Rusting Lockers

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Rusting Lockers

Log date: March 5, 2030.

Urban exploration leads you to some strange places. I’ve been to many places: houses, offices, restaurants, amusement parks, factories, a freaking airport. All of them abandoned long, long ago. It’s a fun, enthralling job, if you can even call it that. It’s not really a profession, I guess. Still, it makes me good money. All of these places have a lot of metal to salvage (all of which I sell to metal-manufacturing companies), relics, and they make for footage that desperate cowardly college students would kill for (to brag about a fake expedition they took). What I’m saying is, I love my job as an urban explorer.

My name is Kla Youn. I am a Thailandish male, age 22, who learned English as a first language. Sure made growing up in Thailand quite difficult. That’s not important, though. What is important is my most recent urban exploration. My job requires a lot of traveling, so I pretty much live on planes and in airports. Having wealthy parents has its benefits. Hopefully they wouldn’t be too disappointed. Anyways, after investigating an abandoned restaurant in Ripon, England, I was underwhelmed. There were no relics, I couldn’t get any good footage, and there was an excruciating lack of metal to salvage. It was a waste. Not to mention, I booked a really fancy and hotel that night, so I pretty much flew to England and wasted money on said expensive hotel for nothing.

When I got to the hotel, I turned on TV, but just for some extra light. By default, it was on a news channel. I then proceeded to mute it, as I needed a minute to think. I entered a half-awake half-dazed state. I don’t know for how long I was like that, but I was clearly awake enough for my eye to catch something on the news channel: “Jones Middle-High officially shut down, as of March 5, 2030,” read the headline.

I didn’t even unmute the TV. I simply jumped out of bed, dashed out of the hotel and to a garage of these really high-tech transportation devices called Pods. I hopped in, scanned my debit card, and punched in “Jones Middle-High School.” The GPS in the Pod recommended a school down in Liverpool. I confirmed and it took off. Because it operated on rails, I managed to make the 2-hour ride to Liverpool only 30 minutes. This worked out great, as I knew that I would either beat the demolition companies there, or that I’d be able to steal the metal they already collected. Hey, I never said I was a saint. Either way, it would be a win for me.

When I arrived, I was amazed by the grand structure. It wasn’t like a normal 1 to 2-story school, but a tower. I hope the genius that came up with that design was fired. And to my surprise, there weren’t any demolition or salvaging companies. This wasn’t entirely a good thing, though, as there were instead 3 heavily armed guards patrolling the area, one with a huge white scratch on his helmet. I should’ve taken that as a sign to get the heck out of there. But I didn’t. Because this place was just recently shut down, I knew that I would make good money from what I could find within. I’ve dealt with security guards before, and they usually weren’t as alert as you’d expect. Thinking I was being clever, I picked up a rock, hid in a bush, and chucked it off to the side. My intent was for the guard to go investigate the sound, but no. Instead, he traced where it came from to the bush I was squatting in and started walking in my direction, firearm in hand. Now panicked, I made a break for it. I don’t care if it was stupid, I was not facing him.

“Hey, sir!” Boomed the guard with the scratch on his helmet. I began running in a zig-zag formation, and I was glad I did that. Mere seconds after I took off, I heard something metallic bouncing off of concrete. When I got to the door of the building, I pulled down on the shutter above with force and locked it. That’s when I realized that sounds I was hearing were bullets. Before I could even continue running, I saw the metal shutter being torn up by something. This guard was carrying an automatic weapon. And as far as I was aware, those were illegal in England. I jumped out of the way of the bullets and ran past a few administration desks. While running, I took a turn and ran into something hard. I clicked my flashlight on and saw a broken elevator door. I climbed inside the elevator, but it didn’t work.

“Aw, crap! The power is off!” I muttered to myself. Desperate, I used a portable blow torch I took with me to cut through the top of the elevator. I was successful and climbed through. There was a safety ladder inside the elevator shaft, which I took up two floors. I pressed a button on the outside of the doors, most likely for anybody who was stuck outside on the safety ladder. It was the only one that was active, which shouldn’t’ve been possible since the power was cut, but it worked out just fine. The doors opened and a platform formed below me.

Clever design, I thought, walking into the third floor. I was hoping that the security guard didn’t follow. Just in case, I smashed the button so that when the doors closed, they wouldn’t open back up. I found a seat outside the elevator shaft and reflected on what just happened. That’s when it hit me: that man, that “security” guard tried to kill me to keep me from getting in here. But why? What could possibly be within this school that would be worth killing somebody over to keep them from finding out? I was almost chilled. But the intrigue had overtaken me. From the sounds of it, the guard had also given up. I got out of my chair and shined my light up at the ceiling, seeing a large sign with shiny letters that read “Year 6”. This gave me a pretty clear idea of how the layout of the building worked: each grade was organized by floors, the higher the grade, the higher the floor.

