01 Feb The Chernobyl Disaster was a Cover up of something terrifying Part 2
“Oh college kids. What does the sign at the fence say? No Entry. What does this here say?” he pointed at the text sprayed across the main door. “No Fucking Entry. You think we just put these up because we don’t have anything better to do, like you? You really have nothing else to do but to snoop around things you have no business in!” he sighed, “Now look what happened look what you did – what your awesome idea brought you!” Moroz yelled me after I finished explaining what happened.
First thing he did when he arrived was to check the service tunnel and make sure it is closed. He didn’t even talk to me, he just ran there and made sure it is sealed and locked. He was an average-looking guy probably in his mid-50s, but I think people would say that he looked older than he really was.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“You have no idea,” he said, stood up and walked to his car.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to save your friend. And you’re coming with me.”
“You will do everything exactly as I say and nothing else. Stay quiet. Try not to exhaust yourself. The air is not circulating and you’ll burn all the oxygen and suffocate. You will stay tethered to me by this line.” He lifted what looked like a small retractable winch. “When I turn off my light you will do the same immediately and you won’t move.” He continued and pulled out a shotgun from the car’s trunk.
“Are these going to help?” I asked.
“To an extent. But don’t use it unless I tell you to.” He said and handed me a pistol.
“Last thing. Do you know how ozone smells?” He asked and I nodded. “Good. If you smell ozone, run.”
I started considering whether this was a good idea when he chained and locked the door from the inside with a massive padlock. “This is the only way we can keep them from getting out” he said when he noticed me watching him. Hell of course this was a bad idea. Worst one I’ve ever had. So let me rephrase, I was contemplating whether I would ever see that padlock open ever again.
“Am I not going to get a key?” I asked, watching him close it with a loud click.
“Sorry, I have just one. But don’t worry, I’m right here,” he said, sliding his hand across the line that we were connected through.
The tether reeled back and forth between us as we walked through the service tunnel. It gave me some sense of security – I could be sure not to get lost and separated from the only other person nearby. It created a sort of a weird rhythm with the diesel fuel that sloshed around in the large canisters we carried. Our first stop would be the generator room on the other side of the main entry hall.
The generator rattled and hummed as it slowly started spinning up.
“Did you see it?” Moroz asked.
“We have some time for talking until it turns on. Did you get a look at what took your friend, when it happened?”
“No,” I answered.
“What is this place?” I asked again.
He stared into the air, sighed and explained: “It was originally a military stockpile in the 50s. In late 70s it was then repurposed into a research site. Anything that was too crazy for public to know about it, they’ve done it here. And it was some fucked up stuff sometimes. Then… they had this project about teleportation. They even rebuilt half of the facility to house it. And that’s when it all went to shit.”
“How do you know all this?” I asked.
“I used to work here,” he said.
“So, what are these things?” I asked.
“They are…” he started but then brushed off. “I don’t know. I was just an assistant.”
“Is there someone who knows?”
“Not anymore. Everyone who knew, well, let’s say they never left this place.”
“And how did you get out?”
The engine clutch engaged with a click and the generator finally came to life.
“I didn’t. I uh, I took a sick day when it happened.”
The lights turned on for a brief moment and then shut down again as a circuit breaker popped.
“That’s okay. We can’t spare the power for the lights. We’ll need it someplace else. You’ll see.” Moroz said.
Whatever happened here, whatever killed all the people down here and god knows how it was all connected with the Chernobyl disaster, he wasn’t here. He took a sick day. He took a fucking sick day.
“Come on kid, let’s go.”
We were at the lab security checkpoint that me and Alex closed earlier during our escape.
“Remember, stay as quiet as you can now,” Moroz told me and we slowly opened the blast door.
To our surprise, light blinded us immediately, something shining right at us. I took a step back while my eyes adjusted to the light and then I finally saw the source of the light.
Alexei’s flashlight. I went to pick it up, but Moroz quickly stopped me with his arm and pointed into the blackness of the corridor in front of us. For a moment we stood there, silent, and then I though I heard something in the distance. Moroz immediately turned off his headlamp and gestured to me to do the same while he went to crouch in the corner. I followed and turned off my light too, but we were still lit up. Alex’s light was still on, illuminating the room. Moroz quietly cursed, quickly went to grab the flashlight and then it was dark. Completely pitch black dark.
