This is a companion piece to my post “Eight Points of View – The Observer-Narrator”

We reached the center of the warehouse, and there we saw the strangest room I’d ever seen. It was dim but I could make out skulls – hundreds of them – lining the walls.

I knew it. I knew Vasco was evil. These skulls must have belonged to his earlier victims. This proves that Vasco is a monster.

I noticed that Dora was frozen. She had her arms crossed tightly. Her eyes were wide. She was seeing what I was seeing, right? But then I remembered what she said about scaring easily, which wasn’t a good thing. “Dora?” I asked.

“Are you alright, Ms. Marcel?” the professor asked. He sounded concerned too.

Dora shook her head and said, “We have to find Dr. Allen. We have to get her out of here now.” It sounded like she didn’t want help. The professor left her alone, so I assumed I should too.

I wanted to get a closer look at those skulls. As I walked along the stacks, I saw that each one had a number carved into its forehead. 331. 573. 646. How many were there?

“Don’t touch those,” I heard a familiar voice say. “Old bones are awfully fragile.”

I turned and saw him – Niles Vasco – the criminal. He was wearing a shirt that was too big for him. It was splattered all over with dark stains. Dried blood was my guess.

He walked into the room and unrolled his sleeves. “Professor Ellar,” he said, “I’m not surprised you’re here. Unfortunately, you’re too late.”

“Where’s Dr. Allen?” Dora shouted. “What did you do to her, you monster?!”

The professor and I stood between her and Vasco. We weren’t going to let him touch her. “I know you are behind the kidnappings, Mr. Vasco,” the professor said. “What I don’t understand is why. What is this place? Why did you bring your victims here?”

I added my own questions. “Why are we too late? And what about these?” The skulls piled up against the walls. “Are they your victims too? Do you keep their bones as some kind of sick trophy?”

Vasco chuckled. Did he think we were funny? “Those people are long dead, kid. I simply gathered them here to witness tonight’s ritual. My victims, as you call them, have an important role to play.”

“What kind of ritual?” Anything that involved skulls had to be bad.

“You’ve seen how divided this town is. How it hides its rotten soul.”

I admit, Vasco did have a point. The people in town were saying really awful things about me and the professor, all because we were strangers. I don’t care what the professor says; I’m glad I set the record straight.

“That ends tonight.”

How? I thought. I started to wonder if Vasco was crazy as well as evil.

Suddenly, the door behind us slammed shut. Metal bars appeared, blocking the door. How it happened, I don’t know. The professor doesn’t believe in magic, and most days, I agree with him. But that night, I wasn’t too sure.

Dora screamed and ran to the door. Two bolts of electricity zapped her so hard that she fell backwards. She didn’t get up.

I called her name. I shook her. She was breathing, but she wasn’t waking up. I heard the professor and Vasco arguing. “Dora, wake up,” I kept saying, but it was no use.

I heard someone walking away. I finally looked up and saw the professor at the far end of the room. Vasco was gone. “Professor?” I asked. I wanted to know what he was doing.

He told me, “Stay with Ms. Marcel. I’ll come back.”

He must have seen where Vasco went and wanted to follow him. Even with Dora out cold, we still had a mystery to solve. “Be careful,” I said.

The professor nodded and left through a door I couldn’t see.