Across the wasteland, where only nettles and ruined concrete stumps grow. Into the abandoned factory where all the windows are broken, making faces like jagged howls of agony, or the tormented sinners protruding from the roofs of churches. Water drips into pools so old the floor is a chessboard of little craters. Graffiti peels and fails, messages of hope die. Sometimes, former employees come up here with bags of sleeping pills, trying to find the rusted echoes of their old machines or workstations. One former cleaner slashed his wrists within the floor outlines of the staff restroom he dedicated to bleaching.
I drop down into the cellars. The wooden floorboards have rotted so I tread carefully on the narrow metal girders that supported them. This dank underworld feels intensely evil. On the surface there is always the open fear of being attacked or stumbling across a body. Down here, something else is at work, a spectral presence that lusts for voices and breath. Down here, I hold my breath and say nothing.
Into the circular tunnel. No noise, no water dripping, just a faint light in the distance. I don’t bring a torch because I don’t want to see what I’m walking past or stepping on. Focus on the light. It’s the only currency that can be bartered with.
I tiptoe around puddles foul enough to melt my leather boots. I look ahead, edging closer to salvation, when something cuts across the light for a moment. And then it’s gone.