Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 19

                      The dreaded Silo 3


Here in the middle of nowhere was a concrete sewer that rose up from the ground
about two feet. The manhole cover could be found roughly twelve feet away and
had been propped up against a nearby tree. As crazy as this may seem, it looked
like someone had at one time tried to roll it home.

“That bugs me out,” said Peter.


He was referring to the way the tree had grown over the sewer cap,
       making it seem like the tree's belly was melting over it.



“I can almost guarantee you that in twenty years,
that sewer cap is going to be completely gone.”

“The bark should stop when it hits the ground,” I said in the form of a question.

Not really sure if it's supposed to stop or begin moving right
along,
like tree roots that ooze over sidewalks or flow out of tight spaces.

“I think
it has to.”

“Can you imagine, if it grew an inch per second?”

“Now that would
be bad! Tomorrow you'd wake up encased in darkness;
it covered the house.”




“Oh man, you'd be great in a horror movie Pete.”

“Yeah,” he says laughing, “I'd probably be the first one to die.”

“Time as terrible as it may be,” I said in reverie,
“can sure show us some pretty amazing things.”

“Ain't that the truth,” said peter, lost in thought too.


Peter hesitated as always, looking down into the silent cavern and not saying a single
word. I waited to see if he would take the initiative by climbing into the hole, but of
course he didn't, and so I was first again. I climbed into the chamber and made my
descent down a flaky rusted ladder that had, in fact, become part of the concrete
structure itself. The assembly of rusting molded steel, streamlining down into a vast
meridian of black nothingness was quite intimidating to say the least. On the one hand,
they were a massive one inch thick. On the other, the steps were so uncomfortably small
that I felt like a giant climbing a frail beanstalk. As I descended down into the open conduit,
I could not help but feel that one of those ladder rungs would come free from its concrete
riser, sending me hurling to my death. Even though I knew that was not really possible.




                                                     Or was it?

As the outside light began to disappear, I thought about reaching for the flashlight.
However, doing so would leave the other arm compromised, and besides, how was
I going to make it down the ladder if I was holding onto a flashlight in the first place.

On second thought, it was better to wait until I reached the ground. The very last
thing I need today is to end up with a compound fracture. As I continued to make
my way down the narrow ladder into a foreboding darkness where it felt like I was
undoubtedly going to be ripped to shreds by something beyond description, my
heart literally felt like it was beating out of my chest.

                                                                               Pg 91
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Once my shoes touched down upon solid ground, I released my grip, which now
bore grid imprints on both surfaces of each palm. I was certain the orange rust
had stained my hands like henna. The last time I came home from this place,
I cleaned my hands repeatedly, but it tainted my skin like a cheap liquid tan.

I had to be roughly forty feet down and totally submerged in desolate darkness,
for the outside light was cut off at about the halfway mark. Quickly, and without
reservation I grappled for the flashlight but found it was not there.

“Dear God in Heaven,” I stammered as the monsters came near.

In the words of my father who once uttered the following line. . .
If you work like an asshole; you get the results of an asshole.”

As I came to the realization
that I had only mere moments to live,
I became filled
with a panic, so intense I could no longer breathe
right. I knew that if I attempted
to climb out of there in haste,
whatever was standing behind me would react instantly.


But if I could somehow manage to remain perfectly still,
then it may just be the
darkness.

As something brushed against my foot, I released a scream.

You all right in there, yelled Peter down the hole?

No, I am not all right!
I need the flashlight!
I'm not alone down here!


God, I shouldn't have said anything.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I think this might be the end.


Ever since I read that short story by August Derlith entitled, The Lonesome Place,
I seemed to have acquired a dreaded fear of shadows and dark places. Maybe it
was
because I was only five years old when I read it, and it really touched me
emotionally. Or perhaps, being that young
, my mind was so impressionable,
it made the story come alive, and is now seeking some kind of retribution.




Peter stuck his head in the echo chamber and asked wryly,
would you like to catch the flashlight?

No way man, I replied, It'll hit me in the fucking face!

A short burst of laughter could be heard echoing down from the top of the
concrete cylinder. I'm only kidding, said Peter in a devilish tone as he
switched the flashlight from his right front pocket to his back left pocket,
before proceeding down the length of the ominous silo. Around ten feet
or so in, Peter once again began to exhibit signs of panic.

