. . .
Aya was walking round the party. The new faces and known faces of famous influencers were all around the venue.
It was a premiere and the launching of the restaurant in this Cathedral. The cinema inside and the art gallery with the restaurant were the great place with picturesque pieces of architectural art.
Aya walked over to her friend Olga, a lady of exquisite elegance and one of the great influencers she ever faced.
“I see that Irina has four people around her. What is that about?” – Olga asked.
“Oh, Irina got a crew that films her and takes pictures all the time for the online streams. She now is around 8 hours live online. And these guys film her doing the work, eating in restaurants and all her mad schedule she nowadays has. So she just talks around, walks around and does her thing, whilst they help with the content.” – Aya smiled, then touched Olgas shoulder. – “You should get few crew members like that to film you and have your streams online. You’re worth it. And you’d be million times better looking on camera than her.”
Olga and Aya laughed.
“You sure are flattering me. Thank you.” – Olga still checked the Irina and her group walking round the venue.
“I’ll go check the VIP section.” – Aya smiled.
Olga was surprised to see Aya go check the VIPs, as even with the great influence Olga has, she was not invited over to VIP section.
The stairs went up, the people sat all around and the place for the VIP guests was limited to around ten tables.
Aya went to check where the middle stairs lead. They end just at the level of the next floor, mid air, with no continuation. Like a broken stairs to heaven.
One lady tried walking up, then she thumped her foot at the end – having the stairs shake. With sad look she came down.
Aya went down as well.
The stairs that lead to the art hall from the restaurant had no handrail. So the whole venture was quite the challenge. At the top of this stairs Aya stood, holding onto column that was by the start of the stairs.
It would not be so scary, if the construction would not be in open space, with the height around the third floor, the stairs metallic, in a squiggly line down, nothing to hold on, not to mention the construction was slightly tilted – so the fear of suddenly just falling down was there.
The stairs she did take were different. She walked towards the entrance, where the great hall was hosting the incoming guests, the stars of the film and the actors, the photographers, journalists and many interested people.
Aya looked at how one guy was pestering a girl for the autograph.
“But you play the Assassin, right?” – He kept on going, as he pushed the pen and the paper to her face.
“I’m telling you no.” – The girl was puzzled.
Aya picked up the plastic magical wand and threw in in the backpack of the boy. The stick went in like a dagger, getting stuck inside. The guy turned around, looking at Aya.
“Oh my god! It’s you! Assassin! Wait!” – He dashed towards Aya, but the crowd got in the way.
He kept on shouting for her to wait. But the joy and the mischief Aya felt, made her slightly want to play the game of tag.
“Indeed, I am that Assassin in the movie, you so desperately seek for.” – She giggled to herself, acknowledging how fantastic it was to act that role.
She turned corner and went to the platform with a lever, right opposite the entrance, near the staff door.
“This must be going to the car parking..” – Aya thought as she stood on platform, pushed button on lever and pulled it.
And the platform went down, at incredible speed.
“What the…?” – Shot through Ayas head as she saw the same place repeat itself over and over. The scenery changed, but as if the time went back or forth.
Then as she stopped, she saw her friend who she studied with – Raphael. Some security people were pushing from the corner that she came from. She knew instantly – they were after her.
Aya pulled in Raphael onto platform and pulled lever.
“What the heck?” – Raphael was about to have some opposing issue, but Aya shushed him.
He turned to see the same changing of scenery – as they descended down the same Cathedral was showing itself at different time periods.
At some level they noticed guards.
“Duck, cover the head with the jacket.” – Aya urged Raphael to action, as she pulled own shirt over the head. That kind of made them less noticeable. As descending level by level there were more and more people, with every level it looked like some office, or the production line, or the atelier, or some other office or business buzzing with people or customers.
Once arriving at some new deserted level, Aya noticed that Raphael was no longer beside her.
It was empty all around. Then suddenly some girl fell into the arms of Aya.
“I was looking for you.” – Said the beauty. She was rather short of height.
The way this girl acted made Aya feel that they are on set. That the filming is being conducted.
“Ah, we must go…” – Aya said in theatrical tone.
They stood up and went around to see the inners of the Cathedral.
The gallery gone, the cinema, the restaurant. There was only the Cathedral, with rows and rows of sitting space and the high ceiling above. Covered in freska, with statues and icons to pray to. The candles were lit.
But the “infinity” stairs were just inside. The massive construction coming from one side of the Cathedral, then twisting and turning inside and the end gong through the wall to outside.
