A Ghost Story
“No, dude, you don’t understand; it’s so very simple; don’t be a bitch,” holding up one finger, “and don’t fuck up.” Putting up the second.
I just shook my head, walking beside him, “What do you mean don’t fuck up? What kind of life philosophy is that? Say a perfectly good guy, driving down the street, has two kids and a wife who he loves. Say this guy just gets nailed by a drunk driver?”
“Shouldn’t have fucked up.” Tim said with a smirk,
“But he didn’t fuck up! The drunk guy was at fault,”
“Then he shouldn’t have been a bitch.”
“Wait, who shouldn’t have been a bitch? The drunk guy or the good guy?”
Tim contemplated for a minute as we trudged along the road, the green metal gate coming into view, “Both,” he said and we just laughed.
We got to the gate and hopped over. It was a road gate; just meant to keep cars from easily driving through. It was locked but that didn’t affect us; it was low enough to hop over. As soon as we got on the other side the road got a lot worse, lacking any kind of upkeep and showing signs of age. Coming off the road gate on the right was a three-tiered barbwire fence that ran across a field and into a tree line. The gate had a sign saying this area wasn’t part of the park anymore and was off-limits. There weren’t any signs on the barbwire however, so we figured we would be able to make up a reasonable story to get us out of any security entanglements we may have run into.
We walked up the road about ten feet when the tree line met the road and hung over it, like a canopy would. It immediately made the road a lot darker, considering the sun was already hidden by the clouds. We turned a corner and started up a steep hill. Ancient road bumpers flanked the road, flat compared to the modern grooved and rounded ones adorning highways and steep mountains roads today. They were painted orange and yellow, at one time, but had almost completely faded from age and elements.
Walking through an open and rusted gate, I tipped my beanie to the near collapsed guard house,
“Just comin’ in to work on this fine morning,” I said in my finest 1940s voice, to which Tim replied as the guard,
“You best get clocked in sonny, the lines already a movin’!”
The roof had collapsed into the guardhouse, hanging in with a blanket of snow clinging to the rotted old shingles. The windows were mostly broken, with a few pieces jutting out from around the frames. The door hung on its hinges, swaying gently in a breeze, as if it could fall any minute. Old lead paint, faded and chipped, flaked from the concrete walls. The fence beside it rusted almost to a complete brown, totally incapable of keeping anyone out. We didn’t have to climb or cut through it though, as the gate was wide open, as if we were expected to be there. As if we were late for work.
We continued hiking up the road and as we reached a crossroads the trees withdrew and the canopy opened to gray sky above us, “That’s weird,” I said pointing to a big white X on the ground.
“Which way? Straight or left?”
“I think left curves around to the same end point, so we can just go straight.”
The first buildings we saw were storage houses. Long houses running parallel to the road, with corrugated metal siding and black shingled roofs, with two big sliding metal doors on the front. They were about the length of a pair of two-car garages. We were exuberant to find our first large, intact buildings, “Holy shit! Hell yeah, this is where INAAP would store powder in barrels or cases or something, before it was shipped out to another part of the plant.”
“What does INAAP stand for again?”
“Indiana Army Ammunition Plant. It was built in 1941, as the Nazis were sweeping west across Europe, because we pretty much knew we were gonna get in the war soon. At its peak size and production, the entire facility was actually three different plants, on close to twenty thousand acres. It had over 1,700 buildings, 190 miles of road, 84 miles of railroad track and employed over 27,000 people, making close to a million pounds of smokeless powder a day.”
“Wow, you fucking researched this place. What shut it down?”
“Well after the Cold War ended there wasn’t that high of a demand for powder. Besides the technology of the place was starting to get outdated. Most of the buildings were built in ‘41”
“So where are we now?”
“We are just barely on the outskirts of the main powder plant. About two miles that-a-way,” I said pointing north, “we should be in the real meaty part of the facility.”
“Ooh, I want that meat.”
“I know you do.”
