Kenopsia #atozchallenge

lost-places-old-decay-ruin-162389

Kenopsia; the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet. 

 It was a strange apocalyptic feeling that crept slowly over Georgina as they walked through the abandoned prison.

‘We shouldn’t be here,’ she whispered.

Bayo shot her a look over his shoulder then paused as her saw the cringing expression crossing over Georgina’s face.

Her voice had sounded louder and had echoed more then she had meant it too. Georgina felt like she had broken the second spell that hung over the building by being the first to speak. The first spell had been when they had entered the grounds, ignoring all the warning signs and sneaking under the two wired fences.

 ‘What is it?’ Bayo hissed.

‘This place is gross,’ Georgina said back.

Bayo give a small shrug of his broad shoulders and carried on walking. He was dressed far better for this place then Georgina was. He was wearing high work boots with his jeans tucked into them, a tight t-shirt and a padded coat. His skin was as dark as the shadows around them and his short black hair was a mass of small weaves.

Georgina watched him duck through a rusted twisted metal door then followed him, careful not to snag her blue designer coat, teal coloured mini skirt and matching tights on the sticking out wires. Her low pumps were covered by so much mud and dirt, it was hard to know what colour they were.

Judging from what was now around them, they had entered the first male block of the prison. The other three teenagers had come to stop in the main space and were shining their torches about. Bayo and Georgina joined them and began looking around too. On this floor, tables and chairs had been dotted round. There had been a TV, a snooker table and a table tennis table, giving the inmates downtime. Above rose four floors of cells, many of which had their doors wide open.

Nature had long taken over what had once been a loud and bustling scene. Patches of green and yellow moss covered the floor. Weeds grew in clumps through cracks and black mould coated the ceiling. Water was dripping heavily from somewhere close by. Rust covered everything metal and the paint was peeled.

Georgina shivered and felt like she was being watched. She touched her loose golden blonde hair nervously and making sure it was tucked safely into the hood of her coat. She double checked the coat was zipped up before putting her hands in the warm pockets. Then she turned away and took in her friends. They all looked deeply fascinated.

The only other girl in the group, Phoebe, had her head thrown back and was looking up at the ceiling as if it was covered in precious  gem stones. She didn’t seem at all concerned about what was around them. Her dark brown hair was plaited back and she was wearing hiking boots, old jeans and a thick grey jacket. Her torch light reflected off the grimy walls.

The three boys, including Bayo, seemed interested in exploring the cells. There were a few on this floor, but it was a certain one that they were eager to find. They shone their torches around, trying to figure out the numbers on the doors so they could plan their route.

Georgina moved closer to her boyfriend, Alex. He was the tallest of the boys and had dark spiky hair. His face was rounded and baby like but had a handsomeness to it that Georgina enjoyed staring at. He was wearing black trainers, ripped up dark jeans, a loose t-shirt and a leather jacket. She slipped her hand against his and wormed her fingers in between his so that they were holding hands.

‘I don’t like it,’ she muttered like a tried child being forced into bed.

‘It’s cool,’ Alex answered back.

‘It’s not. It’s creepy and unhygienic. I want to leave!’ Georgina snapped.

‘Go ahead then,’  Tiger sneered.

Georgina looked at him and pulled a face. It was Tiger’s fault they were here in the first place. He was the oldest of the group and Phoebe’s boyfriend. He had short brown hair, sharp eyes and model’s face. He was old boots, tight jeans and a long sleeved top.

Georgina turned away and pressed her face into Alex’s shoulder.

Tiger snorted as if he had expected her not to reply to him.

‘Which one is it?’ Phoebe asked.

‘It’s on the second floor. I remember that much,’ Tiger answered.

He walked over to the unstable looking concrete stairs and began climbing them. Phoebe and Bayo followed, their footsteps ringing out in the quietness.

‘Alex, I really want to leave. There’s something off about this place,’ Georgina whispered.

‘It’s fine,’ Alex responded and drew her into a hug, ‘I really want to see where one of the most famous murderers of all time was locked away.’