People say that when you’re under stress, and you lose one of your senses, the other ones heighten to compensate. It’s true. Or maybe it was just getting closer. It doesn’t matter. I heard something drop to the ground with a muffled splat. Then a few irregular footsteps. Not like footsteps of someone walking with a pair of shoes. It was like someone walking barefoot. Flesh on concrete. And they were getting closer.
I instinctively grabbed the gun Moroz gave me, hoping I wouldn’t need to use it. It was now so close that I could hear a slow, raspy breathing. I think I even felt a cold breeze on my face. Inhale, and exhale. In and out. I don’t want to think about how close it was.
Then something slammed into a wall down the way we came from, with a crash and the sound of glass and plastic breaking. Whatever thing was there with us turned and quickly followed it. I thought that it’s gone and I’m safe.
Out of nowhere, suddenly a hand brushed against me.
I almost jumped and screamed but the hand quickly moved and grabbed my mouth, preventing me from making a sound. Another hand grabbed my gun.
“It’s me. Follow me. Slowly,” a voice whispered into my ear.
We entered a room on the side and I heard a door close silently. We waited for a while and then we turned our lights back on.
“Fuck. Don’t ever do that again.” I told him.
But he wasn’t listening. He was looking at droplets of a thick, black fluid on the floor at the other side of the room.
“What… what is that? I asked.
“Blood. At least it was, once.” Moroz answered and followed the trail.
We traced it across a few rooms until we stopped in a large chemical lab. There was something on the ground, in a puddle of the black liquid. It was Alex’s knife. There was some red liquid too. I could tell what it was without a doubt. Fresh blood. A trail of a few droplets went in the opposite direction than the black liquid.
“Look! He must have gotten away.” I whispered.
“I doubt that. If we want to find him, we have to go to level -4.”
He just glanced at the knife and then acted like he didn’t see anything.
“Look! This is his knife. They must have fought here, and he went that way,” I pointed in the direction where the blood trail went, “He must be hurt.”
“That’s one more reason for us to not waste time. Let’s go.”
He stepped off back into the central corridor. I wanted to stay and search for Alex, but the tether that connected us wouldn’t allow that, so I obliged and followed. Initially.
“Moroz, please tell me what is going on. How do you know he’s not here?”
“Because I know! Just shut up! We don’t have time to argue. “
We weren’t whispering anymore.
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me why you are so sure.” I insisted.
“Because he’s dead!”
“What? But you said…”
“Come on, let’s go! This is not a place where we want to stay! We have to get down to level -4.” Moroz cut me off.
No. I trusted him at first, because he was the only one who could help me and help Alex. That was the only thing I focused my mind on – saving Alex. Only now I was realizing what I had gotten into, how blind and how stupid I was. He wasn’t just an assistant as he claimed and we weren’t here to save Alex.
I started unbuckling my end of the tether.
“What the fuck are you doing?!” He asked, raising his voice.
“I’m going out. Give me the key to the padlock.” I demanded.
“No. I can’t do that.” He said, with agitation in his voice.
I had no choice. I raised my gun at him.
“Give me the key.” I demanded again.
“You really think I would give you a working gun? You’re not going anywhere.” He said and pointed his shotgun at me.
I pulled the trigger, but there was only a click. Fuck.
“Why are we here?! Why didn’t you call your friends, your superiors or whatever to take care of this but you have to hold me at gunpoint?
“Let’s say we don’t share the same goals anymore. But have no doubt, they are coming here, but not with guns. With concrete. They are going to seal this place up for good. And we have to be quick if we want to be out by the time that happens.”
“Why can’t you just please let me leave now?” I asked, my voice shaking.
“Because it’s a two-man job,” he said and looked me in the eyes.
“There are things much more important than you, me, or your friend.”
I couldn’t deny that. Maybe he was right, but I couldn’t do this. And I didn’t understand anything.
“Who are you?!” I asked him, returning his gaze.
But then I looked away. Something caught my attention. Movement behind Moroz.
It was … it was a creature, crawling across the ceiling towards us. Its body vaguely looked like a human, but its skin was pale, and stretched tight over its thin bones. Its veins were visible through the skin, filled with the same black fluid we found earlier. It had no hair and only holes where its nose and ears used to be. Its eyes were bloodshot locked in a blank stare.
We escaped it before, but our argument brought it back. It was too late to run now.
Moroz noticed my stare, but he wasn’t fast enough. The creature lunged at him, at the same time he turned around and fired a shot, but missed and the thing knocked him to the ground.
