you call them, have an important role to play.”

“What kind of ritual?” Garrett asked. Ellar wondered the same thing.

“You’ve seen how divided this town is.” True. The newer residents had welcomed Ellar and Garrett with gratitude, while those born in the village wanted nothing to do with them. “How it hides its rotten soul.” The townsfolk had spread some unsavory rumors about the professor and his protégé. Ellar wanted to think they were born out of ignorance not malice. “That ends tonight.”

Vasco must have triggered some device that Ellar couldn’t see, because the door behind them slammed shut, and a metal grate fell down in front of it. Dora panicked and ran toward it. Blue electricity converged on her as soon as she touched the grate. The shock knocked her backwards.

Ellar’s heart skipped a beat. Was Dora dead? Garrett ran to her. He called her name and shook her, but she didn’t answer.

“What is the meaning of this?” Ellar demanded of Vasco. “Why are you locking us in?”

Vasco smiled. “I can’t have you calling the police. You know too much.” Vasco looked at his watch, and his smiled faded. “Excuse me. I have a lot of work to do.” He quickly left the room through a different door.

As much as he was concerned about Dora, Ellar needed answers that only Vasco could give him. Why did he leave so quickly? Where had he gone?

“Professor?” Garrett asked.

“Stay with Ms. Marcel,” Ellar instructed. “I’ll come back.”

“Be careful.”

Ellar gave his protégé a reassuring nod. Then, he followed Vasco.