The story begins here………and then…
I quickly closed the door on the wet night outside, entombing us in the yellow glow of half a dozen candles, flames dancing in metal holders attached to the walls, and scattered around the roughly hexagonal entrance room. The only other things in the space were an old rusty table against one wall, where I had put all our stuff, and two beat up kitchen chairs. The only other things, that is, except for the entrance to the mine itself, a gaping hole across from the table. It was a huge maw in the earth, and the candlelight barely penetrated its depths. I swallowed back the worm of fear I could feel trying to wriggle it’s way through my chest, and focused on the equipment and the task at hand.
John paced the small space, casting glances over his shoulder at the entrance. Lilly stood at its yawning mouth, peering downward, eyes bright with excitement. It was here that they would decend into the mine, into that darkness, and down the dirt packed walkway that gently snaked deeper into the earth. I kept my back firmly turned from it, pretending I was just in a regular room, and that the horrifying square, and the memories it held, didn’t exist.
Unfortunately, the work ran out too quickly and the equipment was ready to go. I turned to them, trying my best to ignore the hole.
“What was wrong with that kid?” John snorted, “Think the grossness of this place just seeped into him?” He poked a tentative finger into a divot of darkness chipped out of the dirt in one wall.
“Seriously John,” Lilly chided, “be nice. It was your idea to do a Halloween bit in an abandoned mine. There’s going to be some dirt. Let’s just do this thing. We should be able to walk it in an hour, I think…” She turned away from the darkness with a sigh, “and maybe keep your fingers out of holes in the wall? You’re probably petting a centipede or something.”
John hastily pulled his hand away and rubbed it on his jeans, making a face. “I thought it would be creepy and cool, not creepy and disgusting. I guess there is a market for that though.” He chuckled, “It all just came together faster than I figured it would. I didn’t think he,” he brandished his finger my way, “would get us the owners permission so fast. They just called in tonight. I barely had time to think it through.”
“The kids paved the way,” I answered, leaving the equipment and walking over to hand him his headset and pack. “Money opens all doors. Although this is the only one of any of the calls where I could actually speak to the owners. The…one with the dog…is his son.”
“Then grossness seepage it is!” He crinkled his nose as he started putting things on. “It just goes to show you can’t live next to creepy old places without them rubbing off on you. We should actually interview him later. His monotone would be perfect to set the mood. He actually proves my point and we haven’t even gone in yet. Things just don’t line up so perfectly like this without a reason. This is fate. That means it’s going to be an awesome show. No one’s ever come here before. I’ll play it up and the listeners will eat it up. This might just get me out of this backwater biz and into the real action.”
Lilly frowned at him. He caught the look, and continued, “I mean all of us, of course. The whole show. If this plays out right, it could be our big break!” He flashed her his most heart stopping grin.
Lilly watched him coolly, and his grin faltered. He turned back to me, “The mics are still going to transmit through all this rock and dirt, right?”
I slapped a small handled box in the pile of equipment, “That’s a booster. I have two but you should only need one.” I forced myself to get closer to the entrance so I could give Lilly her stuff, “You’re going to have to pack that with you, though. Just follow this tunnel for a bit and at the end of it you’ll come to two entrances. You can go either way. It’s basically a big circle.” I spun my finger in the air, “So, whatever side you choose, you’ll just walk around and eventually come out of the other doorway you would have chosen. Then back up the ramp to me and we can pack up and get to editing. When you’ve walked for about 30 mins or so drop the pack, press the red button, and we should have waves enough for the whole trip.”
“And who’s going back for it if we leave it there?” John asked lightly. “Or are the ghosties doing grunt work now?”
I stiffened, but before I could answer Lilly was on it, “We probably aren’t going to get this in one take, fate or no fate. We’ll just double back and get a bit more footage and grab it on our way. Easy. Can we get going now?”
John sniffed and eyed the box. “Kinda big isn’t it?”
I grinned at him, and managed not to roll my eyes. His ability to weasel out of anything like work was legendary. “Not for a strong guy like you.” I knew before the words were out that my attempt at complementing him into it fell flat.
“I really think you should just come with us, and carry that thing yourself,” John turned to Lilly for support, “We have to do a show here.”
The icy tendril wriggled closer to my heart and I could feel my body going cold at the thought of going in. I let myself glance towards the darkness and it turned into spiky slivers of ice. In the depths, for just a moment, I could almost see the flicker of a dress kicked up by small running feet, and hear the muted echo of sobs, as the small form ran away into the dark. It was just in my mind, but in a part of it that I wouldn’t look at, couldn’t look at, that was slowly clawing to the surface in the face of all that shadow. I swallowed, but my mouth was dry. It was evident where all the moisture had gone though, since it started to rim my eyes. I closed them.
I felt her hand suddenly on my shoulder, a warm comforting weight.
“Sorry man,” Lilly spoke, her tone lightly chastising. “He stays here, like we agreed. Someone has to man the entrance if we’re “ghost hunting” and make sure those kids, or anyone else, don’t try to mess with us.”
I opened my eyes and she winked at me, and I felt the horror and fear that was building inside me slide away as she continued, “We have to keep things legit.”
John sighed, shoulders drooping, “I guess.”
She pressed a button on her headset. “Testing.”
Her voice purred out of the speaker behind me, and I turned to the recording equipment, grateful to occupy myself with the job at hand. I pushed a button, then another. I put on my own headset.
John pushed a button on his headset, “Testing.” His voice transforming into his persona for radio, with barely a hint of sullenness.
I pressed two more buttons and spoke into my own set. “Testing.” It came out as a croak. They both nodded. I pushed another few buttons to verify the audio and whispered into my headset, “We’re ready.”
“Welcome to the spookiest night of your lives, folks!” John boomed as he grabbed the booster and walked with Lilly to the mouth of the mine. “We’re here at the old Bishop Mine for today’s show.”
“How did I let you drag me in here?” Lilly quipped, “This place is disgusting!”
“It sure is, Lils!” He laughed, starting forward, “But we do it so the good folks listening in don’t have to! First, we really should get into some history so we can set the scene for them. How many missing people have been reported in this area?” He clicked a light on his headset on and the beam knifed out into the dark.
Lilly clicked on her own light and strode forward, “The official count is twelve, John.”
“Well, let’s hope it doesn’t inch up to fourteen tonight!” He laughed, and she joined in. Then, their laughter still spilling from the speakers beside me, they turned a corner and were swallowed by the dark.
….to be continued??
- Blog post 30/52 – only 22 more to go!
- Writing in the screenplay – Still on catch up, but will do it
- Drawing – have a plan for today, still to do
- Feet writing & drawing – on today’s to do!