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 Pete, 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 possible.

                                                     Or was it?

As the outside light began to disappear, I thought about reaching for the flashlight. Using
one arm would leave the other arm compromised, and besides, how was I going to make
my descent, if I was holding a flashlight in the first place. On second thought, it was better
to wait until I reached the ground. The last thing I need today is to end up with compound
fracture. As I continued to make my way down the ladder into a foreboding darkness
where it felt like I was undoubtedly going to be ripped to shreds by something beyond
, my heart literally felt like it was beating out of my chest!

                                                                               Pg 91

Once my shoes touched down upon solid ground, I carefully 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 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 mortal words of my father who once said to me on the job,
when I wasn't doing something correctly; And I quote. . .
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.
However, if I could somehow manage to remain perfectly still, then it may just be the
darkness, waiting in obscurity to obscond me from this earthly realm, at a later date.

As something brushed against my foot, I released an ear piercing 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 guess this is 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 the dark and dark places. Maybe it
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! I'm coming, relax! Aaaah, Goddamn it! What's the matter? I asked, hoping it
wasn't going to delay him too long. The matter is, I just got a piece of shrapnel in my
friggin' hand, that's what's the matter! 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

Carefully, he moved down a few more bars when I figured I'd have some fun. Be careful
of that middle step, it's very loose! Aaaaah, he screamed! 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 wherever he went.

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
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 cross 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

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 stopped
again, 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 was beginning 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 both hands together 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

Reviews for chapter 1

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

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given unto the person or persons responsible. Whether it be an artist, photographer, cartoonist, etc.,

PG 91) Nara deer and cherry blossoms manhole cover -

PG 91) Ta Prohm
(Jungle Temple) -

PG 91)
Access shaft in the east arm of the Belt Line Sewer, Toronto -

PG 92) Bookland by Christos Karapanos -

PG 92) Mind tricks
by Christos Karapanos -

PG 93) vintage Jolly Rancher water melon stix -

PG 93)
Cornucopia by
Anna Schegoleva -

PG 93) Diogenes
by John William Waterhouse

PG 93) Moe Howard from
Idiots deluxe, released on July 20, 1945 -

PG 93)
Hunted by Danny Ciampa -

PG 93) Pensive unrest by Mike Worrell -

PG 94) Crimson
by Audre A -

PG 94) The sour apple - What goes around comes around
by Charles Hunt -

PG 94) Crossroads
by Philip Straub -

PG 94)
Access shaft in the west arm of the Belt Line Sewer, Toronto -