Some years ago two teenagers went urban exploring inside the abandoned apartments besides Runcorn's shopping centre. These buildings have stood untouched for almost 10 years and plans to refurbish them have come and gone like tears in the rain. The site is unsafe and there are many signs all over the place that state:
"DO NOT ENTER"
Yet, these two teens decided to go against the rules anyway and what they found inside would haunt them for life! They were somewhat wise, as they only dared venture inside at the dead of night, when the shopping centre had shut and nobody was around.
'This is perfect...' Danny snickered as he and his friend Sam, climbed up the steel, red painted staircase that was a mess with graffiti. Sam was filming the whole thing on his mobile phone, they planned on uploading the video online afterwards. Even with the old street lights everywhere, their surroundings were dark and a cool, damp mist surrounded them, as it had been raining a few minutes ago.
'I don't think this is a good idea, Dan...' Sam gulped as he stared at the barb wire that Danny was snipping away at, with his mother's kitchen knife from home. These two were way over their heads thinking that this was a good idea, Danny saw some viral videos online about abandoned places and haunted buildings with millions of views, he wanted in on that publicity. Not for money, but just for fame, Danny wanted to go viral because it was trendy. He thought the other kids in school would think he was awesome! They did this on a Saturday night when it was somewhat normal for teens their age to be out and about late. That way, their parents would be none the wiser. Sam didn't want to do any of this! It was Danny's idea and he was just being roped along into it. Sam wouldn't have dared do this if it wasn't for his hyper active friend, who always got him into trouble with stupid pranks. Deep down inside; Sam envied his friend Danny, as he was the cool kid in school. He was dating Amy, the "Dream Girl" everyone called her and Sam just wanted to be a part of the cool club. Despite Danny's popularity, nobody was dumb enough to follow him into the abandoned apartments, apart from Sam of course. You see, Sam was a little on the chubby side and he was shorter too, a year younger than Danny, he only just squeezed into the same class as him by a mere 3 months. Most of the kids were 15, while he was still 14. Danny may have only been a few months older than Sam, but he was always reminded how "he was only 14" and he struggled to relate with his classmates too. Sam was very desperate to fit in, which is why went along with Danny's stupid "adventure" as he would call it.
'Don't be so cowardly, Sam...' Danny mocked, while cutting the barb wire. 'Think about all the views we'd be getting! We'll be famous, lad. Coolest kids around!' He laughed. Danny was quite naive, so used to getting his way all the time, he honestly thought this video would make him a super star! Sam felt like this was dumb, but Danny was almost a bully more than a friend to Sam, he was just manipulating him with promises of being popular.
'We're gonna make it bi- Oh snap!' Danny cried in pain.
'What's the matter?!' Sam gasped. Danny held up his bare hand, there was an ugly flesh wound across his palm and blood leaked out, relentlessly.
'Cut my hand, that's what!' Danny yelled, fiercely.
'Well, maybe we better forget about this then, aye?' Sam sighed with relief as he turned the camera off his phone and put it away.
'Keep rolling!' Danny roared.
'Oh, all right!' Sam yelped and began recording again.
'I'll just wrap my sock around it... for now.' Danny sighed, before placing his knife down and sitting on the rain soaked floor. He removed his white trainer, pulled his sock off his foot and painfully wrapped it round his bleeding hand. 'See...' Danny smiled, holding up his sock wrapped hand. '...good as new!' He winked. 'Now, let's go into the ABANDONED APARTMENTS!' He laughed into the camera, making a creepy voice (this was "entertainment" for the online video). Even Sam chuckled and after a few minutes, Danny began re-cutting the barb wire again. They made enough room to get through and entered the dark, abandoned apartments.
They crept in through a tiny entrance, that was blocked off mostly with wooden boards that were intended to keep people out, not in! Of course, Sam got stuck on the way inside, half his body wouldn't budge passed the splintered wood that was digging, sharply into his tender flesh, cutting apart his expensive t-shirt and track suit. He groaned in pain, while Danny laughed.
'Come on, lad!' He mocked.
'I can't... get through!' Sam cried. Before he could react, Danny began stabbing the wooden boards in front of him, violently. Sam screamed in terror, while Danny laughed like a maniac, breaking apart the wood like it was made of glass! Sam eventually broke free, fell on his hands and dropped the phone. Danny actually showed some rare kindness and offered to lift Sam up by his hand. Sam forced a smile and grabbed his friend's hand, Danny lifted him up, before brushing off the wooden splinters off Sam's front. His shirt, tracksuit jacket and bottoms now had small holes all over them and there were cuts of blood all over Sam's body. However, they weren't deep, so they didn't sting too badly either. Danny picked up the phone and handed it back to Sam, he rolled his eyes as if to say; "Really? After all that!" Danny chuckled and patted Sam on the back.
