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Not getting into CCAD was a big blow to my ego. Since I received that news, my plans of where I might go from here with my life have been shot to shit. Many of my days revolve around halfheartedly documenting the lives of my friends with photography. Perhaps it's that I'm not good, or that such a style of art doesn't appeal to the school. Some might not even consider it art. I'm not sure it is.
With no direction in my life, my parents made an executive decision to take me to preview a college called 'OWU' which is in the middle of nowhere Ohio and, obviously, doesn't have as strong of a photography department as an art school would. Now I don't want to say that 'my parents embarrass me,' but my parents embarrass me. So after much convincing on my part, I took the road trip from Indiana to Ohio with a friend, Andy. The only stipulation was that I had to document my trip.
On the way there, we shot the shit about life, drinking, women, drinking with women; normal high school stuff. It was turning out to be an okay day, but Andy would occasionally bring up photography and college, subjects I didn't want to talk about. Andy may be a good listener, but he doesn't understand how to be sensitive to a situation. So I'd shift the discussion to music, then he'd tell me about new bands I need to listen to, and then I'd promise I would (I wouldn't). The documentation of this trip was supposed to be the total package.
The school, gas stations, where we ate, surrounding areas. I'm not sure if my parents really wanted to know that much about the area or not. I think it's more that they wanted my photography which consists of stage performances of shitty punk bands and general debauchery of my friends over into a constructive realm. This wasn't the way to do it. The first thing I shot was Andy and myself in front of the car on with a timer and tripod. After all, it was technically my first day going to this school (even thought it was just a college tour) and it's tradition to take a picture when you're packed and ready to go. I shot a few other things.
The man at the gas station listening to rap with a Blackletter font 'D' on his shirt, I didn't get it and he wasn't too happy to be shot. A giant dam that had some of those Irish rock walls in the fields below it. Oh, and abandoned farm houses, one can't be a photographer without shooting abandoned farm houses.
It was around noon when I got done shooting those houses and I was tired, and tired of driving. Andy offered to drive while I took a nap. I did just that. I napped.
I woke up on campus, but not in a car. It was hot and humid, as if it had been raining. My shirt was wet with dew and sweat, my cell and wallet were nowhere to be found, and my DSLR, the new D5100 my mother bought me for Christmas was no longer strapped around my neck, in its place was a beat up black Asahi Pentax with a 50mm lens and no lens cover. After finding resistance when cycling forward in the film, I knew I had one roll of film loaded and ready. Some shots had apparently been taken.
The first thing I saw when I came to has a giant building that said "Selby Field 1929." Unsure of how to orient myself after waking up, I just snapped a picture of the monolithic structure that towered above me and walked on to find someone that went to the school. It was only after taking that first shot that the shocking aspect of the situation set in. It was almost as if letting the light and shadow hit the photosensitive film allowed the situation I was in to process in my mind. I desperately patted my pockets again looking for my cell phone and wallet, which I already knew were missing.
The panic was really setting in. I began to think about what could have caused this to happen. I only remember going to sleep in the car. No one was in sight so I headed towards some larger building sure that someone had to be around. It made sense that the streets were lifeless as it was Sunday and shitty outside. This didn't ease my mind. I knew waking up with no recollection of how you got to where you woke isn't good. Talking to somebody wouldn't reveal any good news.I came to a building with a sign that read "Power House" which looked to be a generator of some sort. Nearing the building, it seemed to give off massive amounts of heat. It could have been that I just started walking and so my blood got circulating, but I started to develop a headache around that place, I even got a little bit of an iron taste in my mouth. Not like a blood taste, but like I had been licking a crow bar that had been left out in the sun all day. As I approached the place in the off chance that some maintenance person would be hanging around, the feeling of iron and sickness intensified. Not wanting to pump my blood any faster than it was going, I tread softly away from the building.
Close to the Power House was a relatively nondescript building, I didn't hesitate to go inside. Somewhere in the chain of command, they'd know I was coming. However, no one was inside. I questioned whether that was normal. They do have a relatively small student body and a good amount of space, maybe people were just practicing elsewhere. Now I'm not sure what held me back from doing this, but I didn't yell out for anyone. About the time I reached the basketball court, I realized I hadn't thought to yell out for someone, or rather, I was afraid to. As if it would be dangerous. I stop dead near the middle of the court not long after shooting it. My creaking might have given away my position as it was a loud and old building.
Then I heard a singular creak. It came from the stairwell I was just in. It wasn't that audible, but in the stillness of the place, a place that seemed trapped in another time period, it stood out like a freshman at a senior party. My heart sunk at the noise, my mind twisted and contorted that minute creak of the wood stairs into a security guard, then to an angry jock, then into a monster, then into an even worse monster. That headache that lingered since I looked at the Power House forced me carefully to my knees. That irrational thought gave way to a more sensible one. 'Maybe it was Andy.' With no recourse, which is a situation I find myself in often, I bit my lip and moved towards the stairwell. As I got close, I heard creaks again, clear and crisp steps going progressively up the stairs. I followed them, to the top, where I found an odd dead end. It was as if something was planned for this floor but not executed.Looking out the window at the top of the stairs felt strange, it was as if I was looking at some optical illusion with no pay off. Like I was being tricked but everything made sense. The best way I could describe it was like the magician, Teller, stomping out a cigarette and lighting another one when it’s really the same cigarette. The end result was the same but something in the process of the light beams going from the object to my eyes was off. I felt like putty and had the sudden urge to use the bathroom.
