Until the Day of Wrath
He touched her elbow to guide her away from the pool; his hand was rough against her flesh. They walked through the shrubbery and came out into the parkland which made up the greater part of the Schloss grounds. High trees were decently spaced among recently scythed grass. The smell of verbena came only in gusts now, and for that reason seemed the more fragrant.
Albrecht was leading her away from the Schloss towards a small round brick structure topped by a high pinnacle of blue slates. There was a leaded window in the part of the wall nearest to them.
‘It looks older than the Schloss,’ she said. ‘What is it?’
‘It is much older than the Schloss which now stands. As to what it is – that you will shortly see. I do not think you have such things in England.’
As they drew nearer, she saw that much of the building was sunk below ground level. To one side there was a short flight of stone steps, leading down. She followed Albrecht. A heavy wooden door was secured by an iron ring; he turned this and the door swung open. Then he stood by, indicating that she should come forward to look inside.
She looked, and drew back in the same instant. The interior was like that of a very small chapel; and it was full of a jumble of bones. Almost at her feet a skull rested, staring upwards out of blind sockets. Other skulls were scattered all over the floor, mixed in with a welter of arm- and leg-bones, and other bones less easily identified. Some of them were broken; one skull was cracked in half.
Albrecht was looking at her, with a distant polite smile. She shook her head. ‘I don’t understand. What are they doing here?’
‘They are here by right,’ Albrecht said gently. ‘This is their home, as Frohnberg was when they were alive. They died and were buried, and when the flesh had quite rotted off their bones, their bones were brought here, to rest until the Day of Wrath.’