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I was 16 years old when this story happened. However, I just used the word story but this isn’t that. It isn’t a story, all of this really did happen. The family trip to Europe, for my big sister’s graduation… I can recall it so vividly, and what happened in Paris- or should I say under Paris, is something burned into my mind forever. I don’t think anybody would be able to forget. This is the story of the death of my sister.

Around 11:00 PM, we boarded the Air Canada flight to Pearson Airport in Ontario. The flight was smooth, and myself, my sister Kass, and my parents all dozed off, waking in Ontario at about 7:00. Despite the jetlag, we were all excited, Kass most of all. I however, just chose to make it not as apparent. An iced coffee and a maple donut later, I was feeling more myself again, just in time to catch YET ANOTHER flight, this time to Germany. By the time that we touched down to the Berlin airport, the energy levels were definitely down, but excitement levels were still up. After clearing customs, we were approached by our relatives, my aunt Lena and uncle Stefan. After the usual “long time no see family catch up”, we returned to their home in downtown Berlin. It was a modest 2 story home, with a shingled roof, and vines spreading down the brick wall in every direction, creating a screen-like entity in front of the main window. Aunt Lena and Uncle Stefan were pleasant people, if not a little reserved. They didn’t have children, but were nearly as fond of Kass and myself as our parents. “Evan, What part of the trip are you looking forward to the most?” asked Aunt Lena. “The catacombs under Paris” was what I responded with. The moment those words left my lips, both my aunt and uncle went pale in the face. At the time I didn’t understand why, and something about it made me a little uneasy. What’s there to fear in a maze of bones and dust? Well, besides the obvious few things, The subterranean city of the dead seemed like a pretty interesting and harmless  place to me. Only after Kass and I were presumed asleep did I hear my parents discuss it with my Aunt and Uncle. Aunt Lena said something along the lines of “You know what’s down there”, to which my mom irately replied with “don’t get started with your superstitions and are why ma and pa sent you to therapy”. Ouch. This put my fears to rest, but also sparked a curiosity as to why my aunt was so worked up, and better yet… in the infamous maze of graves, what did my aunt think was down there that could endanger my family?

The rest of our time in germany went without incident, and after a week of sightseeing, we were headed to Paris. It was the second, and last location visited on our trip. We checked into a gothic hotel, downtown which was a short ways away from the catacombs. Kass had been the most excited about Paris in our family, looking forward to the eiffel tower among other things. However, the moment she laid her eyes on the entryway of the massive crypt, she paled, and took on an uneasy expression, similar to that of our aunt Lena a week before. The plaque read: “Arrête, C’est Ici L'Empire De La Mort” - Which translates to “Stop, This Is The Empire Of The Dead”. My parents had decided to go on a ride in a “love boat” as they put it, and left Kass and I at the hotel. She barely acknowledged our parents leaving, just kept staring through the third floor window at the entrance. Suddenly, she got up, and without a word, exited our room. She wasn’t back a few minutes later and I was about to call her, save for the fact that she left it on the table in front of the window. “What is up with her?” I remember thinking to myself. My head drifted towards the window in time to see Kass, out on the road. I saw her walking across the street, barefoot… and straight through the arched door frame. Where are the guides? The cops? Or maybe even security? I decided that I couldn't let her go in alone so I followed her in.

The first thing I noticed was the temperature. The brochure said the average temperature in the tunnels was 15*C. However, I could see my breath… It was the 18th of July.  And the smell, like wet copper mixed with the sourness of congealed milk, like something rotting. Something wasn’t right. I frantically ran through the maze trying to catch up to her, seeing her wispy black hair fluttering around corners, and the faint crunches and snaps of bones breaking underfoot. I called to her, over and over, my voice reverberating on the skull-bearing walls what felt like hours. I couldn’t tell if we were going down, or in circles. However, we came to a blocked off tunnel where the lights ended and I looked just in time to see my older sister slip through a crevice in the wall - into the unlit deeper section of the catacombs. I hoisted myself up and through, nearly slipping as my feet touched ancient brick, slick with something that gently tugged at my converse. I whipped out my phone, tapping the flashlight app and let out a sharp gasp as I saw what I was stepping in. A few centimetres of thick, dark, red and black liquid. It reeked of that same wet copper smell I had experienced faintly at the entrance. Blood.

