My name is Mike. I'm part of a team of Canadian/American researchers that study the usage of nuclear energy. There's Joe, Barry, Ryan, Christina, Sandy, TJ, Lee, and Tom. My team is sent all over the world to study various power plants, and provide data for major companies. We’re renowned for being so speedy and efficient. One day, I get a call from my friend Brett. He's the guy who handles all our jobs. He tells me that my team is being asked to work a job in Europe. In the Ukraine, to be exact. I didn't need any more details to know where we were being sent. It was the Chernobyl power plant, or rather, the area around it since the whole place is sealed off. Brett gave us the scoop: get in there, take some readings, record the data, and get out. Simple job, right? I figured this would be a good time to bring those fancy new radiation suits we got last week. They're big and bulky, but they'll give us a couple more hours near Chernobyl than normal suits.
The flight to the Ukraine is uneventful. We land, and find our guide waiting outside the airport. He takes us to a local hotel where we stay the night. He tells us we would take another day to reach our destination. I asked him if he had ever been there, but he was hesitant to answer. He said to me in a thick Russian accent, "There are many strange things that happen there. Many.. things..." He trails off and refuses to answer any more questions. I have never been to Chernobyl, so I was very curious, but at the same time anxious about it. I couldn't tell why. This was just an abandoned city, right? The next morning, we head out towards Pripyat, the city right next to the power plant. We would work from there. As we neared the city, I saw haunting reminders that this was once a city full of life. Empty apartments, homes, recreational buildings, still perfectly preserved. We came up to the 30km zone of exclusion around Chernobyl. This is where our guide told us, “No further.” He waved us goodbye as we entered the desolate neighborhoods of Pripyat.
I figured this was a good time to suit ourselves up. We drove into the heart of the city. By now it was getting dark, as we had taken the whole day driving here. We set up our equipment and I assigned teams to each person. Barry with Christina, Joe with Ryan, Sandy with Tom, and finally TJ along with Lee were with me. “Stuck with you? Damn”, TJ joked. She was a perky girl, and she had a nice figure. I liked her. As for Lee, he was a new addition to the team, so I had to evaluate his skills personally. I gave each member one radio to stay in contact with each other. Each team was given a specific block of the city to cover and work from. As we were heading out, I spotted something moving in one of the third floor windows of an apartment building. It didn’t stay for long so I shrugged it off as an animal. I couldn’t believe how still everything was. No movement whatsoever. Even the wind seemed to stand still. It was quiet, very quiet except for the rhythmic breathing through our respirators. We came to a large building that seemed like a workshop of some sort. I motioned to TJ and Lee. “Let’s go in, we’ll collect samples in there”, I told them. As I approached the building, I began to have an ominous feeling. Like we were being watched. Like we weren’t alone. I pushed open the rusted iron door. I turned on my flashlight, TJ and Lee followed. “Wow. It’s like they abandoned this place yesterday”, said Lee. He was right. The machines were still in the on position. I shined my flashlight straight ahead. The beam of light went far, at least 30 feet, and at the end of it I saw a door. Might as well investigate while we’re here, I thought to myself. “TJ, you stay here and set up the equipment. Call me over the radio if you need help. Lee, let’s check out that door.” TJ groaned. She hated being left behind. We approached the door. It was at the end of a long hallway, about 30 or 40 feet long. The paint was peeling from the walls, giving the whole place a neglected kind of feel. Carefully, I opened it.
“Lee, how’s the radiation?” I asked.
“30 counts per minute. We should be good.”
We walked inside. It was a staircase, leading down to some kind of basement. I shined my flashlight down, but it was still pitch black. I started questioning whether or not I should go down. My curiosity got the better of me. Slowly I descended into the darkness. I looked around.
“Hey, what’s this?” Lee asked. He was shining his light on some kind of rectangular tank. It looked like a fish tank, almost. The room was big, with machinery spaced out evenly throughout it. It must’ve been a small factory. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move in the far left corner of the room. I quickly shone my light on it. Nothing.
