It was Pam’s third day in Budapest. She was visiting several European cities to do background research for her latest horror novel, looking into ancient legends and myths concerning eerie haunted places. Earlier that evening, she’d visited the city’s main library, where the librarian mentioned, “Well, if you’re looking for ghosts, you’ve come to the right place. Under the city is a vast network of ancient catacombs, a dark and foreboding place rumored to be guarded by the ghosts of ancient pagan warriors. They say these ghosts wander the catacombs at night, searching for intruders.”

My interest perked, I inquired, “And how would I find these haunted catacombs?”

“Oh, that’s easy. Like the hotel you’re staying at, most of the older buildings in the city have entrances to the catacombs hidden within their basements.”

Intrigued, I asked, “A hidden entrance?”

“Yes, search the basement outer walls, looking for a cross carved into one of the stones. Press that stone to reveal the entrance.”

Smiling with anticipation, “That sounds easy enough. Perhaps I’ll go exploring tomorrow after buying a flashlight.”

“There’s no need for a flashlight. Just inside every entrance, you’ll find a shelf of torches and a flint to light them.”

Leaving the library, I eagerly looked forward to exploring the city’s catacombs, not tomorrow but tonight. If those ghosts of ancient pagan warriors wondered the catacombs at night, I wanted to be there to see it.

I left my hotel room just before midnight and headed to the basement. Knowing that the basement was off-limits to guests, I used the stairs rather than the elevator to reduce the chances of discovery.

Fortunately, the basement was well-lit, so it only took me a few minutes to find that cross-carved stone. Reaching up, I pressed the stone. For a brief moment, nothing happened, then the stone shifted with a faint metallic click, and the hidden entrance swung inward, revealing a dark, narrow passageway.

Stepping through the entranceway, I lit a torch and started down the steeply descending passageway. About two minutes later, the passageway abruptly ended, and I entered a vast tunnel with a high vaulted ceiling.

The large piles of ancient bones along the tunnel walls confirmed I’d finally reached the catacombs. Now to discover if the legends were true, were they haunted.

Unbeknownst to Pam, as she stepped out of the passageway and into the catacombs, the hidden basement entrance behind her slowly swung shut, sealing the entrance as the hotel’s basement lights switched off.

The tunnel seemed to go on for miles, with side passageways splitting off about every fifty feet and massive piles of bones everywhere. I’d been walking for almost an hour when I suddenly noticed a faint glow, almost like a lantern, emanating from the next side passage. Stopping before the side passageways entrance, I raised my torch as I peered into the darkness, trying to discover the source of that eerie approaching light when suddenly he appeared.

A ghostly specter of a man, who seemed to glow with an inner white light, wearing ancient battle-damaged armor and carrying a sword, his outline seemed to flicker, almost as if the edges of his body were slightly out of focus. Everything about him screamed ghost, almost as if he was little more than a man-shaped wisp of fog. As he drew closer, I felt a sudden icy sensation of fear as I noticed that, unlike his ghostly form, his badly rusted sword seemed terrifyingly real.

I slowly backed away, realizing that if the ancient legends were true, he was likely a ghost of the catacomb’s ancient pagan warriors out searching for intruders. And, from his perspective, I was an unwelcome intruder.

I’d almost reached the middle of the main tunnel when it happened. A sudden breathtaking explosion of pure agony made me look down in horror at that rusted, blood-smeared sword blade obscenely protruding from between my breasts. There had been a second ghostly warrior standing behind me this entire time.

Impaled upon his sword, I struggled to look over my shoulder at him, the ghostly grim look of satisfaction on his face as I heard his horrifying thoughts in my mind, “Tis too bad we had to butcher this one. She’d have made a fine sex slave.”

Suddenly, a second sword impaled me, sliding effortlessly through my belly and out my back. Turning back, I realized the ghost I’d been moving away from had closed the distance and ran me through.

“Not to worry, Marcus, she still thinks that dying on our blades is the worst thing that can happen, but we’ll have all eternity to prove her wrong.”

As suddenly as they came, they both pulled their swords out of me and vanished. Alone, I sank to my knees and collapsed into a growing pool of my blood. My final darkly masochistic thought was, “They think they can do worse? Good. We do have all eternity to find out. I can’t wait...”