The deep silence that inhabited that forgotten suburb was suddenly interrupted by the constant sound of footsteps, which echoed and spread through the alleys, acquiring a cadence similar to that of an echo.
The growls of a black cat were coupled to the uniform rhythm produced by the stranger's footsteps, giving shape to a new melody, much more weirder and disturbing than the previous monotonous sequence of sounds. The cat that followed the man closely, for some reason decided to separate from him, and climbed through a house with stone walls blackened by soot. He did so until he continued his nimble ascent to the top of a high peaked roof. Then, emitting faint mewls, the feline vanished into the dense night, allowing the cawing of a raven born from the shadows to take center stage. The bird flew in circles until it descended precipitously on the stranger's shoulder, where it rested for a moment before resuming its flight and disappearing into the darkness.
The stranger had the appearance of a man of no more than twenty-five years of age. With an above-average height, he moved hurriedly through the shadows, hunched slightly on his back. He was only visible at times when the dim lights of the street lamps revealed his presence. He possessed a pale complexion, sharp features and was dressed in a long coat that covered him to below the knees. His eyes were hidden by dark glasses with round lenses that reflected the light of the streetlights in the form of sparkles. And in his right hand, he held what appeared to be an antique violin case, very tarnished in appearance due to the passage of time and lack of proper care. All these elements gave the young man a certain somber, mysterious and reserved air. But at the same time, as all those characteristics complemented each other, they ended up giving his presence a peculiar magnetism.
With each step the stranger took, his face reflected an evident grimace of pain. But in any case, despite the fact that he was suffering from some kind of injury, he continued to move quickly through the streets, not even bothering to dodge the puddles of foul-smelling water that had accumulated after several days of heavy rains. After continuing to walk for several minutes, he looked up at the sky and noticed that the rain was falling with greater intensity than before. So, without stopping, he stretched the collar of his coat and turned the corner in the direction of the cemetery.
Once he reached the place, he crossed the rusty gates that enclosed the entire plot and continued to walk deeper into the cemetery populated with hundreds of mausoleums and gothic structures. He walked until he came face to face with a steep path that branched off just before he reached the end of his journey. The young man paused for a moment, but immediately resumed his path to the right, along a path that stretched unevenly with inlaid cobblestones and portions of dirt.
Though its only light came from the faint reflection of the moon, which peeked carefully through the storm clouds. He could see in the darkness as one more of the nocturnal creatures that dwelled in the surroundings, hidden under the cloak of shadows. He continued along the path that wound through tombstones and worn-out mausoleums, guarded only by the presence of grotesque statues that lay crumbling from the inevitable passage of the years. At the end he stopped in front of a pit, and without hesitation he entered it. This entrance connected the outside with the catacombs, which extended in the form of subway tunnels until they ended on the other side of the cemetery. Once inside, he immediately felt the dense and rarefied air due to the smell of moldy earth, rotting flesh and bones. The stench was emanating from ancient tombs long ago desecrated by the blasphemous activities of tomb raiders. As he traversed the dark, narrow tunnels, he heard rasping sounds, similar to those produced by a person suffering from an intense coughing fit. Undeterred in the least, he continued walking, attributing such sounds to some of the addicts, who, because of their dependence on esker flower or opium, used to seclude themselves in solitary places to consume their drugs. He made his way down the aisle until he stopped in front of an ancient tomb that had a marble slab on its main face, covered with strange symbols engraved in metal all along the structure.
One of the main symbols located in the center of the plaque, was disarranged in different geometric figures that seemed to be able to change places. The stranger rested one of his long fingers on one of the pieces and began to move them from one side to the other, shaping another new figure very quickly, as if he already knew by heart the combination of movements necessary to achieve it. When he finished, the pieces together formed a seven-pointed star with small snakes engraved on the inside of each of the ends. With the completed figure in front of him, the young man took a small knife from inside his coat and used it to inflict a shallow cut on his index finger, from which blood began to flow abundantly. With the same wounded finger he began to overwrite the symbols on the plaque with blood, leaving the outlines of the seven-pointed star for the last. Once he finished, he closed his eyes as if he needed to concentrate and rested his palm on the engraving, keeping it this way for a few moments. Suddenly, metallic sounds were heard coming from inside the tomb, as if some kind of internal mechanism had been deactivated. Then, the marble slab slid inward, revealing a compartment that had been hidden. The stranger reached into the hole and extracted from within a gleaming pendant, comprised of a silver chain attached to a medium-sized locket of the same material. Holding the amulet between his fingers, the young man marked with his blood one of the symbols engraved on the object, and then brought the container to his mouth. Turning a small knob on the outside of the locket, he drank a strange glowing substance, which he immediately swallowed. A moment after he took the substance and it reached his organism, he began to tremble violently for a few moments, clenching his jaw tightly, as if he were in intense pain. Once the minutes had passed, the effects suddenly ceased and his appearance seemed completely revitalized. All his wounds had healed, and this could also be seen in the gash he had inflicted on his finger. The cut had healed amazingly after ingesting the elixir. Only a faint pink mark remained as a trace of the wound on the skin. At that moment he observed the pendant that he still held between his fingers and placed it around his neck, hiding it under his clothes. Then, from one of the pockets of his coat he removed what looked like a bag with coins and some strange crystalline fragments, which he deposited at the same time in the hole of the compartment. At that instant he averted his gaze to the ground when something strange seemed to catch his attention, but he only noticed a couple of rats moving nimbly along the wall, until they stepped over his boots. Without further delay, he put all his concentration back into what he was doing, and returned the marble slab to its original position.
He wiped away the traces of blood that had been left on the engravings and then continued down the narrow corridors that led to the end of the catacombs.
When he was outside, left the cemetery to resume his walk through the lonely streets.
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