Are you sure this is safe?

It's fine, you did it ten times already.

I know, I just can't shake the feeling that my life is in imminent danger.

You're gonna be in imminent danger of not smoking anymore reefer today,
if you don't get your ass down here within the next two minutes.


I'm coming, relax! Aaaah, Goddamn it!

What's the problem? I asked, hoping it wasn't going to delay him too long.

The problem is, I just got a piece of shrapnel in my friggin' hand,
that's the problem. This is the last time I'm doing this stupid shit! 


I wish I had taken the lighter on my dresser, just to see if there was anything
here. If so, I probably would have had a heart attack and immediately died.




                                                                               Pg 92
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Carefully, he moved down a few more bars when I figured,
I might as well have some fun.


Be mindful of that thirteenth step, it's very loose.


Aaaaah, he screamed, like a deranged wolfman!

After my laughter subsided, I said, that's for the flashlight remark.
With wryness and perspicacity, he spoke in the voice of Moe Howard.

Remind me to hit you in the head with it when I get down from
this thing.
Peter's struggle ended as soon as his left foot came in contact with dry land.


I think my hand is bleeding.

What did you expect to happen? You were holding onto that ladder
like you were dangling off the Triborough bridge for Christ's sake.

I can't help it.
I'm afraid of falling, what can I say?


He then proceeded to wipe the sweat from his brow with a clean white
handkerchief that he always kept stuffed in his right front pocket.
Here, he said handing me a tightly wrapped Jolly Rancher candy.

That was one of Peter's many trademarks; to carry them.




In the back of my mind, I wondered if there would be anyone awaiting us on the
other side. Of course, I knew there wouldn't be, and there couldn't be, but there
was always a one percent chance that today would be the day things went wrong.



From here we would continue our journey through this lengthy hidden tunnel that
spanned the subterranean underground. How excited were we, at the prospect
of returning to Eagle's Creek. A place cut off from the rest of the world. It was
almost as if a preeminent paradise awaited us on the other side. A land of purity
that radiated in its own shell of peace to bring hope unto those who found it. That
tiny district not found on any local map, is embodied within an estate of land.
Procured merely by chance, it has been ultimately claimed by two settlers.

In fact, it was simply an escape from the doldrums of ordinary life.



Isn't it cool, how our voice just carries on and on?

Pete had that disillusioned face which told me
he couldn't stay down here long.
Something about tight quarters and confined spaces that irked
him. A form of
claustrophobia perhaps? Whatever it was, he would not say. For him the tunnel

was just an easy way of going from one place to another. For me, it was a cool
place to escape
from the parching heat, or to dwell in peaceful solitude apart
from the outside world. Without the
tunnel, you could not go any further and
walking through those thorns could prove to be a very
painful form of suicide.

A dry water mark showed us where the rain had
once reached it highest
point in the old aqueduct.

It's funny how there's no smell down here, said Peter with moxie.


I stopped and handed him the flashlight while speaking in the voice of Curly Howard.

Here ya go, Moe.

Why are you giving me the flashlight?

You said when you was comin'
down da ladder, dat ya wan'ned
the flashlight, an you was gonna hit me on the head wit it.




Yeah well, with my luck it'll break and we'll be trapped down here.

Peter handed the flashlight back to me, and I noticed he had a very nervous face.

“You look exacerbated,” I said mockingly.

“I'm fine,” he replied in a seemingly aggravated tone, that signaled the
height of worry. We paused in the middle of this immense tunnel, where
I sat down comfortably and crossed my legs like an old Indian Chief.

“We're not smoking down here, I hope.”

“Well, that was more or less the intention.”

“Oh God,” he muttered in disapproval, while trying to calm
the restlessness that was building up inside of him.




I don't think Pete would have wanted to stay down here if there was
a state-of-the-art vending machine that dispensed marijuana, a public
phone booth, and a movie theatre that paid him to watch the show!




                                                                               Pg 93
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Slowly, I began to stand up. As I shined the flashlight under my chin, I spoke to my friend as
would a spectre in an old English horror movie, while attempting to sound like Bobby Pickett.

