The Passageway

June 3, 2009

In one of the busiest streets of New York, there is an old, tall, gray building. It’s abandoned and has been for quite some time now, since 1969 actually. Inside that very building, on the first floor, there is a hatch that opens up. Inside, is a passageway.
There’s a story to this building. It used to print copies of an old newspaper; it was noisy with chatter and work. It smelled of fresh ink and stained paper. Business was good, no one expected it to end the way it did. The owner of the company, he was old and very well natured. He also had a conscious, a bad one; whenever he did one little thing, such as finding a nickel on the ground and not trying to find the owner, he would fall into a long fit of depression. He had a lot of money to support the company, so he didn’t need to worry about all that financial issues. Everything was good, until he took a chance.
It was Friday and he had just sealed a great deal, so he decided to gamble. Unfortunately, he gambled more than he had and lost his money. There is no actual true story, it’s jumbled up with the truth and rumors spread around. Some claim that he had lost all his money, went crazy and committed suicide; others say that he promised to pay back someone, forgot and was murdered the next day. Either way, the man still disappeared unobserved and left his company to fall into bankrupt. Or perhaps not.
It was a rainy day, and I was soaked to the bone. Passing by were noisy cars and people trying to catch a ride home. My wallet was at home, which was miles away. The subways and buses didn’t have a route that was close to, or anywhere around my apartment. In other words, I needed a place to stay until the rain ceased. I turned a couple streets and found myself facing a dead-end.
In the back of the street, there was a towering gray building. Windows cracked and litter all around it, not even the insects went near this building; it was obviously abandoned, but it was at least dry. I rushed towards it, pulling my jacket over my head to shield me from the rain. As the building became imminent, I noticed how mysterious and untouched it really looked. Not even here had gang members tagged the stale walls with large colorful letters. I continued to walk towards it. There were no doors, so the entrance was easy. Looking around I noticed the abundant cubicles and printers. It smelled of ink and a ring of silence spread through the air.
I walked down the aisles and found myself staring at a strange object on the gray flooring. It was black and shiny and seemed to draw me in. I walked towards it and knelt on the ground. I pulled it and found myself looking into a large hole in the ground. I peeked in and saw that I was staring at an old ladder. It looked very rickety, but I was curious and not patient enough to wait for the rain to stop. I put one boot on the first step and heard the ladder groan with pain. I continued to make my way down, it felt like hours before I finally made it to the bottom. My boot touched the cold stones that seemed dull and haunting in the lighting. I looked to my right and saw a long passageway that threatened to go on forever.
Seeing that there was only one lone light in the middle of the passage, I would have to grope around to find a wall. Finally, the tips of my fingers touched the cold surface of the black wall. I could see nothing but the tiny light, the light at the end of the tunnel…
Continuing to push my palms along the wall, I slowly made my way towards the candle. There were echoes of my boots thumping the floor and the sound of my hands sliding along the wall. When I made it to the candle, I picked it off its handle and gripped my fingers around it. The candle sent a spark of warm energy through my numb hand. I held it out in front of me and started for the end of the passage.
There were many rumors about this passage. So many claimed to have been down here; so many had been determined that they saw a monster or a dozen dead bodies. As I walked down this dark tunnel, I saw no sign of any of that. There were also rumors about how the passageway got here. Some say that it was part of history, allowed slaves to escape without knowledge. There is also some rumor saying that it was here when the building was here, they didn’t want to ruin it because many thought it was haunted. Even some senior citizens of the town agreed that there had always been that hatch, but they claimed that it used to be on the other side of town.
The passageway smelled of dead rats and wet stones. Nearing the other side of the curve, I heard a noise. It sounded like a human noise, like mumbling of some sort. My breathe quickened and my steps slowed. The candle wax slowly dripped onto the stone. Finally, I reached the curve; craning my neck as far as I could. I dropped the candle at what I saw next.
When I was little, I used to visit my grandmother in a retirement home. The retirement home was like a kingdom for me when my grandmother spun stories right in front of my eyes. I believed each and every one of her stories, grandmother being the main character.. Many years of visiting her got me knowing my way through the home with no assistance. Unfortunately, one day my grandmother could no longer take the pressure of being in the home and committed suicide. I never saw old people the same.
One day an old man asked for help with his groceries. I remember suddenly shaking and then letting out an ear piercing scream, then running away.
There in front of my eyes was an old man shaking like a small Chihuahua. He was mumbling something through his wrinkled mouth. There was a gun to his head and in his other hand was a plaque; it read: Company owner of 1967. Before I could see anything else, the light extinguished from my dropped candle. I took one step forward when I heard a gunshot.

The author's comments:
I really enjoyed writing this story. It basically started out as a class assignmnet, I'm thinking of making a sequel if it's good enough.

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