The Tunnels

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The sound of dripping water greeted the paranormal team and their guests as they all descended into the darkness of the tunnels. Spots of light from their torches showed the deep stone steps, hand carved walls and Victorian brick arched roofs. An icy cold that would long afterwards keep their bones chilled made itself felt as they reached the first open chamber.

Harper, bundled in her winter gear, tried not to shiver and focused her torch light on the artifices which sat on ledges around the room. All the items had been found down here, lost by the men who had dug The Williamson Tunnels for seemingly no reason other then to earn a wage.

She looked at the nearest display of white and green glass bottles, pill boxes, cracked plates, pipes, and china cups. It was as if the men had actually lived down here. Perhaps, they had? The two volunteer guides with the group had said that not much was known about the history of the tunnels which ran underneath most of Liverpool.

‘There are some chairs in the next room. We shall sit down there for a bit and see what we pick up,’ Earl the leader of the paranormal team spoke.

The group moved off and Harper trailed behind, feeling unsure about being down here. It had seemed like a fun idea when she had stumbled across this ‘ghost hunting’ event online and decided to book tickets for herself, fiance, Andy, and her parents, Luke and Louise. Now, she was thinking it had been a mistake.

There were seventeen chairs set out along a narrow passageway; eight chairs on one side, eight on the other and one chair at the end. Behind which the brickwork had been removed to expose a large dark hole. The group filled the seats and Harper tried to remember all the people.

There was Earl who took the ‘head seat,’ he seemed to be in his early sixties, he had white hair and a short beard. The woman medium, Margo, with short brown hair and black leather pants. A male medium whom Harper couldn’t remember his name. Dale who had long brown hair, was the photographer and Rose, the last member of the paranormal team, who was using a recorder to catch ghost voices. 

Then came the ‘guests,’ people who had brought tickets to this event. Beside from Harper and her family, there were eight others. A man who had come by himself though he had claimed he was meant to be meeting friends here but guessed they had pulled out.

A married couple in their mid-forties who had spoken little but hung on to every word the mediums had spoken. Three twenty-something girls and two men who were clearly from Liverpool and seemed more like they were on a night out then down in some dirty tunnels but they were taking things seriously.

Everyone settled into the grey plastic chairs and started turning their torches off. Harper was one of the last. Total pitch darkness filled the tunnels. Harper reached to her right for Andy’s hand. She felt his warm skin and reassuring squeeze of fingers.

Harper couldn’t remember ever experiencing a black colour like what was around her now. She was blind to everything and all her other senses had become heightened to superhero like levels. She could hear her breathing, loud in her ears as well as the sound of water dripping somewhere into a puddle.

‘Are there any spirits here?’ Earl’s voice rang out.

His words faded and everyone stayed still and silent listening for anything that could be taken for a reply.

‘Make a noise if you are here,’ Earl spoke, ‘we are not here to harm you. We come in love and peace, we just want to know if you are down here or not. Please let us know by joining us. Touch someone. Use your voice and tell us your name, please.’

Drip, drop, drip went the water, the only sound to be heard.

Someone shifted and there was a rustling of clothes. Someone else moved their feet as the photographer began clicking a few photos.

Harper sniffed and smelt something odd in the air, ‘what’s burning?’ she whispered.

‘What’s that?’ Earl called down to her.

‘I smell smoke,’ Harper repeated.

‘Does anyone else?’

‘I’m picking up tobacco,’ Margo the medium replied.

‘No, this is wood burning,’ Harper explained.

There was a mumble of no one else smelling anything then the group fell silent once more.

Harper turned her head about feeling her neck began to ache. She couldn’t really see anything but her eyes had gotten use to the darkness and she could pick out a few shapes. She stopped moving and guessed that she was looking back through the archway to the passage and into the chamber they had entered by. Behind that was a small space with a metal ladder leading upwards to an emergency exit.

A shadow seemed to be moving there. It was going back and forth, like it was ducking in and out, not wanting to be seen by anyone but wanting to look at the group.

It’s a trick of the light, Harper thought, wait, what light? There is none… 

‘Can anyone else see that moving shadow?’ one of the Liverpool girls whispered.

‘Over there by that ladder?’ someone else added.

A few people agreed.

Harper bite her lip but kept quiet. The feeling that they weren’t alone climbed up her.

‘If that’s you over there, please come and join us,’ Earl shouted.

‘I’m picking up on the name William,’ the male medium cut in.

‘William? Let us know you are here, William!’

‘Was that footsteps?’ a man’s voice questioned.

‘Could have been,’ Earl muttered.

