The crumbling structure carried the scent of fetid water, desperation, bad ends, and broken dreams. Doors were locked and debris blocked passages. The fact there was electrical light, such as it was, was an incongruence. None of us thought much about that, though. Getting out was an all-consuming goal. Being trapped is never fun.
The rattle of an approaching train got our attention. Hopes of salvation. Fears of damnation. Someone noticed the cameras leering down on us, lecherous, in their mechanical observation. Suddenly, it all made sense; They had sent the Pit Bull Children to deal with us, and They were going to watch. It was going to be televised. Sandwiched between the latest pundit's fire and brimstone diatribe and feel-good sitcom. Not having owned a television in many years now, I'm no longer sure how these things work.
Not wanting to go down without a fight, if at all, the search for a way out became that much more tantamount. Some of us began to look for make-shift weapons. I found myself glad I had decided to carry my grandfather's shotgun with me, since it usually collected dust in a quite corner of the house next to a box of shells, which had never been opened. It seemed logical I would've brought at least a few shells with me, and began fishing through my pack and pockets for them. That was when I found the key.
"Hello, my pretty," I whispered.
It seemed logical to slip the key into the locked door in front of me. With an expectant moan, it opened before us. Smiles of small triumph formed upon our fearful faces. With a quick motion of the hand, I got the others to follow, closing and locking the door behind me. We moved quickly, some keeping an open eye for the Pit Bull Children with their Wild Hunt, others searching for doors to be unlocked. For every one of those, my key worked, and we would lock up behind us, sometimes further barricading the door with debris. The train had just pulled up when I opened the last door. We could hear the bark of dogs; Hellhounds on our trail. I locked the door and it grew silent.
Warm sunlight glittered down as we scattered across field and forest, putting as much distance between the crumbling structure and ourselves as we could. It stood behind us like a tattered gravestone in a forgotten cemetery. One by one, or in small groups, we all went our separate ways. The nightmare of the structure and the Pit Bull Children becoming phantasmal memory.
Walking through a willow bog, I cam across a legless man who bore a striking resemblance to Danny Devito. He was fly-fishing. We waved at one another, as is courtesy when out in the bush. He asked me where I was headed and I pointed to the snow-encrusted peaks just spitting distance away. I was within a mile of home.
"Do you ski?" He asked me.
"Snowshoe," I replied. "Hike, bike, and boulder."
"Be careful out there," he said. "That's how I lost my legs."
I thanked him with a an inclination of my head and salute of the barrel of my grandfather's shotgun. It was sound advice. I meant to ponder its profundity once I got home.