Sunday, June 14, 2009

That Old Factory Smell

Was out walking the night, passing by old abandoned factories at two in the morning when I started dreaming up a weird story. The following is more of a sketch of the first half, where I needed to throw the idea out there before it left my head. It leads into something really horrifying and involving something like Transformers from Hell...

On the edge of the west side of town is an old abandoned factory. Nobody remembers what was built there, some claim it was used to make parts for mining machinery. Others have said the factory built components for military vehicles. Whatever it was, the factory was shut down after a horrible accident in 1999 that left more than 150 people dead. The newspaper claimed it had something to do with the assembly line machinery malfunctioning . Strangely, no one inside the building survived and the majority of the workers could only be identified by dental records. Whoever owned the factory went bankrupt or sold the building and land soon after the incident. Others bought the property but something always happened that caused the building to go up for sale again. With time the building slipped further and further into disrepair. Grass grew through the cracks in the parking lot, windows shattered from the weather and a never ending barrage of bricks and rocks thrown by the local kids. The terrible incident in 99 had a depressing effect on that entire side of town, several stores nearby went out of business, leaving the entire area feeling like a ghost town.

In the summer of 2009 a couple of local teens were bored and wanting to smoke some weed. They'd heard a group of friends were going to be hanging out in the parking lot of Corpse House, the nickname given to the old factory by the local kids. Jason and Rob both had family members who had died at the factory and felt uneasy about hanging out there. Jason lost his grandfather and Rob lost an uncle. Rob was five years old when it happened and was at the funeral for his uncle Joe who had one of many closed casket services that week. Rob's grandmother was really upset about not being able to see her son before he was buried and caused a scene at the graveyard. At some point after family and friends had arrived she threw uncle Joe's coffin lid open. She made a scream that Rob could never get out of his head, a shrill howling noise that sounded more animal than human. She was hustled away from the graveyard and taken home, but everyone there got a good look at uncle Joe, including Rob. He stood on a chair to look over the shoulders of his brothers and the rest of the crowd, staring in awe and horror at the bizarre mutilation and disfiguration of uncle Joe's remains.

That horrible memory was brought to life for the millionth time in Rob's head as he and Jason walked down an old side street and crossed a field, climbed over a couple of fences and down an old railroad track through a wooded area. Soon they came upon a large parking lot covered in cracks and giant cratered holes, then walked towards a couple of parked cars with loud music blaring and headlights shining onto the old brick walls of Corpse House.

After a few hours of smoking joints, listening to metal and throwing old bottles and rocks at the walls and what was left of the windows, someone suggested going inside. Nobody wanted to but somehow Rob and Jason ended up being pressed by the others to go in. They were the only ones with family who had died in the building and apparently the others thought they had something to prove by going in there. One of the guys hanging out mentioned that he had been inside Corpse House the previous weekend and left a spray paint can with a devil drawing on it in the basement. He went to the trunk of his car and grabbed a flash light, which he threw at Jason and told him to go get it. Reluctantly, the two climbed up a loading dock nearby and opened a large rusted door. The headlights of the two cars now shining on them like spotlights. Some of the teens were shouting over and over, "Corpse House! Corpse House! Corpse House!"

The dim flashlight cut a yellow beam into the dark interior. A large section of the roof had caved in near the center of the building, letting the moon light illuminate much of the space. There was a long metal staircase that ran up one of the walls, extending onto a cat walk that weaved around the ceiling, parts of it hanging loose from where the roof had collapsed. Rob noticed something with the flashlight and approached what appeared to be a large metal object in the middle of the large room. At first it appeared like some long abandoned factory machine but on closer inspection the details became clear. A giant hand made of strange mechanical pieces lay palm down. It must have been the size of a car, the fingers stretched out menacingly in every direction, curled slightly off the ground, sharp metal claws extending from each tip. Large gears and cogs could be seen jutting through the metal tendons pulled across the top of the hand. It was an amazing work of art, which is all it could have been, the idea of something like this being used in the factory seemed insane. Rob mentioned to Jason that a local artist must use the place as some sort of studio.

