I wrote this several months ago, not long after it happened, as a way to help me process it, deal with what I experienced. I am better now, but there are some things that you simply cannot ever fully recover from. I hope this is the right place to post this to. There is some linked proof at the end. Maybe some of you out there have had a similar experience….you know how it feels, this need to share.

I use to live in the remote northern region of a foreign country, in a place couched between mountains and the ocean. The weather there is unforgivably cold, and the wind blows almost constantly. Steam often rises randomly out of natural vents and sewer openings from numerous hot springs, filling chilly overcast days with fog. The trees grow thickly and straight up in small clusters, and the remaining exposed terrain is covered in stunted coastal flora. There are few rivers, but the rain is so frequent it would be a drowned land if not for the Pacific. It is a gloomy and lonely place.

Like a lot of rural places, you can tell when the times were good there and when they were bad. The bad times have left many homes and buildings abandoned, some even with all the furnishings and bits of peoples’ lives still left inside. These places are rarely ever demolished, and when exploring them it’s not hard to feel as if they were all abruptly deserted, as if some disaster took place and the inhabitants had to suddenly flee into some frigid murky night.

Near my house, on the edge of town, sunk into a depression created by a quagmire is a “fun spot”, overgrown and decayed now from long years of apparent disuse. I say “fun spot” because that is literally what the old weathered sign next to use to say in English (though it is no longer there), though it was probably just a bad translation. The first time I ever thought to venture in to it was a wet autumn day, and all I had to do was walk down the overgrown path leading to it and climb a rusted fence to get inside. It seemed too easy, I remembering wondering. Why I hadn’t heard of others exploring it before? It was clearly visible from the country road that runs along and above it. Most of the people I knew then loved to check out old and forgotten places, especially there where they are so prevalent. This compound definitely fit the “old and forgotten” bill. And I say “compound” because it was built like a camp, in a square shape; white buildings ran along the fence line, and in the middle was a large ring made of stone, like an animal enclosure at the zoo, with high walls that open to the air. Thinking about it later, I realized that the walls were definitely too tall for people to have stood at them and been able to look inside the ring. What would have been kept inside of it, I do not know.

Most of the structures were relatively intact the day I visited, with only faded paint (in various shades, as if there had once been murals on them) and worn exteriors showing their age. On the eastern side of the entrance, the buildings were all sunk into the ground, and the earth there was soft and water-logged. These buildings only had large doors, the size and shape of the kind found on barns. They were all barred shut from the outside with long planks of plywood. I did not try to get inside of those buildings, mainly because of the extensive flooding, and due to the fact that they seemed entirely sealed up. There was not a single window on them. Beyond imagining how awful the smell might be inside them, I honestly could not think of a reason for such buildings to even exist in a “fun spot”. They were strangely in better condition than the other structures, but were too big for mere storage. Their roofs reached high, 15 feet at least. I could not, and still cannot, come up with a purpose that they might have served, or why their facades lacked the chipped yet colorful remains of paint that the other buildings had. I began wondering then what kind of “fun spot” this place could have been. Perhaps, I thought, I should look in the other buildings to find out.

The west and south sides of the compound yielded few answers. The southern structures, which butted up against a wall of trees on the outside of the fence, all appeared to be tool sheds, though it was honestly hard to tell as the roofs of all of them had at least partly collapsed. Even the floors were torn up, as if a miniature tornado had ripped through a path through them. What floor that was left was occupied by stacks and stacks of plywood, the kind used in construction. Most of the boards were broken and rotten, jagged ends sticking out haphazardly. It didn't look like they could have all come from the fallen roof, but were placed there some time after the fact. I was unable to penetrate these few buildings very deeply, due to these conditions. There were some rooms inside that I could see, spaces filled not with plywood but with thick green vegetation that I guessed must have pushed up through the ruined floorboards. Only much later, while retelling this story, did I realize that given the time of year it was, mid-autumn, those plants shouldn't have been able to flourish and grow like that in our low temperatures without significant attention and care. I still cannot explain why they might have been so healthy in almost below freezing weather.

The western building was the one that began to make me really doubt that this place could have ever been any fun. Unlike the other sides of the compound, the west side was comprised of one low, long structure. The inside of it was built like a stable, with ground-to-ceiling cages. Most of these cages were made of dilapidated chicken wire, with doors that no longer sat correctly in their jambs. They were large enough to fit a human sitting down or maybe several smaller animals, though I could not tell their purpose from just looking at them. While walking through this building I was able to find a calendar in what appeared to be an office; it had been left on April, 1996. There were no other legible documents or papers in there, just a chair on its side in front of a desk covered in dust with a single dull pencil on its surface. The drawers of the desk were all locked shut, and did not open after my attempts to strong-arm them. I could find no key, and to be honest, was getting a little tired and disappointed by this place to stay much longer. Despite how interesting it had seemed from the outside, it really was just a ruin, a carcass picked clean of meat. Maybe that’s why I had never heard of anyone exploring it before. I decided to give the remaining northern building a cursory investigation before letting myself go home empty handed. I regret this decision every single day of my life.

