Washed Up

Prompt image for the Fandango's Flash Fiction prompt

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #161, where we write about the photo below, by NaughtyCupcakes at deviantart.com.

A picture containing grass, outdoor, nature, smoke

Description automatically generated

“Okay. It should be right here.”

Angel fluttered her eyelashes at the doctor. Honoured to be selected as his intern, she was hooked on his every word.

“It better be”, responded Marcus, from behind. “The trustees have put a great deal of faith in you, one more slip-up and your neck is on the line.”

The man turned to face Marcus, who flinched involuntarily, repulsed by the smell of stale whiskey on the man’s breath.

“It all points here, Marcus. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Cross of Findora is in here, can’t you feel it?”

The man took the enormous, bronze key and thrust it into the rusting lock. With some resistance from the unused mechanism, forced from repose after all these years, the key turned grudgingly.

The lock picked, the man seized the ornate brass handle, crusted with verdigris, which to his surprise, gave easily. He forced the heavy oak door open six inches.

The influx of fresh air excited the dust, which instantly made its bid for freedom, leaving the three spluttering helplessly on the chapel threshold. Allowing the remainder to settle, they stepped forward into the church.

“Well, this place certainly looks like it hasn’t been used in years, doctor”, offered Angel.

The man grunted. Marcus cleared his throat with a small “ahem”, but otherwise kept his counsel.

Ignoring the peeling walls, however, the man strode towards the modest altar.

“It must be here”, he cried excitedly, leading the others. “There must be something in here which opens a secret passage.” His eyes fixed on a small, wooden statuette, ornately carved and fixed not ten feet away, and he dashed over. “This! It must be this!”

He held his breath with anticipation, as he pushed the sculpture, waiting anxiously for some sign.

Nothing.

He waited five seconds. Nothing.

The man tried twisting the statue. Its head came away in his hand. “Oops.”

Still enthused, though, he pointed behind them, to the rear of the chapel. “Look over there, Angel. Remember, anything that looks like it might trigger some opening.” The man’s assistant scurried away. Leaving Marcus standing in the middle of the church, the man ran toward it’s walls, where he examined every niche and crevice.

“It must be here somewhere.”

Ten minutes later, he stood up, and facing his bored supervisor, he attempted an apology.

“I… I… I’m sorry Marcus. I don’t know what happened. I was sure that we’d find the cross in here. I’m sorry”, he repeated,  “I don’t know what to say…” His voice trailed off into an incoherent babble, as he reached into his pocket for the half-finished bottle.

Turning for the door, Marcus simply tutted. “You fuckwit, Indiana.”

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