The Barrier: The Event

Note: I am offering early previews of a few chapters of The Barrier. Once those previews are over the chapters will be live on Patreon a month before they will go live here. If you want to be ahead of the blog you can sign up for my Patreon here.

Andy wasn’t sure how he let Jeff talk him into this, but he was already regretting it. Jeff wanted to try to jump on the trend of the whole “ghost hunting” thing and kept bugging Andy to help him out. Andy had finally relented but wished he had known more details beforehand.

Part of the problem was that Jeff was fairly confident they wouldn’t find anything, but as long as they made it creepy enough, it would still be worthwhile. Andy wasn’t as sure. Andy wasn’t a big believer or anything, but his grandmother had been, and Andy had a few experiences as a child that he couldn’t completely ignore. His grandmother used to talk to him about the barrier between the living and the spirit world and that, like all barriers, nothing was perfect. Things always managed to sneak through the cracks and tears in it, and she would warn that one day it would be weakened even more. Andy’s mom hated when his grandmother told him these things; Andy didn’t love it too much either, always ending up unable to sleep for a few nights, obsessively worrying about if something was coming. As he got older, he believed less, but his grandmother’s words never truly left him.

The other problem is Andy hadn’t asked Jeff where they were going until after he agreed. A few hours outside of town was an old mine, and if there were ever a place that would be haunted, it would be a place like that. Dozens of men died down in that mine, just like all the others from that time, and the owner was rumored to be a cruel and sick man. Confirmed were the poor working conditions that led to a lot of avoidable deaths. Less confirmed is the belief that the owner used it as his own personal dumping grounds. The man was said to have a hot temper and was quick to take a life when things did not go his way, and what easier way to get rid of a body than a mine that was already the grave for so many? Although unconfirmed was a shaky term in this instance, there were multiple people that had dealings with the owner that mysteriously vanished.

“I don’t think we should do this.” Andy said, unable to keep the shaking from his voice.

“Come on.” Jeff said, rolling his eyes. He couldn’t believe how afraid his friend was.

For Andy, though, it made sense to be scared. Jeff didn’t want to simply go to the little ghost town around the mine at night. No, Jeff wanted to go in the mine itself. Something that Andy was pretty certain was dangerous even if there wasn’t a haunting.

“We will be fine. We aren’t going that deep in, only a few feet into the entrance. If there is going to be a cave in, we’ll be able to get out.” Jeff said yet again.

“You can’t promise that, these things happen fast.”

“Dude, just come on. We’ll be here an hour at most. We can get some shots of things no one has gotten up close, then I can send it off to those ghost hunting shows. You know they pay pretty well these days.”

And that was the crux of it. Jeff needed money, and Andy didn’t want him to be forced to get it other ways. The second he talked about the payment, it worked like magic. Andy shut up and agreed. With any luck, whatever show bought this footage would want more from Jeff. This would likely be the worst place Jeff went to; maybe it was best to get it out of the way?

They didn’t have any equipment to get official readings. Just a camera, and they brought along a spirit board. They did some filming in the old abandoned houses, playing up every little sound they heard. Then they finally snuck their way down to the mine itself. It wasn’t easy, and Andy worried about getting out, but he saved it for now.

The mine was as they wanted, creepy. It was dark, damp, and dilapidated. Andy’s fears of a cave in spiked again as he saw how worn the boards at the entrance were. He also noticed some odd symbols in the boards, he didn’t think graffiti artists would come here, but then maybe they were older than they looked.

Andy had made Jeff promise they wouldn’t go in too deep, and he was firm on that. They would be screwed if something happened. Even Jeff, for all his bravado, saw the logic in it. No more than five feet in. When they got to that point, Andy could swear he was hearing something, something that sounded like distant wailing. Jeff said on camera he heard it too but also said it was just the wind and Andy needed to toughen up. The last part would be edited out.

