Ah, here you are. They told me you were coming. Follow me, stranger. Follow me deeper down into the catacombs. That's what you are here for, right? I'll show you things no one else can show you, at a very reasonable prize. Come on, follow me. Careful, the steps are uneven. Don't trip. I hope you are not afraid of the dark. We have old-fashioned torches - electricity does not work down here, for whatsoever reasons. Stay close to me, and I will be your guide. You are safe with me. The ceilings are a little low, don't hurt yourself! There, I told you. Is it bad, do you want to go back upstairs? No? Fine, then stay with me.
These are the dead. Some of them died peacefully, in their sleep. They didn't know their time had come. They had plans for the next days, weeks, maybe even years. They went to sleep and never woke up again.
Others died in terrible pain. There are more illnesses down here - don't be afraid, it is not dangerous anymore - than you will find in your medical books. Most people do not know about them, but I remember. I remember every one of them. The putrid smell, the pus, the bumps on their bodies... I have seen them come and go. Be careful, those stones are very sharp. Don't cut yourself. You may not take them with you, but we sell souvenirs when you get back upstairs.
Many of these people were tortured and killed. By murderers, by the mob, by officials. No one has knowledge of pain like the dead. But you do not see who is who or who died in what way. All you see is bones, smiling faces with empty eye sockets. Rats used to carry the bones away - I don't know what they did with them, maybe built a rat cathedral. These people are all mixed up, their body parts scattered over this huge maze. But they are safe down here, with me. Just as you.
Come on, the tour is not over yet. Are you cold? It is always chilly down here, and the water ruins your joints in time. For tourists it is not a problem, but if you are of my age and have stayed down here for so long, you can feel time trickling through your own bones. How long I have been doing this, you ask? Many, many years. Follow me.
This huge cave is the only thing that is not man-made down here. Do you see the paintings on the walls? They are even older than the oldest bones down here. Some say they are magic. See, they seem to move in the firelight. There is a mammoth, and a gazelle, and what must be some big cat. There are more paintings, but they are hidden behind the walls of bones. Everything is laid out and sorted down here... femurs here, rib cages and spines over there. In the back - there, you see it? - is a collection of hands. Not all of them were attached to their owners when they came down here. So many stories, so little time to tell...
Yes, here we are again. Go up the stairs, be careful. Is your head okay? Don't trip. No, I won't come upstairs with you. I stay down here, always. You will find the souvenirs on the right.