The Deserted Church

On a lone hill, in the middle of a lonely moor, there is a church.  It is a church that no longer holds a bell, or pews.  Most of the walls have fallen in, and the only thing still standing the way it was built is the cross on the top of the steeple.  The roof has partially fallen in all around it.  The cross still stands.  When winds are at their highest it is at its strongest.  The moor sends wailing sounds of lost souls moaning toward the church in hopes that they find guidance and rest.  If a lone traveler finds a lost path that has no end he might end up in the cemetery of this abandoned church.  If he is wise, as soon as he sees where he is, he should pay attention to the shudder that shakes him to the bone.  It is not the wind, it is from the souls that are still trapped there.  He should turn around and walk away never to look again on that place.  It may not be cursed, but it has been forgotten.  No one can tell you when it was built, or by whom.  It has been there longer than anyone even knows.  Some say it is the place between heaven and hell.  It could be the place where all lost souls go until they are claimed.  It is the place of forgetfulness.  It is the place where things go to be lost.  It is a place where no one can find you.  If that same traveler does not listen to the chill, to the shudder, he would walk across graves, past the broken tombstones and up to the back door of the church.  He would be able to see only part of the inside.  The cross looming over the doorway.  When he looks up, the moaning on the moor picks up with the wind.  He would pull his coat tighter around him and again look at the doorway.  A mysterious shadow covers the inside of the church.  If he were foolish enough to be lured inside, after all the warnings, he would find himself in an empty room, the pews all dust, the rafter sagging, some broken.  He would find the pulpit still intact however.  If he were to stand and let his imagination wander, he might see, in his minds eye, a minister.  This minister pounding his fist on the pulpit, preaching in passion about the nature of heaven and hell.  He could hear the tones of the church, still saying their amens.  If the traveler stood long enough he might even think he heard them with his waking ears.  He would look around and see nothing.  The pews still dust, the rafters still sagging, and he would then look up to the steeple and wonder how, of everything, it was still standing.  He would then go to the base of the steeple where the broken steps led up a twisted turn to the top.  He would make his way, slowly, cautiously, and get up to the top to look out over the moor.  The golden heather would sway like a sea, and then he would turn, and see a pile of clothing.  It is not any pile of clothing, it is the clothing of a minister.  To his horror he realizes that it is the same as the image he thought he had imagined.  Then he would look down through the open roof and see the entire congregation looking back at him.  He looks back at the pile of clothing, which now rises from the floor.  When it stands up straight, it is no longer an empty set of robes, but has the living, breathing body of the minister from his daydream.  The man’s eyes glowing and evil, a curl twists his smile.  The minister reaches out to grab the young man, who steps back.  He trips and falls down the stairs, all the way down to the bottom of the steeple.  On his back, he can see the top of the steeple.  The pain in his back tells him he won’t be leaving this place.  In terror he waits to see the image of the minister to make itself seen walking down the steps.  Instead, he hears the songs of a congregation behind him.  A man’s voice begins to speak.

“Friends, family, we have a new member to our flock today.  Turn around to welcome him.”

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