I continued down the hallway, pulling off a few wall panels. Upon entering one of the many open rooms, I was disturbed by how much was left behind. The teacher’s computers were left on, iPads were left on nearly every desk, and the lockers within the room still contained backpacks. I wasn’t going to steal the backpacks, as that would just be weird, but I did unhinge a few locker doors and threw them all into a pile outside, along with the panels. What disturbed me was how everything was just left untouched. Everything was just ditched in time, as if everybody left simultaneously. I continued down the hallway, slightly more creeped out than before. I eventually ended up in a library. In said library were a few shut down automated ramps going upwards and downwards. I went upwards, where the seventh grade was supposed to be. All checked a few of the classrooms, and just like the ones in the second-grade floor, supplies, tech, backpacks, everything was just left there. At least that meant more iPads for me! Still, it didn’t feel right. I tried familiarizing myself with the layout, and I came to the conclusion that all of the outer walls were made of glass, most likely tinted.

I went up another ramp, and this is where things get horrifying. The second I arrived on that floor, I heard a strange gravelly sound coming from above. I ignored it, going down the hall. The whole time, though, there was this disgusting smell unlike anything I had ever smelled before. There was some thick liquid dripping from the ceiling. I just continued down the hallway, stealing from each and every room. While usually I would consider this a jackpot as worst, there was something that hindered my excitement for the goldmine I had hit (that being this school). There was a tapping sound coming from above me. It never followed me, it was in random places. Eventually, the sound ended up coming from directly above me. I nearly jumped when I came to the realization that these were footsteps. I stopped walking, and so did they.

“Could that be the security guard?” I wondered. I looked out of the window at the other end of the hall, but I was wrong. Out there were the same amount of security guards there were patrolling before, all gathered up discussing something. I could even tell that the one that tried killing me was down there because of the large scratch on his helmet (I saw it because he was under a street light). But if it wasn’t a security guard, what could it be? After some time of remaining completely still, the footsteps continued. I decided to lock myself in a room and looked for places to hide. But while scanning the classroom with my flashlight, I saw that all of the lockers were being rusted over. Or at least, I hope it was rust. Even more disturbingly, when my phone panned across a whiteboard, I saw one word written down on it: ditched. I wasn’t taking any time to think about it, I just wanted this insane night to be over with. Whoever or whatever was lurking above likely knew the layout better than me. I was not escaping at night. Or at least not that night. I was hiding in that classroom until morning at the soonest. I lodged myself into a cabinet and tried falling asleep. Before I drifted off, though, it came to my knowledge that those weren’t normal footsteps, but they were scraping against the ground.

Sometime very early in the morning, I believe at 2, I woke up hearing a loud, somber shriek, like whatever was in the building with me was in excruciating pain. It was still above me, but I was paralyzed with fear. I stayed in that cabinet for hours, trying to reason with myself. But I was never able to convince myself to leave. I eventually looked at my phone, and it was a little past 6 in the morning. With every ounce of bravery left inside me, I opened the cabinet, and there was a little glint of daylight peering in between the blinds. I climbed out, but I massively regretted it. Through the glass of the door, I saw it, peering in with its pained, tearing eyes. I saw what had been walking above me. It was a teenager, a human teenager with frizzy brown hair, but something was horribly wrong with his or her face. It was heavily deformed, with, instead of having a regular mouth and nose, they had a long, fleshy snout, like a crocodile, but more round, without scales and with human teeth. It was incredibly spastic and shaky, and their monstrous jaw opened and closed in long spans, I can assume those were its breaths. When it saw me, it just stared. I was so scared, I was almost crying at what was stood before me, separated by only an inch or two of glass. I looked away, but now facing the lockers, it came to my attention that it wasn’t rust on those lockers, but a bunch of flat, bumpy tentacles. Before I was able to even process this, I heard shattering glass. My head jerked back around, and the creature was now in the room after opening the door from the inside.

“PLEASE!” I screamed, I tried saying something, but it came out unintelligible. I coward in corner of the room, reaching for a piece of concrete debris to possibly use as a shield. The twitching creature didn’t move towards me, as I expected, but it remained still, staring at me and twitching, as if it was fighting some urge. I could now see the rest of its body, and it was gruesome. It had a solid light blue shirt and jeans, both tattered and torn. One of its feet had long skeletal appendages coming out. One of its hands had a second pair of fingers. They were like the ones of a dog, but image them being longer and hairless. And all over, coming off of its hands, arms, even face, were long, flat tentacles. After multiple minutes of it staring at me, it walked into the room, but not towards me, but a whiteboard. It then picked up a marker and wrote something down, its hand fidgeting.