It's deafeningly quiet down here, Boris. . .
Why don't you strike up some noise, while I bring Ethel to her feet?


Enough with the Goddamn improvs, he said in a disquieting, almost beleaguered tone.

Calm down, man.


I refuse to calm down. It feels like we're walking around in a dank mausoleum down here.
Can
we just advance onward please?

You make it sound like we're in the Spanish American war, I said laughing.

“Of all the battles ever fought, what would possess you to pick that obscure war?
Jesus Christ Almighty.”


I could see he was now sweating profusely and exhibiting signs of intense fatigue. His eyes
were shifty and his body movements were becoming erratic. Clearly, he seemed to be overly
anxious and was becoming exceedingly worried by the minute. It was almost as if Peter
knew the monster I spoke of earlier. The one waiting in the shadows to surprise us.




Pete, what is the problem, man?

The problem is that the sun is outside, and we're in here.
Why do you want to get high in here for? It makes no sense at all.

I am not saying that we have to get high in here, I'm just saying;

*He immediately cuts in*

Naw man, I didn't say we had to get high in here.
I mean, I didn't say that you said that we. . .

He immediately stopped and calmly tried to remove the handkerchief from his
right front pocket, while bringing his lips together like he had just taken a bite
of an unripe persimmon. The sweat had already begun to bead on his forehead.




He cleaned his face like he was using a washcloth over the bathroom sink.

Can we go
now, before I have a nervous breakdown?

Yes commander, we are advancing onward.




From here we continued our journey down yonder, while following a small beacon of light
that came forth from a very cheap flashlight. At the end of this long concrete tube we stood,
looking up. The ladder on this side was only half the height of the first one, and Peter made
his ascent with no signs of difficulty. There was no fear of darkness on this side whatsoever,
for the warm sunlight filtered in through the opening, and covered me in it gentle rays.




What a lovely day, I proclaimed, cupping my hands
like a school
megaphone from the roaring twenties.

I then bellowed into the great tube at
the top of my lungs.

How is the weather out there, old chum?

My voice
would carry its own echo down the long stretch of artery,
on and on into the
realm of the abandoned.

You would never know how beautiful it is up
here, if you're hanging
out in the middle of that tunnel, shouted Pete into
the wind and
away from the silo's opening, sounding overly sanguine.


Hurry up man, he yelled down from above. I then scurried
up the steel ladder, before taking one giant step for mankind.


                                   The Parking Lot - World spinning sadly

                                                                               Pg 94
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Reviews for chapter 1
9

Antonio Rivera - Fascinating. I am impressed with how you deliver each line!

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PG 91) Nara deer and cherry blossoms manhole cover - http://Japancovers.com/39dvl9d

PG 91) Ta Prohm
(Jungle Temple) - http://tinyurl.com/39dvl9d

PG 91)
Access shaft in the east arm of the Belt Line Sewer, Toronto - http://tinyurl.com/mpewphp

PG 92) Bookland by Christos Karapanos -
http://tinyurl.com/6ms8ne7

PG 92) Mind tricks
by Christos Karapanos - http://tinyurl.com/6ms8ne7

PG 93) vintage Jolly Rancher water melon stix - http://JollyRancher.com/39dvl9d

PG 93)
Cornucopia by
Anna Schegoleva - http://AnnaSchegoleva.com/

PG 93) Diogenes
by John William Waterhouse
- http://tinyurl.com/pxbpbw

PG 93) Moe Howard from
Idiots deluxe, released on July 20, 1945 - http://www.threestooges.com/

PG 93)
Hunted by Danny Ciampa - http://tinyurl.com/jw3mzp9

PG 93) Pensive unrest by Mike Worrell - http://tinyurl.com/yewvh7g

PG 94) Crimson
by Audre A - http://tinyurl.com/lv7l9ng

PG 94) The sour apple - What goes around comes around
by Charles Hunt - http://tinyurl.com/pperw98

PG 94) Crossroads
by Philip Straub - http://tinyurl.com/l9xkmbd

PG 94)
Access shaft in the west arm of the Belt Line Sewer, Toronto - http://tinyurl.com/mpewphp