The shadow was still bobbing but that was no longer Harper’s focus. There was something else standing in the middle of the first chamber. Harper felt dread and a sense of evil. Her grip tightened on Andy’s hand and desperately she tried not to cry out what she was now seeing.

Earl and the mediums took it in turn to speak, asking the spirits to do things and saying what they were picking up on.

Finally, Harper couldn’t take it anymore and burst out with, ‘there’s something evil down here!’

Everyone stopped then the male medium spoke to her, ‘what is it?’

‘It’s got long arms, it’s dragging itself across the floor and it’s got a like skull head,’ Harper answered.

‘Where is it?’ her mum’s voice whispered.

‘It’s all around us. It’s not human.’

‘Does it have a name?’  Margo asked.

‘What does it want?’ Earl demand at the same time.

‘It’s watching us. It wants you to get angry, that’s what it feeds off. It wants to trick us and keep us down here….It won’t tell me it’s name. It’s not human…’ Harper trailed off.

‘I can get angry,’ Earl shouted, ‘come at me! Come and get us! Show me that you are here!’

Harper shivered and couldn’t take her eyes of the long white arms and skull head of the creature in the chamber. She knew it was real and not her imagination.

‘It’s okay,’ Andy muttered beside her, ‘it can’t get you.’

‘I know. My spirit guide is defending me,’ Harper replied confidently, ‘I don’t know about the rest of you.’

‘Can anyone feel that cold blast of air?’ someone cried out.

‘Here? Yes I can,’ Margo replied, ‘let yourself be known to us.’

There was a sound that sounded like tin scraping rock. The dripping of water paused, the continuous rhythm broken for a few seconds before the next drop fell.

‘The lady that can see this thing,’ Earl’s voice spoke, ‘what’s it doing now?’

Harper took a deep breath and answered, ‘nothing. It’s just watching us.’

‘I don’t like it,’ a woman’s voice uttered, ‘can we leave?’

‘In a few minutes,’ Earl responded, ‘who would like to sit in my chair against the hole?’

No one spoke up.

Earl turned on his torch and stood up. The light broke Harper’s concentration on the creature and she turned to look the other way. Earl was walking then stopping in front of one of the Liverpool girls.

‘I knew you were going to pick me,’ she said.

She got up and went to sit on Earl’s chair. He took her’s and once they were settled he turned out his torch.

Harper turned back to the chamber but the evil thing with long arms and skull head was gone.

‘It feels so cold here,’ the girl uttered.

‘The evil thing comes from that hole,’ Margo spoke, ‘other people have felt the evil down here. No one has described it before though.’

‘Well, I wished she hadn’t told us about!’

‘And this is why I don’t open my mouth about such things,’ Harper whispered but everyone still heard her.

Andy squeezed her hand and Harper hoped he wasn’t thinking anything bad about her. She imagined the break up conversation going something like; ‘you can see ghosts. You didn’t tell me that. I don’t want anything to do with you anymore, that’s too much to handle.’   

Harper shut her eyes and tried not to think about anything. Coming to this event had been a mistake and now she had seen a demon! What if it followed her home? She didn’t want an attachment.

‘Right, let’s move to the lower levels now,’ Earl spoke.

The group moved and went down into the belly of the tunnels. They saw and heard nothing else which Harper was grateful for.

As the clock hands moved to one AM, they walked back up the stone steps and left the tunnels.

Harper breathed the cold, wet air deeply. Puddles on the road glowed in the streetlamps and lights from windows. Voices and music drifted around, reminding them of life going on.

‘Did you really see something?’ Andy asked in a low voice.

They were standing away from everyone else, near a bench with a remembrance plaque on it.

‘Would you think any different of me if I did?’ Harper spoke.

‘No,’ Andy replied, ‘I love you no matter what.’

‘Then I did see that creature.’

Andy nodded and drew Harper into a hug.

‘Everyone accounted for? Good. Let’s go back. The ghost hunt is now over,’ Earl called out over the chattering of the group.

People set off heading back to their cars. Harper walked holding hands with Andy, too tried to talk about her experience anymore.

 

(Note; this story is based on a real experience I had on Sunday 27th October between 12am and 1am in the Paddington section of the Williamson Tunnels in Liverpool. I took my family on a ‘ghost hunt night,’ we and some other people were with a paranormal group seeing if we could pick up on any ghost activity within two different tunnel sections. 

I have always been a sensitive -someone who can sense ghosts- but I don’t like to talk about it. I’m weird all ready and can do without adding to it! Sometimes though, things like this just happen to me and I know it was real and not my imagination. 

To me this is a piece of non-fiction but make of it what you will. I’m not asking anyone to believe me or try to disapprove what happened to me. I just wanted to share my experience in story form with you all.     