“Did you see that?”
Lee was clearly captivated by the fish tank. He might’ve missed it, but I sure didn’t. Whatever it was, it was quick. I looked around, checking the room for any extra doors or secret entrances. It seemed to be just an ordinary basement. I told Lee to get stop gawking at the tank and head upstairs. TJ was still setting up the various meters and recording devices when we got there.
“Find anything?” She asked.
“Nope. Just weird experiments done by crazed Soviet scientists.” She gave me a stare.
“Okay, if you really want to, we can go check out that abandoned hospital down the block. Would that make you happy? We can leave the equipment here to record while we’re gone.”
“You’re the best, Mike!” She grabbed a hold of me and hugged me. I resisted the temptation to grab her ass.
I informed the rest of the team of our location and we headed towards the hospital. I was not a big fan of hospitals, thanks to a certain accident during my teenage years that broke my leg, two of my rib cages and fractured my hip bone. The fact that the hospital was abandoned, radioactive and dark as hell didn’t help. When we walked into the hospital, I could feel a chill crawl up my spine. A wave of wind blew past us. In front of us was the receptionist’s desk. Behind the desk were the elevators. On either side were two hallways, and next to those were stairs. We started climbing up, when suddenly we hear some screams coming from above. It was loud as fuck; I had to cover my ears. But who could it have been? I’m sure no one is here except for us. No one should be here except for us. I looked at TJ, then Lee. Both seemed frozen. “We should check it out.” Neither of them moved. I guess I had to go first. I ended up at a door. The floor number was worn out, and it was in Russian anyways. I counted the floors we went past, and was pretty sure this was floor 4. The floor the scream came from. I put my hand on the doorknob. Fuck, it’s cold. It was summer here, though. I open the door, and a blast of cold air came through. What the fuck is up with this hospital? I pull out my flashlight. I turn it on, and suddenly another scream rips through the building. It was TJ.
“OH MY GOD! FUCK!” she screamed, “I JUST SAW A PERSON UP THERE!” She pointed towards the top of the staircase. I shone my light on it. Nothing, predictably. But whatever it was, it rattled TJ. Could it have been the same thing I saw when we first got here? Or the thing I saw in the basement of the workshop? Anyways, I walked into floor 4. It was a freaky ass floor. Floor 4 was one central hallway, going from this side of the building to the other. In the middle was another hallway that went to the right side of the hospital. The whole hallway was a freaky shade of dark blue. There was rubble all over the floor, and moonlight streamed in from several holes in the walls. Different rooms were spaced evenly throughout.
“Seriously… why are we doing this?” asked Lee. Good question, I thought. But we had gone this far, and I had to find out where the scream came from. I came up to a certain room that grabbed my attention. It was an operating room. Still in the center was an operating table, and surgical instruments on the side. Damn, I thought, tough luck for whoever was on that table when they had to evacuate. I looked around; there were a few cabinets, a chair, a window on the far side, and a sink. And inside the sink was… a fucking doll. But it was almost brand new. The plastic was all shiny and its hair didn’t have any dirt on it at all. What? How could this be? Fuck this.
“Alright guys, let’s get the fuck out of here.” I turned around. TJ was there, but Lee had disappeared. “Where did he go?” I asked. TJ looked as puzzled as me. Okay, this was weird. Lee wouldn’t go off by himself.
“Lee? Better get out here, man, we’re leaving.”
I called him over the radio. There was no answer. I couldn’t believe it. We lost a team member? Impossible, he must have gone exploring or something. Then suddenly, it appeared again. At the left end of the hallway, a dark mass. It was pure black. Like a fucking black hole. I tried to shine my flashlight on it, but my batteries died instantly. It was approaching… ever so slowly. I grabbed TJ and ran down the other way. I almost ran into the door on the other end in the darkness. I tried moving the doorknob but it wouldn’t budge. I looked back at the black mass. It had changed its form… it was more like a body now. I could see the silhouette of a person’s shoulders, arms… just the head was a little malformed. It kept walking towards us, getting ever closer by the second.
