With shaking hands, I closed the book. It was heavier now, as if the paper had changed to iron while I worked. Blood seeped out of the bottom from wet, stained, pages. My blood. Light-headedness and stinging palms aside, I understood sacrifice required a primal cost and I wasn't willing to kill anyone. Yet.
The cellar, darker now than when I'd started, felt infinitely wider as well. No ritual was perfect. No protection foolproof. I'd followed the instructions to the best of ability.
Slithering metal, like discordant chimes rubbing together, rustled out of sight. In every corner, the shadows took on orange and smoky yellow hues as if their insubstantial edges were aflame, moving like frantic flapping wings. The most ornate chandelier I'd ever seen, holding hundreds of candles connected by black, foul smelling chains filled the space around me. In the light of every candle a bestial eye stared back while below them the candles flesh, pink and pale, held towers of screaming faces.
The Candlemaker was here.
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