2022 Creativity Project – April 3

Scares Out There

My dad worked on the equipment which compacted the waste that came into the landfill adjacent to one of the big metropolitan cemeteries. I accompanied him to work often.

I never claim to understand my life; I have, with some effort, come to accept most of it.

There were always odd interactions with machines. Most of them drew scant attention because they happened with other people present. These things are still a blight upon my life and have grown worse with the advent of technology.

The first time one of the dozers parked on the cemetery access lane cranked itself up as I walked by was a bit unnerving. The more times it happened, the less it could be explained as unrelated to my presence.

At the time, I wondered if some friendly residents were protesting my driving in the cemetery as I learned how. I never ran off the lanes or drove exceedingly fast, avoiding all processions. If a tent was over an open grave, I did not go near that area. So, I think it improbable I was disturbing anyone’s peace.

The colossal mausoleum, which looked like a gothic castle, fascinated me. I wanted to see how brave I was. I asked the caretaker of the building if a few friends and I could come about an hour before dark and stay until 3 am. I never dreamed he would say, “Why not? Just don’t break anything or leave any trash.”

I was the only girl in our Dungeons & Dragons group, so securing this little adventure stood to raise my cred. The thing I never expressed to anyone beforehand was that I was beyond terrified. This was when I was sixteen, and I had been reading some superb horror and science fiction ever since I left the children’s section in the library.

I always had an overactive imagination, plus I believed in ghosts.
When the evening arrived, the guys came with machetes, drinks, and snacks. There was a staff or two in evidence, as well. I brought flashlights, enough for the group. I never met a flashlight I was unwilling, given the opportunity, to possess.

When we entered the building, it was brightly lit. No sweat, everyone was okay. I walked down a corridor and had steps following close, so I thought one of the gang was there. When I turned around to invite them up beside me, no one was in sight. Creepy.

When the lights went down, I began to notice echoes. Everything we did was mirrored in sound. The thing that almost sent my courageous friends and me scurrying for the doors; when we were perfectly quiet and motionless, we could hear ourselves moving around engaged in novel conversations.

I wanted to go up in the attic; I mean, when would I ever have others to go with me? We climbed the corkscrew stairs up to the top floor. It was strange; there were barrels and boxes stacked everywhere. Some had food labels, and some had poison labels. The government seemed to have hijacked this space for disaster supplies. I did not like the idea of foodstuffs and weapons stockpiled so nearly together.

We started back downstairs with me near the rear. I noticed the guys had made a half-circle at the bottom. When I hit the floor, the one behind me pushed me forward, and all the rest made growling sounds and reached out for me. You may understand; I screamed and left the building like a Pomeranian with its ears on fire.

I almost drove home and left them there. I could have in good conscience. It would have served them right. I made them think so; I started the Cadillac and headed for the gated entrance. They were running to catch the car. I have half a heart that functions, so I unlocked the doors and let them in.

There is another mausoleum story, but I think it is for a later date.

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan