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The Basement. A tale of the dark hidden channels of a small town near you.
We live in a world full of quiet horrors, neatly tucked away in the darker parts of society. Even within the shady corners of your own well lit community.
My name is Lukas, I'm an American, 20 something years old. The less minor details you know, the better for us both. I live in a small town on the upper east coast of Canada. It's a place that frequently gets confused for just another part of Canada by others. We're not quite that far north in my town, but it's pretty obscure. But enough with small things and minor details.
Everything started in the crisp fall full of bright foliage and brisk air.
The year was 2008. I was young and had a naiveté that would get me killed some day. I had a hobby of researching derelict buildings to explore later, generally under the cover of night. I had friends who would do this with me, but most often, I was alone on these quiet little ventures. I liked the solitude, the quiet, and the thrill and danger of being in some undiscovered place, all alone. At least, hopefully alone in the cool damp dark that seems to accompany a state of general abandonment.
There wasn't much to do in my town but there were plenty of vacant or abandoned buildings. Naturally having a sense of curiosity rivaled only by the boredom a small town can provide, I happened upon my strange hobby.
Alone is how I came across the abandoned warehouse office on Old Slaughter House Hill Road. Naturally the name of the road got my attention, but the building was interesting enough to pique my curiosity. It was a rather large Meat Packing Facility that had stood abandoned since the mid 60s. The slaughterhouse had moved out of the city, drying up the local economy and bringing hard times for a couple of unlucky generations. The flat that I lived in with my roommates wasn't too far off from the site.
So after a couple of days researching the layout and casing the place, I made my move. On Saturday at 3:00 am, when the quiet town slept, I had scoped out a door on the rear side. It was boarded shut, but a few years of disrepair had rusted the nails holding the boards, the boards themselves rotting. One powerful kick and it fell into the frame. Moments later, I was inside, under the darkness in my loose fitting attire, with plenty of pocket space for much needed tools and the occasional trinket.
Inside, there were pieces of machinery mixed with moldy and torn furniture. It was a strange mix of surroundings. It appeared that, after the building's close, someone had tried to furnish and inhabit the open space amongst the machines and warehouse fixtures.
The former tenant did not seem a balanced and happy person. I looked at the strangely mixed maze of furniture and heavy machines to find a stairwell. Following the stairs up, I found most of the upper floors rotted and reeking as though they weren't properly maintained even when the building was still in use. The smell, what once had been meat byproduct, swirled around the rotting floorboards. The combination of wet rotted wood and the spoiled meat led to a very repungent mix of odor.
The shattered out windows allowed for any residual filth to be washed and the rain vaguely wafted the smell outward, but did nothing for the floor which was largely too unsafe to be walked on and had already caved in some spots. I managed to find a safe passage through, to a covered hallway type bridge leading across the grounds below to another wing. With the high hope that the floor wouldn't give out across the hall I entered into a thicker darkness and for the first time had to pull out my light. At the other side I clicked on the flashlight and a red glow from the tinted lens filled the surrounding corridor. Things on this side were much more spartan and empty; I found the stairwell leading down almost immediately. The stairs led down three mostly empty floors and down a bare hallway that was fairly clean and fresh looking. However the overall image of the place was still quite old and overall neglected, at the end of the boring hall was a fairly interesting looking heavy white painted door.
The door itself was not so interesting really just a peeling, off white with age, lead paint coated hunk of wood and metal. What was interesting was the stark black lines of paint on the door depicting a crudely drawn woman who had apparently been decapitated and some indecipherable scribbling off to the side promising hell and some tired Dante quote.
This had been a stark change from the bleak and bare setting on this side of the meat packing warehouse, this had my attention. After fishing my small digital camera out of my pocket and snapping a quick photo I opened the door and went inside. The unsettling entrance lead to another flight of stairs, this one leading to the basement. The descent to the dark bowels of this building was quite unsettling as the whole enclosed stairwell was covered in very graphic and disturbing graffiti depicting more acts of violence.
Some of the violent acts depicted seemed also ritual and vaguely sexual in a disturbing way. The depictions only got worse the further down the stairs I went, and paired with the red lens on my flashlight the overall effect was unnerving to say the least. I pocketed the red light and pulled out a clear lens disposable light and clicked it on just in time to avoid crashing into another heavy door at the end of the stairs. Written plainly across the surface in erratic font and large letters in the same stark black paint as the first door was simply the word "LEAVE".
Nervously I fumbled my camera out of my pocket and snapped a picture; the feeling down here was one of a strangely hot and sticky uneasiness, a very defined contrast from the cool atmosphere around the rest of the building. After maybe 2 seconds of thought I opened the door to come to a very dark and open basement room. Upon inspection of the side closest to the stairs there is a boiler system and what appears to be many strange medical looking devices strewn about.
The air was warm and dark almost as if the the boilers had been used in the recent past. The room smelled strongly a mildew like rotting smell mixed with the smell of stale urine and topped off with a whiff of disinfectant cleaning product recently applied perhaps in the last week, scotch, and stale tobacco smoke.
