Few people notice the absence of Victor Lewis, an Urbex that targets one building a month, taking pictures and recording video. Two weeks ago, he targeted an abandoned mall, and told friends of his plans – only they made the connection to his plans and disappearance, and share it on a small local forum. As the rumors spread, more follow after Victor’s footsteps.
Mature | Death; Body mutilation; Body horror;
“Hey!” Carol starts as she plods through the snow to the group of five who stop beneath a pole light, one tapped at a flashlight constantly. “Can you answer a few questions?” The group turn to each other for a moment, the leader pulls the scarf from her face.
“Aren’t you the woman from earlier that asked about the Devil’s Vortex?”
Only now she remembers the group that pointed her here. “Yeah, I am, I’ve been circling the place for a little while now and stopped when I saw you walk in here. Anyway, what are you guys doing?”
“Why would you care?” speaks Toad, who steps in front of the group, flickering the flashlight at the snow. His dark hair speckled with snow.
“I’m trying to find someone, he was last here a week ago,” as truthful as she can be.
Toad looks back to the two guys in the group, and shoves off a hand from one of the girls. “Jessica, don’t start,” he turns back to Carol. “We’re also looking for someone, a friend. He said he needed to take care of some business here and he hasn’t come back. His parents don’t give a shit and neither do the police – so we’re looking for him ourselves.”
“When did he come here?” Carol cracks at her brain of the last time she was here, tries to remember the clothing of the two she saw enter the building earlier in the day.
“Earlier today,” speaks one of the girls, Jessica, “he was at my house until three or so, then he left with another dude.” Her face squeezes to the center. “He would’ve called by now, or even an hour after.”
“I – I think I saw him enter the building,” Carol fumbles with her memory, “two people were walking into one of the bay-door areas; I think one of them had a red jacket?”
The other girl whispers to Jessica, ‘didn’t Nick have a red jacket?’ Jessica pushes the other girl away, her voice sways, “Shut up Kate! Anyone could have a red jacket!” Kate huffs and, being the taller of the two, grabs Jessica’s scarf – one of the older boys pushes them apart.
“Hey, this ain’t a time to fight, girls, we need to find Nick right?”
“Yeah, yeah,” mumbles Jessica and turns away and pushing her hands into her jackets fold. Kate pushes past the guy that separated her and Jessica and walks right up to Carol – towering over her.
“You said two people entered the building?”
“Yeah – through a bay door at the side with the huge White Rat.” Carol motions over to the far side of the building and two of them already start walking backwards and away. “Hold on a minute, can I ask you guys a few questions?”
“Can it be quick? We need to get to finding him with whatever time we have left.”
“A week ago, was there any car here that just… sat around for a while”
The guy that pushed the two girls apart responds, “Yeah, I think there was. I was walking past here last week and there was a car parked on the sidewalk on this side of the building. Why?”
“The person I’m looking for could’ve come here in a car and – since he’s been missing since then – could’ve left his car here.” Carol looks past them and to the boarded doors and trails up to the straight cut into the sky. “Call it… instinct, but I think you shouldn’t go in there – at least for now. It… it feels like it really fits its name as… what was it?”
“The Devi’s Vortex,” Toad answers.
“Yeah,” Carol stares at the building, she swears inside her head that she sees a faint wisp coming from the building. “I am able to feel demonic presences – and it’s strong. Like… it should be somewhere far from here.”
“How in the hell would you know?” Toad flickers the flashlight.
“I think, the best way to describe it, is a sixth sense. I’ve sorta had it since I was young; it feels like – it’s a really bad feeling coming from it, even when I’m this far away.”
“I don’t know Toad, I’ve been getting the same feeling, like I’m gonna be sick,” says Jessica, looking at the building over her shoulder, and she turns back just as quick.
“God fucking damnit, Jessica! Don’t you want to find Nick, and Chip?” Toad steps over to Jessica, exchanges glances with her, and starts to walk with Kate and the guy that hasn’t said anything the entire time. “Fine, I’m find them both – and I’ll tell Nick how scared you are to find him!” Jessica is shaking and the only remaining guy holds her around the side. Carol turns to both of them.
“Can you try to talk them out of it? The entire places reeks of deception and pure evil – its leaking so much negative energy out of it,” Carol looks back to Toad, Kate, and the quiet guy walking towards the side of the building.
“Once Toad and Kate are set on something, there’s nothing that’ll knock them off-track, and just having Boss around gives him physical power,” says the guy, then he turns back to Jessica, “come on Jess, we should get home, report Nick missing in the mornin.”
“Can I ask you two one more question?”
“How many people have gone missing recently? That you know of.”
“Uh, lets see,” the guy pulls his hand before him and starts counting off, “Chip, Ko – big name in the White Rats, Detroit – dude that came here from Detroit and hasn’t given his name out.”
“Yan,” interjected Jessica, “and Nick, and Flop – he answered to Ko, and Jess – she ran away from home.”
“And I haven’t heard from K, but he left in a hurry last week, and Tea, he hung out with Jess and with the homeless. And I haven’t seen them around here either.”
“Eight people, plus … how every many homeless. Oh fuck. How many have been reported?” Carol remembers the five faces that looked at her on her way out earlier in the day.
“Only Chip, Yan, Jess, and Tea, and Jess has technically been missing for a month.”
“Jesus Christ… I could take you two home in my car, if you don’t mind,” Carol bundles herself when a gust of wind blows pass them.
“Yeah, sure,” breaks in Jessica, stomping through the snow to Carol’s deep blue car.
Carol follows her with her eyes, then slowly starts for her car as well, her face scrunches inwards and a frown twists her face. “What’s your name,” Carol speaks to the currently nameless guy.
“Carol,” she pulls out her keys and unlocks the doors for Jessica. “Can you tell me anything about the Devil’s Vortex, or the building itself?”
“It finished being constructed last year, and was open for about six months until it was closed – it’s been that way ever since.”
“Why was it closed? It can’t be competition because I’ve only seen one other mall on this side of Findlay.”
“I went to the place when it was still open. There wasn’t a lot of businesses that rented out a space, and it was hardly making anything back if I remember.” John takes to the passenger seat while Jessica crawls into the back and lays down. “It was that, and a pungent smell that got it completely shut down. It was – like a rotten smell that went through the whole place, and the water lines were broken if I remember correctly.” Carol starts her car and keeps her radio low, her face still in a twist. “Jessica, do you remember what the place once was like?”
“No, John, I never came to this part of town before I switched schools,” Jessica laid down on the back seat and stares at the back of the seat. “I just want to go home.”
“Well I’ll need to be pointed to the right way,” starts Carol before she turns her car into low lit traffic streets and her stomach grumbles. “Are you two hungry? I can buy you both some food – McDonald’s or something?”
“Sure,” grumbles Jessica, “any sandwich with fries will do.” Carol looks back for only a moment, then turns straight back to the road and drives straight ahead to the next block. She drives for a short while and turns into a drive-thu; ordering them fries and burgers, an extra order of fries for Jessica who requests it. They ate their food in the slight droning of the car radio, watching the snow settle upon the hood and the passing of time. Midnight soon sets in and Carol drives both of them home, exchanging numbers on her request. Carol takes her time driving back home, letting herself get lost among the side streets of dark southern Toledo.