Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h08/mnt/96389/domains/williamcastle.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/statpress-reloaded/statpress.php on line 1786
Finding My Voice in the Catacombs of Paris

Finding My Voice in the Catacombs of Paris

I had been there before, a long time ago.  But one never forgets a place like this.  There are many ways to travel there; today I picked the easy route.  You see, I was following a family.  I was drawn to them like bees to honey or low flying Griffon Vultures to a smelling, rotting carcass.  Yes, that suits my story better, Griffon Vultures to a rotting carcass.

The last time I went down, I slipped into an isolated manhole cover and fell down through time and death.  I was alive then.  Yes, very alive.  I remember the fear I had conquered as I lingered in this belly of the beast. I was there to save my life.

My plan failed. But that’s a story for another day.

Today’s tale is another true one, and it is about me.  Dead as a doorknob, descending into the chambers filled with a million souls.

I followed a happy American family laughing joyfully as they stepped down the ancient steps, rounding further and further into the center of the earth.

They paused to consider the depth they were descending into.  But just for a second. They admired the ancient miniature city built into the limestone.

But just for another second in time.

I wanted to scream to them to really consider what they were doing.  They didn’t know the dangers that lurked below.

“Think about where you are and what you are doing!”

But they couldn’t hear me and probably wouldn’t listen even if they could.

Humans are funny this way.

They carried with them a sense of circus excitement, kind of like the adrenaline rush one gets right before you enter an amusement park ride.  No, my friends, this wasn’t “Pirates of the Caribbean,” nor was it “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”  Dorothy, dear Dorothy, you are NOT in Orlando, Florida, and you are about to step from the gay city of Paris into the deep, desperate world of the dismembered dead.

They said a mass prayer for them before they were dug up, quartered and dissembled. Yes, these bodies, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers were once alive.  Their flesh covered bones protecting Godly organs that pumped iron-filled ruby, red blood through squirting arteries pounding heavenly in their lively bodies.  They were alive. They were alive once upon a time.

It’s been about three hundred years since they walked the earth with their bodies in tact.  Now they lay in pieces underneath the steamy, hot sidewalks of Paris, France.

They stank.  Yes, the corpses began to stink.  That was their crime.  So they were dug up and pulled apart and placed in a very orderly manner deep inside the earth where no one would ever have to smell them again.

They don’t smell anymore.  No. Nothing is left to smell.  No small morsel of flesh has survived.  Just the calcium rich structure we call bones.  And millions of them, too.

It’s the order that strikes you first, the beautiful symmetry with which these bones had been placed.

At least that’s what struck me when I first came down here as a living soul.

The family was grinning. They enjoyed the macabre.  Obviously they found the site unreal. Otherwise they would have felt the somber mood of this tomb of a million souls. No, they were too playful.  They didn’t dare think about these people who once roamed the earth. No, they just stood mesmerized by the rows and rows of bones.  But these bones were once attached to brains and hearts and souls.  They loved and feared and laughed and cried.  Now they lay quiet underneath the Paris streets.

At least that is what the ‘alive’ ones see.

I see other things.  This time, as I wandered through the catacombs of Paris, I could see those souls who have not left their bodies.

I thought I would find some answers here.  I did.

Writers learn to be patient.  So do the dead.  Patience.  Peace will come, but not so quickly for some of us.  There is more to come.  More we need to do. More we must do.

I am evolving as a phantom and I am drawn to my history.  But pieces are still missing, like the femurs and tibias and skulls.  Something is missing.  My memory is missing.  I remember the movies I made and the gimmicks I employed.  I remember how to love and how to fear and how to laugh.

I also remember how to be afraid.

I am afraid now.  I fear for the family that I followed down deep below the surface of the earth.  And I yearn for them.

I don’t know why.

I follow their footsteps.  The smallest boy turns and looks through me.  It feels as if I am looking at myself.  He startles me.  He fascinates me.

And the tall one.  Handsome and lovely.  He has abilities he has no idea what to do with yet.  He has lessons to learn.  I could teach him.

But then I’m dead.

I feel sadness.

I walk with them, up the 83 steps to the surface of Paris.   I walk with them.  I walk with them.  I am patient.

Snow flakes as light as air falls on the family as they emerge from the darkness.

“Do you want some hot chocolate?” the father asks.

Hot chocolate and bones.  I need to know this strange family.  They need to see me.

Patience.

WC

3 Comments

  1. Patrick Power says:

    Many can not see the beauty in death. Or the death in beauty that must eventually die. But, it is there to be seen. Of those millions of bones, those massed remnants of what were once living and breathing humans beings, there must be thousands of stories, of love, hate, betrayal, murder, joy and sorrow. To hear all of those dead speak would take more than the 1001 nights Scheherazade was challenged.

  2. Love this story, WC! I want to go with you next time, or at least to the Polo Lounge for lunch 😉

    • William Castle says:

      The Polo Lounge sounds like fun. A bit less macabre than the catacombs. See you there. Can I smoke inside?

1 Trackback

  1. […] am not the only one exploring the catacombs of Paris. See Finding My Voice In The Catacombs of Paris It seems that National Geographic descended into the bowels of Paris and managed to capture what […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*