After watching “The Amazing Race” on Sunday night, I open my email to receive a $100 surprise. I love surprises like that, they didn’t happen often. This payment is for an article I wrote a few years ago and I had to use a few different password combinations to figure out how to log onto the forgotten site. It now becomes a bookmarked site. It inspires me to find other articles I’d written and get my digital camera out and start taking pictures and earning moola. What a great combo, even though photo payment wasn’t high, it’s enough to motivate me to get in my car the next day and visit the local cemetery. Why? The lighting for one. Overcast, a common occurrence in Nadir, and the potential paranormal subject matter was another. Going by what I’d seen on cable TV, paranormal was hot. Of course mom didn’t have cable TV so I'm going by what I saw up until the end of January.
I put my camera in my purse and dress in my winter warmest to visit Nadir’s biggest boneyard -- Evergreen Cemetery. No one was clamoring to get into the place and there was mucho free parking. But what did I expect near the end of winter on a Monday? I mean, other than ghost hunters and people attending a funeral, who bothers visiting cemeteries?
The place is big enough for me to get lots of atmospheric photos as the day is typically overcast. I take some shots of these large marble walls filled with plastic flowers, flags, and streamers of various colors. Some of the walls have a place to see photos of the deceased. I’m saddened to see a man not much older than me posed happily on a beach with his large family. I wonder where it was and about the man who had died only last year.
After walking around and not seeing another living human being, the last person on earth scenario isn’t hard to imagine. I’m getting chillier by the minute and not wearing gloves isn’t helping my body temperature. Atop a small rise stands the mausoleum which is almost the size of the Admin building on the Warner Bros. lot—a place I’d been lucky enough to work in a few times about a decade ago. How long ago and faraway that famous studio seems given my current location.
Inside the mausoleum I notice two things: it’s deathly quiet and the vibes seem more ominous. I’m out of the cold and the wind, but what is inside is still. Fetid. And that sense increases the deeper into the mausoleum I go. Even though lights are on the environment seems darker due to the weather and the atmosphere.
The camera is set to “indoor” mode causing the flash to go off. I’d seen enough episodes of “Ghost Hunters” to know that even with my camera I’ll be able to capture ghostly activity. I come to a stairwell leading one direction – down. It looks pretty ominous due to the lack of light in the tile stairwell and the tall ladder that is standing at the darkest part that leads down a hallway containing more corpses concealed behind nameplates.
I squeeze off a shot before hurrying down those stairs. If I stand there pondering what is down there then I’ll leave. After all, I’m looking for some atmospheric/paranormal shots. Being in the right place at the right time will get me some much needed moola along with photo credits.
Just before I reach the last step I miss it as I’m falling horizontally through the air like I’m about to launch into a flying camel spin but I wasn’t wearing the right footwear. Time is suspended as I fall heavily to the ground with my camera hitting first and me second. To my astonishment the camera merely slaps the surface and slides a few inches. I examine it before I do my knees. There’s only a small scratch on the bottom, merely cosmetic damage as I switch it on and discover is works fine. Then I looked at myself and my jeans aren’t torn and nothing is broken but I feel sharp pain in my left ankle. I get up and walk around, trying to shake the pain away. It doesn’t budge. I immediately turn and walk back upstairs and down the hall, limping as I flee from that shadowy stairwell.
Outside I continue to walk around looking for pictures and getting some eerie looking ones. But I’m too scared to go back into the mausoleum. Instead of walking around on it for the next 45 minutes, I should have gone straight home and rested it. But it was only 2 o’clock and I would have interrupted one of my mom’s book reading fiestas.
Around 3:40 I returned, still jobless, but with several photos I’d previewed that might sell. I download them and my mom is exasperated with my latest scheme as I still haven’t gotten a job. That’s the first question she asks when I walk into the kitchen area where the comfy yellow chair and hassock have been given a new home. There’s an end table next to it so mom can keep her books, coffee cups and plates there. The woman is never far away from either her kitchen or some sort of snack, I’d observed.
In my room I’d removed my socks and see my ankle is now swollen and sporting a dark purple bruise across most of my foot. Later on mom sees me limping and I end up telling her the whole story. I have her sympathy but the next afternoon I still have to leave and keep looking for “gainful employment.”