Time for an excerpt

The altar stone drew her. It was rough and rusty-red, an oblong piece of rock fallen from a mountainside, cracks and fissures in it and one end narrowing to a point. It was five feet or so wide at the widest point, and eight or nine feet long. The sides had not been shaped at all, but in the center the surface had been smoothed. She bent her head to it and smelled the stone. It smelled only like stone. She ran the palm of her left hand along the surface and had a few quick images of sharp knives and pain. Blood had been shed here, and so much of it that it still spoke.

“This is it,” she said. “The center. I think that’s why the altar was placed here.”

“You think they felt it?”

“Oh yes,” she said, shivering. The people whose stone this was had done sacrifice and chanted and prayed together, and if any of them had had power there might have been intensity enough to open the other place. They would have feared the darkness and lit candles and torches, but the violence and blood would have drawn the darkness to them. Who knew what might be disturbed, by accident or by intent? They put walls around the altar, built a fortress, then a castle, then a palace, all the while thinking the walls were to protect from enemies with spears and swords, and what they were really trying to keep out was the dark.