Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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The Cathedral is vast, as are you.
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The townsfolk gathered in the pre-dawn gloom on the grassy hills ringing the sundered keep, as was their custom, bright blankets spread with roasted meats and golden pies for their picnic luncheon. Children tumbled and frolicked in the grass, batting at each other with pigs'-bladders-on-a-stick, mimicking the harrowing heroics that would surely be done this day in the name of narcissism and cupidity.

The adventurers awaited their various fates in nervous queues, some of them stretching as if warming up for a foot-race or swinging a blade in patterns of parry-feint-thrust. Others prayed silently or chanted at the top of their lungs to beseech the positive whimsy of the gods.

Father Pedo had done his homework. No sword and shield for him—he had seen the glittering tapestries that showed the mountains of gold coins and jewels piled like foundations for stacks of magic crowns and enough necklaces to successfully drown the strongest knights in the kingdom entire. He brought everything he would need this day: a wheelbarrow and shovel, loot sacks and a man-sized pry bar. Inwardly he sneered at his ill-prepared competitors. Pockets can only hold so much gold before they burst, a head can only wear one crown, a neck only so many necklaces before parrying and thrusting becomes absurdly slow. And did they think to bring a corpse-looting bat? With a snort, he thought not.

The sun peeped over the horizon and sent the first golden rays of daylight across the dell and onto the cracked stone of the dungeon towers. With a grinding sigh—like Death rising from a sleep of chilly dreams—the stone doors ground open. An echo of yesterday's heroes rode the breeze, a light, screaming chuckle just beyond the edge of hearing.

A ragged Huzzah! went up among the townsfolk; the kegs were tapped and the minstrels began to play a merry dance-tune.

The queues paused at the gaping maws of stone.

"Well," shouted someone halfway up the line, "Let's get on with it!"

Cries of "You first!" and "Quit pushin'!" popped out of the kinks in the jostling queue.

Father Pedo snorted again and stepped out of line, guiding his wheelbarrow down the gentle slope to the black hole of the dungeon entrance. There a massive knight in gilded armor quivered, his exposed face slicked with flop-sweat.

"Cuts?" Father Pedo asked.

The knight assented wordlessly.

As he bounced over the threshold, Father Pedo turned his head to hurl a withering bon mot—and was rudely cut off by the bowel-voiding snik and soft drop of the first flagstone he trod upon. With a hideous SPROING! a spear shot from a hole in the wall, peeled his hoodie back and made him piss his robes.

He slipped in his own filth and tore his hoodie loose, ruining it. It took a goodly span of time—counted in rabbit breaths and tip-tipping heartbeats—before he felt he could stand again. He was glad for the handles of the wheelbarrow as they steadied his stagger down the torch-lit hallway.

Grinning in the darkness ahead, one not so lucky as he—a desiccated adventurer, slumped and dried, festooned with equipment. Father Pedo took his corpse-looting bat in both fists and beat the dead man until he burst in a shower of gold coins like a piñata at a young prince's birthday bash.

Next he rolled into an ancient burial crypt, sarcophagus sealed against the corruption of ages. Father Pedo was, as all knew well, not one to leave the dead unmolested, and he didn't hump a man-sized pry bar all this way for his health. He found a nice fulcrum and heaved himself against it; the lid ground off-balance and shook the chamber at it crashed to the floor. In the choking tomb-dust he caught the glint of

wet eyeballs

glaring from a snarling skull. The crypt-thing sat bolt upright and clutched at Father Pedo, catching only his torn and soiled robes as Father Pedo pivoted and shed them—as the lizard gives his tail to the cat—and ran, naked, for the door, a silent scream wedged in his throat.

He would have to find another way...

That way led him to a rickety plank set across a breathless void, beneath which the darkness seethed. He checked twice to make sure the wheelbarrow was all lined up and set off—and promptly took a header off the plank and into the black below. The fall lasted far shorter than he anticipated, for the sharp crack of head-on-stone and accompanying burst of white light happened scarcely after he recovered from his initial surprise and began to worry about crapping himself again.

When he came to the rats had already eaten one of his legs to the bone and he crawled through the catacombs, stunned, until something big and heavy shuffled out of the darkness and stepped on him like a bug.

zombie

Miraculously, Father Pedo found himself once again in line, dawn's light just breaking the edge of night. Less sure this time, but head swimming with the glories that would surely be his—a palanquin borne by a score of oiled slaves—he cut the line, entered the dungeon and immediately took a spear to the gut. Lucky for him the wound kept him bent and on all fours so when next a blade scythed out of the wall his head was not where one would expect it to be. But equally unlucky was the prescience of the trap's designers who figured that if you knew that only the penitent man could pass then the blade must seek the penitent man's head as well. And so it whizzed harmlessly overhead before backtracking down and oiling its own innards with Father Pedo's.

zombie

Once again in line, this time content to wait his turn. When it finally arrived he took it like a man, only to find the corpse beat with the corpse-looting stick weeping tears of scorpions that boiled up his legs like a venereal disease.

Covered in welts, vision swimming with poison, he encountered a living skeleton and set to with his man-sized pry bar only to find it was his own skeleton, upon the realization of which he promptly expired.

zombie

Again in line, his remembered agonies made his body cramp and dampened entirely his enthusiasm for experiencing any more. When his turn came he clutched at the threshold with all four limbs and shrieked lustily as children beat at his hands and the oversize knight finally Spartan-kicked him into the depths where we wandered, suffered and died.

zombie

...and died.

zombie

...and died.

zombie

...and, cursing Kellos, died again, forever.
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K.Y. Wong
Singapore
Gardens by the Bay
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Looks like Father Pedo is stuck in a private hell and forced to relive his sin of greed for all eternity...devil

Btw, great read!
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United States
Redford
Michigan
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Perhaps a remake of Groundhog's Day is in order.
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Jesse B
United States
Virginia
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I appreciate the part with Father Pedo asking the knight for cuts
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"Keep Flying, Keep Flying, Keep Flying..."
United Kingdom
Scarborough
North Yorkshire
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I think... my rectum just prolapsed... from the laughing. goo
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Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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The Cathedral is vast, as are you.
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This session has won the coveted Wolfie!


Huzzah!
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Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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The Cathedral is vast, as are you.
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...AND WINNER OF BEST SESSION REPORT OF 2010-2011!!!

modest
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Michael Ornelles
United States
Fresno
California
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Awesome report!
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