‘Why?’ Georgina asked into his jacket, her voice muffled

‘Let’s go,’ Alex spoke, having not heard her.

He took her hand and they walked up the stairs then across to another set and up those. Georgina tried not to look further ahead then the next steps. The open cell doors didn’t seem inviting at all and they reminded her of animal mouths, just waiting for something to walk in before snapping shut.

‘This is it, I think. Number thirty-eight,’ Tiger pointed out.

Alex and Georgina joined Tiger, Phoebe and Bayo at the open cell door.

‘Yeah, they say he drew pictures of his victims with his own blood on these very walls,’ Tiger continued.

He walked into the cell and flashed his torch around. It was empty of furniture, pipes were sticking out were a toilet and sink had once been and the walls were a dark grey and peeling badly.

Phoebe squeezed her way in and touched the wall. She inspected the floor and began looking for something.

‘We’ve seen it now, can we please go?’ Georgina cut in.

She tugged the sleeve of Alex’s jacket.

‘There’s other cells to see on this tour,’ Tiger declared, ‘the hanging cell, the gun shot cell….the showers. Do you fancy a trip to the showers, Georgie?’

‘No!’ Georgina cried as Tiger leered at her.

‘That’s enough,’ Alex growled and moved between them.

Tiger shrugged, letting the whole thing slide.

‘I can’t find the blood pictures,’ Phoebe said disappointingly.

‘It’s okay, babe. There’s more to see,’ Tiger answered.

Georgina looked behind her. There was a wire fence securing the edge and below was the main room. She thought she saw a flicker of movement down there in the shadows. It was nothing though, right?

She tugged Alex’s jacket sleeve again.

‘Okay, we’ll leave,’ he huffed.

‘Whatever,’ Tiger scoffed, ‘we’ll carry on then.’

‘Some other time,’ Alex added to show there was no hard feeling between them.

Tiger shrugged, not caring either way. He took Phoebe’s hand and led her out of the cell. Bayo trailed after them like a guard dog.

‘You okay?’ Alex asked Georgina.

She nodded, her eyes still watching below. There was a figure down there for sure now. He was a massive man with tattoos and he was just wearing shorts. He didn’t appear to be doing anything, just waiting.

Georgina held her breath and watched the man blending back into the shadows. The urge to get out reached it’s peak and she fought back a scream. Biting her lip, she looked up at Alex, he was watching the others head to the next floor.

‘We need to go,’ Georgina forced out.

‘Sure,’ Alex sighed.

Holding hands, they began to head out towards the sunny afternoon whilst behind them their friends walked further into the darkness of the jail.

What The Trees Knew

How the car had ended up rusting there was anyone’s guess. If only the trees could talk, they’d tell what happened.

 

(Inspired from: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/fffaw-challenge-week-of-march-14-2017/ Photo by and copyright to Tim Livingston, with thanks.)

Flames

flame

The flames grew, becoming brighter and warmer. Shepard shivered and huddled closer to the fire. Outside, the rain was really coming down now and the wind was hitting the countryside with force. The old, abandoned farmhouse rattled and creaked around him. Strangely though, he found comfort in all the noise.

Finally, shedding out of his soaking clothes, Shepard hung his things on the drying rack. Despite everything, most of the furniture had survived and the house appeared close enough to his memories. He hated that though as it made everything come into sharper focus.

Sitting in his underpants, he feed the fire some more wood and watched the flames. Even though he tried hard not to think about it, the memories swelled like an incoming sea. How many times had he sit by this fireplace as a boy? Too many.

Shepard shivered again, but not because he was cold. The flood gates had opened and for a few moments he was transported into the past.

Shadows danced across the wall in the farmhouse’s living room. The flames of the fire, the only light source in the room was unable to fight the shadows off. However, nothing seemed to be bothering the little boy and smaller girl who were playing with a hand carved Noah’s Arc set. They laughed as they lined the animals up two by two and made them all enter the big wooden boat.

Then though from the kitchen came sounds of raised voices. The children stopped, falling silent to listen. The voices grew, though they couldn’t make the muffled words out. A thumping as skin connected with skin rang out and the voices stopped.

