I walked down the long hallway for what seemed like three hours. There were junctions every three hundred meters, but they were all exactly the same, stretching out as far as I could see, no exits, no open doors, nothing. The light from the bare bulbs was swallowed up in the distance of the halls, making it seem darker and dingy, it was like putting a mirror to a mirror, looking at the endless line of mirrors getting darker and darker.
In the distance, I started hearing new noises, as if things were moving slowly in the halls all around me, but I still saw nothing. I was too afraid to go down the side halls to investigate, the same way a little kid thinks the monsters won't get him if he stays under the covers. If this was a real place, I still needed to go in one direction or I could get lost.
Finally, I came to a grey door with an exit sign half lit, flickering with an irregular rhythm. I pushed on the bar and it slowly opened to the outside.I walked out into a courtyard with a slate gray sky and brown grass. There was a small grove of sad trees with several crispy leaves hanging on.
Directly ahead was an ornate arch that probably led away from the building, but had been sealed up with cement and gray cinder blocks. The walls of the courtyard were over ten feet tall with razor wire that tilted in to keep people from getting out, instead of tilted out to keep people from getting in. It was a dead end. I would have to return to the endless hallway and the strange noises echoing through the halls.
One thing caught my eye. In the corner was a storage shed, probably used for the groundskeeper. What was even more surprising was that the padlock was left open,hanging on the hasp. Inside was several shelves of grimy bottles of weed killers and insecticides, but hanging on the wall were some tools. I took down a slightly rusty hatchet in a leather belt sheath and a well-used crowbar. The hatchet fit on my belt and I found a shoulder strap from a weed trimmer that allowed me to carry the crowbar over my shoulder. I looked down to find a big screwdriver and a cheap pair of pliers in a white 5 gallon bucket on the floor. These fit in my back pocket. Behind one of the cans of raid was a small box of matches and a large candle in a jar, the sort of candles that Catholic mothers always buy in the supermarket, with a picture of a saint on the front of it.
I looked around the shed one last time. When I was 20, I spent a summer as a groundskeeper, it was a pretty good year, I liked smelling cut grass and dirt. I remembered my store-room when I was a groundskeeper. Then I saw it: a rusty Maxwell house coffee can, placed way back on the top shelf. Inside I found a ring of keys, and a pack of Lucky Strikes. I remembered the day I lost the keys to the building I worked at that summer, and how my gruff boss chain smoked luckies. I almost got fired that year for losing those keys, but he stood up for me. Why is this place so foreign, and still familiar?
At least now I had some tools, keys and a something to use as a weapon. I would have preferred a Glock .40 caliber pistol, Leatherman tool and a D-cell Mag-lite, but it was better than nothing...
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine