Growing up, our family farm backed onto the grounds of an old penitentiary that was finally closed down and vacant. As a child, I was warned to stay away from that part of our property and Dad even built a high wall to block it out. Seeing as our farm was twenty two acres with lots to see and do, I wasn’t interested, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
It was a nightmare I had on a winter’s night, when I was fourteen, which was the spark that ignited my curiosity.
I dreamed that a frightening monster chased me down a dark corridor, looking very much like an Egyptian Mummy!
His muffled moaning was creepy, but the eyes looking out from the palms of his outstretched hands terrified me.
When I awoke, I felt a strong sense of fascination mixed with horror - that it had something to do with the prison.
It had been snowing and there was at least five inches of snow on the ground when I decided to check it out.
I crept along the wall and kept going until I found a stile, then climbed over and landed on the grounds of the prison.
I immediately felt like I was walking in a dead zone
The atmosphere was so different that it seemed like I was in another dimension or at least – a parallel world.
As I walked across the field which soon stretched into an asphalt compound, I saw the tall, rusted wire fencing.
It didn’t take long to find a hole in the fence, so I stepped through and made my way to the back of the building.
I had to try several doors before I found one that was unlocked, but I hesitated as the fear was growing.
The handle was freezing but I attributed that to the fact that the temperature was in single digits and snowing.
After a few pulls, I was able to wrench it open. I looked inside and saw the dark interior and littered floors.
I took a few careful steps and was struck by the paint hanging off the walls and ceiling in strips, trailing on the floor.
There were several upturned chairs and tables here and there as I wandered through the huge building and halls.
Suddenly I heard the sound of metal doors clanging and slamming shut and I realized that I’d been stupid to come.
The thing was, I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d come in so I started to do my best to retrace my steps
I heard moaning that was creepy and familiar. I didn’t start running until I heard fast shuffling across the floor.
When I turned around there was nothing there, but I turned back and continued running - just in case.
Then the moaning got louder as several doors started opening and slamming in the distance, so I bolted for the door.
I found that it was stuck and I wasn’t even sure if it was the door I’d used to get in, so I ran off to find another one.
I could hardly breathe due to the rising panic and I screamed when I heard the shuffling behind me, getting closer.
Spinning around to see what it was, I was angry to see nothing there, so I yelled, “Who’s there? Who are you?”
I was even angrier when the building suddenly grew silent – so silent that it nearly hurt my young ears.
Turning around and stomping off, I screamed again when I saw a large piece of wallpaper unfurl from the wall.
Running faster now, I tried every door and window I came across – but they were stuck and refused to budge.
Dried pieces of paint began to drop from the ceiling all around me. It was so dark that I was now running blindly.
I didn’t see the chair as I stumbled over it and hit my head on the floor. It was a while before I sat up – stunned.
I didn’t see the shuffling apparition coming straight at me
I heard the moaning getting louder and louder while the shuffling began to slow down. Then I saw bandaged feet!
They were right in front of me. When I looked up, I realized I was looking at the man from my nightmare!
Trying desperately to scramble backwards, I felt the chair against my back and jamming into the wall behind me.
The monster moved towards me as I tried to get away but I didn’t want to stand up in case he grabbed me.
Panting for breath, I tried to roll left and right, in order to try and crawl to a position where I could get up and run.
The problem was, everywhere I tried to go, the monster stepped in the way, moaning loudly and waving his hands.
I could see the eyes on his palms, blinking at me as they waved past my face. I began to cry - helpless and hopeless.
He fell to his knees in front of me, reached his hands out and held his palms up so the eyes were close to my face.
I saw his dark mouth moving under the bandages, opening up and moaning loudly as his palms clasped my face.
Screaming in terror, I felt the eyes melding with mine in an unholy, visual union – creating a kind of second sight
I was able to see the monster’s reality and was shocked to find myself watching his own life flashing in my mind.
There was a young man who was mute and considered by the community as mentally handicapped and dangerous.
He was blamed for a crime he didn’t commit and then incarcerated – often vilified and tortured by the wardens.
The man was kept in solitary confinement for long stretches at a time and the treatment made him lose his mind.
Even though he was mute, he was incredibly intelligent but the madness soon corrupted him and made him insane.
After decades of torture and neglect, he finally succumbed to exposure when he was wrapped up and left for dead.
The cruel wardens were assisted by some of the inmates, who bound him in bed sheets and threw him down a well.
I remembered seeing a well as I’d crossed the field before I got to the compound, but then I saw another flash.
I could see the man trying to unravel the sheets and he shredded them in the process, while trying to climb out.
His thoughts then penetrated my brain, telling me, “Feel what I see! See what I feel! Tell them I’m good – I’m good!”
I screamed, “Who are you?!” as I cried – for him as well as myself. Then he told me, “I don’t remember!”
I asked, “How can I tell them if I don’t know who you are?” I heard moaning and sobbing as the shuffling began.
I was now standing next to the chair and saw him shuffling away from me – still moaning and crying.
I yelled, “Please tell me. I can help you!” Then he disappeared. I jumped when a nearby door suddenly opened.
It took a while for me to decide to leave as I wondered if I should go and try to find him, but then thought better of it.
I quickly got out of there and made my way home, then I tried to conduct research via many avenues, with no results.
When I told my parents, they said it was just a dream and I was grounded for a month, but I’ll always remember him.
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