Against one of the walls was a giant circular door frame leading into a partly lit corridor. The moon shined through holes in the ceiling, partly lighting the way down the long passage. As Rob and Jason walked down the corridor it began to curve inward. "Where the hell is the basement in this place anyway?" Jason said. "Fuck if I know!" shouted Rob. Neither mentioned it but they were both wondering where in this surreal nightmarish place their uncle and grandfather had met their grisly fate. A large rusted metal door stood ajar further down the curving corridor. Jason pulled the door open, it was heavier than he'd expected but once he yanked it open, the door slowly swung outward and slammed into the wall, creating a loud bong sound that echoed down the corridor.

They entered a small office room with a gaudy green and yellow patterned carpet that looked like something out of the seventies. There were cabinets knocked over and papers everywhere. As they passed through another open door into a dark cavernous space, the metal door behind them began to swing shut. It made a grinding noise as it slammed closed. Rob and Jason raced back to the door just as it shut. There was no door knob and something was keeping it from opening. Rob held the flashlight as Jason kicked at the door, then ran across the room and slammed into it with his shoulder with no effect. Rob sat the flashlight on a desk nearby and began banging into the door along with Jason. "This door won't fucking budge, man!" Jason shouted. "What the hell are we going to do now? We're stuck in this shit hole now." Rob said. Jason gave the door one last hard kick before saying, "Alright there's got to be another way out of here. Screw Todd, forget the basement let's just find our way out of this fucking place!"

Rob picked up the flashlight as the two entered the dark space beyond the office room. The ceiling in this room had more holes, letting the moonlight give a small amount of illumination to the space. The flashlight revealed a huge circular room with a giant machine at the center, it was the size of a small house. "I wonder what this thing was used for?" Rob said. He pointed the flashlight around the machine. The beams of moonlight shining down gave it an almost skull like shape. Rob pointed the flashlight towards the bottom of the machine. The lower half had what resembled a giant lower jaw with sharp tooth like shapes running along the bottom and top of a wide dark opening. Whatever it was used for, the machine could probably tear a semi truck to shreds. Rob moved the flashlight up, strange metallic curved designs weaved around what could almost pass for cheekbones. And there were two giant dark holes where the eyes would be, inside them were two identical gear like shapes, the metallic surface reflecting the flashlight in an eerie design. It was as if it was a giant monstrous mechanical skull staring back at them. Rob stared at the machine in a trance until Jason called out from across the room, "Rob, I can't see in the dark, get the flashlight over here."


Human Mollusk said...

Love the setting Aeron. The beginning's a bit too much like an eighties horror flick though IMHO, bored teenagers looking for dope and all.
But then the giant mechanical hand just lying there in the middle of the hall - that's the visionary, Alfreyesque stuff.
The flash-back with the opened casket and screaming grandmother is great, too.

Aeron said...

Thanks Fufu, I was imagining this taking place in the 80's originally with the factory going out in the seventies. For whatever reason I shifted to the nineties and zeroes. I think I'm going to revert it to the eighties.

I don't know why but whenever I want to write short horror fiction I want it to take place in the eighties.

SEAN said...

I think it's important to hit on multiple levels, you gotta pull in the dumb-asses with certain things & then blow everyone away with the real shit afterwards. That way you get to fuck with the minds of people who aren't already looking for your brand of weirdness & just want a goody horror movie. OR... not.

Aeron said...

Had the idea for the last paragraph involving a giant monstrous robot, resembling a human skeleton covered in weird metals and gears escaping the factory, killing the teens in the parking lot, running into the woods but collapsing after running out of power. It stays there for years with the vegetation growing over it, largely hiding it from view until a couple of hunters stumble across it. One shoots it in the left eye with a rifle up close, which sets off some reanimation mechanism that lasts for a few moments. Enough time for the giant to pick up the hunter in its mechanical hand and crush him to death. The other hunter runs away while the robot makes some horrible mechanical laugh mixed with the gurgling sound of his friend's remains being swallowed. The chest cavity churns gears and spinning blades that act like a blender, liquifying the hunter and draining it into the fuel tank. As the blood sucks into the tank, the robot comes back to life, rips out of the vines and tree limbs, stands upright and laughs that horrible mechanical laugh.