The first two stories had no windows. We stood in the open doorway to the emergency wing, seeing nothing but piles of debris before the falloff to total darkness ten feet in front of us. Droplets from a storm thirty minutes prior echoing through a maze of halls and long-empty rooms somehow sounded completely deafening. Thank you, overactive imagination.
As a kid I was terrified of things I couldn’t see, and in some ways that hasn’t changed. Especially when I’m wandering through an abandoned and quarantined nine-story hospital.
Thank God Mike had been here before and knew his way to the staircase, because I was not about to go on the hunt through the emergency wing with an iPhone flashlight. With my sense of direction, I’d probably end up in the basement. Three minutes, two staircases, and a few “what the fuck was that?”s later, we found daylight.
We climbed every floor. Each consisted of blown out walls, cigarette butts, tons of graffiti, open elevator shafts and evidence of a place that used to be full of families and prayer and grief and celebrations.
Our time on the roof made all the terror (even taking a wrong turn on the bottom floor on our way out) worth it. The views, the puddled reflections, the shattered glass and the most colorful graffiti we’d seen all day.
We made it all the way down and back into fresh air by sunset. My Toms have seen better days, but I think I’ve caught the abandoned building bug. I’m ready for more.