Recklessly, I moved down the stairs looking for a bathroom. I found only lockers so I entered the boy’s room. It was so dark that I had to use my external camera flash to find my way at points. Something is off about the photos I took there that I didn’t notice at the time. I was getting ready to piss and rinse off my face with fresh cold water when a loud sound of a locker opening jostled my senses. That sound was quickly followed by the sound of a locker door being ripped off the locker itself.That door was then thrown far about the top of the lockers and I could vaguely make it out in the dark. Then the footsteps, they moved in my direction with an ever present dragging sound following not far behind. A moment later, another locker door was torn and thrown. I did my best to sneak down another row of lockers.
When I was directly across from whatever was tearing off those locker doors, in another row of lockers, it let out a shriek that quickly died into a huffing, almost panting sound. As I assume its mouth closed, I heard a crackling noise, as if its skin was stretching a massive amount to give birth to that intimidating cry. I lost control of my body and violently shivered at the sound, my face crying against the ground, and I’m not embarrassed to say that after that, I starting peeing in my pants. I was sure this cry was designed to disempower me while it hunted me down. It continued to tear shit apart and occasionally cry out with increased frequency. In between shrieks, I crawled under the wide locker benches.
As the shrieks round the corner and started making their way back in my row of lockers, their power intensified. They began to fog my thoughts and force my eyes closed. They had the effect of viper poison but in audible form. I struggled to keep my eyes open as it approached my tear, sweat, and piss stains. It stomped on the stains with hooven feet barely viewable under a robe, it drug Andy by one foot. That was the last time I saw Andy. His face looked as if he had been curb-stomped by a gang of thugs, his arms were broken, alluding to a pointless defense of his head and face. I went out then, waking to a pile of puke beside my face an indeterminable amount of time later.
The thing seemed to be gone; a blood trail was left leading out of the locker room as if Andy’s body was a paintbrush loaded to the barrel with alizarin crimson paint. I went back to the bathroom section in the back of the room in a vain attempt to clean myself up. Moving out of the locker room, I saw the blood trail lead to a room in open view of the main entrance/exit, and I heard snoring coming from that room. I tip-toed into the women’s locker room hoping to find another way out of the building. It didn’t take long for me to find a way out, but I was surprised how many women’s shoes were in there. By this point, I figured that the only thing around were that thing, Andy’s dead body, and myself. But here were a mass of women’s shoes.
Once outside of the building, I ran as fast I could, no longer concerned with the creaks and sounds that building made when someone traversed in it. I ended up in a lecture hall. I seemed out of my time period, I’m not used to historical architecture. It was empty and dated, like the hotel in ‘The Shining,’ the one directed by Kubrick. The experience was, for lack of a better word, backwards. When I reached the second floor of the building, I began to wonder what I should do. I could be anywhere on campus but I seemed trapped in another dimension. I wondered why I even bothered going upstairs in such a place. I just documented what happened to the best of my abilities.
Then I heard the front door open. I looked for a place to hide. I entered a single bathroom with a door that lead to a seemingly hidden area. Everything was covered in dust, I shut the door and turned on the light-bulb to find boxes, crates, and a ladder that lead to a whole in the ceiling. The crates had what looked to be old time-y booze, like bathtub hooch. Oddly enough, the boxes had prohibitionist propaganda signs, banners and what not from a long time ago. I didn’t have time to analyze what it was, I just climbed up the ladder in fear that the creature had followed me.
I didn’t waste time documenting where I came out, but it had signs indicating it was the administration building. I was on the first floor, I exited a different building than I entered. I seemed to have climbed up to the first floor of a building from the second floor of another building. I ran north I think, and found a creak. I followed it up the hill, until I saw it in the distance, in a robe, with a goat-like horn coming out of a broken skull. I don’t think it saw me, but I ran. I ran all the way past Selby field to a walking path which I calmed down at. No sooner had I calmed down when I heard someone or something coming up the other side of the path towards me. I turned around and long story short, I ended up in the admin building again.
I wanted to curl up and die. I tried to hide in the men’s bathroom but it was locked, so I checked the girl’s room. I was shocked to find the window area to be an opening to a somewhat familiar sight. I crawled through and tripped. I found myself at the abandon farm house I had shot earlier. The bathroom was gone. I looked around and went up close to the house, which I hadn’t done before. I took one final shot that day from outside of the empty house.
Then I went inside. I tried to check the basement but it was locked. I then checked up stairs. I heard rustling outside. I caught a glimpse of that thing out the back window and freaked. I ran to the other side of the upstairs and saw my car in front of the house. I opened the window and dangled myself outside it to brace for the impact of jumping when it’s shriek dropped me to the ground. I limped into the unlocked car and the key was in the ignition. I started it. I drove off.
I stayed at a hotel. I showered. I had the film developed. Some of the shots I took on my missing camera were on the film in analog form. I filed a missing person report for Andy. But I knew he wouldn’t turn up, obviously. When I made it home, my parents explained that it turned out I had been accepted to CCAD. There was a mix up. 35,000 dollar scholarship too. I didn’t care to explain what had happened. I just rested up for the oncoming school year.
Once my first year at CCAD was well under way, I did some digging into OWU. I found out about George D. Selby. According to some of the older locals around the campus area, it’s a not so hidden secret that he was a prohibitionist in public, but he ran a bootlegging business behind the scenes. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything but I thought I’d let you know. I suppose I did document the trip. I might have looked up that band Andy told me about if I remember its name. It’s been a little more than 2 months since this happened and I haven’t gone back there, nor do I plan to.