My Name was Karl

by Daniel Mitton

My Name Was Karl - Daniel Mitton
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
Pages: 91

It was a forgotten place. A place with a dark history. Thousands of men had passed through its doors during the first three quarters of the twentieth century. Most had served their time and moved on. But not all had been so fortunate.

As the years ticked by and the seasons changed, the old prison moldered away, but one thing stayed constant.

In the deepest part of the night, on the darkest nights of the year—particularly in spring, if you were sensitive enough to hear them—sounds could be heard coming from the deepest bowels of the lowest level basement. All was not right. Something was waiting, alone in the darkness.

Waiting for someone to finally hear its sorrow.

When Petty Officer Ben Pierce decided to explore the long abandoned Naval Prison next to his decrepit barracks, the last thing he expected to find was a mystery.

Something is in the Prison. Or is it some one? Where is the weeping coming from? When Ben follows the sounds to an ice cold, but empty, cell, he isn’t sticking around to find out any more details.

But now he can’t get it out of his mind.

Excerpt:

It was midnight and Ben couldn’t sleep. The air was beyond nasty in the barracks building. Ben had the windows wide open, even if regulations said it was forbidden. The place was still foul; plus, it was cold as hell. The 26th of April should be warmer in his opinion. The first day of spring had been March 20th, well over a month ago, but rumor had it that the shipyard was still blanketed with white at that point due to an extremely heavy snowfall winter. Obviously, Maine didn’t get the memo about spring. There wasn’t any snow left on the ground, but the temperature outside was hovering at 43 degrees. Fucking brrr.

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He looked out the window at the open window he had spotted on the second floor of the abandoned prison. If he went now, in the dark, no one would be able to see him crawling up the side of the building like a Spiderman wanna-be. Being a typical twenty-two-year-old male, meaning he was still young enough to think he was invincible, he didn’t hesitate or give further thoughts to the intelligence of climbing into a decrepit old building at midnight on an icy cold, pitch black and moonless night.

Grabbing his trusty MagLite flashlight, his gloves, and his parka, he headed out into the night on his own personal adventure.

***

Ten minutes later, covered in dead leaves and scratches from his climb up the ivy, he entered the open window. Stepping further into the building, he turned his flashlight on and pointed it to the floor. There were a bunch of footprints in the dust, so obviously, he wasn’t the first one to think of this plan, or this entrance.

Moving into a more centralized part of the floor, Ben moved his flashlight’s beam around, noting the peeling paint, the eerie cobwebs, and the crumbling concrete. He looked around the wrecked interior of the building. There was a metal staircase leading down to the first floor of the creepy, dark, and eerily silent structure. He had noticed when he crawled in the window, that the building was so large and heavily built that he couldn’t even hear the music drifting across the river from the Portsmouth waterfront—music, which had been so loud when he was outside. In here it was like a tomb.

Ben descended the metal stairs to the ground level. It appeared to be more of the same from upstairs, rows of cells, with only rusted old bed frames sitting amidst the piles of fallen concrete and flaked paint. He would be willing to place a bet that all the flaking paint was lead based. It was no wonder the building had been left to rot, the clean-up of just the lead paint would probably cost a fortune.

Next to the stairs Ben had just descended was another flight going down a level to what was likely to be a subterranean basement. It smelled damp and moldy down there and an icy cold chill wafted up from the stairwell. That level would have to wait until the next time he came. Even though the outside temperature was in the low forties, the air coming up from the basement was far lower.

Damn. Look at the size of that spider web. Why do there have to be spiders? I don’t see any though—hopefully it's still too cold for them.

Just as Ben turned to go back up the stairs to the second floor, he heard a sound from the basement. It sounded like weeping. Could someone else be in the building, and maybe hurt? He turned back in trepidation to the staircase leading down into the dark pit.

I can’t just leave knowing someone might be here somewhere. I’m not that kind of guy. But damn, I don’t want to go down there.

Ben reached out hesitantly, and pulled the huge spider-web down, wiping the sticky residue on the rusted metal hand rail of the staircase. He started down the stairs, moving slow while his heart rate ramped up with each step he took. This set of stairs was in worse shape than the ones he had come down earlier. There was a lot more rubble, and at the bottom was a deep black hole that his flashlight didn’t even begin to brighten. He continued to creep down, one slow step at a time, until his foot hit the damp and slime covered concrete of the lower floor. He hesitantly panned his light to the right and the left, noting the damp, mildew covered walls in both directions. Now where had that noise come from?

He waited quietly for almost a minute, and had just decided he had been hearing things earlier, when the weeping started back up. It was coming from the long dark corridor to the left. This level of the prison looked like one of those creepy old asylums they always have in scary horror or slash movies. There were doorways with windows along both sides, but Ben didn’t pause or look into any of them because the weeping was coming from the very end of the hallway.

Near the end of the corridor Ben found the solitary confinement cells. Shining his light into one, he could see that it was roughly the size of a coffin, with a low ceiling and three walls surrounding the heavy cast iron door. Each cell was the same size. The prisoners wouldn’t have been able to stand straight inside, and if they were tall, they might not have been able to even lie down all the way.

Eerily, the weeping was coming from inside the third cell from the end.

Ben slowly crept closer, his flashlight trained on the partially open, rust encrusted metal door which was swung out into the corridor. He leaned forward, hot with nerves, despite the chill air, and slowly peered into the doorway, bringing his light up at the same time.

The weeping stopped instantly.

Ben’s light showed another empty, mildew covered solitary confinement cell. No one was in it.

That is so fucking creepy. What am I doing here? Got to get out. Now.

Ben lunged backwards, turning to run back down the corridor and up the stairs. He slipped around, catching his balance as he ran, sliding on the slimy floor with each step. He was terrified and ran as though demons from Hell were chasing him. He didn’t know what the weeping was, but damn if he was going to hang around to find out.

Within minutes Ben was crawling out the broken window on the vine covered exterior of the building. After narrowly avoiding falling head first to the pavement below, he rushed across the parking lot. Within a couple more minutes he was safely ensconced in his room in Barracks 191. The windows were shut tight and locked, the blinds were drawn, and every light was on, making the room as bright as possible. Ben huddled in the corner with a blanket.

What the fuck was that? He asked himself as he shivered.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Daniel Mitton is not a statistic. When the doctors broke the news to him that he would be dead by the end of 2013 from brain cancer, he scoffed at them. He has proven them incorrect, and continues to prove them more incorrect every day.

He is now pursuing his lifelong dream of telling other people his stories in writing. His overactive imagination used to get him in trouble. It will be interesting to see what happens this time.

My Name Was Karl is his first self-published work, but he already has two other books in a queue somewhere at a publisher.

Daniel was born and raised in northern New Hampshire, but now lives in sunny Southwest Florida with his husband of nearly twenty-eight years. He totally doesn’t get why some people complain it is too hot in Florida!