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The Address From a Letter

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4 days before the expedition

Jake had sent out a tweet the day before asking if anyone has any information on Warren Niales. He didn’t specify why. The following morning Jake was sitting at a desk alone in a hotel room when he had received a phone call from a private number. When he answered the phone, a man’s voice on the other end said he believes Warren Niales is still alive. Jake didn’t recognize the voice. At the same time Jake looked at his laptop screen. He noticed he received an email from an unknown address with no text or subject and around 200 photos. Jake immediately viewed the photos. They all appeared to be of the same man never being in the centre of the picture or looking at the camera. The man on the phone said, “I’ve compiled all the photos.”

Jake examined the images quickly. The man in the photos was white, appeared to be at least seventy years old, but could’ve been ninety. It was hard to tell his age.Yet the photos span from the 1960s to just a few months ago. The person in the photographs was always wearing similar attire. A trench coat, a black hat, or a long black coat and a dark coloured hat.

Jake asked, “What makes you think this is Warren Niales?”

The man said “Whoever this is started appearing in these photographs shortly after Niales’ disappearance, is around the same age Niales was at that time. For Niales to get by without people knowing who he is was to disappear.”

Jake asked “Well, do the photos of this man look like photos of Niales?”

That’s when the man said “What do you mean? There are no photos of Niales.”

Jake squinted his eyebrows and asked what the guy meant by this.

The response given was “I’ve searched everywhere, there’s nothing.”

As the man said this Jake briefly searched the internet in disbelief only to come to the same conclusion.

Jake then asked, “Where can I find Niales?”

“How should I know? All these locations seem so various, but they all seem to be from in the province. You’d be lucky, or I would say unlucky to find him.”

“Why is that?”

The man chuckled and hung up. Jake inspected the photos further. In every photo the man had his hands in the pockets of his coat and his eyes were narrowed. In more than one of the photos different people can be seen looking at him. They all had a grave look on their faces.

3 days before the expedition

6:17 pm

After reviewing what happened last week, there were still just too many unanswered questions. Disappearances happen, but this one fits with the more abnormal ones that have occurred throughout history.

XK laughed and said, “It still doesn’t make any fucking sense,” Even inside, he wore a thick black neck warmer that also covered his face from the nose down. Sometimes, it was hard to tell his facial expressions just by his eyes.

Asher said, “I thought we might have found something we missed,”

“I’ve been to many similar places in the past and the worst part is that it is just dead silent and pitch black. You never find anything. I guess that’s for the better. Definitely better than finding a hostile person there,”

Chloe said “It’s not mentioned in the article, but a few years a back there was man around ninety years old who claimed to work for Niales way back when. He said there was a hospital or laboratory or something I can’t remember, but something like that Niales owned in his house apparently. He said the place burned down in a fire in the 50s where he and many other workers nearly escaped. He also said the fire was not an accident.”

Asher replied “Yeah, I think there’s several stories like that from former workers”

Jake said “There was also one about a lady who said her husband was invited to Warren Niales’ house to have dinner with him and the guy was never seen again”

Mark said “I don’t understand how there’s like nothing else to that story”

Alex agreed “Yeah, like there would’ve been some investigation and this was prior to the bank finding that Niales’ address was fake. The police would’ve went to his house right away and realized there was no house. The wife also claims her husband made it to Niales’ house. She doesn’t explain how she knew that.”

Kyle said “Maybe they had a phone call and he said he was at Niales’ place and maybe the police investigation was shady’

“We’ll the other accounts from former workers don’t add up either one guy said it burned down, others said it’s still there, yet none can give an address this sounds pretty important I’m sure someone at the government would’ve got them to give the address”

Chloe said “Maybe they did”

Everyone paused for moment considering that.

Asher said “Look, we’ll find that out when we get there. I’m sure if the government has been to the place already and it contains information they don’t want us knowing the whole place would be covered in new barbed wire face and security. I know there wasn’t a fence on the Google Earth pictures but I’m thinking it might not pick up on there.”

Some of them nodded in agreement. Others said nothing.

He added “It wouldn’t show a 3d render of the ground view in that area either.”

Chloe said “There is extensive secrecy around Niales and his work, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is fenced off with security.”

XK spoke “Regardless of what happens we got to know that exit like the back of hand” Let’s not get in through a way we can’t get back out through that’s just stupid”

They all agreed.

He continued “It’s unlikely that the main doors will be open usually places like this are sealed. We might find a broken window or something and that’ll have to be our entrance. It could take up to 20 minutes for us to find an entrance. We spend I’d said 2 hours inside, no reason to be in there for longer than that and then we leave. On Friday from when we leave for the expedition to the time we get back I’d say that’s 7 hours in the worst case scenario. So that’s pretty good”

Everyone except Jake had nodded or said yeah, so all the eyes were on him”

He spoke “That’s fine I guess, but I feel like were not prepared for the possibility of what could be there. I know Alex doesn’t buy any of it but like there’s no cell service and stuff if something happens what would we do?”

