Descending to Hell

It’s so cold and I can hardly see. It feels like it’s beginning to rain, so I wrap my arms tightly around my shivering body. How did I get here? I was asleep – dreaming of some wonderful  place, but now I am conscious – oh, too conscious and I’m wishing I were still in my bed.

My God, where am I? It’s dark, too dark to gauge anything. It seems stony but they are too big to be stones, rocks or boulders, perhaps. A glimmer in the darkness tells me that I am standing along side a lake. The moon is hidden behind a blanket of cloud, I can see it’s hazy silhouette travelling quickly beyond the greyness. When it breaks through the cloud maybe I will discern my surroundings. Until then I will wait here and just try to stay calm.

My eyes are beginning to adjust to the darkness and the cold is getting through. My skin is wet and goose bumps have completely taken over. I’m shaking, is it through cold or fear? I’m not certain maybe both – probably both. At last the moon is breaking the clouds. I need to take everything in quickly before I am once again shrouded in darkness. My surroundings seem monotone. I appear to be in some kind of quarry with a line of people in front of me. There could be five or six of us it’s hard to tell. I can’t make out their features. Even when they glance round at me I cannot discern any detail – they are merely silhouettes. We seem to be standing at the mouth of a cavern, a black hole in the rock face. I don’t know why or what we can possibly be waiting for?

Through my bare feet, I feel a rumbling. It’s getting stronger and louder. The noise is coming from the cave. Everyone is pulling forward. I try to break free but I can’t. I am in this queue whether I like it or not.

Something is emerging from the mouth of the cave. It’s silvery, metallic and shiny and it’s coming fast – now it’s slowing. It’s a … it looks like the car from a roller coaster. I can see it clearly now. It’s pewter and chrome with small black wheels. If I lean, can see the tracks, they end a few meters outside the cavern. The car has drawn to a halt. The queue pulls forward and although my actions are involuntary – I too, step forward.

Someone is getting in the car, a featureless figure. To the outside, it looks like he is going voluntarily but I am beginning to think differently. The bars have clamped him in. I hear his muffled cries as the car draws back inside the cave, and is gone.

I sense someone behind me. As I glance round, I see what I think is a man, I cannot be certain. He is another featureless silhouette and seems to be glancing around frantically as he tries to discern these strange surroundings. I cannot speak, but even if I could, there is nothing I can tell him.

It’s quiet apart from the faint sound of water drawing backwards and forwards over the lake’s gravel base. Once again, I try to pull away but cannot. The familiar rumbling is beginning to resonate beneath my feet. I hear it coming … I know at any moment the car will reappear. There it is, but it is empty and the bar, once again, raised. I crane my head to see. Something is being secreted from the wheels, something thick and dark, shining like treacle in the moonlight.

My pulse quickens as the next in line takes to the seat of the car. The bar comes down imprisoning him. The queue moves forward and the car disappears. I am getting closer. I feel heat coming from the mouth of the cave. Behind me, more and more people are joining the queue. Faceless shadows of the people they thought they were.

The empty car returns and the queue moves forward. The heat is intensifying the closer I get. The clouds have re-formed and once again we are in darkness. The empty car returns and the queue move forward. I can see the tracks more clearly now. They are covered in the blood and entrails of the car’s previous occupants. Panic is rising inside of me. I feel like I’m going to explode. The empty car returns and the queue move forward. Before me lies the mouth of the tunnel. Burning heat is radiating from the entrance. Sweat is pouring off me as I stare into the void. The empty car returns and the queue – I move forward.

I feel myself climbing into the hot metal car. I cannot help it – I cannot stop. The bar clamps me in so tightly I can’t move. The car begins to move. The heat is unbearable, I take one last look behind me, and the queue is moving forward.

Copyright J Lawrence 2012

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The Woman in Black rekindled my love of horror.

A few weeks ago I posted that I had just been down to London to see the fantastic stage show of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. I wanted to see it before the release of the new Hammer film starring Daniel Radcliffe and I definitely made the right decision. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the stage version, with its comedic value and audience gasping moments, the stage does have its limits. In my opinion film was nothing less than awesome. Boy did it make me jump. Okay so that’s just my opinion (for what it’s worth) and I’m sure there are people out there who wouldn’t agree, but that’s the kind of classic gothic chiller that I was weaned on.

I guess it’s because I grew up on Hammer horror films that I fell for the whole gothic charm and all of the contemporary horror films of today just don’t do it for me. I love period costume, smoggy Victorian streets and candlelit mansions – who wouldn’t. I love the idea of wandering through a misty graveyard in the dead of night, with the very real threat of a vampire rising from its coffin and eating you alive (well, not me but some other poor waif). Those are probably the reasons why I just can’t bring myself to watch the likes of Paranormal Activity. The spooks are not enough, I need the whole scene set for me.

My first real memory of what I considered a horror was the 1950’s film – Quatermass and the Pit. The film takes place on the London underground below the fictional Hobbs Lane. During excavation works the workmen stumble across what they think is an unexploded WWII bomb. The object turns out to be an alien aircraft that crash landed millions of years ago. The above houses on Hobbs Lane have constantly experienced poltergeist activity and other unexplained phenomenon.

One particular scene has always stayed with me. It probably looks quite poor now in comparison to all the special effects Hollywood throws at us today, but the scene when the holographic image of a martian devil floats above the city of London will always send a chill down my spine.

 I think I’ll go and rent Quatermass and the Pit now – it’s been a very long time since I last watched it.