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1 Chapter One: The Search and Rescue

    "Hey, where are we even going?!" Lara asked Jandrel confused about everything

    Jandrel just remained silent, Lara was quite annoyed because she asked him a lot of times, yet the only response that Jandrel can give to her is silence. As he was driving his car, Lara felt something peculiar about the atmosphere. Shivers came down from her spine for no reason. From the backseat where she sat, she took a peek outside to take a look of the area that they are on right now.

    There were rice paddies on the side of the asphalt road. The sky was dark, filled with cumulonimbus clouds but it didn't gave any signs that it would precipitate.

    She returned his vision back to Jandrel.

    "HEY! I'M TALKING TO YOU! ARE YOU DEAF OR SOMETHING?!" she finally snapped

    Jandrel looked at the rear view mirror to look at Lara.

    "Lara, we are going back to look for them." He said calmly in a slight monotone

    The anger on Lara's face suddenly disappeared as he spoke those words, she became silent as she looked once again outside the car's window.

    "Welcome to the progressive town of Tenebrae" the sign said as they went through the road entering the town proper.

    "It wouldn't have happened if you didn't brought us here for that stupid test of courage." Lara said in a quite emotionless tone

    Jandrel's eyes was filled with grief.

    "So do you think I liked what happened?! Do you think I'm happy right now carrying the blame?! Carrying all that sadness and guilt?! I didn't knew that would happen! I just wanted to have fun with all of you! Was that wrong?!" He said as he raised his cracking voice trying to hold back his tears

    "That's the point! You always didn't knew about it! You keep on insisting that you aren't the one who's at fault, even though you are! Your ignorance won't save you! Just **ing accept it! You were the reason why Michael and Jonathan are missing right now!" She replied as she also raised her voice to Jandrel with a hint of anger and blame

    Just as when Jandrel was going to answer back,

    "You know, nothing will happen if we just keep on talking who's going to blame, who's right or wrong, because what's most important is we find them safe. Okay?" Lara said to him with a slight smile on her face making Jandrel feel okay

    "Yeah." He replied as he wiped down his tears with his hand then continued driving

    Jandrel looked in the distance as he was driving, he saw the tall buildings as they are approaching the town proper. It didn't looked like a town at all, it looked like a developed city from afar. As they're coming closer to the town, the fog keeps on becoming thicker and thicker. Jandrel opened up the headlights of the car in order to see the road, but the lights didn't become much of a help because it didn't even illuminated the way. So he started to make the car run in it's full speed thinking of creating wind to remove the fog.

    "Jandrel, stop the car! We can't even see the road anymore!" Lara said alarmed of Jandrel's measurements to asses the situation

    "It's fine, there are no other vehicles on the road! We aren't going to bump-

    From that moment everything turned into black.

    There was light peeking through the darkness, as Lara finally opened her eyes. She found themselves in the middle of a park. The place was wide, it looked like a recreational park where everyone can enjoy the sunshine with their family and friends.  But now it had a very gloomy atmosphere, fog was eating the place, the clouds were still cumulonimbus clouds, the place doesn't feel warm or cold either, more of a lukewarm sensation, the feeling of the place was like monotone.

    As Lara perceived the place she hurriedly woke up Jandrel who's still not conscious and is still lying on the grass.

    She shook his torso and his shoulders in order for him to wake up.

    As he finally opened his eyes, he abruptly lifted his torso and went into a sitting position. He restlessly looked at the place with heavy breathing and widened eyes.

    "OH NO, WHERE ARE WE. WHAT IS THIS PLACE?! WHERE'S MY CAR?! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CAR?!" Jandrel said panicking

    "I don't know, I also just woke up. The last thing that I can remember is that you sped up the car and then we're here." Lara said quite unsure

    "WHAT. OH NO DO YOU KNOW HOW FUCKED I AM IF I LOST THAT THING-

    Jandrel did a second look at the place, his panicked eyes saddened.

    Silence ate the area as the two we're still looking at each other, the atmosphere felt heavy.

    "I just lost something important to me again... haven't I?" He said in grief

    Lara felt sad for him, she felt like she has to say something that will make Jandrel's mood better but the gears of her brain stopped at the moment, she couldn't give out nice words for her friend.

    "COME ON" He declared as he stood up from the grass, patting his butt to remove the dirt from his pants

    Lara nodded.

