Vetus Puella

bobtober15Three nights before Hallowe’en, a few years back, Brent and I met up at a confidential location (sorry, client’s request). It was near midnight and the air was cold and brisk. Overhead, the sky was dark and starless, the moon, in Scorpio, was darker still…

To be honest, Brent didn’t want to be there. Not really. He wasn’t overly fond of ‘haunted places’, but Hallowe’en was in the air and it didn’t really take too much convincing.

When we entered the building you could feel the energy of the place, and Brent was particularly sensitive. We were joined by a few other investigators, acquaintances at best, but their interest was sincere and their methods were sound enough.

We climbed two flights of stairs and into the ruined place surrounded by shadows that moved by their own accord.

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One thing I’ve since learned about the location, there’s a bit of magic about it and it has a definite connection to the lunar cycle. If you’re interested in seeing the place’s darker nature, when its black powers are at their fullest, then the night of a new moon is when you want to sink your teeth into that old girl.

A candle was lit and we settled in for the night. As midnight chimed, we sat, not in silence, but keenly aware of footsteps not our own. Brent was sitting in a wheelchair older than the two of us put together. I was two feet away at best, on a cold metal folding chair. Others sat around us, some on the floor…

We could all see our breath, and though it was cold that night, this seemed out of place. It was most assuredly colder than it should have been.

Brent leaned over and, doing the best Harrison Ford imitation he could muster, whispered, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

That’s when the candle blew out and Brent came up out of that wheelchair and marched across the floor and down the stairs. I followed, chuckling ever so slightly. Brent on the other hand was barking out a steady stream of choice expletives as he made his way down and out.

We sat outside on an old railroad tie, smoking cigarettes and discussing the presence we’d felt upstairs, how it informed our personal cosmology, and the nature of life, death, and beyond. One thing I vividly remember, it was one helluva lot warmer outside than it had been in.

To Smitty’s credit, he was there the next year and the year following. It was a bit of a tradition for a while there and though he always sensed something wrong about that old girl, he overcame his hesitation to walk inside on every occasion…though he never went upstairs again.

Still, the last time he and I spoke together, we stood in that place’s very shadow.

And that’s the first thing I think of every time I go back there.

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