“Mike!” TJ whispered. She was trembling.
“The doors stuck, I can’t move it!”
Fuck the doorknob! I kicked down the door and we ran out. I looked back and the figure was not more than 6 or 7 feet away from us. I just happened to glance upwards and I saw something. Was it… Lee? Damn, it was! I could tell from the white radiation suit. I called over the radio.
“Lee, get the fuck down from there! Quick!”
I got no response. I looked behind me again. The figure was gone. As much as I would have preferred to just get the fuck out of that hospital, I couldn’t leave a member of my team behind. He could be hurt, or worse.
“TJ, we need to go up there.” I tried to sound confident. “Mike…” She didn’t like it any more than I did. But we both knew we had to do it. Slowly, we walked up the staircase. Every step I took, I expected to see the black figure. I expected it to appear out of nowhere and drag us away, never to be found again. We reached floor 5, then 6. Was it just me, or was it getting darker the farther we went up? It was creepier, as well. On the 7th floor, I found a doll, like the one we found in the operating room. Except, it had one of its eyes hanging loose from its socket, and its clothes were ripped off. It was just… sitting there, right in the middle of the staircase. It was like a warning. We pressed on, though. We arrived at the 9th floor. This had to be where Lee was standing, because it was the highest floor. I looked around for evidence of him, and I found something. There was a thick layer of dust on the floor, and in the dust were footprints.
“Mike, they look like someone walked up here in their bare feet…” said TJ.
She was right. The prints had the distinct shape of a bare foot, and toes. They were too small to be a man’s, but how is this possible? A child, walking up here without a radiation suit? That’s crazy! I pulled out a glow stick from my pack. We followed the footprints, and they lead us to a large room. Inside were several cribs, so I guessed this was a nursery. The green light from the glow stick cast an eerie shadow across the room. Only… it wasn’t ours. It was going the opposite direction our shadows were going! It started to move; slowly it got bigger and bigger. It soon encompassed the whole room, like it was trying to swallow us.
“TJ… let’s get the fuck out of here!”
The shade followed. I pulled TJ down the stairs. No matter how fast we went, it seemed like it was gaining. The darkness swallowed up every floor it went past. Hurriedly, we got down to the lobby and busted down the front doors. As we ran out, a shrill scream came out. It was so loud; the whole team heard it, even though we were spread over half a mile from each other.
“Jesus Christ… what was that? Did that come from the hospital?” I could tell it was Joe from his deep voice.
“Yeah, Joe… some fucking creepy shadow shit is in that hospital.”
“You okay, boss?” Barry’s slightly French accent gives him away.
“I’m good, so is TJ. But we… can’t find Lee.”
“What happened? You need us to come help look?”
“No… whatever is in that fucking hospital, it doesn’t want us inside with it. I’m guessing it took Lee.” The words felt like stones in my mouth. It was hard getting them out.
“Everyone, meet back at base camp. Pack up your gear.” Time to get the fuck out of here. I had enough of this shit. When we were together, I heard some interesting stories from the other teams. They all claimed to have seen some kind of dark figure, watching them from afar. We left promptly.
We alerted the local authorities about our missing team member, and they said they would take care of it. They seemed to be afraid of going to the abandoned city, or they were simply did not want to bother with foreign missing persons. On our drive back to the airport, we met up with our guide again. He asked us how our stay was, and I explained to him the various occurrences within Pripyat. He simply nodded and said, “These cities and the villages around the Chernobyl plant… they all have the same marks on maps.” He was right. All the spots surrounding the plant were marked as “Nezhyl” on the maps. I asked him what the word means, but I could already guess. “It means… uninhabited.”
No. Those cities aren’t uninhabited. Alive or not, but there was definitely something there.