We continued hiking down the road, 20th Street, past seemingly endless duplicates of the first storage building we saw. They were all empty, having been cleared out and prepared for some eventual demolition. As we began going downhill again, the tree line grew in closer and a canopy came back over us, “This whole area was once totally clear of trees and foliage.” I said.
“Now they’re fucking everywhere! Look another gate saying we can’t come in.”
“And what did we say to the last gate that troubled us?”
“Fuck you!” Tim said hopping over the fence.
I followed behind him and stopped as he stopped just a few feet beyond,
“Wait,” he said, holding up a hand, “I see a car.”
“A car?! Fuck!”
We jumped off the road and went up a small hill into the tree line, keeping the car and buildings to our left. Hiding in some bushes we were able to observe the area. It was a small one-story building comprised of three hallways that came together to form a square missing a side. In the parking lot in the front sat a silver four-door sedan and a large, camouflaged truck next to it. “That’s not current regulation camo. These guys aren’t Army, I don’t think.”
“Look,” said Tim pointing beyond the buildings, “that’s some kind of obstacle course. What is this place?”
“I don’t know but we definitely don’t want them seeing us. It’s Sunday, so there shouldn’t be too many people here. Come one, follow me.”
I crept along the tree line following the barbwire fence that ran off the gate we had just crossed. I kept my eyes completely fixed on those buildings, watching for any kind of movement, any flutter of blinds, any open door. We followed the barbwire until it turned a ninety-degree angle in front of us. We gingerly climbed over and began to cut our way through the trees away from the buildings, following the dynamic map on Tim’s phone.
We came out about a quarter of a mile away, next to the foundations of a small demolished building, “Mhmm, I wonder what this was?”
It was a small rectangular foundation, with a short wall dividing it into two parts, one side with a faded blue floor, the other with faded pink. Or perhaps at one time it was red. Drains ran down into the foundation on both sides of the little wall, and the whole stone slab was about a foot off the ground. Above us were old power lines, the cables long cut or hanging limp between two poles. The wood was rotten and worn almost black and thick holly trees had begun to grow around their bases, climbing upwards towards their tops.
We emerged from the holly trees onto an old broken road. It stretched on out in front of us, rolling up and down small hills with thick brush and trees lining the sides. Large cracks shot across the road, leaving streaks of lightning under our feet. In many places, grasses had begun to break through the pavement, giving parts of the road little grassy lawns. After taking a couple turns and crossing a set of derelict railroad tracks, we reached our first truly industrial building.
From the outside, it appeared to be just a brick shell missing its roof, but inside were two rows of large concrete vats, each numbered. We came in on the second floor,
“Dude, a freight elevator!” Tim said, jumping on it and trying to pull the rusted lever to take him down.
Large cables ran across the width of the interior in front of us. Hanging from them were massive rusted chains with metal hooks attached to rollers on the cables, meant to assumedly move heavy loads from one side of the building to another. Below was a concrete landing with an old cart on a rusted track. We tried to run it along the track but it didn’t move. Running down the center of the building, between the concrete vats were wooden planks spanning a two-foot drop. Below the vats on the far sides of the building were darkened old pipes that either brought water in or pulled water out of the vats. Most of the vats were now filled with ice or snow.
“We have to get to the other side!” said Tim, point dramatically down the line of vats.
But rather than walking the wooden planks like a normal human being, Tim jumped over a railing on the far right side, and holding on to the vats for support, shimmied across the length of the building on a two-by-four drilled into the concrete, “Dude this is like a video game!” I followed suit, shimmying across the decades old wood.
We continued to cut through portions of the complex, surveying buildings that were once shower and locker houses, offices and solvent recovery buildings. Most were just shells, but the offices were still relatively intact. Large black asbestos stains bled through the ceiling from the insulation, so we had bandanas around our mouths and noses so as not to inhale anything potentially harmful.