I ventured towards the smell to find a dark concrete room tucked into the other side wall of the basement. I shined the light in to have it brush past a VHS video camera standing on a tripod next to a mattress with dark stains coating the surface; there appeared to be thin puddles near laying around the mattress and I grew uneasy noticing the wall smeared with the same liquid on the floor and staining the mattress... I grew uneasy as I come to the gut wrenching realization that I was looking at semi wet drying blood.
Blood caked onto the mattress smeared on the off white concrete walls pooled in spots on the floor, and coating rope and other bizarre items lying about the room. I grew very afraid and very still for a long time trying to digest what I was looking at. I surveyed the scene taking in the whole picture, the room was littered with condoms and syringes, razor blades, cigarette butts, empty alcohol bottles, decaying magazines, a few rusted knives, and a couple of bullet casings. There was more horrible graffiti on this wall and the smell was overbearing. I could smell feces as well now coming from the desiccated mattress in the middle of the concrete hell.
As I came out of my haze I gravitated to the video camera more out of some strange sense of gravity than any real want or need. I clicked the camera on to find that the battery was fresh, sending a chill down my spine. I flipped the video attachment out of the side and rewound the tape to start from the beginning, already nauseous with the prospect of the horrors that awaited on the tape. After the tape deck clicked over to place from reverse I realized that this had all been a horrible mistake, coming here finding the basement finding this room, and watching that tape.
I don't feel comfortable going into detail about exactly what I saw, but it was a series of videos of a disturbing sexual nature featuring sometimes men and a woman, different ones each segment, others one man one woman some were all men. All of them seemed to feature one continuing character, a man in what appeared to be a ragged mask fashioned from a stained white pillow case. In all of the segments he kills the other people involved in these disturbing forays into deviancy; he kills them in many various ways.
My lungs and stomach seemed to implode at the the contents of the video and of the implications of the contents, I felt heavy and very light and small at the same time. For the first time in my life I was truly afraid. I regained my bearings in some time and crept out of the building jumping at every loose floorboard or gust of wind cruel enough to sound like unwanted company. I placed the video camera in my small overnight back pack to turn into the police and fled as fast as I could without injury. I went home and vacantly took a very cold shower to drive off the thick sheen of sweat I had accumulated, despite the brisk weather, and then went into hysterics privately in my attic room and for the first time in my life fainted from the raw emotion of this discovery. When I came back to consciousness an hour later one of my roommates had gotten off of his night to early morning shift, the sound of him entering the house filled me with dread even though I was sure it was just Grady.
I wanted to reach out and show some one the tapes but it seemed like a private burden to carry until it was neatly out of my hands and then a police problem; my will was weak and I approached Grady to shakily hand him the VHS and tell him not to watch it and where I had found it. Naturally he didn't believe me until he had the horrifying proof in front of him on the TV; I stayed out of the room and the noises from the tape made me vomit. Grady vomited also and we agreed that once we had calmed down that this was one best left for the local police; snuff films are no thing for fragile young minds, or decent humans.
After some the awful viewing Grady needed to be alone for some time... I could understand and obliged him that. As we spent time getting straightened out, in our exhausted states both my Grady and I had managed to fall into some ragged form of sleep, me on the couch and him in his room. We slept until 6 that evening when Dean would have normally gotten back, when things started to get strange. I awoke to darkness, the lights had been turned out but the TV was on and there was static then, a clicking from the VCR and the video was playing even though Grady had taken it out of the player and put it in a drawer out of revulsion.
I found the light switch and tried to turn the light only to find that it had been unscrewed. Fear edging in, I tried a lamp, and then another only to find everything except the TV and VCR unplugged... I panicked. I ran into Grady's room and shook him awake. He woke up quickly and ran with me also quickly out through the garage only to trip on Dean, or what had been left over by the person who had invaded my once safe home. I scrambled to my feet and out the door Grady close in tail, cell phone in hand, police dialed with fear on his face and tears in his eyes much like mine. The police arrived shortly after I had finished wiping Dean's blood off of my face from when I tripped. Record time for our small local PD.
They busted down the door and searched the house. The VHS was gone and Dean had been... rearranged (the responding officer refused to go into detail). After being cleared of any suspicion at the police station, Grady and I were released and both chipped in for a hotel, a very bright busy one considering our most recent bout of horror and an outstanding need to not be alone or in the dark. As I slept Grady must have left the room to get something from the dining hall because he was gone when I woke up. I showered and stepped outside to get some fresh air and gather my thoughts, and then went back to my room to sleep more.
I was exhausted emotionally and physically. I woke up 4 hours later to find rooms my door wide open and a VHS tape on my night stand. Nervously, I put it in the VHS player to find a video of Grady being murdered by the man in the pillowcase mask. The detectives told me not to leave town after Dean was murdered, but I was scared. I dropped the VHS in the police mailbox on the way out of town and fled west as far as my last paycheck would get me, I haven't been back for 5 years.
Today I found a blank VHS in my mailbox. Maybe I'll kill myself now to avoid ending up like Grady and Dean.