The girl began to cry. Her older brother held her close but not to comfort her. It was to quieten her sobs, so they would avoid getting beaten too.

Shepard shook his head and brought himself out of his past. Grumbling, the urge to leave again grew, but he fought it away.

‘It’s only an old house,’ he uttered, ‘nothing here now.’

He felt his drying clothes. They were too wet still to put back on. He tossed more wood onto the fire, not caring that the stack was getting low. If needed there were other things he could burn.

He glanced around and spotted a knitted patchwork blanket draped on the sofa. Getting up, he shuffled across the floor and tugged it off. Wrapping the blanket over his shoulders, he took a deep breath and smelt dust. Pushing the edge of the blanket into his nose, he sniffed the wool, but couldn’t smell anything else.

Shepard saw a flash of his mother. She was sit on the sofa, knitting a blanket which humped over her big belly containing his then unborn sister. Her hair was dark and she was wearing a brown dress and slippers. Her face and arms were covered in old and new bruises. She was humming something as her needles clacked together then she was gone, back into the shadows of the past.

‘Don’t think about,’ Shepard whispered.

He stared hard into the flames, hoping they would burn the memories away.

It was too late though and just like the opening of Pandora’s box everything escaped.

Shepard sucked in a deep breath as imagines, thoughts and feelings tumbled by. Thankfully, he soon arrived at the last memory he had of the farmhouse. He saw himself, a young teenager sat in his mother’s bedroom. She was gone, fled in the night just as she had often threatened under her breath.

He looked out of the window and saw the little cross that marked his sister’s grave in the back garden. She had only been seven. He had dug that small hole himself only a few days ago whilst his sobbing mother had clung to the dirty sheet wrapped body. He had wanted to kill his father then but his mother held him back. Now though, there was nothing stopping him…

Shepard let it all go with a shaky exhale. Just the thought of all that blood again made him feel sick. He reached for his clothes and even though they were damp, he put them on. Gathering his things, he got up and after a few moments of debate tossed the knitted blanket away.

Holding onto the warm of the fire, he walked out of the farmhouse and back into the storm. It was better, he decided, to be out here then inside with all those ghosts.

 

(Inspired by a prompt at; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/09/thursday-photo-prompt-flame-writephoto/)

Still Alive

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Gift wasn’t sure how long the town had been abandoned as the records only went back fifty years. Crunching glass and fallen plaster under her boots, she entered what had once been a living room.

Looking through the breathing mask’s visor, she spotted the white flowering plant on the window sill. Smiling, she walked over and picked the plant pot up gingerly.

You’re safe now, she thought, clutching the plant, but you’ve got a big job ahead, flower.

Gift stepped outside and back into the war torn grey landscape. Hurrying towards the safety of the underground city, she hoped that one day she would be able to see the green surface world that she only knew from the legends.

 

(Inspired from Friday Fictioneers prompt; https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/3-february-2017/ photo by Roger Bultot thanks)

Waiting

waiting

Time had long ago stopped in the castle. The dust lay thick and the silence heavy. Small animal bones scattered the floors and abandoned spider webs clung to the walls. In a stairwell, a forgotten suit of armour and a clock stood waiting to be used again. And in the rooms where people had once lived and worked, sharing a life now lost to the past, there were only echoes of ghosts.

(From a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/01/26/thursday-photo-prompt-waiting-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Something In The Night (Part 4)

abandoned, architecture, building

Abe swore under his breath and reached for the landline phone again. He dialled the emergency services. The second a voice answered, Abe barked into the phone ‘Fire! At the old Asylum!’ Then he threw the phone down and grabbed the mini fire extinguisher off the wall.

Scooping up the ring of keys and torch with his other hand, Abe dashed outside. The wind howled around him, threatening to throw him back inside. Rain lashed against his face, blinding him and soaking straight through his shirt and trousers. The idea of going back for his coat flashed in his mind but then Abe looked upwards and saw the fire flicking in the middle left window.