Asher said, “I brought flares and a flare gun in case we do need to reach for help I’ll hand out the flares to everyone when we arrive at the location.”

Jake still looked unsure but nodded once.

One day before the expedition


After two days of driving, they checked into a hotel. It was a Thursday night, and they were around 2 hours away from the destination now. This was the closest hotel to the address. While checking in, the old lady at the front desk went through the small talk procedure and of course came the question as to what they were doing here. Kyle had explained to her and even told her a little more than he should have. Her face became grave as she said

“You’re at the edge of the world up there. There’s nothing for days.”

This only became more prominent later on. There was something so eerie about the lack of humans or signs that they were here. It was a part of the world that happened to still remain untouched for most of time.

Kyle asked “You sound like something’s wrong”

“I don’t know. I’ve lived here all my life and I know everyone here and never did I hear of anyone going further up north for at least 60 years. I can’t see why anyone would there’s nothing there.”

“Did people used to go there?”

“I don’t think so.”

“It’s really important that you tell us.”

“I really don’t think so”

“Have you ever heard of a man named Warren Niales?”

Chloe opened her mouth, but she decided not to say anything fearing it might draw more suspicion.

“Of course. The strange doctor.”

“Do you remember if you knew anyone that worked for him?”

Sounding confused she said, “No I don’t think I knew anyone that did.”

“Please don’t lie to us”

“I swear on my life”

It didn’t sound like she was lying.

“Thank you”

After getting to their room, Mark was reviewing the route and location on Google Maps on his laptop. It really was in the middle of nowhere. The place was barely visible on Google Earth. All that could be made out was some large brown square among all the trees. At least it indicated that there was something there. There was no 3D model of the house or even anywhere nearby in the area. No other structure could be seen for miles around it; there was only tons of natural land. Mark remembered that Kyle took some geography courses at his university and because of that knew some websites that might be helpful for the expedition. Kyle showed them several websites that had aerial imagery farther back than Google Earth goes. The farthest back the imagery goes was to 1932. Although the quality was poor, there definitely was a large building on the property. For some reason, the aerial imagery has no record of the years after 1932 all the way to 1975. By 1975, you could still see the building, but the driveway and everything else around was already very overgrown. However, the vegetation mostly looked unnatural. As if someone had planted them there. The driveway was even impossible to make out where it once was by this point. The years after to the present had no notable changes. Mark closed the laptop and shut off the lamp next to the bed. “Something about this place is too odd” he thought “who knows what might be lurking on the inside and who is this Xander guy honestly he’s almost scarier than the place itself. Even in person he’s just so quiet. I don’t know, the way he’s quiet is just so eerie” Mark imagined XK having a hundred weapons on him ready to be used to end someone’s life in a second or less if necessary or not necessary. XK did stuff like this all the time, the more dangerous and anxiety-inducing adventures. Dangling his feet of the edge of a skyscraper was just a walk in a park. So was exploring an abandoned pitch-black Cold War bunker. So, it made sense that he would be doing the riskiest things and probably getting the best shots out of anyone from that.

Eventually, Mark fell asleep… and into a peculiar dream. He was in Niales’ house. He had never even been there before, yet somehow, he knew that it was Niales’ house. Mark appeared to be wandering around the house in the dark by himself aimlessly passing unnerving portraits of people on the walls and opening doors with bricks stacked behind them. For some reason Mark felt as if he was being followed—no somehow—he knew he was being followed. But by what? He didn’t want to find out. There was a door with an exit sign above it. Upon opening the door, Mark was just greeted with his reflection as if he were looking at it in water or some other liquid. However, for some reason he believed there was something better about this reflection than his real one. Heavy footsteps could be heard now somewhere in the distance. Mark opened a different door and this time instinctively locked it behind him. This room was different from the others. It was more memorable than how the others looked. For one, this room was bigger, much bigger. It was hard to tell since everything was dark, but for some reason it felt like it could be the size of a football stadium or even larger. All that was visible was this old spiral staircase that Mark was standing at the top of. Instinctively again, Mark had reached into his pocket to grab a rock to drop down into the abyss to determine how far down it went. It felt like at least a minute had passed before it hit the ground. After it fell, he began descending the staircase. A nauseating feeling started to build up in him, one that felt so real that it made him sit down on the steps and take a break. Further down the staircase became more and more unstable, and some steps were missing. After what seemed like hours, the staircase ended. At the bottom was a very long wooden plank that lead far into the dark. Mark started across the plank. Then all of a sudden, a pair of colossal sized eyes appeared out of the black glaring at Mark. After that he awoke breathing heavily. It made no sense. It didn’t make any sense, but at the same time it was somehow all crystal clear.

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