For further information or maybe a visit to the tunnels yourself, check out their website; http://www.williamsontunnels.co.uk/)

The Basement (Part 5)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

The tunnel was mostly dirt held up with wooden boards and crumbing ancient bricks. I felt a chill along my back as if a spider was walking across my spine. Trying not to let my worry show, I looked at Raven. Her expression was excited and curious, her body language told me she was ready to go exploring the tunnel. My wife really loved things like this and she showed no fear when everyone else would have done.

‘Where do you think it goes, Crow?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know….Maybe we should find out later though. I’m thirsty and we have so much unpacking to do,’ I replied.

Raven turned to me, her face flashing to disappointment. She took a standing ground stance; pulling her shoulders up, holding head high and keeping straight. Turning to me, her expression became serious and calm, she was going to begin arguing with me.

‘I’m just saying,’ I said softly.

Raven was not a person you argue with. She would win with words or with fists. Having a black belt in Taekwondo made her pretty scary in a fight. Luckily, I knew how to avoid most of our arguments, having known her for twelve years helped.

‘We’re down here so we might as well,’ Raven spoke, ‘you’re not scared are you? It’s nothing just an old passage way. It’ll led to that ice house or something. We should make sure it’s secure. We wouldn’t want to get robbed or anything.’

I let the silence do the talking for me.

‘I’ll go by myself. It’s no big deal,’ Raven added.

‘It doesn’t look safe though,’ I muttered.

Raven shrugged and answered, ‘It doesn’t look that bad…I’m sure it’ll be fine. I need to know where it goes. Either you come or you don’t. I don’t care either way.’

With that, she walked in. I had no choice but to follow her because if anything happened, I’d never live it down and Raven would make sure of that.

The soil was hard packed under and around me. Someone had taken great time to make it so and it had been used lots of times over the years. Like the cellars though, the air was dry and old. This tunnel had been sealed for so long. Creeping after my wife, I tried not to let my fears get to me.

Torch light flickered over the reminds of brick walls and wooden planks that had been used to hold the soil back. Roots of dead plants and other rubbish made lines in the almost black earth. I hoped Raven was right and this was just a tunnel used to get to the ice house.

We walked for a good few minutes, just listening to each other’s footsteps, breathing and movement. There was nothing else to be heard. Thinking, I tried to come up with something to say. I could tell Raven was still tense and she was just wanting for me to light the argument bomb. I wasn’t going anywhere near it though.

‘Some adventure, huh?’ I finally said, ‘I hope this leads to more then just the ice house.
Some place cool would be good. Like the Batcave or El Dorado. What do you think, Pumpkin?’

Raven paused, her shoulders dropping as she turned to me. I fixed a smile on my face, even if it was fake.

‘I hope so too,’ she said, ‘I bet this isn’t on the blueprints.’

I forced a laugh and shook my head.

Raven smiled and turned back again. We walked for another good ten minutes or so then came to another stop.

‘I think there’s something up ahead,’ Raven pointed out.

I peered over her shoulder and saw a small door set into the end of the tunnel. I became half torn about it; wanting it to be locked and wanting it to be unlocked at the same time. I held my breath as Raven went up to it and tried the handle.

The door seemed to move a little. Raven put a shoulder to it and shoved the door rudely open. An unpleasant smell hit my nose. Before there had only been the scent of old dry earth, now this stank like rotted meat.

‘Raven….’ I uttered then had to cover my mouth and nose with my t-shirt.

She didn’t answer or look my way, she was shinning her torch through. I shuffled closer, wanting to draw her away without seeing what was there. I couldn’t help it but as I saw through the door there seemed to be nothing but an endless straight dark hole of space.

I reached a hand out for her shoulder. Raven jumped, turned to face me and lost her footing as she did so. I grabbed out for her, but my wife slipped through my fingers and fell into the darkness.

‘Raven!’ I screamed.

The sounds of a coughing fit rose from a little way below me. I shone my torch down, saw a cloud of dirt rising then spotted her. She didn’t fallen far and after a quick look around I saw there was actually some steps set before me that were half covered by soil. I raced down them, almost tripping.

‘Are you okay?’ I pressed as I reached her side.

Raven looked up at me. Her lip was bleeding and she was cover in soil. She nodded and I helped her up.

‘You didn’t fall far. There are steps, see? Where are we now?’ I gushed.

Raven began trying to clean herself up, so I cast around and tried to see in the claustrophobic blackness where we were. My  first thoughts were that we had found the ice house and were at the bottom. It was cold enough and that smell was still strong. Then my light fell on something and stayed there.

‘Raven, look,’ I whispered.

I felt her move at my side, shone her own torch over mine and gasp loudly.