    They started moving forward even though they didn't know where it will lead them. The place was really quiet, the only disturbance being created at the place was the sound of them walking on the slightly wet dirt. Lara's feet kind of hurts with all of the walking, as if they're walking for hours on an endless grassland. Yet she didn't complained about it, she kept walking matching up with Jandrel's pace.

    In the middle of walking, They both saw something illuminating at the distance, it had white radiance. The light was penetrating through the thick fog. With curiousity, they both held hands in order not to get separated and quickly went through the fog with the light as their guide.

    As they went through, they found themselves at the gate of the park, East Gate is what the signage said.

    They went outside of the park and finally saw what was causing the light.

    It was a huge aluminum frame of the town's map. The light reflecting was caused by a flashlight pointed at the aluminum frame. The flashlight looked like a a heavy duty one because it emits blinding light.

    And down the aluminum frame, there was a basket of the town's pocket sized maps.

    They were both happy to find those two useful things. They took two pocket maps for each of them and put it in their pockets.

    Jandrel took the flashlight and turned it off.

    "We must save the batteries." said Jandrel pertaining about the flashlight

    With that being done, they tried to locate their current location by looking at the big map in front of them.

    According to the map, the town was divided into two parts.

    The Old Tenebrae and The New Tenebrae.

    The Old Tenebrae is the part of the town where everything was still undeveloped and rural. It was the location of the old original town. Whereas, The New Tenebrae is the developed part of the town where everything is urbanized and modern. It was the built town after the booming success of the town in terms of economic status.

    They are at the middle of The New Tenebrae, at Raymond Recreational Park.

    "So where are we going to start looking for them?" Lara asked

    "I mean look at this!" She pointed at the map.

    "There's no way we can search every corner of this town! It's too big!"

    As he was listening at Lara's complaints, Jandrel looked at the town map once more.

    He was shocked on what he saw.

    "HEY ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!" Lara yelled

    Jandrel's expression did not changed, he was still looking at the map with big shocked eyes.

    "Why on Earth are your eyes enlarged?" She asked as she looked at the map.

    There they saw a crimson red circle drawn on a location, as it seems like the map was telling them where to go.

    "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT." Lara gasped

    "Saint John Academy" Jandrel stuttered

    "What?" Lara asked

    "The encircled location was Saint John Academy." He answered

    "So, we're gonna trust this and go there really?" She sneered

    As far as I know, these incidents often lead to TROUBLE."

    "BUT WHAT CHOICE DO WE HAVE? CAN YOU PLEASE STOP COMPLAINING IT'S FUCKING IRRITATING." Jandrel rebuked

    Lara became silent.

    "So, to go there we have to go straight to this road, turn left to Lewis Avenue and go inside the Saint John the Baptist Church. Because apparently, the school is behind the church." He explained to Lara

    "I know, I can see the map too you know." She replied

    "Well then, let's go."

    They started to walk down the road of the desolate town, Jandrel took out his map from his pocket in order for them not to get lost.

    "This place is kind of big of a commercial area does it." Jandrel mentioned

    "Yeah, I mean duh, look at all of these stores and stuff. They're all well-known brands." Lara agreed

    "I wonder why everyone abandoned this place?" He said puzzled

    They finally saw the corner of the road going to Lewis Avenue as they saw the posted signage. They turned left.

    After minutes of walking they found the big gates of the Church. Jandrel returned the map to his pocket.

    They tried to open the big rusting Victorian-styled iron gates, it opened.

    The gate creaked when it was opening.  They went inside the lot of the Church. The Church kind of looked like The Lichfield Cathedral in England, but wider and darker.

    "This building looks kinda sinister for a church." Lara commented

    "I know, it looks more hellish than holy" Jandrel agreed

    They went into the wooden main entrance door to enter the Church. They pushed it open in order to go inside.

    The door creaked as it opened.

    It was dark inside. There were no lights opened. Jandrel turned the flashlight on.

    They felt chills in their spine when they saw the interior of the church. It was full of idols, stained glass windows and paintings of the holy people in the Bible.

    In an instance like this, the insides of the Church looks horrifying.

    They started walking slowly as they hear their footsteps as they step on the floor tiles, echoing through the whole area. Lara felt uneasy as they walked through the nave.

    "Jandrel, can we walk faster? I'm kinda scared. I feel like someone's looking at us." She whispered

    Jandrel nodded, he thinks that it's only her imagination. Even yet, they started to walk faster.