Jeff set up the spirit board, and Andy began filming him. When Jeff took control of the planchette, he called out for any spirits that might be in the area. Andy wasn’t sure at the logic of having Jeff be the one in control. He knew Jeff wanted to be on camera – and Andy had to admit he didn’t want to be – but Jeff’s skeptical nature would likely keep him from having the tremors required to make it seem like something was controlling it.

Andy was starting to feel discouraged. He hoped the creepy atmosphere of the place would be enough to sell the video because nothing else was happening.

“This is dumb.” Jeff said after some time passed.

“Sorry, bud.”

“Nah, I didn’t expect anything real to happen, I was hoping for a little more though. Hopefully, it’ll still sell.”

“Yeah.” Andy agreed quietly. “Makes you wonder if the rumors are just that though.”

The planchette moved then to the word no. Both young men standing watching it.

“Is it on an angle?” Andy asked, a ball of dread forming in his stomach.

“It would have started moving right away.” Jeff said, his voice turning shaky.

“You think it’s saying no to it just being rumors?” Andy asked.

Before Jeff had time to answer, he dropped and was dragged away. Andy could hear his screaming but could only see his face for a moment before it disappeared into the darkness. The sounds he heard coming from the mine made him wet himself. Jeff’s scream and an inhuman growl took over.

Andy was debating if he should go for his friend or try to save himself when the planchette moved again. R-U-N

He never had time, though. The camera dropped focused in on the symbols Andy had been looking at earlier when more screams and growls tore through the night.

It took the university longer to notice the boys were missing than they would like to admit. The first few missed classes were not something people noticed. They were freshmen and experiencing life away from home; people missed a class or two. The first full week of missed classes and some of their teachers were worried. They weren’t top-notch students, but they weren’t bad ones either, a week of missed classes? It was at that point their RA had to admit he hadn’t heard from them, but not everybody checked in all the time, so what was the big deal? They finally got access to the boy’s room, and there was no sign of them.

Campus security asked around, and nobody had seen them. Finally, the college reached out to Andy’s mom and Jeff’s grandmother, who also hadn’t seen or heard from the boys. They agreed to let the college go through their things. Jeff’s laptop was filled with information on the old mine and how to sell videos to ghost hunting shows.

The cops were called and went to the mines. When they saw the camera and watched the video, nobody knew how to respond. It was sent off to every expert they could think of to find out if it was a fake. At the same time, the desert around the mine was searched. Finally, they agreed they would have to go in.

Four went in, and much like the boys at about five feet in, wails could be heard. They pressed on only for it to get louder and louder. The four gave up and left, saying if they had gone further in, they might have gone insane from the noises.

It had been years since anybody ventured in, but the last people said they didn’t have the same experience.

Cavers were called at this point. They also heard the wailing, also felt like it was driving them mad, but they had more experience with the unsettling and insanity-inducing feelings that could be caused by going into places like that – although they all admitted there had never been anything that compared.

Forty feet into the mine was a cave in. There was no possible way for a human to get through it. There was dried blood but no other signs. The cavers were told how to get blood samples and given the tools needed, and they did so quickly. While they had done many crazy and scary things before, after collecting the blood, they all ran out. One suffered hearing loss from how loud the wailing had been.

The first round of experts insisted the camera footage was real.

More were given access.

The state FBI took over the case looking for any other possible explanation for where the boys were. How they might have disappeared.

More people confirmed the footage.

The blood came back positive for Andy and several others. Some could never be identified.

News of what happened started to leak out over the course of a year. More ghost hunters came to the mine with every piece of equipment they could think of. They all left saying that the mine was haunted and that something truly evil was in it.

With the evidence mounting and a lack of evidence in any other direction, people’s perceptions began to change.

This event, The Event, was the first confirmed ghost activity… and killing.

Andy’s mom would often think of what her mother would tell Andy about the barrier. Maybe she had been right. Maybe it was weakening. She was angry at the thought; her boy would be alive if it hadn’t. Over time though, she started to question if possibly it was a good thing. Maybe it meant that she would see her boy again? One day when she was sitting in the park with these thoughts, a man with a card approached her.

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