“Can’t speak,” the creature wrote.

“You—you know English?” I asked it.

“Yes,” it wrote.

I began tiptoeing out of the room, keeping my eyes on it. Beneath its brown hair, something brand up, unfurling. A rabbit’s ear. I gagged, trying not to throw up.

“Stay,” it wrote on the whiteboard frantically.

My breathing got faster. I couldn’t tell whether this thing’s ability to write made it better or worse. Probably worse.

“Please,” was written on the whiteboard.

“Please what?” I asked it, my voice trembling.

“Lead,”

I wasn’t taking this, I wasn’t staying around this THING any longer. I should’ve ditched this place long time ago. I continued tiptoeing, planning on running once I exited the room. That’s when the thing growled a demonic growl that made it sound like its vocals had been horribly damaged. If you paid enough attention, though, it was possible to hear a human voice. Its head then snapped around, seeming slightly unhinged. And in its eyes, I saw utter desperation. I knew I had to stay, because I didn’t want to know what this creature was capable of. Once it turned its head back around, it wrote something down that opened my eyes: “Rebecca”. I stared at it for a minute, but that’s when it hit me. Everything made sense to me now. I collapsed, allowing myself to finally cry, but not for the reason before. Not because of selfish fear, but immense sympathy. I remained like that for multiple minutes.

The creature—she then wrote something else down before dropping the marker and crying herself, “Ditched me.” and “Pain”

Eventually, I pulled myself together, “Please, can—can I h—help?”

“Escape,” Rebecca wrote down.

The second I was done reading, I said, I’m going to call an ambulance.”

Her eyes widened and she growled again. This time, though, it wasn’t threatening, more to just get my attention. She wrote another word down on the whiteboard that read, “Guard.”

She looked back, and I shakily tilted my head.

“Bad,” her writing read.

“Kill”

I didn’t entirely understand what that meant, and she could have meant something else, but I had an idea. I wanted revenge on those guards anyways for trying to kill me, and killing them may have been our only way to escape, so I nodded my head.

“I can get you out safe, Rebecca. I can get you out safe and I’ll make sure everything goes back to normal. I have a lot of money, so I’ll hire the best doctors. I promise, Rebecca.”

She let out a tear, but not of pain, of happiness. Her jaws began moving, and she made some horrible gurgling sound. When I listened, closely, though, I heard a feminine voice saying, “Thank you.”

I walked back to the corner of the room and picked up the debris, noticing a hole in the wall. I looked through and saw a classroom with a gaping hole in the ceiling. There was also a storage closet where all the tentacles were coming from, still animated. That’s something I’ll find out about another day, I promised myself. I headed outside the classroom with Rebecca tagging behind me, her gait consisting of her dragging her more skeletal foot. “I’ll get you help,” I repeated in my head. After enough circling, I eventually found a security guard, the one with the scratch on his helmet.

“Can you help me with this?” I asked.

Rebecca nodded and picked up a chunk of concrete herself. Both of us then slammed the debris against the glass panel to shatter it. The guard noticed us, called for backup, and began shooting at the glass wall. That’s when I heard an agonizing scream next to me. I threw the chunk of concrete in my hands to the ground and turned to my side, only to see Rebecca sprawling on the ground, red pouring out, her jaw open so wide she no longer even looked like an animal.

“NO!” I screamed, “Rebecca!”

She made a gurgling sound, but eventually the sound came to a stop.

“Rebecca?”

I got no response.

I collapsed again, breaking into tears. She wasn’t breathing. She was dead. There was nothing I could do. No doctors, no matter how good they were, could help her now. I cursed at the guard down below and after my shirt was soaked with tears, I left. I left that school and retreated to my hotel, somehow without encountering any guards. I don’t care if I didn’t know her. She was a child. And she was suffering. And I saw her die right before my eyes. I just wanted to help, but I ended up…

I am writing this so that you guys know not to go urban exploring. I also want to say that if you ever find somebody desperate and in need of help, do your best. Don’t do what I did. I feel endless remorse about what happened earlier this morning. Fortunately, I won’t need to go to a doctor and discover that I have PTSD, because I received a message earlier today, after I left the school, simply saying “10:30 p.m.” and I just heard a heavy knock at my hotel door. The good thing about having an illegal job is that you learn to be sneaky and resourceful. So to the man that shot Rebecca, Leo, I would like you to know that it’s not just going to be my last day.

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