This is a companion piece for my post “Eight Points of View – Second Person”

You, Dora, and the professor reach the center of the warehouse and enter the strangest room you have ever seen. In the dim light, you can make out hundreds of skulls lining the walls. They must have belonged to Vasco’s previous victims. You knew that Vasco was a monster, and now you have proof.

You notice Dora standing frozen, her eyes wide, her arms crossed tightly. Is she seeing what you’re seeing? But then you remember what she told you about scaring easily and how it wasn’t a good thing. “Dora?” you ask her.

The professor seems concerned too. “Are you alright, Ms. Marcel?”

“We have to find Dr. Allen,” Dora says. “We have to get her out of here now.”

The professor doesn’t reply and leaves her alone. You follow his lead and turn back to the skulls. You walk along the stacks and see numbers carved into each of their foreheads: 331, 573, 646. How many are there?

You hear a familiar voice say, “Don’t touch those. Old bones are awfully fragile.” You look over your shoulder and there he is – Niles Vasco – the criminal. He’s wearing an oversized shirt that is splattered with dark stains. You guess that it’s dried blood.

Vasco walks forward, unrolling his sleeves, and says, “Professor Ellar, I’m not surprised you’re here. Unfortunately, you’re too late.”

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

You and the professor step in front of her, shielding her from Vasco. “I know you were behind the kidnappings,” the professor begins. “What I don’t understand is why. What is this place? Why did you bring your victims here?”

You add your own questions. “Why are we too late? And what about those?” The skulls lining the walls. “Are they your victims too? Do you keep their bones as some kind of sick trophy?”

Vasco chuckles. He thinks this is 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 is bad.

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

You admit – he has a point. The people in town said some awful things about you and the professor, all because you were outsiders. You don’t care what the professor thinks; you’re glad that you set the record straight.

“That ends tonight.”

How does Vasco plan to that? Is he evil and crazy?

The door you came through slams shut. Metal bars appear, blocking the door. How it happened, you don’t know. The professor doesn’t believe in magic, and most days, you agree with him. But tonight, who knows?

Dora screams and runs to the door. Two blue bolts of electricity zap her so hard that she falls backwards. She doesn’t get up.

You rush to her side. You shake her and call her name. She’s breathing, but she doesn’t answer you. You hear Vasco and the professor arguing. “Dora, wake up,” you repeat, but it’s no use.

Someone is walking away. You look up and see the professor at the far end of the room, alone. Vasco had gone. What was going on? “Professor?” you ask.

“Stay with Ms. Marcel,” he tells you. “I’ll come back.”

He must have seen Vasco leave and wants to follow him. Even though Dora is unconscious, the mystery still has to be solved. “Be careful,” you say in reply.

The professor nods and leaves through a door you can’t see.