Life is kinda strange when you stop and think about it. I’ve never really been one for philosophy or psuedo-intellectual ramblings while stoned, but thinking back maybe I should have been. The people I know, er sorry, knew, always seemed to have more fun than me, they always said I was too cynical and jaded. They used to say I should loosen up and let my feelings out, but I never did.
The thing is, I never saw the point of all that bullshit, talking about the meaning of life and how like we’re totally a lab experiment. I always saw life for what it was, a dark and gritty state of consciousness that rolls around once for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t exactly a no fun allowed kind of guy, but I definitely had very set ideas about what “fun” was. I was the life and soul of the party, I drank a lot and flirted a lot, I also got rejected a lot but let’s leave that for another time. I did always enjoy dabbling in the occult and the paranormal, basically I enjoyed being scared, so when my goth gang asked me to tag along for a bit of urbex in the abandoned factory I readily agreed.
The factory was a good 2 hour hike away, so the 5 of us gathered our gear, torches, cameras, food and the like, and set off at 6pm. The plan was to arrive at about 8, have something to eat, get high and just veg out in the middle of nowhere for a while completely undisturbed by the rest of civilisation. It seemed like a good plan at the time.
It would probably be a good idea to introduce my friends before we go any further in to the story, I don’t want to leave you lost and confused when we get to the important bit. And believe me, this is important, it’s probably the most important story you’ll read in your life, so pay attention. And don’t stop reading.
So there’s me, Tom. I’m just a guy really, I like doing guy stuff, there’s not much else to say. I’ve lived a pretty boring life to date, even when I’ve dipped my toe in to magic and fantasy I come out no better and no worse. My friends all say I’m a sort of anti-ghost charm. Whenever I join them on paranormal hunts they seem to have no luck when I’m around, hell even ouija boards die a humble death when I join them. I don’t know what it is, I like to think I’m pretty open minded, but spooky shit rarely happens to me. Well, y’know, except this.
Ah, I’m going to have to cut the descriptions short, my gaoler is growing impatient and urging me to hurry with the story, or rather, warning. Well you’re going to hear about me, Tom, and my buddies James, Dale, Jess, and my future ex wife Chantelle.
If I had more time I’d share my musings on why I was chosen to deliver this message, I could go on for pages and pages about the potential reasons why I’m alive and my friends are dead, but I’ll just tell you what I think is most likely – I was chosen because I didn’t believe.
Anyway, back to the story. The trek was pretty uneventful, James, the joker managed to smuggle two full water balloons along and kept them hidden for over an hour before he launched them at the girls. They were not impressed and were pretty quiet for the last half hour of the walk, to us guys at least, they happily muttered to eachother, probably about what they were going to do to James in the factory.
We arrived in high spirits, and the girls seemed to have calmed down a bit since waterballoongate. We threw down our towels at about 8:20 and absolutely demolished our food stocks, even the stuff we’d specifically set aside to cure our group munchies later. Even knowing that we had nothing to eat when our come downs eventually came, we lit a joint and passed it round. I know what you’re probably thinking, I’m high as fuck and this whole clusterfuck of words can just be ignored safely. But it can’t. Believe me, if I was even buzzed before this whole mess started, it’s long passed. Now I’m just cold. Alone. And scared.
The thing that gets me the most about my life is how I never seemed to be able to experience the paranormal, no matter how hard I tired. I wonder if this is the universe making up for my deprivation in some sadistically twisted way, or if in some ways this whole thing has been the reason I couldn’t be involved. I mean, maybe I’ve been sheltered by t- oh sorry, I’m musing again, and my jailer is starting to get angry.
So we finished up our food, relaxation and chat at about 11pm, and it seemed like a really good idea to plunge headfirst into the factory. It was easy enough to gain access, the corrugated steel had already been bent and twisted, probably by animals or hobos. We weren’t worried about anything like that though, we were all big lads with big heavy maglites, Chantelle even brought a knife the crazy bitch! I tossed our camera to Dale, he seemed to love taking pictures, he made it an art and he perfected it.
So in we went, 5 fearless teenagers with a whole night of fun ahead of us. At first we stuck together, us guys weren’t scared obviously, but the girls seemed to be holding on to eachother a little tighter than normal. At the time, I didn’t know why they felt uneasy, we’d done stuff like this dozens of times before, laughing and joking all the way, but the only people talking then were James and whoever he was making a knock knock joke to at the time. He was the first to die.
