New Year’s Kiss

I guess I’ve always been a weird guy.

This happened on New Year’s Eve 2016. Most kids at school had planned to go to a party at some popular kid’s house. His parents were out of town celebrating. But I wasn’t a normal high schooler looking to get drunk. I wanted a thrill to start off the new year, as part of a larger New Year’s resolution I had made to start doing things that pushed the limits. More danger, more excitement, more daring. I guess this was my rebellious stage of sorts. There was only one place I knew of that could provide the kind of adrenaline I was looking for.

At the edge of my town (a mid-sized city in Oregon), there is an old abandoned meat-packing plant, for pork I think it was. It hasn’t been in use for over fifty years, and though you would expect it to be a hotspot for urban explorers or teens wanting to hangout, for some reason people seemed to make an effort to avoid the plant. The few people who would dare to enter refused to say much about it, normally deflecting and changing the subject. But me being the lunatic I am, I saw it as the perfect New Year’s destination. I would even go alone, just to make it that more surreal.

I left in my old green sedan about 10:30 p.m., and it took about half an hour to get to the other side of town from my house. The street lights started growing far and few between, with only an occasional house on the old farm road leading to it. I could see the silhouette of a towering, dark red-brick building on the horizon, and yet I felt oddly calm driving up to it. No fear at all. Pretty soon, I turned off on the gravelly road through the trees that led to the plant, confidence growing as I got closer. But the serenity I had been enjoying disappeared the moment my headlights hit the entrance.

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