Read Catacomb Online

Authors: Madeleine Roux

Tags: #Horror, #Young Adult, #Fantasy, #Mystery

Catacomb

DEDICATION

For Andrew & Kate

EPIGRAPH

“In the province of the mind,

what one believes to be true either is true

or becomes true.”

—J
OHN
L
ILLY

“Men are not prisoners of fate,

but only prisoners of their own minds.”

—F
RANKLIN
D
.
R
OOSEVELT

CONTENTS

 
  1. Dedication
  2. Epigraph
  3. Prologue
  4. Chapter 1
  5. Chapter 2
  6. Chapter 3
  7. Chapter 4
  8. Chapter 5
  9. Chapter 6
  10. Chapter 7
  11. Chapter 8
  12. Chapter 9
  13. Chapter 10
  14. Chapter 11
  15. Chapter 12
  16. Chapter 13
  17. Chapter 14
  18. Chapter 15
  19. Chapter 16
  20. Chapter 17
  21. Chapter 18
  22. Chapter 19
  23. Chapter 20
  24. Chapter 21
  25. Chapter 22
  26. Chapter 23
  27. Chapter 24
  28. Chapter 25
  29. Chapter 26
  30. Chapter 27
  31. Chapter 28
  32. Chapter 29
  33. Chapter 30
  34. Chapter 31
  35. Chapter 32
  36. Chapter 33
  37. Chapter 34
  38. Chapter 35
  39. Chapter 36
  40. Chapter 37
  41. Chapter 38
  42. Chapter 39
  43. Chapter 40
  44. Chapter 41
  45. Chapter 42
  46. Chapter 43
  47. Chapter 44
  48. Epilogue
  49. Acknowledgments
  50. Image Credits
  51. Back Ads
  52. About the Author
  53. Books by Madeleine Roux
  54. Credits
  55. Copyright
  56. About the Publisher

T
hese were the rules as they were first put down:

First, that the Artist should choose an Object dear to the deceased.

Second, that the Artist feel neither guilt nor remorse in the taking.

Third, and most important, that the Object would not hold power until blooded. And that the more innocent the blood for the blooding, the more powerful the result.

A
t first
the idea of a cross-country road trip had been hard to stomach. If sleeping in a tent wasn’t horrible enough, Dan had felt anxious, almost sick, at the prospect of being away from his computer, his books, his
alone time
for two whole weeks. But that was the deal Jordan offered when he wrote to them with the big news: he was moving to New Orleans to live with his uncle.

Perfect chance
, his email had said,
to have some time together
.
You two nerds can help me move down there, and we’ll get a last hurrah before we all traipse off to college.

Dan couldn’t argue with that, or with any reason to spend more time with Abby. She’d visited him in Pittsburgh once a few months ago, and they’d been talking online more or less every week. But two weeks away from parents and chaperones . . . He didn’t want to get ahead of himself, but maybe their relationship could finally flourish, or at least survive, with some much-needed quality time together.

The Great Senior Exodus, Jordan had called it. And now, a day after leaving Jordan’s miserable parents behind in Virginia, the trip was finally starting to live up to that name.

“These are incredible,” Jordan was saying, flicking through the pictures Abby had taken and then uploaded onto his laptop
for safekeeping. “Dan, you should really check these out.”

“I know it’s kind of cliché, photographing Americana in black and white, but lately I’ve been obsessing over Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams. They were the focus of my senior project, and Mr. Blaise really loved it.”

Dan leaned forward between the seats to look at the photographs with Jordan. “They’re definitely worth the stops,” he said. They really were something. Open landscapes and deserted buildings—through Abby’s eyes, they were desolate, but also beautiful. “So Blaise finally gave you an A, then?”

“Yup. No more stupid A minuses for me.” She beamed. Jordan offered up a high five, which Abby managed without taking her eyes off the road. “He actually grew up in Alabama. He’s the one who gave me ideas for sites to photograph.”

They had already stopped a few—well,
many
—times to allow Abby to take photos, but Dan didn’t mind the extra time on the road. He could ride forever in this car with his friends, even if his turns driving got a little tedious.

“I know it’s lame to take us so far out of the way, but you’re not in too much of a hurry to get there, are you, Jordan?”

“You’ve already apologized about a million times. Don’t worry about it. I’d say something if it was annoying.”

“Yes,” she said with a laugh. “I’m sure you would.”

If he was honest, Dan wasn’t in too much of a hurry to get there, either.

It had been nine months since they’d watched the Brookline asylum burn to the ground. The three of them had barely escaped with their lives, and they’d managed that much only with the help of a boy named Micah, who had died trying to buy
them time to escape their pursuers. Micah had had a rough, short life, and he’d grown up in Louisiana—a fact Dan had never told Abby or Jordan. Now, just when it seemed like the ghosts of the past were finally content to leave Dan and his friends alone, the three of them were headed to the most haunted city in America. It felt like they were tempting fate, to say the least.

“You okay back there?” Abby asked, cruising smoothly down Highway 59.

“Yeah, I’m good, Abs,” Dan said. He wasn’t sure if that was a lie. But before Abby could call him on it, Jordan’s phone dinged—or rather, a clip of Beyoncé fired off loud enough to make all three of them jump.

Dan knew what that meant. “You’re still talking to Cal?”

“On and off,” Jordan said, quickly reading the text message. “The on part is why Mom won’t pay for school. Not sure what I’d do without Uncle Steve.”

“You could stop talking to Cal,” Dan suggested.

“And let my parents
win
? Not likely.” He peered around the center console at Dan, his bare feet propped up on the dashboard. Late afternoon sunlight glinted off the shiny new black lip piercing Jordan had insisted on getting in Louisville. “He says physical therapy is a real shit show sometimes, but his life feels like paradise after New Hampshire College. Hey! I just realized that at Uncle Steve’s, I’ll be able to Skype with him without my mother the drama queen bursting into tears.”

Dan shifted again, even antsier now at the mention of New Hampshire College. If he let his mind wander or dwell, he would feel the heat of the flames that had engulfed Brookline and everything in it. He wanted to believe that Brookline’s
effect on him had ended that day—that the evil had died with Warden Crawford and Professor Reyes—but his last moments at the college had given him cause to doubt.

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