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Back in 2002, some friends and I walked down into London, a place that many had been chanting about for quite some time. Although I knew that Londoners were the residents, the people of London, born in London or just visiting London. It was still great to know that I had a chance to visit London. You could argue with me, saying that London isn’t all that great. But I beg to differ, it was a great place to chill-out. In 2002, it was kind of different to what it is like now. That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t be going back there…
At least, that’s what I thought at first…
In 2002, it was around mid-June with the nice weather finally showing up. Cloudy with a bit of sunny spells, it was still nice to see the city lit up. After some long struts towards the shopping centers, my friends and I were exhausted. Our journey had almost come to an end, meaning the next journey would be our last. My good friend Elliot joked about that. If only I knew that our friendship would bring us into serious troubles, and make us pick between each other. A choice… of what seat to sit on first, and how many fingers am I holding up?
Night had arrived; all the nice city lights were bright and shining up the pathways for us. Elliot and my other two friends got bored very quickly, some were tired. As for me? I was pretty much sleeping on the floor the whole time… so it seemed. I didn’t think anything of our journey, I just thought it was nice to get away for a bit. Spend some time in a different region, or… different area. The same area can be pretty dull, I’ve learned, trust me…
An alleyway was cut down the middle of two buildings, a shop that I can’t seem to find on the web anywhere. As if the stores that used to be there are now gone.
Anyway, Elliot and I had decided that a shortcut was our best way of getting home. The long pathways and crossing the busy streets sounded like too much of a challenge. I agreed with my friend’s decision as we set off through the night, down a dark alleyway. On the way down, we could barely see lights. No cars either, just some rubble lying on the ground. Road work, that’s what it looked like to me. Elliot pointed at the signs, just some warning signs, and some arrows pointing towards road work. I was right… It was road work.
The alleyway felt a little scary, especially at night. You could probably argue that we made a bad move on our behalf. Yet, we were really tired, and our best shot of getting home alive was down a narrow alleyway. It led to the other streets, so we thought. Instead, we found boxes and a dead end, a broken down truck wedged between the exit. Elliot tapped my shoulder, startling me a little. My other friends were staring at the sight in front of us. Some of them were becoming a little fragile, wanting to leave the alleyway and just go the long way.
The sound of a cat screeching, I swear, that’s what it sounded like. The sound came from behind us. Elliot didn’t look back, I did. The doors behind us—how did we not notice the doors? In the alleyways, there are always coloured doors. Green, black, red. That’s just a few of the common colours I’ve seen. When I looked back, I noticed something… one of my friends; he had gone. Elliot was too busy staring at what was in front of us—what’s so amazing about a truck? My other friends were shaking, I could see them feeling uncomfortable.
“Right, we’re going home…” I whispered, tapping Elliot’s shoulder.
“…R-right…” Elliot flinched and then brushed himself down.
He agreed that the alleyway was the worst place to go in the night. I hadn’t thought of that before, I was just thinking of sleep… It’s all I can think of. Sleep, sleep, and nothing but sleep! Our legs were aching, and some of our bones clicked as we walked back a little. Elliot stopped, and stared at the coloured doors… as if the doors were more important than the truck, or sleep for that matter. The rest of the gang and I wanted to leave, so if Elliot was going to delay our exit, I’m just going to leave him behind…
The dark grungy door behind Elliot opened just a smidge, revealing two large hands. White covered hands—gloves perhaps? They reached out and grabbed Elliot, he didn’t even scream… What on earth is with Elliot? The rest of the gang and I witnessed Elliot being taken away, and the door closed behind him.
Johnny and Kyle. My two friends that were still with me. Kyle was messing around with the truck from earlier. He was hitting it with frustration. What is with Kyle? Johnny left me as I went to go speak to Kyle. I heard a door close again… As I looked behind me, no Johnny… Kyle looked at me as if I had said something to him. He shouted random words, smashing the front of the truck with a metal pipe.
“S-sh-s-shut up!” Kyle screamed.
“Quiet down…!” I screamed.
He was about hit me, I could see it in his eyes. Instead, he threw the pipe on the ground. Leaving the damage he had done to the truck, I escorted him away, making sure he’d stay away from the truck. I can’t have him getting lost too… The truth was, I didn’t want to find my friends. I mean, it’s not like they’ve been kidnapped or anything. I’ve just seen two hands grab one friend. So maybe they’ve gone home… and just—I don’t know! I might’ve dreamt some of it, dreaming while awake…
The damage Kyle had done to the truck revealed something eye-catching. A red cross, painted down the side of the truck. I inspected the damage, making sure I hadn’t missed anything. White paint smudged across some old paint, I couldn’t see the older colour underneath. Whoever painted over it, they kept it concealed from us.
I dragged Kyle with me and headed for the green door. I had to do something. I can’t just leave without my friends. So much guilt to deal with, losing friends and then having to talk to their parents… They’d never let me live it down. I’d be wanted by them, who knows… dead or alive? I could be anything, but not this… Not a liar, not someone who can reveal to grown ups about my friends' absences.