We spent an hour or so scouting the factory floor, it was all open plan but it was huge and pitch black, we could barely see our own hands without a light. It didn’t help that most of the machinery was still in place, all of us ended up with cuts and scrapes within the hour. When we’d finally navigated the huge hall, I made an executive decision to go up to the smaller but still impressive office complex where they must have handled the paperwork. I said that the floor was boring, and all the good stuff would be in the offices, but to be honest I was starting to feel just as creeped out as the girls had been to start with. It was quiet in there, there was just nothing. Nothing alive but us. Usually when you go out to the middle of nowhere you find all kinds of animals, birds in the rafters, rats on the floor and everything inbetween, not to mention the sounds from outside, but there, in that factory there was just nothing.
Everyone agreed, they must have felt the same way as me. We went up a set of stairs nearby that led to a walkway that spanned the length of the factory, it seemed like a better idea than trying to navigate the catacombs of metal machines again. Until James put his foot through a rusty piece of floor that is. It wasn’t pretty, but at least he didn’t scream. Odd eh, the loudest of the lot of us didn’t even scream when he died. Maybe he didn’t have to, we all screamed for him. After the initial shock we all ran back the way we had came, if we had been thinking straight we might have been more careful, went slowly, but we didn’t. We were freaked the fuck out. We just had to get back down those stairs, find James, drag him out and call somebody, anybody to help us.
We got back to the base of the stairs and stopped dead. We didn’t know where he was. We couldn’t even see the walkway from all the way down on the floor. Dale, the smartest of all of us decided that we should split up, him and Jess would sweep the right side of the factory in a zigzag pattern and Chantelle and I would do the left, find James and help him out. We’d meet outside and then call for help.
Maybe we should have just ran, ran away and told the police that there was a body in there instead of trying to get him out ourselves, but we didn’t, because we were kids, and we were scared. I said earlier Dale was the smart one, but he wasn’t smart enough. He never asked one important question, why couldn’t we hear James moaning in pain?
By the time we figured out why, it was too late.
Me and Chantelle started weaving through the staggered lanes of machines, after a few minutes she clutched my hand and wouldn’t let go. I tried to shake her off but it just made her hold on tighter, I wouldn’t have said anything, it was understandable, she was scared, but she kept squeezing rhythmically like her hand was miming out a heartbeat. Eventually I had to stop and talk to her. I wrenched free of her pincer grip and put my arms on her shoulders, what I saw stopped me dead, mouth ajar and words half formed, I looked at her and saw that she wouldn’t be able to argue back had I said anything. She had 6 inches of steel protruding from the side of her neck on either side, long and flat like a blade. She was definitely dead. Her eyes were lifeless and dull, I couldn’t say how long she had been dead for, but she must have been walking and squeezing even after she’d gone, like a chicken with its head cut off. My sudden actions must have broken whatever spell she was under, as she collapsed to the floor barely seconds after I’d grabbed her arms.
I swear I heard a deep ethereal laugh as she fell away from me, perhaps I’ll ask my captor if it knows anything when it speaks to me again.
Back in the past, even more adrenaline flooded my body, I felt like my head was going to explode. I decided to fuck everything and run as far away from that place as I could, if I saw Dale and Jess again I’d explain everything, I was sure they’d understand. I sprinted as fast as I could, bolstered by the double dose of adrenaline flowing in my blood, dodging between workstations like a gazelle fleeing a lion.
I don’t know how long I was running for, it felt like hours, but I finally saw the doorway, that little piece of rectangular metal that meant my salvation. My speed slowed as I approached and I doubled over leaning my hands on my knees to catch my breath. I turned around to give that hellish place a final look, and perhaps see if any of my friends were still alive, but I saw nothing but blackness, even with my torch on its narrowest setting, it seemed like the air had become thicker and the darkness darker.
Seconds later, I sucked in a long, slow breath before I yanked open the door. I was lost deep in thought, trying to remember the closest place I could get a signal on my phone, would it be quicker to head back home, or carry on in the opposite direction to the next town?
In the end, it didn’t matter. James stood on the other side of the doorway, waiting for me. “Hey Tom” he said with a grin.
I’ll spare you and myself the details of my reaction and what happens next, but I think you will understand exactly how I felt soon enough. I’ve been instructed to pass on a warning, that’s why you’re reading this story, so here it is: beware of your friends.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. I don’t really understand all the details, but James is some kind of soul harvester, he is one of many who worm their way into your life, make you care for them, then destroy you mentally and physically. It allows them to feed off you or something like that.
And I’ve lied to you, to save my own soul. I’m so sorry. This warning I’ve been telling you about, it’s not a warning, more like a beacon. Now you know about the soul harvesters, they know about you.