Abe battled on and went to the side door. Doing everything by feel then sight, Abe put the extinguisher between his knees and wrestled with the keys. He found the right on and slotted it in. Going in, the wind tried to tear the door off it’s hinges, but Abe managed to close it behind him. Leaving the door unlocked, Abe turned the torch on before racing though the small corridor and out into the main hall.

The scent of smoke drifted down the staircase and stuck in Abe’s nose. He went up the stairs. The keys jingling loudly and the extinguisher letting off a metallic din every once in a while. Rain water dripped off Abe and dotted the steps with droplets. He ignored everything and focused solely on getting to the fire. At the top of the staircase, he turned left and rushed up.

Skidding to a stop, he tried to catch his breath as his eyes took in what was before him. There was no fire on the hallway. He walked slowly over, his hands and legs feeling numb. He shone the torch around and saw nothing had been disturbed and there were no markings on the floor. The torch began to shake in his hand and Abe wondered if his mind had finally gone.

He shut his eyes and took deep lungfuls of mould, rot and dust contaminated air. A linger of smoke still seemed to be there. Feeling calm and in control again, Abe opened his eyes and really used the torch to look. He flashed the light over the floor, walls and stairs then he swept back to the window. The torch beam came to a pause.

There was a white candle in a Victorian bronze holder slightly smoking on the window sill.

Abe shuffled forward and looked hard. His eyes were not tricking him. The candle was there and had recently been blown out. Maybe by his own movements. Abe looked out of the window and could see the lights of the security cabin in the grounds below. Water clung to the window back dropped by the dark night. The wind tapped more rain against the glass is it whistled passed.

With his mind slotting things into place, Abe realised the fire he had seen had actually been the flame of the candle pressed against the window. He sigh and felt all the energy drain out of him.

It’s a kid playing tricks or some photographer getting an artist shot, Abe thought, that’s all. No real fire…Where are they now? They’d heard me for sure and taken to hiding again.

Abe turned and took in the view of the main stairs as well as the hallway stretching into the blackness before him. Abe tightened his grip on the torch, keys and fire extinguisher then walked back the way he had come. Carrying everything was making his arms ache and the coldness that had sank into his skin was making it worse.

‘The police are coming! You won’t get away!’ Abe yelled.

 

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something In The Night (Part 2)

abandoned, architecture, building

Abe reached the top of the staircase, his old legs feeling shaky after the climb. He stopped and caught his breath. The light from his torch spotlighted on the wall before him and the edge of a large picture frame.

Rising the light up, Abe saw the huge portrait of a middle-aged man wearing an early 1800’s black jacket, white shirt and red cravat. The man had long black hair which was tied back with a black ribbon. The man’s head was slightly turned to the right, so the dark brown eyes were staring off into the distance and not looking down at you as many other portraits did. Underneath the painting, a worn out bronze sign read Jacob Oscars.  

Abe had looked the man up after his first exploration of the asylum and found that Oscars had been the original owner and designer. Though only a few years later, he had sold the place to Doctor Charles Denty who many people had believed was the founding father. Abe had researched Denty too and uncovered some chilling stories about the scientist and his brain experiments.

Turning to look behind him, Abe saw the window above the front door which looked down upon the stairs at this level. It was where he had first seen the light. Now though he could see the dark stormy night pressing against the glass.

Clearing his throat as quietly as he could, Abe turned left and went up a few steps that led onto the first floor and the east wing. The light he had seen from the security cabin had come from this side and past by the window he was now approaching. Not stopping he pressed on to the end where a large, but less grand staircase led to the second floor.

His feet slowed but instead of going up he turned right and followed the corridor around and into a long hallway. The wall on the left was lined with doorways and the wall on the right was broken up by a few windows which Abe knew looked down onto the asylum’s center courtyard.

Silence and dust hung heavy in the air as Abe shone his torch along the doors. Nothing looked undisturbed and still there were no fresh footprints. All of a sudden the weight of the search got to him. Abe’s thoughts tumbled and the thrill of the chase began to fade.

Where do I start? he asked.