The Press Houses and Mix Houses were near the center of the complex. A series of pipes ran to and from each building, crisscrossing over the roads and paths above us. The area was a grid of identical buildings, each two stories with massive steel gunpowder presses on the second floor and powder cutting machines on the first. We went in on the first floor, through a storage hallway, when a loud crash was heard to our left as if someone had dropped hundreds of empty containers. We swung our flashlights and two silver-red eyes flashed back at us, and a raccoon turned and leapt out of the building, crawling through a hole in the wall.
“Damn dude. There must be animals living all over this place,”
“Fuckin’ raccoon. What an asshole!”
“What kind of building was this?” Tim asked as we walked into the main hall of the building.
“See those big machines up there?” I said pointing up to the wooden second floor the only spanned half the room, “those are vertical press machines. They pressed the powder into compact forms.”
There were four lined along the walkway above us, and circular cutting machines to our right and left. I stepped across the room towards a wooden box with stenciled letters reading, “Spare Powder”. “You know, people died in this place.”
“Really? Where?” Tim had gone up the creaking wooden stairs to examine the press machines.
“In one of these buildings,”
Tim stopped and looked down over the railing at me, “Which one?”
“I don’t know. I think it was rebuilt anyway. But in 1966 I think, there was a huge explosion in one of these press houses,”
“Yeah? And people died?”
A large gauge of some kind sat on top of a round cylindrical container filled with straw. “It killed the six men that were working in there at the time. I saw a newspaper clipping online that said windows were shattered in Charlestown nearby. People up to fifteen miles away felt the blast, getting knocked over or feeling their house shake. I think the article said it was over a hundred thousand pounds of powder that ignited, causing the explosion. The whole building was destroyed and the two to the left and right were badly damaged.”
“Yeah. They said that the plant managers and the Army Colonel in charge were running an investigation to figure out the cause. They conducted interviews of friends and family of all the dead guys,”
“Dead guys?” said Tim chuckling a bit
“Sorry, deceased gentlemen. I mean no disrespect to the dead. But apparently everyone was pointing to this one guy that died. They didn’t identify him in the paper except for Victim Six. But all the friends and family said that he was really depressed; his brother had just died, he had his car repossessed and there were even rumors going around the plant that he was gay,” I picked up the gauge and a thick, pale orange liquid came streaming from the bottom, “Holy fuck!” I yelled, dropping the gauge on the ground. I inspected the fluid and it just looked like water that had collected and sat in the rusting inside of that gauge. “Not something you were open about in Southern Indiana in the sixties. Hell it’s barely something you would want to be open about today in Southern Indiana,” I said, wiping my hands on my jeans.
“Fucking Indiana man…”
“Anyway, since no other clear cause was found, they figured that Victim Six had just been having a particularly bad day and fucked up somehow. Of course they told people it was just an accident with no one to blame,”
“There’s always someone to blame,”
“Exactly. So some of the workers around the plant started to suggest that maybe Victim Six set the explosion on purpose.”
“Ooh, a mystery.”
“Story goes that a couple guys who worked in the building with him were ones that started the gay rumor about him. People who believe that he was really gay say he had the hots for one of the guys who spread the rumor, so he was especially pissed off.”
“I would be too if my gay love fascination went around telling tall tales about me.”
“So they say he came in late and really drunk and started working at one of the presses. And when the guy he apparently liked left his press to take a break, Victim Six goes over there and loads in about four or five times the amount of powder they were meant to press. Now this is smokeless powder in its early stages, so it’s pretty unstable. The guy came back to his press, started it up and before he could realize anything was wrong, BOOM! the whole place goes up.”
Tim slapped his hand onto the cold steel of one of the presses. It was two massive pieces of steel, one coming down onto another with guider poles on the sides. The gray lead paint had begun to chip and a stenciled warning was starting to fade away, saying “Do not remove skin while press is in motion”. “I could see how one of these suckers could be dangerous.”
I went upstairs to check out the presses and saw the small openings about half the size of the doorway in the wall behind us, “Dude! Emergency slides!”