Kyle opened the door, looking at me as if I’m weird for wanting to go inside a random building. I nudged him on the way in, and that’s when I saw what I hadn’t expected… Broken down brick walls and chairs piled on top of each other. Some parts of the floor had crumbled away, revealing a smidge of moonlight from underneath. The sound of water dripping, I could hear it. It sounded strange though, continuous dripping… Doesn’t drips of water end eventually? It can’t keep going… unless there is water building up on top of it.
“Dude, I don’t think we should do this…” Kyle whispered.
I ignored him, moving further down into the hallway. Along the floor was stripped wallpaper and broken tiles. Further down the hallway, we had to watch our step, the pathway was pretty narrow. And the dim lighting did not help us see the floor too well… As we went further down the hallway, I could see a counter. A desk, it looked kind of like a reception from a school. Or… from a hospital? Kyle nudged me a second time as I stepped aside.
The dim lighting from above crept inside the room. If this was a hospital, then it must be closed down, due to the chairs stacked on top of each other and no sound of movement inside the building. My guess was that this hospital was rather closed for the night… or closed for repairs? No, no! That can’t be right…
Kyle gave me a boost onto the reception desk, due to some of the rubble making it impossible to step over. Using him as a small ladder, well it worked for me anyway. As I stepped down, looking for flooring, something bumped into me. It felt like something solid. As I waved my hand in front of me, I could feel breath. Something breathing on my hand. As I moved a little forward, the solid object fell on top of me. I let out a shriek, Kyle heard me.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?” Kyle nervously spoke.
“Y-yeah… Y- I think so…” I whispered in agony.
The breathing had stopped, I couldn’t feel any more hot air breathing on me. Instead, I could feel my legs being crushed by something heavy. Kyle hopped over and startled me at first. I got over it quickly, and managed to push myself out from behind the desk. What I hadn’t noticed before, there was a small narrow pathway to the left of me. Using that to escape, I searched for a light-switch. My finger felt several hard objects, solid and some sharp. I reacted pretty quickly to the sharp objects pricking my fingers, but the solid objects I pushed on, hoping for a light switch to be near.
“F-found it!” Kyle shouted.
“Shush…” I whispered.
Kyle apologized and the flick of switch began. Before I knew it, the lights were on. I looked behind me, staring at the reception desk. The hard objects that had landed on me, it was nothing but a bag-like shape. I can’t describe it… It looked like a sleeping bag but different. Kyle came over to me, ignoring the hazards in front of him. He acted like everything was okay… Rudely interrupting my thinking, a faded scream came from above me.
Kyle stepped back, leaving me to stare in peace. I was afraid, really afraid of the place I had found. No knowledge on what time it was, I didn’t even take my phone with me… The smart friend did, but he’s gone. Jacob, he knew what time it was… I remember asking him before we went down the alleyway.
A loud thud came from upstairs, and the sound of something with a lot of friction squeaked across the floor from above. Kyle chattered his teeth, and grabbed my hand, as we walked upstairs expecting more jump scares. Instead, we found more darkness with dim lighting. Another hallway and more doors. Some might be locked, some might be open… I didn’t think about that. I just skipped several doors, ignoring some of the horrifying sounds coming from within some of them.
Kyle, however, was more curious to the radio distorted sound coming from room #1. I left him for a few seconds, to explore further down the hallway. The squeaking sound had stopped, and the sound of someone whispering to themselves could be heard. I tapped the door, room number 3. And then opened it slowly, as fear devoured my sanity. Kyle’s voice echoed in my mind, and the sound of someone whispering didn’t even startle me. It just gave me quite a shock. I wasn't too scared, not as scared as Kyle was.
I pushed the door open, and saw a dark shadow in dim lighting. It looked like an elderly man crying into his blanket. I crept over to the corner of the room to get a better sight of the shadow. Or… What was causing the shadow. I wanted to know. My curiosity for things like this, it just shows, doesn’t it?
Getting to the corner of room wasn't too difficult. I managed to imagine what the elderly man would look like. Nothing, just my granddad. That is all I could see in my mind… I stepped over to the area where the shadow had been. As I got closer, I caught sight of something I wish I hadn’t seen…
Red liquid dripping from a small table. The liquid looked a little like blood. B-but I couldn’t be certain. Below the table was a half-shadowed figure of an elderly man’s corpse. Half of his face blurred into darkness from underneath the hospital bed. His heart monitor was covered in dust, and the red liquid looked more like alcohol or some kind of other liquid. I was stumped after trying to guess what the liquid was.