Before us was large grey stone sarcophagus. It was half sunk into the soil and looked intact. A further exploration showed there were more of them and also some wooden coffins. There were too many to count as they appeared to carry on where our torch light couldn’t reach.

‘We must be under the cemetery!’ Raven cried out.

I frowned and said, ‘but why would they bury everyone together like this?’

‘No idea….Some of these must be named though.’

My wife determinedly moved off towards the first sarcophagus.

‘Wait! Be careful!’ I shouted after her.

‘I shall,’ she tossed over her shoulder.

I side stepped from one foot to the other, undecided then hurried after her.

‘No name,’ she uttered as her fingers trailed over the stone.

‘Maybe we should go….’

Raven pouted then frowned. She was torn too!

‘Listen, pumpkin. This could be dangerous. We have no idea what’s really down here or where it goes. Perhaps, we should leave,’ I pressed.

I took Raven’s hand and squeezed it. She was shaking. I hugged her gently and some of the soil transferred on to me. She breathed into my neck and wrapped her arms around me.

‘Okay,’ she voiced.

We turned towards the steps but a wooden creaking sound made us stop. I looked down, thinking we had stepped on a plank or a coffin, but there was only soil below. The creaking grew and there was no mistake the sound of a coffin lid being removed.

‘Don’t look back,’ I said for us both and I tugged Raven away.

An unmistakable human groan rose up from behind us. I felt panic rocket through me. I tugged Raven harder and broke into a run. All my senses were telling me to get out and far away.

Raven’s hand tightened on mine, I glanced to make sure she was okay and I lost my footing. I tried to keep my balance, but the ground was shaking like a small earthquake and I tumbled forward. I fell and heard my left out stretched arm go through something, then Raven dropped to the floor beside me.

‘Crow? Crow!’ she shouted, shaking my shoulders.

‘I’m okay,’ I mumbled, tasting a spot of blood in my mouth.

I eased upwards. My torch had rolled far away but the beam was shinning across what my arm had hit though. I gagged and scrambled away from the sight of the open coffin. I backed into Raven who held me down.

‘It’s okay,’ she said calmly.

But it wasn’t.

The ground was still shaking, the sounds of moaning and creaking wood were getting louder. A patch of soil close to us suddenly sprayed up as if it was a water burst. I give a little scream and Raven yelled something out.

In the gloom we both saw it; a skeleton hand raising up out of the ground….

To Be Continued…

Crash

The air tasted like dust and her feet were killing her, yet Sam still pressed on. All around she could hear voices shouting and crying, though some were echoes that had travelled. She reached out a hand in the darkness and found the brick wall next to her. It was still trembling like the rest of the tunnel was.

She leant against the wall, suddenly feeling like she couldn’t go on. In flashes the events of the last two hours played in her mind like a skipping DVD. She had gotten the train like normal from work, only she’d been more tried and upset tonight. All the carriages had been packed out, but luckily someone had given her a seat. She’d had an energy bar and shut her eyes, more to stop herself from crying then to actually go to sleep.

The train rocking underneath her had felt soothing and the twenty-minute journey should have passed calmly. However, the second they had hit the tunnel something had felt wrong. Maybe it had been the speed or the sound of the engine? Whatever it was became a factor in the accident which had led to Sam being where she was now.

Taking in a few deep breaths, she gingerly rubbed her bulging stomach. The cramp swirling inside of there was making her feel sick and dizzy. Digging her nails into the wall, Sam bent over and took a few more deep breaths. She had read somewhere that doing so could help. Trying to wet her mouth and lips with a half dust covered tongue, she wondered if she should have just stayed.

It had been bad back there though with the dead, the dying and the seemly never-ending screams of the trapped, injured people, who were desperate for help. Those able had been helping and one of them had pulled Sam out of a broken window. He had told her to sit down with the injured people next to the wall and she had for a little while.

She had been feeling fine and had agreed to go with a group to get help. Then the cramps had come and she had encouraged them to leave her behind. Making large circles with her hand, she stood up and slowly began walking. She felt the baby kick and had to pause again.

The shock and stress had clearly affected him and Sam hoped nothing was wrong. Struggling on, she realised that was the reason she wanted to get out quickly. Though, as the tunnel and darkness stretched out, her mind was changing fast. Still, how many times had she been in here on the train? Enough, to know my way and how long it takes, she thought and then noticed that if it took a train eight minutes, it would probably take her longer, especially in the dark.

Biting her lip and feeling more determined, she pressed on. A yellow light seemed to be glowing ahead, but she couldn’t be sure this was the way out. What if it was another train? Or someone carrying a torch? Fighting back any fears, she convinced herself it was the exist and still couldn’t believe it as she stepped outside and into more chaos.