They were long metal slides like the kind on jungle gyms we used to play on as kids. Their red paint had begun to fade and chip away and a thin layer of snow had settled on them from a light dusting that had started after we entered the press house. Tim leapt down the slide feet first, arriving at the bottom to wipe the snow off his ass, “That was awesome!”
I slid down after him and landed in a pile of snow next to an old piece of piping. I got up and wiped my pants off and we started walking towards the next building, a mixer house, “But yeah, I was reading this guy’s blog online about how he came here one time,”
“Okay. Anyway, he came in the spring and there was a huge thunderstorm while he was here, so he had decided to camp out and stay the night in one of the buildings,” I said, looking around
“Hell yeah we should do that!”
“But dude, he said he tried to sleep in one of the press houses,”
“Oh, ok. I see where this is going.”
“He said that he sat awake for twelve hours listening to the building next to him go online and start working. He said he heard a bunch of different voices, he heard machines and shit running,”
“Running shit sure does sound weird,”
“He even saw lights flashing around the doors of the building he was in. The guy said there was a huge explosion too. Nearly knocked him over. And when he finally said ‘fuck it, I’m getting the hell outta here’, he came out and saw absolutely nothing. The buildings were all as they were that day, there were no people or machines or explosions or anything. The dude hiked out through the storm that night. Nearly got hypothermia from getting so wet. Dude says he’ll never come back.”
“Dude, that sounds like a huge load of horse shit!”
“Well of course, it’s a ghost story. It fits perfectly for this place. Suspend your disbelief for a little bit.”
“I think I would like to suspend my soberness. Wanna smoke a joint?” Tim was holding the joint in front of his face for me to see.
We had packed a couple joints to keep us high throughout the day and smoked them as we walked around and explored some more of the buildings that wouldn’t have had any powder in them. We were not about to blow ourselves up. We went through huge warehouses and storerooms, into water pump and reservoir buildings, offices and shower houses.
The water reservoir building was huge. It pumped in and held water from the Ohio for use in the manufacturing of smokeless powder, and part of the building still held the massive steel pumps with catwalks just above them for monitoring and operating them. On the catwalk above the middle pump was a cluttered old desk with different chemicals and instruments involved with testing water. “What the hell is this thing?” I said pointing to a ghetto rigged water tester. It was a series of pipes, all connected together and hooked up to a small power box. A water testing tube was attached in the middle and there were gauges on both sides, one which took readings onto a circular piece of cardstock. There was a duct-taped hose running down into one of the massive pumps below.
“Dude this thing is for testing PH in water,” Tim said, rifling through the things on the desk.
“Look. These test cards are dated. Two thousand seven, two thousand eight, two thousand nine. Two thousand nine? This place was shut down in ninety-one. What the hell were people doing in here testing water in two thousand nine?”
“Maybe trying to see if the place can run or not?”
“There is no way someone would try to make this place operational. You’ve seen the state of these buildings.”
“Dude, you never know what some people will try to do. Let’s get moving.”
We hiked on and found another office building near the front manufacturing area. It was a supervisor’s office number 704-7. One door was either locked or rusted shut, even a good hard kick wouldn’t open it. But we got in on the other side and were able to look around. It was unlike anything we had seen so far in the factory. The offices were filled with a random assortment of dusty, old trinkets. Ranging from car seats and bicycle parts to a dozen record players and the oldest laptop ever, the building was a hoarder stash of random goods. We walked through like shoppers at an antique store, gingerly moving and examining different items. An old oil lamp, a leather bound encyclopedia book from 1907, an ancient radio. There were dozens of old radios and different types of radio equipment scattered around a cluttered workshop area. Most of the items in the building were old enough and valuable enough to be worth some money, that is of course if they hadn’t been left to rot in an abandoned office building in the middle of a giant abandoned industrial complex. It wasn’t weird until we started to notice the garbage scattered all over the floor. Most of it was food wrappers, “Dude, look in here,” I said pointing in the bathroom.
“Oh fuck no. Man this is fucking creepy!”
In the dark and dingy bathroom was a pile of old, empty plastic milk and orange juice jugs.
