Friday, June 15, 2007

A Walk In the City of the Dead - Part 2

The Vaults were classified based on the level of paranormal activity as Low and High. Low means you see things that are not supposed to be there, people who walk into walls and disappear. You stand and experience a cold pocket, cold enough to freeze you. Then, what is High? Burns and scars on people, people being propelled by an unknown force, thrown around like pillows from one wall to another; that’s High.

Edinburgh was once described as one of the most crowded places of Europe. At one point, it became so crowded that it was banned for anyone to sleep on the streets of Edinburgh. Vaults were places in the olden days where poor people were forced to stay. Just back then, the wall around Edinburgh was built to protect the people from English invasions. People grew, but Edinburgh did not. Soon, the council ran out of space. The initial thought was to build upwards. There was no concept of reinforcement and light material like wood was used to build structures above existing structures. Ironically, in Edinburgh back then, the poorer you were, the higher up you stayed. That idea failed terrible as the structures gave way soon, causing damage to life and property. You could not go UPWARDS, could not expand OUTWARDS; the only option was DOWNWARDS!

We stood in the first Vault, which had very little light. The dim light was not to create a spooky atmosphere, but it was all that could be used. After all, there weren’t going to be special effects such as people coming from closets or sudden noises. It was the absolute horror that we stood in, voluntarily. For that matter, there were no closets, because if people could afford those, they would not be here. I was standing at the dead end of the room; the walls of the Vaults were barely a foot away from me. Just as the guide continued, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a sudden yellow light come and disappear on the opposite wall. Almost immediately, I felt my left shoulder freeze stone cold. I stood, but couldn’t help but turn my head leftwards, and saw two eyes stare right into mine. There was a woman standing to my left who looked stoned. My shoulder felt colder. I could barely feel my left shoulder and hand. Those eyes kept staring back at me and were prompting me to look behind my shoulder.

The guide spoke and the crowd murmured. There was fear and apprehension; an eerie atmosphere gripped the room. I dared and looked behind. I could only see the body; it was that of a man. He was standing behind us. The face seemed non-existent; he was unmoved. I grew colder and could no longer feel my left shoulder and hand. In horror and disbelief, I turned towards the guide. He spoke; and reminded us the consequences of these Vaults. He had warned us about the cold pockets; it was normal to experience them in this particular Vault. The best thing to do, he said, is to move two steps away immediately. People, who did not, often experienced frostbites!

There was sudden heavy breathing around me. I had moved away a few steps and grasped for breath myself. I quickly looked around my left. The woman and man were there, but they too had moved. But I could now feel my left hand and shoulder. The three, had experienced a cold pocket. Within a minute, we were back to normal.

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