That shot was deafening in such a tight space. I heard only ringing in my ears, my eyes were slightly blinded by the muzzle flash. In the confusion, I turned to run, but I forgot that I was still tethered to Moroz.
After the line was completely reeled out, it jammed, stopping me right in my track and sending me falling to the ground. I looked back and saw that the creature was now looking at me. Moroz was lying there on the ground. I must have pulled it off him by yanking on the tether and now it would come to make sure it won’t happen again.
I finally managed to disconnect the tether and threw the useless pistol at the creature, hitting its head. It briefly stumbled and I ran to the only place that quickly came to my mind. I barricaded myself in a storage room adjacent to the large chem lab, blocked the door with a shelf. The creature spent a minute trying to get in, but then gave up and left, presumably to finish off Moroz.
And I stayed there, just sitting in the corner, too scared to do anything. I don’t know how much time had passed, but it was starting to get hard to breathe. For a time, I thought I would just stay there, and end it all, peacefully, instead of a violent death that was likely waiting for me at the other side of the door.
But then, I heard a voice call my name. Alex’s voice.
“Alex! Is that you?” I called back.
“Oh, thank god! I thought I would die here. You came back!” he answered.
I went to open the door, but then changed my mind.
“How did you find me?” I asked.
“I was hiding too, but then I heard gunshots, and I came here to look. Dimitri, please come out, we have to get out of here.”
I sat down again. Maybe it was really him. But what if it wasn’t? I didn’t want to find out.
“No! He said you were dead! I saw blood too. No it isn’t you! It can’t be!”
“What? I don’t … what are you talking about Dimitri? One of those things got me pretty good, but I’m alive. Dimitri, just please come out and let’s get out of here!” he pleaded.
I have decided. I wouldn’t open the door. But then I changed my mind once again, after what he said.
“Dimitri, do you remember the cherry tree? I knew you would come back.”
We used to play at this huge cherry tree when we were kids. We used to climb it all the time but one day, I had this idea to make a bet. Whoever gets the highest, wins. I got almost to the top, but then I realized how bad an idea this was. The branches under me were too thin, and I knew they could break under my weight anytime. But Alex didn’t want to lose. He tried to climb even higher than me. And then the twig he was standing on broke and he fell. Luckily, he landed in a pile of fallen leaves and only broke his leg. He could have killed himself if he fell on solid ground. And it was my fault. I almost got him killed, because of a stupid bet.
We decided not to tell anyone how it happened, because we were both afraid of getting into trouble. But I felt guilty for it for the rest of my life.
There was no way how he could know about the cherry tree if it wasn’t him.
I opened the door and there he was. He looked terrible, bruises and scrapes all over. And he had a blood-stained torn piece of shirt wrapped around his left hand.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“I’ve been better. Let’s just get out of here,” he replied.
“That’s not going to be that easy,” I said.
I told him what happened until now and that the door was locked. Only Moroz had the key and he was either dead or gone.
“There were some tools and supplies up there right? Maybe we can find something to cut the chain,” Alex said, and we decided to try it. It was better than searching for Moroz’s key after all.
We found his shotgun, stained with blood, both his and the creature’s and immediately felt safer. We also picked up our packs that we dropped earlier. Luckily, all of our gear was still there. We carefully walked back to the main hall, but I felt that something was watching us all along.
We saw some few old saws and files next to the main door. We grabbed all we could, but we weren’t alone. The inhabitants finally decided to make their move.
One of the thin creatures crawled out of the stairwell. I aimed, and fired. It fell down from the ceiling, twitching like a dying insect. But it didn’t matter, because it wasn’t alone. Another one crawled out. Then another. And another. We ran to the air pump room and blocked the door by jamming a large saw between the handles.
We worked quick, because we knew that it was only a matter of time until they got through. Or come through the vents. Alex couldn’t operate the shotgun with his hurt hand, so he offered to do the cutting while I stood guard, ready to kill anything that would come out of the vents. It was working, but it was too slow. Way too slow. Alex barely got through a few millimeters when I thought that the door would break already.
They were pounding on it, slamming into it and I saw it rattle in its hinges. I thought that they would get through any moment now, … and then they stopped.
I heard them run away.
I coughed when a sharp odor hit my nose.
“Fuck, what is that?” Alex asked.
“Ozone,” I answered.