“Dude, check this shit out,” said Tim from the room behind me. I walked in and saw papers stacked at least three feet tall in some areas. From a desk covered in old receipts and check stubs Tim picked up an old envelope, torn open, “Wendell E. Hall,” flipping to another envelop, “Wendell E. Hall, Wendell E. Hall. Dude, this guy Wendell has been stashing his mail here,”
“Dude, do you think he was living in here?”
“It looks like it.”
“That many plastic jugs can only be for three things; bringing in milk and orange juice,”
“Puh huh, unlikely,”
“Bringing in lots of water,”
“The way of the road!”
“Dude, do you think this guy comes back here at all?” I looked at Tim.
“Well I sure as fuck don’t wanna be here to meet ol’ Wendell when he does comes back.”
We left the building and saw that the sun was starting to get low in the western sky, “What time is it?”
“Four thirty. We should be thinking about getting out of here before it gets too dark,”
“You’re right, but lets check out that one last building,” I said pointing ahead of us to the tallest remaining building in the factory.
It was a tall gray building as seen from the distance, having corrugated sheet metal for siding all the way up. Most of the windows up and down the building were broken out but some near the top were still intact. It was six stories tall, with a four-story lean to addition on one side. As we approached the building we could see a sign marking the building as “303-2 Concentrator House”. Inside was a massive array of pipes and tubes running from the first floor up towards the top.
“Dude, it’s the first internet. A series of tubes!” Tim said.
We walked under a pathway and stood between two rows of pipes that went towards the ceiling. We looked down the row at all the pipes from where we stood to the other side of the building. All around us were nozzles and knobs, buttons and switches that we just couldn’t help fiddling with. Tim turned a knob and flipped a switch. I pressed an “On” button and half expected some massive machine to kick into gear and start up right above me. Of course nothing happened. We walked down the row, turning knobs for the fuck of it. We had no idea what chemicals once ran through those pipes that we were now operating.
We were the INAAP skeleton crew, moving from building to building backwards in time; turning everything on and making things come alive. I felt like I worked there. I tried to imagine the number of people that would be hustling and bustling in and out of buildings while this plant was alive. I could see the place alive, as a living-breathing thing. A life form of its own that was left to rot and die after its use had been filled. We tried to bring the place back to life; we tried to make it real again. We, even as adults, could not stop our imagination in that place. What it was, what it is, what it could be. We were constantly reminded of video games we loved like Fallout that placed us in a bygone world. We were strangers in an ancient land. We were time travelers seeing what the past looked like. Even the light fixtures fascinated us, not because they are aesthetically beautiful or even because they are operational, but because they gave us a look into a past we will never see again. This place is a constant reminder of the struggle of the past. Charlestown came out of the Great Depression because of this plant. It helped Louisville thrive. And of course it helped win a war. And now people want to tear it down. They already destroyed one of the two power plants. They said it was symbolic. I agree, symbolic of the power of history being lost. But they don’t understand. They lived with the plant open and running most of their lives. They know it, so they don’t care.
But we cared about that place as we turned those knobs and flipped those switches, bringing the rusted ancient machines back to life. Of course nothing moved. Nothing came alive and that dead husk of a place sits rotting just as it has since the year I was born. But then I reached the last set of tubes running up to the next floor and I turned a knob. A blast of stale, hot air shot into our faces and filled the area around us, “Oh fuck!”
“What the hell was that?”
It had a strange smell to it and the light mist glowed a pale yellow in the air. I started coughing, “Fuck man, what was that shit?” I managed to get out between coughs, but Tim was already coughing too hard to answer. He was doubled over and I couldn’t see his face, “Tim?”
I started to get really dizzy and the whole room started to spin. I heard something but I couldn’t quite make out what it was. The room started to get dark and tunnel vision began to close in around my eyes. I turned my body as best I could so I wouldn’t hit my head on the pipes as I fell. I knew I was going to fall. And I fell.
