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I will never forget my experience at the factory... I had never believed in ghosts, until one fateful night.

I am now sixty-two, and to this day, I still have nightmares about what happened to me one fateful night. Here is my experience. 

I was sixteen, My friends and I (Nate, James, and Lucy) had heard a rumor going around about a haunted factory, we were nonbelievers of the paranormal, of course. We wanted to prove that the ghost didn't exist and that whoever had started the rumor that the factory was haunted was just overly superstitious, and nothing more. 

The rumor went that the ghost would only show up late at night, of course. Anyone that encountered him either went into mental depression or just plain died.

One night, by mutual agreement, my friends and I decided to sneak out of our homes and go to the abandoned factory. I could smell the damp stagnant air upon opening the creaky wooden door that led us into the building. I looked up, and could see clouds in the night sky. I still remember all the broken windows in the factory that glittered in the moonlight. The paint must have been a hundred years old, and chipped away as I brushed my hand against the wall. It turned to dust. 

Upon our arrival into the factory everything seemed normal. Although with further investigation, we saw trails of blood in one of the machine rooms that led to equipment. I shined my flashlight, reassuring my friends that it was probably just paint... but sure enough, it was blood. There were arms that seemed to be torn off of people caught in the augers and various moving parts. Lucy stared for a minute before starting to cry, and Nate begged us to leave.

I felt like something was luring me to explore this place. As we went towards a smelter, we could hear voices. Voices of children, begging their parents to stay away from the factory; pleading and sobbing. I looked at my friends. They were standing still. Their mouths were closed, and they had the same expression I knew was on my face. Nate and Lucy suddenly scrambled back towards the hallway that led to the entrance.

James and I were about to follow when the dusty wooden door that led to the hallway slammed shut. The voices seemed to address us now. "You must not leave me, please dear God save me!" And the crying of the children again. The voices were faint, but relentless. Through the crying I heard, "One may go."

A man's voice echoed slightly louder than the rest. "One may go... The strongest will leave." I looked at my friends, who must not have been paying attention to what exactly he was saying. 

The voices were starting to get to me. I couldn't move my hands or legs, and when I looked down, I was shaking. The man echoed through again. "I will help." The sobbing of the children got louder, and I watched him die. Nate looked up, so I tried to see what he was looking at. There was nothing. Then I looked back at him, and realized why he had pitched his head like that. Blood started coming out of his mouth as he fell to the ground. I wish I could say I helped him, but I was frozen, trembling, waiting for what was to happen to the rest of us. James fell to his knees upon Nate's corpse and tears mixed with the blood that lay on factory floor room five.

Lucy, just realizing what was happening, burst into tears. All of a sudden, James stopped crying. His face grew stern, and he walked over to Lucy. I cannot exactly recall, but I remember her last word, "... James." He jumped on her, forcing her to the ground, all the while forcing his hand into her mouth. I saw the panic in her eyes, and wished I could scream. Alas, all I could do was stare into those very eyes which would soon become lifeless. I could not stop it. I had loved her. I had loved her. I had loved her. And she died while I watched, my best friend smiled. 

He had killed her. I saw the grip she had on his forearm subside, as her hands fell to the floor. She was gone. I had almost expected for her to wake up, along with Nate, and things would go back to the way they were. But then, in the frantic heat of the moment, I couldn't think much at all beyond what was happening to me right there. 

I felt rage. He had taken her out of this world, and I was helpless. I could feel my hands tingling, and my feet sliding across the floor. I needed to kill him. I wanted to watch him die, just as he had watched her. What sweeter revenge than to exact his actions upon himself.

He knew the rage in my eyes. He identified it, and I watched him run down the hallway a short distance in front. I was slow. I felt sluggish, and weary, but determined. He ran into a room full of crates, and I heard a wooden thud as a board was sliding in between the handles. James pleas went through the door, and through my ears. Insolent. Arrogant. I was burning to watch his blood spill. I would do anything. I would do it for her. I heard the sobbing just then, and the man's voice. "Lance, you know what you must do." Then I started to rationalize. I was split, half wanting to save my friend, and half wanting to destroy him.

I then felt a great pressure in my head; it wouldn't stop hurting. I tried to get away from the door with James on the other side. I finally gained control of myself and yelled to James, "Get out! We need to leave!" I heard no response from James. I can only assume he thought I was possessed, and that I would kill him as soon as he left the room.

Then one of the lights in the hallway flickered on, making the walls a bit more visible. "Jack" was written on the walls in the same crimson hue. Then I saw him. A black silhouette with faint features that I could only discern upon squinting. He staggered forward, empty sleeves where his arms should have been. He then fell towards the wall, but the wall caught him as he dragged against it. He smeared the blood as he walked. 

I heard the voice. It must have been his voice. "Do it or I will." Then the sobbing started again, louder than ever before. The children's crying drown out my thoughts, and then I knew what I had to do. 

I burst through the door and saw the plank which acted as a bar to my entrance on the floor next to James. He was unconscious. I grabbed his wrist, and frantically dragged him out into the hallway. The man, Jack, stood there still, upright, in the dimly lit hallway. He said nothing. He didn't move. At this point the sobbing was making me irrational. If I would have pulled any harder I might have broken James' wrist. But we needed to leave.

Just before I could see the moonlight through the shattered windows, and the sound of the crying children softened, I heard one last sentence come from Jack's throat, "They're staying with me."

I pulled James out of the factory and fell asleep in the grass about a quarter-mile from where the factory lay. I awoke the next morning and James wasn't with me. 

I walked a bit to a point where I could see the factory. Only, it wasn't there.

It was an open field, the grass swaying with the wind, and whistling in the distance. The sun was high in the sky, I thought to myself, I must have been sleeping there for a long time...

I turned and started the long walk back home.