M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: The Depths
Author's note: I'm sure some of you were expecting the next part of my 'Another When' serial. It will be continued, just not this week. The pictures this week had another story to tell. Enjoy!
The old derelict building was barely visible through the trees. Katy tried to see what she could from her kitchen window. The building was usually hidden from view but the city had recently come through with a landscaping crew to clear out the worst of the overgrown weeds, brambles and rubbish.
It was an ugly eyesore but Katy was incredibly curious about what secrets that building had and why it had been abandoned. Her sense of adventure was at full tilt, just waiting for an opportunity to check it out.
Her parents had warned her many times to stay away from the building, that it wasn’t safe and bad things had happened there when they were kids. Katy even googled the address of the building to find out herself. Turns out, her parents weren't lying or embellishing. A serial killer had hid the bodies of several of his victims there.
After the crimes were exposed, the city bought the property with the intention of repurposing it and to rid the town of the reminders of the grisly horrors found there. As so many intentions seem to go, the plans to knock down the building and make the area into a neighborhood park fell through the cracks. Only when the property became a real hazard did a city crew come in and clean it up. It still wasn't presentable but it wasn't a safety hazard.
Her toast grew cold as she gazed at the bits of peeling paint and rotting plaster peeking through the branches. Katy's parents were gone for the weekend, which was a perfect opportunity for her to finally check out the old place.
Even though she was insanely curious, she wasn't completely foolish. She grabbed a flashlight, a pocket knife, and her cell phone ... just in case she ran into trouble, plus she would be able to take pictures. Without a few pictures, her friends would never believe that she was there.
Confident and self-assured, Katy marched out of her house and through the brambles and weeds separating the properties. It look a little longer than she thought. The building was a little farther than what it appeared from her kitchen window. Finally, the last of the small trees was past her and she stepped on old cracked cement.
Bits of grass and weeds strained through the breaks in the cement. Parts of the pavement were so old and broken, it looked like gravel. Katy walked carefully, watching for loose stone or holes.
The door to the building wasn't much to look at. She carefully cut away the weeds that were blocking the door and the windows. Before she tried going on, she clicked her flashlight on and looked through the windows. The beam of light didn't illuminate much in the dark room. It didn't seem like there was much there.
Katy stood in front of the door, her heart pounding in excitement and fear. Even though she knew what happened had occurred some time ago, she couldn't stop her imagination from creating images on what could possibly be in there, just laying in wait. She shook her head, squared her shoulders, and reached up to the old metal handle.
At first tug, the door didn't budge. Katy tried again, pulling harder and felt the door start to move. The door screeched, years of being closed protesting, but slowly it opened. The air that blew over Katy was stale and moist. She waved a hand across her face and panned the flashlight across the entrance to see what was beyond the door. Only a thin sliver of sunlight had broken through, illumining only a small patch of the floor, nothing else.
The room wasn't scary at all. Katy took several steps into the room, but kept the door open. There were some cabinets along the back wall but there really wasn't anything special about the room. There was years worth of dust and dirt, but nothing more nefarious than neglect. The only footsteps in the dust were her own.
Feeling emboldened, Katy continued through the room down a hallway. There was a small bathroom to the right and what looked like a utility kitchen to the left. Both rooms had seen better days.
Katy walked into the small bathroom and wished she hadn't. The sink was stained with God knew what. Knowing what had gone on here, Katy could only imagine ... and promptly shuddered when she did. Rust stains that looked too much like blood for comfort dripped down from the shower head. The toilet bowl was empty with the exception of some dead flies.
The utility kitchen was not much different from the bathroom. There wasn't any strange stains, just built up dirt and filth, but the room felt creepy. Perhaps someone had squatted there for a time and never bothered to clean up afterwards.
Katy walked back into the main room and sighed. She wasn't sure what she was expecting, but it wasn't this. She thought it would've been ... more. More may have scared the crap out of her, but it wouldn't have been such a let down. She was in no more than an old, run-down building. No monsters, no secrets, no ghosts.
Feeling stupid for ever thinking there was more to the place than what it was, she shook her head and turned towards the open door. A twig snapped and the door slammed shut. Before Katy could utter a scream, a dirty and smelly hand clamped over her mouth and dragged her back into the dark depths of the building.
M L Gammella lives in Ohio with her husband and their three pets. She is currently working on her first novel, a paranormal suspense based in Maine. Please follow her at @MLGammella and visit her website at Onward to the Written Word.