The northern building had two stories. I could see inside of it, as the front was dotted with windows, noticing that even the second floor had a single large one. The interior of the first floor was filled to the ceiling with junk; old furniture, cardboard boxes, trunks, and machines I could not and still cannot readily identify. I thought at first that they might have been arcade machines, as their shapes were the same and the sides of them were covered in colorfully abstract designs, which made them almost look like some kind of “shoot up the aliens” game. But it appeared that they all lacked any kind of joystick-button panel. I wanted to get a better look at them but doubted the front door would be unlocked, considering the rest of the compound. Surprisingly, I was able to push it open with little effort, and realized as I entered the room that there was path through all the clutter to the opposite side. The “arcade machines” also proved of little interest; they seemed to have no seams, no discernible interface, and their glass screens were grimy with dust. I pulled one of the boxes out of a shorter stack that lined the cleared area, hoping for something worthwhile. It contained small plain ceramic bowls wrapped in newspapers, with dates all from the early nineties. I grabbed another box; plastic silverware. Another one contained sippy cups. I rummaged through several more; they all held nothing but children’s dishware.

I decided to make my way to the back of the room, thinking to try to open one of the trunks pressed against the wall. As I pushed through, I saw there was a small ladder, obscured from the front windows by the stacks of trash. It led up to the second story, the view of which was hidden by a wooden panel, as if it were a trapdoor to an attic. I knew there was a window up there, that it wouldn’t be dark and probably safe to check out. The panel was unbarred, and easy to push open, and let in a sudden and unexpected amount of light filled with dust motes. It startled me, this sudden brightness. The room above was bizarrely covered with plush pink fabric, hanging like streamers from what looked like wooden bunk-beds that lined all the walls. It was faded in some places, and ripped to shreds in others. It reminded me of some macabre medical photograph. Like an opened wooden rib-cage exposing visceral ribbons of tissue, or a womb swollen with fluid, a blister filled with blood. The smell matched my imagination, a pungent human scent, like saliva or…semen.

The only area spared of pink was a small cubby in one corner opposite of where I had entered, occupied by a small sink, a cupboard, and a bucket. The window above the sink looked out over the compound, and I wanted to see if I could make out what was inside some of the half collapsed southern buildings. Approaching it I noticed how quiet everything was, my footsteps muffled by the fabric draped all over the floor. I could only hear my own breathing. I saw that the sink was clean, as if water had run through it recently. The window though, filthy with dirt, was too low and far away from the southern buildings to reveal much more than I had already seen.

I turned to the look at the cupboard, opening the small hatch at the top, and was filled with instant dismay. On the shelf, half wrapped in a towel, lay a syringe. The shelf below it held even more, all unwrapped and uncapped, as if they had been used. I could see no fluid in them, and they lacked the grime that coated everything else. What if some brain-wasted homeless person lived here and used these old needles again and again to shoot up? What if they were crouched somewhere nearby under the pink cloth, waiting for me to leave to regain their rose-tinted solitude in squalor? What if they were mentally ill? Drug use was uncommon in that area, and every bum I had seen up until then had been disturbed or handicapped in some capacity.

I am not sure how I long I stood there in front of the window, my mind reeling with these thoughts, but at some point I realized I could hear something. Someone breathing. A forced inhale, shallow and wheezing, followed by a crackling exhale. It sounded high, like it came from the throat of a child, or a girl. My mind grappled for answers; was it the vagrant I dreaded? I held my own breath, hoping the unfamiliar sound would fade, to inexplicably turn out to be the wind, a truck passing by on the lonely road above, a wild animal that was simply seeking shelter, more afraid of me than I was of it. I heard the fabric rustle. The other breathing began to quicken. I suddenly decided then to turn around and no matter what I saw, make an adrenaline-fueled sprint for the opened trapdoor, to escape without giving my brain time to become frightened. I steeled myself, turned to flee, and froze. Fear choked me. My body became limp with shock. A person was standing there, so close to me, within arm’s reach. It…she?….was so tall, so tall but looked so infantile, prepubescent, the features of a child on a giant. I could hear a low whine escaping my throat but still could not move, panic crashing over me, clogging my responses. Her face was so wide but her eyes and mouth and nose, they were all pinched together in the middle, like the head of a baby. She was breathing as before, gasping rapidly, her flat chest heaving in and out as if struggling. What is it!? my brain screamed. Why is she naked!? Why are her arms bleeding!? Her eyes! Darting wildly in all directions, as if they were trapped, desperate to escape. She held out her hand to me, long fingers dripping red. I screamed. She screamed and swung at my head. The pain from that blow! I blacked out.

What I remember from the time immediately after that is a blur, like memories of a car accident. I did not wake up in the fun spot, but in a hospital bed. I had been found on the road, delirious and dehydrated. What happened to you? law enforcement asked. You’ve been missing for two days. I told them of the compound, of what I saw (why was that thing there!? Who had done that to her!? She needs help!) but was told later that they found nothing there, that maybe she had just been some hermit, some “crazy person with no where to go”. I stayed in that hospital for a long time. She will stay with me even longer.


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