We all grow up hearing the stories of things that go bump in the night. The man with the hook for a hand, Bloody Mary, the list goes on. We grow up hearing these stories and putting them to the back of our minds. We use our rationale to weed out what is true and what is just folklore. I used to think the same way, until I went… there…

Before I go any further, I’d like to note that we had a very different kind of hobby we enjoyed. We would research places on the internet that were abandoned or, hell, if we were lucky, possibly haunted, and we would explore them. We always had a great thrill exploring the unknown, looking into places that society had left behind to rot. Now, returning to my story…

I was 18 at the time, and I was with my two friends, Erik and Paul. It was a Saturday night, and we decided to go on one of our adventures. I told my friends about a place we didn’t explore yet. A few towns over, there was this abandoned factory. Strangely, even with the amount of research I put into this place, I could not find a single thing about its history besides the address. There was no information on what it used to be, no ghost stories, no records, absolutely nothing. This seemed strange but cool; it kind of gave me the thought of possibly uncovering some interesting information myself.

We all piled up into my car and followed the GPS to the destination. The GPS said that the building was off the road a ways. We looked out the window and saw nothing but trees. I assumed the factory was deep in the woods, but this didn’t faze any of us, because we were so used to exploring the darkest and creepiest parts of the world. As we started to cut through the trees, I shined my flashlight a ways, and found the factory up ahead…

It was huge, overgrown with trees and foliage. It must have been about three stories high, and all of the windows were either busted or boarded. We hit the jack pot. The three of us proceeded into the derelict structure and put on our respirators. Safety first, right? There was junk everywhere: cans, old motors, trinkets of a different era way before mine. As we found more items, we came to the conclusion that this used to be some sort of automotive factory. As we continued deeper into the building, I noticed something felt wrong. Like a nauseating feeling of wrongness just swept my body like a wave. I stopped for a moment, and Erik asked, “What’s wrong?” Not wanting to sound like a pussy, I just waved him off, and we kept walking.

Towards the center of the building, there was a set of stairs. This place was creepy enough, without a staircase that only goes down. I'd never felt this feeling before, but I actually didn’t want to go down there. I shined my light down the steps and stared for a moment. All there was, was silence.

“Come on, you guys are acting like a bunch of fuckin' pussies,” I remember Paul saying. He led first, me and Erik followed close. We finally hit the bottom, and to my unnerving surprise, there was the arm of a mannequin laying on the ground. I thought to myself, What would something like this be doing in here? The feeling instantly got worse. We cautiously scanned the room with our lights, the beams illuminating the dust, or whatever was in the air. With the room illuminated by our flashlights, it was obvious that there really wasn’t anything amazing down here, just more motors and junk. We were about to turn around and head back up, until I noticed something behind what appeared to be a large boiler, so I walked up to it, and it was a door. It was very short - about half my height - and was covered in rust. I slowly opened the door and stepped inside.

Without thinking, I walked forward, intrigued, yet horrified. I turned around and shined my light back into the room I came from, and my friends were missing. The door then shut…there was no handle…no way out! I was terrified. I couldn’t even think straight. I banged on the door, I screamed for my friends, but nothing happened. I turned around and shined my light. What I found was an old, rusted ladder, leading down into a dark hole. Clearly, there was nothing I could do but go down, and hope there was a way out. A horrible smell came from the hole. I proceeded down the ladder, and I noticed about every ten feet, the brick shaft I was descending would look more decrepit and dirty than it initially was. It seemed unnatural, but then I finally hit the bottom. The smell got progressively worse.

The floor was flooded up to my ankles in murky water. I shined my light forward, and my beam didn’t hit the end of the room. It was huge. I had to be dreaming, because how could this be under an automotive factory? The deeper I moved into the room, the more mannequin parts I saw: heads, arms, legs, everything. Some had red liquid, dripping from the eyes and mouths. Even deeper, there were mannequins that were standing, some missing arms and heads. They got more frequent as I kept walking. As I walked even deeper, there were more intact mannequins, the red liquid still dripping from the faces. I began to panic. The more mannequins I passed, the closer they got... they just kept closing in on me. I eventually hit a wall, where there was a rusted door. Without thinking, I burst through the door and ended up outside the factory.

I was standing behind the building. Before I could turn around to see what happened, the door was already shut. I didn't even attempt to second guess what I saw by opening the door. I just wanted to go home... I walked back to my car and drove off. I was so drained that I wasn't even concerned about my friends; they probably called for a ride. I noticed that I hadn't seen many cars. I knew it was late, but... actually, I didn't see one car the entire ride back...

I arrived home.

There were no cars in the driveway. This was very odd, because both of my parents never stay out late. It was still pouring rain. I ran to the porch to avoid getting soaked. As I went to turn the knob, I noticed it was also unlocked. I got that nauseating feeling I had at the factory. I needed sleep. I cautiously entered the house, dropped my gear and climbed up the steps. I went to flip on the lights, but nothing happened. The storm probably blew the power out.

I walked to my parents' room; the door was slightly ajar. It slowly opened with a loud, creaking noise. I shined my flashlight in the room and saw two mannequins standing behind their bed. These ones were different though. They both had large, sinister-looking smiles running across their faces. Mannequins don't look like that... I panicked. I ran for my room and slammed the door. My heart was pounding, and I began to sweat.

I heard my closet door open...

I turned around and felt my heart sink to my stomach.

I saw a mannequin standing in my closet. It had Erik's skin stretched over the white body, blood dripping, his face crudely pinned to the mannequin's head. There were dark holes where his eyes and mouth would have been.

The head turned towards me and said in Erik's voice, "Curiosity killed the cat." His mouth moved as he uttered the words. The limbs also began to rotate, ripping the flesh as it did so.

I then heard a loud ringing in my ear. My head was pounding, and I felt the nausea return.

I threw up and blacked out….

I woke up to the sight of my two friends' faces. We were still in the basement of the factory.

“Whoa, easy man!" Erik said. "You blacked out. Looks like you hit your head pretty hard.”

I eventually sat up, and began to tell them about the room behind the boiler, the mannequins and my confrontation with the one wearing Erik's skin.

They were confused, so I got up and walked behind the large boiler to show them the door.

It was gone.

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