Beryl had never been to the catacombs before, but he didn’t think that this sea of coffins was it. The catacombs were supposed to be cramped, dark, damp, and forbidding. Rats scurried over bones; bodies decayed while they were consumed by bugs that thrived in the soot and death of this city.
But this marvelous space was immense, ornate, and dimly lit. The roof was carved and smooth until it reached the current symbol of the city, the hammer, wrench, and shield which was at the very center of the dome. The stone and work all appeared ancient, and yet Beryl felt that it was still in use. That impression might have only come however because he had just seen Margo December resting near one of the graves.
Beryl didn’t yell out her name, but it was hard to contain his excitement as he ran to meet with her. He passed hundreds of memorials, they were more numerous than a veterans graveyard. Many of them had old pictures and very strange names, but Beryl only began to notice that something was wrong when he saw the same date of death repeatedly. There was a giant section dedicated to this day, a day that Beryl could only assume was a natural disaster or a war.
Now that he was looking closer he noticed other odd things, such as the painting of a strong and healthy adult that according to his headstone had only been two years old when he died. Beryl frowned and examined the headstone more closely and noticed the name.
He looked up to where Margo December had been standing to find she had disappeared once again. He made his way to the group of graves and stood over them. The dates on these graves were all in the past two years and the names cemented what Beryl had begun to suspect.
One of them was an old woman with missing teeth called the Mechanix Arms, the White Rabbit restaurant was a young bunny, a rotund individual dressed like a pirate was called the Barrel House. Even the Wilde Hospital and the Piermont Landing had coffins, though their tombs had been reopened.
Buildings. They are all dead buildings. There were constructions here that had been killed when the cloud angels revolted, and maybe even during the Great Fire, and possibly every building that had ever been assembled since Babbage had first been founded.
Some of the newest had red paint smeared on them. Beryl took a moment to see the message that had defiled this resting place and was not surprised to see the same declaration that had been on Sebastion’s statue:
‘In the Name of Progress!’
Arnold snorted angrily, “This is just ridiculous!”
“No…they might have been buildings, but that didn’t mean they weren’t alive.” He didn’t have to see Arnold’s face to know that the head didn’t believe him. Why should he? It sounded insane, and yet, “Margo December was Loki’s grandmother, but the spirit of the city–the soul of the city–used to take her form. Here…who’s to say that all buildings don’t have a life of their own?”
Beryl looked down at the special ledger the old man had given him and then looked for an open coffin. It wasn’t long before he found the tomb that had belonged to the elder, though the painting there had depicted him as a man in his prime.
He’d already had a chance at new life, and maybe one day he would again. Beryl placed the book in the tomb reverently and then sealed it shut. He grieved for a moment, and then turned to see Margo December in the distance disappearing down another corridor, this one leading towards the surface.