I was nauseous, but frantic with the goal of grabbing my sister and getting out ASAP. Why is there so much? Where is coming from? I had many questions. “What in hell is going on?” I muttered to myself. As soon as I took my first step, I heard a loud drip. And another, and then this sickening wet smacking sound, like the kind you hear from one sloppily enjoying a meal. However… I could hear ripping and tearing, soft cracking, and slurping. My adrenaline rush was 100% gone, replaced by a primal fear to get out, to not turn the corner. What would I see? A person? Animal? But on the other hand, I couldn’t leave my sister could I? What kind of brother would I be? She clearly had some sort of problem, and my parents would never forgive me if they knew I left her down here, alone… or maybe not so alone after all. My phone battery was at about 22%. I knew the flashlight drained battery faster than usual, but it was 100% when I went in... how long have we been down here? We went in at around 5:00 in the afternoon. A few seconds later, something unexpected happened. I felt airflow, like a gentle breeze. “DRIP”. I was almost relieved until the reality hit me. We were nearly 6 stories underground, there shouldn’t BE a breeze down here. The breeze was not pleasant, to say the least. It aggravated the already overwhelming blood smell, as well as the sourness, and made me come to a realization - whatever is around those next few corners HAS to be the source of the smell. Along with the breeze, I heard a hiss-like whisper. It was Kass, calling my name.

“Evannnn”. I hesitated then whispered back “Kassidy? Is that you? What the hell is going on? Why didn’t you respond before?” All I received in reply was silence. Deafening and resolute. “DRIP”. “Evannnn”. Again. “Kass where are you? Please, tell me what you’re doing”. My phone light started flickering. I turned down the next passageway and saw a small metal gate, with one door ajar. Behind it, I could see a crouched figure with long black hair, obscuring their face. I got closer and called my sisters name again. “Kassidy! What the hell?” I was a few metres away now, stepping closer, slowly. The smell was almost unbearable. I could feel my heart skip a beat, and felt the colour drain from my face. When “It” turned to face me, I felt my knees give out under me. It was wearing a satin white dress, or at least I think it may’ve been white at one point. The cloth was too stained in new and old blood and god knows what else. IT was not human, there’s no way in hell. It had Kassidy’s hair, but its features were something else. I felt sicker and sicker as I examined this monster. It's skin must’ve been pale, save for the fact it was covered in splotches of spattered viscera from head to toe. It’s eyes… two bulging shiny black orbs, soulless and empty, yet seething with malice… and hunger. It’s mouth was hanging wide, and it’s rows of razor sharp fangs were stained black. Drool dribbled from its jaws, globs occasionally dropping into the pool on the ground with a great echoing drip. It’s arms were long and bony, with foot long spindle-like talons instead of fingers. They were caked in blood and other matter. Now that I was 3 metres from it, and could see a pair of what looked to be goat horns on top of it’s head.My light turned off about 5 seconds after. I slapped the side of my phone to my palm. When it turned back on, I threw up on the spot. Kassidy, or at least her upper torso was being crouched over by this thing. I looked at its face again. The moment I looked into it’s dead eyes, It spoke. I’ll never ever forget it. “Evannnn”. It said my name. It was my sister's voice, yet my sister was lying motionless under this thing. This time it was low, and warped, distorted, like a poor mockery of a human voice. “Evannnnnnnn”. it cooed in a sing-song tone. “I’m heeeere”. It’s mouth curled into a toothy grin. The real Kassidy reached out her arm towards me, and breathed a single word, nearly inaudible “Run”. And I did just that. I ran as fast and hard as I could, up and over mounds of bones and remains, through the crevice and back into the mapped and lit up part of the catacombs, not stopping until I hit the hotel lobby, where I blacked out. I left her down there with that monster. She was being eaten alive, and I left her… that’s what never leaves me.

I woke up in handcuffs, in a french police station. My parents were sitting on the other side of the bars, both sobbing. “Evan, you collapsed in the lobby of our hotel at 2:00 AM, covered in blood. Where is your sister?”. I was too traumatized to respond. All I could say at the time was “Below”. We stayed in Paris for an extra 2 months to cooperate with the investigators, and I was moved to the hospital shortly after telling the police my story. They sent an investigative team down there, through the crevice. Suspicions that I had anything to do with it were dropped after they stepped into the same blood filled tunnel system that I previously detailed to them. They tested the blood in that area of the catacombs, and matched it to over 35 other missing people. In the gated area, they found a strip of cloth with Kass’s DNA on it. It was caught on a jagged piece of rock, and there were drag marks, leading up to a solid rock wall. The trail stopped there, just vanished. The wall was ancient, surrounded by a dark black arch, seemingly blank with the exception of the words “Abandonne tout l'espoir qui entre ici” Abandon all hope, Ye who enter here. Nobody knew how to explain why my sister’s trail ended at the gate to hell, and at the funeral, there was nothing to show but a picture. My aunt and uncle were there too. The only words she said to me were “I’ve seen it too… I tried warning your mother. I’m sorry”. I haven't spoken out loud since I told the police my story. I live in constant fear, even after 10 years. Fear that that thing is still out there. I’m back in Vancouver now, on the 14th floor, in the heart of downtown, but I swear that every few nights, I hear a dripping… And the wind up here after dark… it almost sounds like it's calling my name. "DRIP".






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