They met a young man, who got up at the sight of the two.
“I’ve got just the right new ribbons, look!” – He pulled out two long, sky blue in colour, ribbons. They were reminding more of a really long scarves. The length was astonishing.
Somehow the three of them took felt like the childhood swooped over, making them run around, make the ribbons fly. They laughed and felt happy.
The crack then showed itself – the door opened and the people started to walk in – prayer time. Making the three rascals dash to the inventory side of the hall, hiding behind curtains.
“I’ll get some bread.” – Whispered the boy, as he left.
“So, just the two of us now…” – The sweet girl softly said, as she pulled Aya in, leaning towards her.
Their lips touched, Aya felt how cold hers are. Then as tongue pushed in and they deeply kissed, Aya felt like her tongue just went to feel the sour cream that went really bad, past the “use by” date.
She waited until the girl went out, then spat out the thing that reminded her of the crumbled cheese.
“Tastes horrible.” – She thought to herself. – “But is that supposed to be love?”
She no longer felt like there is filming, she felt like she needs to find the girl.
Once Aya left the inventory room, she passed on the side, walking out – that’s when the guards appeared again.
Aya dashed towards the platform with lever.
Managed to get on it on time, and push the lever to descend again.
Now the platform stopped at the lowest level, as Aya felt in her gut.
There were people around and the small office. Inside that office – some man was scolding the girl that kissed Aya. He slapped her across the face. That girl held cupped cheek. It looked like she no longer is able to go see her. Aya felt like her despair and rage boiled over.
Around her – the people were looking like they came to the municipality event, a meeting or a gathering for the locals.
The ones beside her were looking at her in surprise, trying to figure out how she appeared there.
Aya stood up, in decisive stride towards the office to get that girl out, but the people began gathering around her, encircling her.
From farther part of room people began coming closer, few of the were the “leaders” of the community.
Aya shook in fear, but the rage gave adrenaline.
She chanted some spells that somehow came out of nowhere. Binding the people to the spot – as if freezing them. Some dark veins spreading over their bodies – the visual representation of the binding spell.
. . .
The leaders went onto crushing the spell, to start moving again – to capture Aya.
She ran, but the office was out of reach. People broke out of spell and started to chase her. She was running away, from corner to corner, then up the infinity stairs. On and on, to the outer wall where the stairs lead.
Outer wall – cornered to the wall, standing on the stairs, the three people had her on that edge.
Aya began humming the melody – the piano tune was insistently playing in her head.
Then she saw the people on the sun lit street, it was sunset time, evening in summer.
The boy and girl walked. He held a small flute, playing the tune on it.
Raphael managed to squeezed out the window.
“Hey you!” – Raphael shouted to boy. – “Do you have 5 ro? Can you give me?”
The boy shrugged, then smiled and pulled out a piece of paper – 5 ro.
“Thanks.” – Said Raphael, as he grabbed the paper. Then he threw the 5 ro to Aya, she grabbed it and stuffed in her mouth – eating it.
Then the chasers stepped aside, having her way to run.
And she ran to the main entrance – the halls were now looking more and more grey, the dust and the endless rubbish everywhere began emerging.
She ran towards the ticket office, the windows of office covered in dust and yellow marks. She pushed open the side shelf unit, pulling out the guest pillows and curtains that were falling apart, she pulled out the shelves, throwing them aside, then pushed the back of the unit – it gave her way towards the entrance hall.
She pushed door and was out on the street, she ran towards the area where the boy had to be with the girl.
But then the rain caught her of guard. It was raining. She stopped.
Her abrupt breathing, her eyes darting from thing to thing, her heart thumping in her chest.
Then as she listened into the rain, as she observed how things had changed, and how the same street was no longer same – the time somehow stopped for her.
Just her eyes, tracing the rainy streets. Her bare feet in the puddle.
Then it downed on her. The tears poured endlessly, she cried out, shouting and weeping in her weakness.
The memories came flooding.
From the moment she was abducted, how she got strapped inside the Chapel, how she was raped and abused days and days, over and over, lack of food, drinks, how her voice withered and how she was surrounded by the leftovers of once living humans. The bones of people around, the bloodied curtains, the stabbings and shouts of Levin.
Shaking in cold rain – she knew she no longer was alive. A ghost, spirit, freed by a random human for 5 ro…
She looked back at Chapel…
“The endless victims who died here, the killers who were murdered in these walls – they were all there… Still bound to this hell place.” – Her voice now sounded only in her head.