It couldn’t have been blood, the corpse looked pretty beaten up, as if it had been there for like, two weeks perhaps? I don’t know. I couldn’t say, it would be impossible to guess. I’m not experienced with bodies…
The sound of laughter came from behind me. I looked back in stress. My body shaking, holding a half-broken flashlight that barely gave out any light. It still allowed me to see in front of me though. I dashed towards the door of the room and speed walked to where I had last seen Kyle. I moved quickly and ignored the laughter from around me. It freaked me out, but I didn’t let it get to me.
“Kyle, Kyle?!” I knocked on the door.
“C-c-come in… C-come in, please!” Kyle spoke in short sentences.
I opened the door, still feeling afraid of what I had witnessed. I looked around the room, and there he was. Kyle, lying against the wall with his arms folded over his chest. I shined my flash light on him and could see that he was in pain. He didn’t talk much, but he did hold onto my hand tighter than before. I dragged him with me, dragging him along the floor to the hallway.
“We’ve got to get out of here…” Kyle whispered.
I nodded and dragged him to the entrance that we had entered this place from. Everything in this building was horrid. Darkness everywhere with just a tiny bit of lighting to show you the pathways. Jacob and Johnny, both gone… I know we only checked the second floor, but… I don’t trust elevators in broken down buildings. The chances are that they’re broken down too. I escorted Kyle out of the building, his shook up shell scared me a little. I never ever expected to see any of my friends so hurt or afraid of something…
“D-don’t go back in there… H-h, just… J-just come with me, we’ll go home… We can tell the police!” Kyle begged.
I took a deep breath and sighed deeply. Kyle was right, we’re just kids. What more could we do? You know, it was rather Kyle stays here alone, and that doesn't sound too good in my head. Or, I could go back in there with him. No; telling the police is the best way to find my friends… I’m too scared to go back in there. I’m traumatized from these events.
Just as we were about head home, the long way this time. One baby-step forward I had taken, and it looked as if Kyle had taken a giant leap through the alleyway. I took one more baby-step and heard the sound of glass shattering from inside the building. I looked up, and there it was… Johnny. His lifeless body dropped onto the pathway in front of me. I was about throw up. About to vomit all over the floor. This is too much!
The door opened again. This time… someone came out. A tall man in a nurse’s costume came out. He smiled at me, and spoke to me, whilst Kyle hid behind the wall.
“Lost, are you lost, kid? Don’t worry about that. I’ll make sure he gets a full rest.” His mouth closed.
I looked away, refusing to give this man eye contact. I covered myself with my arms; begging for my life to be safe. And then… he walked away; carrying my friend Johnny on a small blanket-like thing. I don’t remember what it was… It was like a blanket of metal, or something like that… The truck Kyle had damaged, the man didn’t seem to care. He just put my friend’s lifeless looking body in the back of his truck. As he put his truck in reverse, I stepped out of the way. “That was a close one…” The truck then accelerated and moved onto the road.
Following behind him, I saw another vehicle. Another truck, only this one had a furniture’s brand on it. It didn’t look like an ambulance. I heard the sirens of an ambulance blare off into the distance. Another figure came outside, holding the corpse I had seen upstairs and along with that, Jacob. He didn’t look dead, he was still alive. He was smiling strangely and staring at me as the doctor wheeled him in a wheelchair. Before I knew it, Jacob had been taken away too. In another ambulance, so it seemed…
The alleyway was now empty, and I didn’t wish to find out where they had taken my friends. I didn’t wish to find out whether there were more of those white-clothed people in there and what they were up to. None of my business… Kyle grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the alleyway and dragged me home.
I explained my story to Kyle’s parents; they wanted to know why we were late. I lied to my own parents and then told the truth about Jacob’s absence a week later.
A month had passed and I forgot about Jacob. Kyle didn’t remind me either, he just smiled when Jacob's parents came to visit me and him. And then Kyle’s parents got the police involved…
Several days later, and the police knew the story. I described the place as an abandoned hospital. B-because that’s what it looked like to me. It looked abandoned, only it wasn’t… I spoke to police, told them my side of the story. They believed what I had said, but ignored the details about an old man’s corpse being upstairs.
Three months later the case finally closed, they had captured someone. I didn’t ask who it was, I was happy that they caught one of them. Kyle was relieved too, he smiled when he heard the news. However, they also found Jacob. But no Johnny… Jacob came back in a wheelchair thanks to the police for finding him. Jacob didn’t mention anything about the alleyway. When I asked him in a private room, (his bedroom.) He acted like I was crazy…
One month later and still no sign of Johnny, and his parents have accepted that their son is gone. Although they’re still heartbroken, they just want things to get better. Sadly… the police and the remainder of my friends were useless in giving moral support. We tried to make them feel like they still had happiness. Instead, they pretended to brave and soon didn’t mention Johnny’s name.
Six years later and it is just a distant memory. But… a strange thing did happen today. Jacob abandoned his parents and turned himself in at the police station. Kyle and I were shocked, why did he do that?
... I still ask myself what would’ve been done if I had told the truth.
Kyle, Jacob, me… we are all just a distant memory to each other. And now Jacob is a distance away from us…