'The worst is over now lad, let's just do a quick video and then we can leave, aye?' Danny suggested.
'All right mate, let's have a look around...' Sam reluctantly agreed.
'Boss lad!' Danny winked. 'A bit too dark in here, ain't it? Luckily, I got a torch on me. Put on the torch app on your phone too, Sam...' Danny ordered and Sam obliged. Now they had two sources of light, but even still, it was almost impossible to see ten foot in front of them. The inside of this place was creepy and ghostly. An ice cold air breezed through the empty hallways and the walls were a ruin with mold, decay and flaked paint. Both friends found this place to be really cool, "Just like a found footage movie!" They both remarked. Sam filmed the area with wonder, aiming the camera at the blackened ceiling, the dismantled furniture and the rats and birds that fled away from them. Insects squirmed under fallen chairs, shelves and tables. There was a small hint of asbestos that hung in the air, which would've made any sensible adult know that this place was toxic. Unfortunately, the stupid teens didn't know any better! Foolishly, they entered further into this darkness. The floors, doors and even walls creaked as they ventured through the claustrophobic corridors. They ventured each room and found graffiti everywhere, which obviously implied that they weren't the only ones to enter. Danny was still smug however, feeling as though nobody dared film inside this place before.
'Man... this video is going to be fire!' Danny cheered and the sound sent birds and maybe even bats flying from the roof, the sudden motion of several animals caused the ceiling to shake.
'Oh snap!' Sam screamed, as the debris began to crumble above them, they both stood back quickly and watched as the roof caved in and crashed before them. They were lucky to escape the fall, and watched in horror and amazement.
'Please tell me, you got that on camera!' Danny laughed in shock.
'Yeah...' Sam held up his phone '...just about!' There way forward was blocked and after that near death experience (and awesome video footage for Danny) they were both satisfied to leave. There was no way they could climb upwards and onto the roof, so they turned back to go out the way they came and Sam was still rolling. They walked slowly back to the doorway, being careful not to cause any more disruptions.
'Oh my god!' Danny gasped and pointed, Sam turned the camera and saw the blur of a man, or something else run passed the doorway, slamming the door in front of them, trapping them in the tight corridor. They could hear the mysterious stranger's footsteps fade away behind the walls around them, followed by a sinister snicker. Both lads stood silently, shivering in fear. They didn't say a word and just froze. Eventually Sam breathed.
'We've got to get out of here...' Danny whispered.
'Ye-yeah...' Sam agreed. After waiting a few minutes, they eventually gathered the courage to sneak into the only nearby room (or at least what remained of one anyway) to the left of them. At this point, Sam had completely forgotten about recording the video and Danny no longer cared either. However, the phone was safely hidden in Sam's pocket and the footage they had collected was still saved on the device, not that they cared any more anyway. The inside of this room was hideous, there was an old sofa with rats on top of it, they scattered upon the boy's entry. An old CRT television lay on it's side, busted by either the stranger, rats or somebody else. One thing was for sure; they weren't the first to enter this abandoned place. They didn't dare sit down on that brown smeared sofa, so they just stood around hopelessly, feeling trapped with no place safe to go!
'We'll just have to wait this out...' Danny suggested with a worried sigh.
'Yeah, hopefully that stranger gets lost!' Sam snapped, loudly.
'Calm down, you idiot!' Danny panicked. 'You want him to hear us?' he asked, rhetorically. Sam sighed heavily and leaned against a wall. He brought out his phone and used the torch app to see more clearly.
'Stop that!' Danny snapped. Sam sighed again and turned the app off. They stood in that silent living room for a while. Eventually, Sam announced he was going to use the toilet. Danny shrugged as he was far too focused on thinking about an escape route. Sam stepped lightly through the room, looking for the toilet, being careful not to alert the mysterious stranger again. A foul odor came from the door he presumed led to the toilet, he gulped and took a deep breath before foolishly forcing himself to enter. The door was heavy, so he gave it a hard push and a fresh body crashed onto the ground in front of him, making a soft but loud thud. Sam screamed, Danny flew into the bathroom and revolted in horror. Somebody had been murdered! It was a girl, young and small, not much older than they were. The boys cried quietly, trying to remain hidden, but it was no use. However the killer only snickered, barely audible behind the walls, but evidently there like some phantom ghost, the monster lingered.