Casting his mind back he thought about the few times over the last five years when he had caught trespassers. There had been three different gangs of teenagers who had made a lot of noise destroying things and one gang had started a fire in one of the ground floor rooms. They had been easy to track because of the noise and they had brought a lot of lights with them too.

Other trespassers had been small groups of work men  who had come to rob the place of any valuable; lead, copper, expensive wooden fits and anything else they could remove. Abe had easily heard them at work too. It was no quiet job ripping through walls and flooring.

The last lot of trespasser were the ones Abe didn’t mind and actually allowed in. They were the abandoned places lovers. They came with cameras and recorders to take photos and film the asylum. Sometimes there was only one of them but most of the time they came in pairs or threes. Their whispering voices and flashing cameras drawing Abe after them.

It had been awhile through, close to a year now since the last known trespassers had been in. Security had been tightened at that point, but Abe was sure people had found ways to escape his notice. Plus, old age had caught up with him and Abe’s hearing, eyes and fast movements had slowed.

Abe moved carefully down the hallway, listening hard for any sounds. At the first door which was half open, he shone his torch into the large room. The empty floor and walls met his eyes. It had been the night nurses’ room once, Abe had read on an 1852 blueprint of the asylum that were framed on a wall in the security cabin.

A creaking of a loose floorboard or door vibrated downwards. Abe rose his torch and looked up at the ceiling. He held his breath and waited for more. A whispering voice tickled his ear. He couldn’t make at the words. Another creak came, longer then before. Someone was opening a door on the second floor.

To Be Continued…

Something In The Night (Part 1)

abandoned, architecture, building

It was raining heavily but inside the security cabin, Abe was dry and warm. The electric heater was humming loudly and beside from the rain hitting the metal roof there was little other sounds. Out of the window, though the darkness, Abe could see the looming front of the main building of the long abandoned asylum and hospital.

He knew the place like the back of his hand, but not because he had lived or worked there, it was because he had been watching over the place for the last five years. Some big development company had brought the buildings and land when the government had sold them off. Abe had been hired to keep an eye on the place for a few months whilst work on knocking everything down got started. However, things hadn’t gone to plan for whatever reason and no work had been started. Nobody had ever bothered to tell Abe but they had kept paying him so he carried on being the night guard.

Getting more comfy in his plush desk chair, Abe reached for his sandwiches on the desk before him. He began unwrapping them, wondering what his wife had put on them. Suddenly, a small bright light shone through the night and the rain. Looking up, Abe saw the light coming from a middle window.

A few moments later, the light vanished. Abe kept his eyes to the windows and just as he thought; the light appeared in the window to the left. The white ball seemed to bob and flash around. Abe sighed, it could only be one thing; a torch. Which meant someone was trespassing inside the asylum.

Wrapping his sandwiches up again, Abe picked up his large heavy torch and the ring of keys from his desk top. Then checked he had his mobile phone in his trouser pocket. Signal was hard to get out here, but there was just enough to phone the police if he had too. Then he put on his thick coat, woolly hat and gloves. It was cold outside but even colder in the asylum. He went to the door, unlocked it, turned on the torch and stepped out.

The rain hit his face like he had just got into a cold shower and the wind yanked him around as if he was an old newspaper. He closed the door, locking it again then set off. Fighting against the weather, he made bad time and it took him twice as long to get to the side door. Pressing himself against the freezing stone walls, he fumbled to find the right key and put it in the padlock.

Opening the door, he hurried in and closed it behind him. The light from his torch bounced in the small corridor. The beam was so bright and large that it was a spotlight in the darkness. He breathed in deeply, smelling the rot and mould of the place. Shuffling forward, he avoided the peeling paint walls and the long cracks in the floor.

The corridor ended in a door which Abe had to unlock.Once through, he came to stand in the entrance hall of the asylum. The huge open space engulfed him and the light. A cold chill ran through him and he felt like he was being watched. Abe swung the torch slowly around. The floor was made of large stone slabs that were covered in dust, but a few footprints could be made out. The walls were dark wood panelling which give away to large arched doorways which were dotted around.

