Trespassers Will Be Eaten
The football hit the tin sign pretty hard, causing a loud hollow sound and a crude bump on its surface. I went to fetch the ball, and lifted my head up to read its proclamation for the first time ever.
“TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN,” it read in bold red letters on an off-white background soiled by dirt and rust.
I was ten years old then. We had just moved to the neighborhood, and that was my first encounter with the sign. It was sitting on a big wire fence gate outside a big holding. In the middle of it there stood a weird, mysterious, tall, windowless building; a big white block. Nothing on the outside. It looked like a colossal brick.
I asked the other kids about the place, and our game immediately ended, and everybody went home. Next day I asked the teachers at school, and later my parents at home, the lady at the grocery store, and many others, but I never got an answer. Everyone refused to acknowledge my question like it was never uttered. One night my mother came to my room, woke me up and whispered to my ears, and she made me promise that I would never go near the place. I gave her my word and went back to sleep. We never talked about it again.
Several years later, I was on my way to a job interview. My sole printed copy of my CV escaped my hands and a strong breeze carried it straight to the front yard of that mysterious place, while I chased it like an idiot. Sign or no sign, I didn’t care, I climbed over the fence, destined to get back the precious piece of paper than could earn me a paycheck the following month. Although I had spotted it on the ground before, the document was nowhere to be seen when I got to the other side.
I was on the grounds the sign was protecting, and nothing had happened to me. Everything was peaceful and quiet, and nothing threatened my well being. I felt compelled to explore the place, so I took a few steps ahead, and I kept on going until I reached the building.
I went around it a couple of times. There seemed to be no way in, but when I felt the walls with my hands I noticed an imperfection on one of its four sides. I gave it a little push, and a door opened. It was pitch black inside, I could not see a thing. Part of me wanted to run away and never look back, but my curiosity was eating me up. I had to know more about this place’s existence.
I took a couple of steps and then I whispered, “hello...” My voice echoed through the walls, and vanished as it went up. It was a hollow building, there was nothing in there. After a few more steps, it felt like the floor suddenly disappeared and I was falling on a slippery slide. On the way down I was thinking about wild animals. Lions, tigers, alligators, bears, pythons; I though that they would be waiting on the other side of the slide to eat me, and I regretted the minute I ever saw that godawful place.
At the end of my ride a round hatch opened and I went through it. It lead to a brightly lit place, a big, immaculately clean room with white walls and a white shiny floor. A slim guy in his early fifties stood there smiling, with his hands behind his back, like he had been waiting for me to arrive. He was dressed in a black turtleneck, white creased pants and white shoes. He had round spectacles on, and his short grey hair was very well trimmed, like he had just had his haircut. He looked like either the world’s smartest businessman or its biggest pervert.
“Hello. How was your ride?” he asked through his smiling, clean white teeth. Then I heard a growl coming from another person, and I went out like a light.
I’m not sure how much time had passed when I regained my senses. I was feeling drugged, dizzy and in pain. We were in another room, a warmer one, with its walls and floors covered in wood, and embellished with old framed pictures of people and families, shelves which carried expensive china and knickknacks. There was a huge dinner table with many seats, but only one person was sitting. It was the guy who had greeted me before, still smiling, with a glass half full of red wine next to him, and the tableware all set up.
A deformed, hunchbacked, atrocious human, dressed in rags and mumbling nonsensical sounds, entered the room, carrying a big platter with a silver cover. He served the table from the left of the diner’s side, removed the cover from the big dish and let an incredible meaty smell fill the room. He exited, after bowing a little and mumbling some more.
I tried to compose myself and put together a few words in all my dizziness. I asked where I was, who he was and what did he want from me, as he was carving the big chunk of meat in front of him, smiling back at me.
“You people, and your prying. Always with a question troubling your petty minds,” he said playfully.
My pain was getting worse, until it became excruciating in very little time. I looked down. The seat that I had been sitting was a wheelchair, and my left foot from the knee down was missing.
In shock, I felt my insides curling up into a ball, and I threw up on myself. I thought that I was going to faint, but a deafening alarm went on and kept me up.
The ugly creature stormed the room. His grotesque face looked excited, and he was repeating the same word, over and over again.
The dining man wiped his mouth and hands with a napkin and got up in a hurry.
“Twice in a day,” he said. “We haven’t had two of you in a day since… I think it was 1996,” he said to me, winking and with that annoying smile still imprinted on his mug.
From the door that they left open behind them, I could see that the next room was the bright white one were I had arrived. A big round door was waiting open on the opposite wall, absolute dark behind it, and the guy waited there patiently with his hands behind his back. There was a big thumping sound. Someone new had fallen through the slide, and I heard the guy voicing his salute again.
“Hello. How was your ride?”
It was the second time I lost consciousness after hearing that phrase. The fear and the pain that I was feeling had taken over, and my body couldn’t handle it anymore. A young woman woke me up, shaking my shoulders. She was a tall, athletic girl, probably in her mid-twenties like me, and if I had to guess, I’d say that she were blonde, although I couldn’t tell for sure because she was covered in blood from head to toe.
She told me that we were leaving, and helped me stand on my remaining foot, hop into the next room, where the previously unspoiled white was brutally violated with splatters and pools of vivid red blood. She carried me to the door where we both fell from, slipping on slime and almost falling a few times. She told me to wait there, that she would come back for me, and crawled into the black. I didn’t want to be left alone, but I was too weak to speak. I heard her grunt, climbing her way back up where we came from, until I couldn’t hear her anymore. I sat there, taking in the smell of fresh blood and the dead silence.
A big rock tied to a thick rope fell down after a while, and I heard the woman shouting from far up, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. I figured it out though. I hanged on to the rope and used all my might to climb, while she pulled me up from the other end. We got out.
After much time and struggle, we were on the street, me crawling like a wounded worm, and the girl covered in dried blood screaming her guts out. We heard sirens. A police car and an ambulance came and took care of us. Me and her held hands as the ambulance rode us to the hospital. I passed out looking at her eyes, and hearing her reassuring words, that we were going to be okay. It was the last time I ever saw her.
At the hospital bed, I was all cleaned up and taken good care of, with my family by my side. A team of police men comprised of two detectives and a couple of uniforms came and took my statement. I told nothing but the truth.
Next time I asked the doctor when I was going home, he did not acknowledge me. I asked my parents too and didn’t get a reply, just like how it went when I was asking about the sign. Several days later they dressed me up, put me in a wheelchair and drove me to a private mental institution. I’ve been on heavy medication ever since, lost in my own thoughts and everything is swell.
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