September 25, 2015

Missing Rachel - Entry II: The Descent into Madness
Missing Rachel
Entry II: The Descent into Madness
Location: The Tunnels
Date: Friday, June 19th, 2015

I pulled out the photo I had taken from the house; the couple looked distant, like they didn’t want to be in the same picture. I wondered where the wife was. I was suddenly aware of the throbbing in my leg; I was in terrible shape and needed to find a way out of here. I shined the flashlight around me, looking for an exit when I noticed footprints in the dirt. It looked like there were more than one set of tracks, this tunnel had seen a lot of traffic. There was an old map of town pinned to the wall. Landmarks were circled from the industrial area near the river, various houses, and even the water tower near the old rail station. There were newspaper clippings from the local paper as well. All were about murders in town that happened over the last few years. Wait… there were photos… photos of our house! What the hell was that about?! Maybe I should have investigated the house more before I left but it was too late now. When I descended down the ladder, a trap door closed above me, locking in place. Rachel… where are you… please be safe.

I wanted to bolt out of there and straight home but I needed to find more information, to see what else was down here. I came across a work table covered in papers and dirt, and… a handgun. I hated guns… but I tucked the small handgun into my pocket anyway. There was a murderer on the loose and I needed to protect myself. The handgun’s weight was somehow reassuring. There was another ladder and when I climbed down, I was hit with the smell of stale and putrid air. When my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, I couldn’t believe what I saw. What is this place? There was an old desk caked with grime and on it, stacks of washed out paper. Scrawled on the paper were faded names written in blue ink, scratched out with illegible notes written beside them. I could only make out a few letters.
None of it made any sense so I continued investigating the tunnels. A few feet away was a pile of… bones. They were half-dug into the ground and the remains looked very old. There was faded clothing in the pile that was buried partially under dirt. A few shirts looked familiar; they looked like the clothes the woman in the photo was wearing. Was this where that man’s wife was buried? Did he do this to her? Did that man murder his own wife?! I shuddered and moved on, wanting to erase the pile of bones from my sight. Next I found a homemade rack, slung together with poorly cut wood and rope; it was covered in dried blood. Somebody didn’t actually use that… did they? There were rusted hooks hanging from the cave’s ceiling nearby. The hooks were pitted and worn from heavy use, they looked like the kind you would find in an old-fashioned butcher’s shop. That man upstairs… did he do this?

On the walls near the rack were crudely made shelves that were holding cans of some kind of corrosive. The labels were worn and slick, but I could still read the warnings. Across from the rack was what looked like a cage, it was small but there was something coating the bottom, something wet. I didn't want to look closely at the cage but I couldn't help but notice the red hue of the wetness and the metallic smell of drying blood. This place kept getting worse and worse as I explored it. There was another ladder that descended deeper in the underground tunnels. My leg protested with pain but I forced myself to climb down, constantly thinking of Rachel and home to will my legs to move. Beneath me, there were some old boxes that looked like they had been untouched for years. Upon closer inspection, I saw that they were filled with old clothes… wait, I recognize these! These boxes had old clothes that I remembered throwing out after Rachel and I moved to town. What the hell are they doing here?

I passed a broken ladder as I entered the next section of the tunnels. There was a rope hanging in the middle of the alcove, it had been tied into a noose. I wondered who the noose was for, maybe that man planned on using it on himself or maybe it was used to bound someone's hands. I shuddered at the thought of being tied down here in these tunnels. I pushed that from my mind and focused on finding a way out. I wasn’t sure how sturdy the rope was but I decided to use it to descend down the broken ladder. I quickly removed it from the ceiling and re-tied it to the ladder. With the flashlight placed firmly between my teeth, I slid down the rope and as I did, I could feel the rope burning into my hands. When I reached the bottom, I could hear a faint hum and the smell of rusted metal. There were a bunch of old newspapers, wheat-pasted together, with a hastily written message: ‘KEEP OUT; DANGER DUE TO CAVE-IN!’