'What are we going to do?!' Danny whined.
'You and your stupid pranks!' Sam roared. 'Look what you've got us into?' he pointed at the dead body, who's eyes moved.
'Help...' the dead girl whimpered.
'You're alive?!' Danny gasped.
'Only barely...' Sam breathed, 'Look how beaten and scarred she is, she's only just hanging on!'
'Oh my god...' Danny cried. This girl was severely beaten, bloodied and covered in wounds. She smelt like death, she looked like it too, but she still lingered on. The attack was recent, but there was no saving her, as she bled like a tap. Soon she closed her eyes for good and truly slept forever, while the boys just stared, powerless and clueless to stop her demise. They returned to the living room.
'Whatever will we d-' Sam stopped. He stared in disbelief, for a tall man, built like a brick wall and covered in blood, stood in the living room. His body language suggested that he was happy, but you couldn't truly tell, for he wore a black, old gas mask and a thick jacket made of brown leather. The stranger leered his head from one side to the other, before brandishing a long, sharp knife from behind his back. He danced from side to side, chuckling as he juggled the large knife from one hand to the other, like a circus clown; he put on a horrifying show that left the boys breathless. Danny grabbed Sam's hand and snatched him away towards the door exiting the room and onto the corridor, foot steps from the masked lunatic followed behind and more birds or bats flew from the ceiling above them, causing more debris to fall.
'Run little boys, but there is no escape, for you too are already dead!' The stranger laughed, gleefully. They could hear him dancing behind them as the foot steps got louder. Sam barged for the door, but it wouldn't fall down, so he fiddled with the door handle, but it wouldn't budge!
'Come on Sam, hurry up!' Danny pleaded. A squelch and a thud hit Sam's ears, followed by a horrified scream. The stranger's knife was now pinned through Danny's hand and into the door. Danny cried, trying to free the knife, he kept screaming with every touch and with every jolt to get his hand free. His now red face, a mess with tears!
'We're not going to make it, we're not going to make it, we're not going to make it!' Danny wailed in pain, sorrow and terror!
'Shut up, shut up!' Sam screamed, hurting his throat. His vision was blurred with tears and the dark didn't help either, he could barely see a thing, just noises and colors of pure fear and turmoil. He blinked several times, clearing away his tears, his vision returned just before the knife was yanked back out and sliced into Danny's throat. A splash of blood hit Sam's face, he blinked again and again until he saw Danny choking, then the knife pierced through his friend's skull. Danny's face and body dropped dead in front of him. When Danny fell, his body was pushed to one side, in his wake stood the gas masked man, covered in blood, 'You're next!'
Sam awoke! Was it all a dream? He wasn't truly sure, for his body was in pain, but it had been for a long time, 5 years in fact. The facts were coming back together, he was still lost within that night terror, slowly waking up to his true hell. He remembered now, and suddenly the nightmare seemed like a dream compared to his reality. For you see; Danny and Sam really did go into those abandoned apartments, only there was no killer, well not a human one anyway. Nor was it any animal, but a threat non the less real, only it was invisible and far more insidious. No, not a ghost or even a spirit, but a toxin that hung in the air. It was the asbestos that killed Danny, only last year. They had been suffering from it for years after that foolish night in Runcorn. None of them knew the dangers of the toxic gas until it was too late! Of all the things they teach in school, avoiding asbestos was not one of them (maybe it was in some science class, but they never cared to remember). Sam didn't want to believe it! So, he tried to stand, but only puked blood and struggled to breathe. He shook around the hospital bed like a fish out of water, quickly dying as he could no longer breathe. A nurse overheard, she casually walked in only to jump into a panic and grab the breathing mask from the side of his bed, placing it tightly around Sam's mouth. He fell asleep again shortly, but he didn't dream this time.
He awoke a few hours later and the same nurse removed his mask.
'Feel any better?' She asked.
'Ye- yes...' Sam breathed heavily, struggling to speak. It was like his air ways were blocked with tar. The invisible killer still strangling him to this day, the knife cutting away at his throat, until he too was dead, just like Danny. Sam had no idea how long he had left, yet he lingered on, hoping for a cure.
'Doctor Smith is still looking over the analysis from yesterday, he'll let you know soon enough how well you are doing. Just take it easy, Sam.'
'It- it's no... use...' Sam cried painfully.
'Now don't say that!' The nurse smiled, her pretty face was a treat. 'This is curable and there is treatment. You've lasted this long Sammy, so don't give up.'
'I... won't.' He forced a smile, but he knew deep down that this wasn't going to end well.