The first thing I felt was cold. It was silent when I came to, and dark as a winter midnight. I slowly lifted myself up, my head throbbing and my back aching. I coughed some, and my lungs hurt. I spit and saw blood in my phlegm. I looked over to my left and saw a pile of vomit a few feet away from me. I started to smell the vomit. It smelled like rotten food and chemicals. I started to gag and I turned and threw up all the contents of my stomach. It hurt and I saw a lot of red in my puke on the floor but couldn’t tell if it was blood or food. I slowly lifted myself up, stumbling and swaying some, as I was still really dizzy. I pulled the hose from my camelback and swished water around my mouth and spit it out. Then I sucked in water as fast as I could, trying desperately to rehydrate myself. It was then that I started looking around and realized that the first pile of vomit on the floor wasn’t from me, and I started to remember that I hadn’t come to this place alone. Tim.
Tim was gone. I looked around but saw no sign of him. I stood holding onto a pipe, as I was still pretty weak, and listened. I didn’t move and I held my breath, hoping I could hear him walking or calling for me or something. Nothing. Tim was gone.
It was totally dark and I pulled out my phone to look at the time. It warned me of low battery, “12:47! Holy fuck. Eight hours?” I said to myself, amazed that I had been passed out that long. I gathered my strength and walked outside, where it wasn’t so dark because of the freshly fallen snow. “Snow!” It was about two or three inches already but I knew if there was snow I could follow footprints. Tim couldn’t have been awake much longer than me, so there must have been snow on the ground. Even if it were to continue snowing, the footprints will have left clear impressions in the snow. I walked around all the doors but couldn’t find any footprints. “There’s no way he got up before it started snowing. Or else it just dumped those three inches in an hour.” That was when I saw footprints away from the building. They were about ten or fifteen feet from any door, but they were clear fresh footprints. Now I could find Tim.
I followed the footprints in the snow, stumbling along trying to keep my balance. Whatever it was that gassed us had left me extremely dizzy and I had trouble seeing straight. I would see a footprint turned to the left, but when I turned left it was turned the other way. I got myself totally turned around and lost in the facility. I always kept my eyes on footprints, but I had no idea where I was. The buildings were all close together and two storied, so I couldn’t see any tall buildings to get my bearings. I couldn’t read any of the signs either, everything was way too blurry, but I couldn’t tell if it was my eyesight or the driving snow. I called out everywhere I went, “Tim! TIM! TIM!” but I would never hear a response. Once I could have sworn I heard someone call my name, but when I stood to listen I heard nothing else. I called out and stood there for fifteen minutes waiting for another response but heard only the wind. I was stumbling through a dark maze of snow-covered brick. Everything looked the same. Most of the buildings were duplicates and the snow just made it worse. I knew I was never going to find Tim like that. I didn’t have proper snow gear on so my coat was starting to get wet. I couldn’t stay in the open any longer. I had to go indoors.
I entered into a large building with massive elevated steel drums that could each fit a car inside. I huddled in the corner, away from the wind whipping in through the door, and pulled out my phone to try and make a call. If I couldn’t find Tim soon, we would both be in big trouble. It was starting to get freezing cold and the snow was only getting thicker. I pressed the power button but the phone remained dark. I took out the battery and put it back in and tried again but without any luck. My phone was dead. I now realized I had two options; I could sit in this building over night and hope to find Tim in the morning, or I could go out and look for him now. I knew that if I waited, Tim could succumb to frostbite, hypothermia or worse, but if I went out there the same could happen to me. I was contemplating my decision and shaking snow off my coat when I first began hearing the noises.
At first I heard an engine fire up, but as I went to the door to look for a car, I heard a repetitive, rhythmic thud coming from one of the buildings nearby. I thought maybe a security guard had come in and was banging on a door looking for someone, but when I looked out, there was nothing. Only the flurrying snow. Looking out a window I heard a loud crash and a series of metal-on-metal noises, as if someone was slowly scraping a steel beam across concrete. “TIM!” I yelled, thinking it was Tim in one of the buildings trying to get attention, but I heard no response but the crescendo of noises coming from the buildings around me.
