The shadows moved, rippled, crawled. They scurried down the broken columns, across the pristine pavement and piled in a seething, heaving mass where the acolyte had guessed the altar to be. The pale smudge moved, jerky and rapid like a giant bird pecking. A white raven? The black birds on the ruined arch cried their hoarse cry unloosing the acolyte’s tongue.
“Get back, Brother Constantine!” His voice came out hoarse and rasping as the ravens’. He willed his feet forward but the amulet screamed in his head and he could not. The sky was dark—dried blood dark, and the moon was crimson. Shadows continued to pour down the walls, through the narrow windows, the great rose window, piling on dead sills higher and higher.
The acolyte shouted again, shrill and fearful. Soon the shadows would fill the window spaces, blotting out the light, and darkness would fill the vast hollow emptiness with its shifting forms.
The pale smudge shuddered, and two smaller smudges fluttered. Hands or wings?
“Back!” The older man’s voice was sharp and thin with the beginnings of terror.