Many hours passed and all Sam could do was think about what happened all those years ago. Just like in the dream; the debris really fell, trapping them inside. There was no dead girl in the bathroom and no gas mask killer either. However the asbestos lingered around all three of them, yes there was another; Amy. The "Dream Girl" was with them and she already had asthma before entering. They couldn't get through the door exiting the premises either, as it had broken upon their arrival. So they waited inside all night and morning, banging on the windows that wouldn't smash open as wooden boards blocked their exit. Amy was dying quickly with a panic attack too, she couldn't breathe at all, Sam and Danny didn't know what to do, so she died in front of them. Danny cried and they moved the body into the bathroom once she began to stink. In the late morning; they heard a passer-by walking, so Danny and Sam screamed for help and the rescuer soon came to their aid, risking but saving his and their lives in the process. However; Amy's death still haunted them for years and the asbestos in their lungs was here to stay. They were both hospitalized after a year and hated each other for a while, but at least they weren't to die alone. Until Danny passed away, of course.
'There you are!' Doctor Smith walked into the hospital room, smiling.
'Not like... I-I'm go-going any... where.' Sam replied.
'No, of course not...' Doctor Smith paused, unsure of himself. Sam was beyond annoyed with this man's clumsiness and snapped his fingers to get him to read the analysis. Doctor Smith's smile suddenly turned into a frown. He took a deep breath and almost teared up before composing himself. Sam cried before Doctor Smith had time to speak. He knew it was over.
That night, just before Sam was about to sleep; the hospital room's door creaked open. He opened his eyes wide and looked. A bloodied hand crept around the door frame and a gas mask peered in from within the darkness, followed by that sinister chuckle. Sam froze, but he couldn't move much anyway, as the gas mask killer crept closer, he began to wheeze in panicked breaths. The murderer danced eloquently across the hospital room and reached out with both hands to grasp Sam's neck. Sam could see the killer's eyes light up beneath that mask of horror, as his muffled laughter became more apparent. There was nothing Sam could do, not even scream, for his lungs were tightening as the gas mask killer squeezed his hands around Sam's neck. He kicked and threw his body around to escape, but the murderer was overwhelming and too strong for Sam to handle. He leaned into Sam's body, pressing his hands down harder, meaner and tighter around the 19 year old's jugular. His eyes locked with the killer, a look of pure terror on Sam's face as it turned red, then purple before finally sleeping forever. The gas mask killer stood up and cheerfully bowed over Sam's body. As the beeping from the life support machine dinged rapidly, the lights snapped on and several Doctors and Nurses raced into the room to try and save poor Sam's life. The invisible killer stood in the corner watching; the hospital staff couldn't do a thing, no matter how much CPR they did, no matter how many Doctors and Nurses screamed and stuck tubes and other medical equipment down Sam's throat there really was no saving him. The ghost laughed loudly and nobody heard a thing, for Sam's brain was still barely active and only he could hear this menace snicker in delight. Eventually the sounds faded and there was nothing left of Sam, but a motionless body that died.
'The illness unfortunately...' Doctor Smith sighed, trying to be formal, but even he teared when he saw Sam's mother's face.
'...passed away!' She cried into her hands. He stood still for a moment, allowing her to grieve. 'Wha- what happened?' She asked. Doctor Smith hesitated.
'Are you sure you want to know?'
'Yes!' She snapped, 'Just tell me...'
'Ok...' he sighed. 'Your son had been having several night terrors over the last weeks. Sam would awake in a panic, choking and wheezing for air and we would have to aid him back to health. He told us of a gas masked man, hunting him down and his friend Danny, inside the abandoned apartments near Runcorn's shopping centre.'
'He was still having that same nightmare?' Sam's mother cried.
'I'm afraid so...' Doctor Smith sighed deeply. 'For the past months now the night terrors were coming and going, but they came back strong and unfortunately as these series of fits escalated, his health deteriorated. I am sorry Danielle Connor, we tried everything to save him...'
'You could've done better?!' She snapped. 'Couldn't you have done something to ease his pain, stop these nightmares?'
'I'm afraid not, we're deeply sorry, but there was no way of stopping this. Drugs, sedatives or pain killers could dull Sam's pain during the day, but there was nothing we could've done while he was sleeping.' The Doctor explained. Danielle stared in silence, crying quietly. At least Sam's nightmares were over.
About the author
My name is Joseph Roy Wright, the British author of 5 Independent novels!
I like to write about movies, pop culture, fiction and horror! I review all the latest films (and classics), I also like to write short stories.