    They stopped in front of the chancel arch of the Church, there were now at the central crossing. There is a lantern tower above them, yet it doesn't let in light.

    At the end of the left semi-transept there was a gate, there was a signage above the gate.

    "Saint John Academy"

    "That's the way" Jandrel pointed the gate

    They ran towards it, and pushed the gate.

    The chains rattled as they pushed it.

    "It won't open, it was padlocked." Jandrel said

    "What the hell, what are we supposed to do now?" Lara said quite annoyed

    "Look!" Jandrel pointed at the side of the wall

    It was a stone tablet beside the gate, there were written texts within it.

    "The Chamber of The Holy Eucharist, the directions for you It will enlighten.

    Within the Sanctuary of Holiness, it was hidden.

    Once you open it's doors, the gate of the Baptistians will open."

    "What does that mean?" Jandrel said puzzled

    He pondered.

    "Can I borrow the flashlight?" Lara asked

    "Why?"

    "Just let me borrow it."

    "Okay."

    Jandrel gave the flashlight to Lara, she was about to go somewhere.

    "Woah, woah, woah, wait. You're going to leave me here?! You're gonna leave me in the dark really?" Jandrel protested

    "You can come with me though." She answered

    "Okay, I'll follow you."

    Lara walked from the left semi-transept to the Altar, and went open the Tabernacle. Inside was a key and a paper.

    "How did you know the key was here?" Jandrel asked quite amazed

    "If you actually listened to our Religion Class instead of just sleeping, you would know the answer to that." She said quite proud

    "What do you mean?"

    "The Tabernacle is where the communion bread and the wine is stored, and those things were needed to the Holy Eucharist. So the Chamber of The Holy Eucharist is the Tabernacle, that explains the first line. And this place where the altar is placed is called the Sanctuary, that explains the second line. Though I don't know what Baptistians mean." She explained

    "I didn't knew that you were kinda knowledgeable about things." Jandrel said

    "Now you know."

    Jandrel took the key, while Lara took the paper and put it inside her pocket.

    Lara returned the flashlight to Jandrel and went back to the gate and unlocked it.

    The gate led them into a hallway made of stone with small windows. There were dim lights entering through the small windows, yet it does not illuminate the whole place completely. It was still dark, and a flashlight was still needed.

    They started walking.

    "So, what did the paper said?" Jandrel asked

    "I still haven't looked at it, let's see." She said as she took out the paper from her pockets

    She opened the folded paper.

    "Go to the Science Laboratory, at the third floor."

    "This is creepy, it's like someone's giving us instructions." Lara thought to herself

    "The Science Laboratory we go then." Jandrel said

    Lara was quite worried about Jandrel not worrying about the instructions they get out of nowhere.

    From all of their walking, they finally saw the end of the hallway and got out of the passage.

    They finally saw the school, Saint John Academy.

    The academe was only one building, but it was huge. The school also had Victorian Architecture. In front of the school was a garden.

    They hurriedly went inside the school entrance door.

    The door slammed as they closed it, it echoed inside the school.

    The insides of the school wasn't dark there were dim lights entering from the windows which makes everything visible. It was messy, there were scattered fliers and books on the floor.

    On their front, there was a bulletin board posted on the pillar and on their left was the stairs.

    "Good Day Baptistians!" those words were emphasized above the board.

    "Oh, apparently Baptistians were pertaining about the students of this school because their patron saint was John the Baptist." Jandrel said in a very uninterested manner

    "What a VERY creative name." Lara sarcastically giggled

    There were unimportant school announcements, and club fliers posted within it.

    They both looked at it for a second because their eyes were attracted to the design of the bulletin board but they quickly lost interest and went up the stairs.

    As they were ascending to the second floor, Lara noticed something peculiar.

    "Hey, is it just me or there's really something stinking up the place?" Lara said

    "It's not just you, there is really something." Jandrel replied

    They covered their nose with their shirts as they continued going up the stairs.

    Each step they take the foul odor becomes stronger and stronger.

    Lara retched because of the smell, Jandrel endured yet his eyes were watery.

    As they were to turn from the platform of the U-Turn Staircase, they froze in fear.

    They saw Michael rotting on the stairs, his body was torn into two, his innards were scattered there was dried blood everywhere, you can see the pain in his eyes as they were left open.

    Worms were feasting through his flesh.

    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"

    
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