At that point I was determined to find out what was making all the noise. But as I was walking out the door, I heard voices, for the first time since I had blacked out. I stopped cold,
“Hey, what are you doing out here?”
“Just getting a smoke, what of it?”
“You can’t smoke here, you know that!”
“You’re not the fucking boss, are you?”
“No, but ‘the fucking boss’ is gonna bust your ass!”
“Yeah? I bet you wish he would bust your ass, huh? Hahaha.”
“No thanks, I’m not a faggot like you!”
“Hey! Don’t flick that over here! There’s powder all over—”
I felt the ground shake underneath me, I saw the windows of the building I was in rattle and shake and I collapsed onto the floor, the room spinning, as a massive BOOM echoed across the entire facility. My hearing went out and a single tone reverberated in my ears. I tried to stand but couldn’t stay up straight, and teetered and collapsed into the snow just outside the door. I looked up and saw a press house, perhaps the one Tim and I had explored earlier, bathed in light. Every window was intact, the walls looked fresh and clean and the machines almost shined with brand new brilliance. It was as if the building had never been touched by the decay of time, as if I was standing in front of it in 1941 after it was first completed, instead of 2014 when it is rotten and decaying. I heard a steady hum of electricity and the loud engines of machines roaring to life. The snow was gone and a bright light had bathed over the press house. Standing before the front door, next to the foot of one of the emergency slides, I saw two figures facing each other. I knew neither one was Tim, as they were both fairly short. I saw one figure cast its arm forward towards the other, flicking something from between its thumb and middle finger,
“Hey! Don’t flick that over here! There’s powder all over—”
And a bright light erupted from the scene, this time in total silence. My eyesight was totally bathed in a bright field of yellow and orange. I was completely blinded to anything other than that intense light that totally surrounded me. I felt myself spin, stumble and collapse to the ground, but I didn’t feel any pain. I didn’t feel any cold or heat; in fact I felt nothing as I fell backwards into a seemingly endless yellow void.
“So, that’s your story?”
“Yes, sir. I don’t know what else to tell you,”
“You know I’m not buying that bullshit,”
“And a judge ain’t gonna buy it either, so just tell me, what did you do with the body of your friend?”
“Nothing! I didn’t do anything to Tim!”
“Just tell me why? I mean that place sure is a hell of a spot to dump bodies, believe you me. You’re definitely not the first. But why kill him?”
“I didn’t kill him!”
The officer sat down in the chair across the table and looked him in the eye, “We found you ranting, raving and spouting all sorts of crazy babble in that place. We found a couple backhoes that had been turned on; we found a bulldozer running. You guys were fucking around in a restricted area and playing on some machines when one came on and accidentally killed him, right?”
“You didn’t want to get in trouble so you figured you could dump the body somewhere and it would all go away,”
“Listen, son, if it was an accident, you just need to tell me. I just want to find his body for the folks. You won’t get in a lot of trouble if you just tell me what I want to hear, and tell me where you dumped the body,”
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said shoving his face into his hands.
“Did he do something to you?”
“We found you screaming, ‘don’t flick that over here! Don’t flick that over here!”
“Did he do something to piss you off? What did you not want him to flick at you?”
He just stared at the table, his hands shaking and his lip quivering.
“Chris? Mr. Anderson?” the officer stood up in defeat and turned to the mirror behind him,
“Hey let’s get someone else in here, he’s not giving me anything. Someone give the district attorney a call and let him know he’s got a homicide case coming up.”
The police investigator left Chris alone in the interrogation room. His hands were clamped tightly together and his knuckles were turning white from the pressure. They shook excessively. His head was dropped low and he stared at the dull metal table just beneath his face, muttering endlessly to himself, “Don’t flick that over here. Don’t flick that over here. Don’t flick that over here. There’s powder all over. There’s powder all over. There’s powder all over.”
Disclaimer: Powder All Over is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the author.