Abe moved, breaking the silence which lay as if caught in the end of time. He walked slowly to the centre of the entrance hall. There was a pattern on the floor here; a large many pointed red star or flower which was surrounded by a large blue circle. To the right of him were the huge front double doors that seemed to be more from a Medieval castle then an asylum. To the left, the grand staircase rose up, guard by two towering winged lions.

He went to the staircase and shone the light up the stone steps. Through the dust he could only see his old footprints. That didn’t mean he was the only one to enter the building though. There was lots of side doors, windows, the underground tunnels and cellars which a person could get inside by. The two hundred year old buildings were a rabbit warren.

Abe thought about calling out, but decided against that. If there was a trespasser he wanted to catch them, not give them a chance to escape. Reaching out for the once over polished stair banister, he began to climb upwards.

 

To Be Continued….

 

Mug

blur, coffee, cold

He noticed the mug in the frosted over window and decided to go in. The front and back doors were locked and boarded over with thick wood. However, a broken window allowed him access. He put his rucksack and sleeping bag through first. Then being careful not to snag any of his clothes, he squeezed in and found himself in a kitchen.

There was very little left. Just a few cupboards and the sink. He tried the light switch, but found the power to be off. Next he tried the sink taps. No water came out which meant there was none or it was frozen in the pipes.

Collecting his rucksack and sleeping bag, he decided to see the rest of the house. Every room was almost empty. There were a couple chairs knocking about, scraps of newspapers, a few books and empty cans. The walls were blank and the floors bare. The abandoned house felt colder then it did outside.

He went back to the kitchen after his wander. Putting his stuff down again, he decided it was better then nothing. He went to the window and looking out the dirty glass, he saw it was snowing. The flakes were melting just as fast as they were falling though. The wind seemed to be picking up though and the sky was already darkening.

Looking around the kitchen, he found a cupboard door that had come off and was resting on the floor. Picking it up, he used it to cover the broken window and that helped lessen the draft from outside a bit.

Then even though he didn’t really want to, he got his sleeping bag out and set it in the far corner of the kitchen. The window was further down, but still close if anyone else decided to come in. He got in the sleeping bag still wearing his shoes and coat. He lent against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest.

Looking at the mug on the other window sill above the sink, he wonder who had left it there. The last owner of the house? A builder? The new owner who’d stripped the place then maybe ran out of money to carry on? Perhaps, it had even been another person like him?

A homeless cast out. Forgotten by everyone, seemingly invisible in many places and surviving however they could. Until, God decided the struggling was over and called them back.

Trying to keep warm, he changed his mind into getting some sleep. Letting the wind howling be his lullaby, he dozed fitfully, never falling completely into the dream realm. It was a sad habit he had gotten into over the years. Too many times people had robbed what little he had or kicked him whilst he slept in doorways and upon street corners. Even though the abandon house should have been safe, he didn’t trust it.

The wind continued to howl outside, sending the snow flying thickly. Night came, a seemingly impenetrable darkness. The only sounds to be heard were the wind and the house creaking and moaning.

He listened to those noises as he lay awake. There was nothing unusual about them and he was too old to believe in ghosts. He settled onto the floor, using his rucksack as a lumpy pillow. He rested, trying not to fall asleep. However, days of walking and not eating had taken it’s toll. He fought actual sleep off for has long as he could, but give in without fully knowing.

When he next awoke, he was warm but still cold. Sitting up, he looked around then turned his face to the window. It was lighter out there now, but still looked like night time. He got out of his sleeping bag, regretting it, but knowing he had too. Going to the window, he looked out and saw it was daytime. The snow had stopped falling too and it was time he moved on again.

 

Memories

3e0ef48743863e6f72ca13cca4bd1617

The twins stood before the old abandon house, holding hands and looking blindly upwards. In their heads they both remembered how things had use to be. Light, noise and warmth had once filled the building before them. There had always been laughter and music. People coming and going, the servants so busy and the twins had always listened on the staircase.

Standing in the overgrown garden now, the twins heard the bulldozers at the front of the house. Soon everything they had every known through smell, touch and taste would be gone and they would only have their memories left of a life they had once lived.