Even before receiving my acceptance letter, I knew that UNITEN has its own equestrian club. For those who don’t know, it’s the club where people ride around on horses. It’s proudly advertised on the main website. Only upon coming to UNITEN did I realize that the club was inactive, the only four-legged animals prowling the campus being cats, stray dogs, monitor lizards and the occasional otter, which I have never personally seen, but multiple friends of mine have me convinced that they exist. I never intentionally set out to find what I did that day. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
My friend and I, we had just gotten back from Decentrum. It was a weekend, late in the evening, around 7pm. Around this time, the roads on campus tend to be rather dead, with very little traffic and the odd jogger trotting along the sidewalk. This day was no different. The sun was low on the horizon, still casting enough light for the motorcycle’s meager headlight to be unnecessary, but it was getting dark. I don’t remember whose idea it was, to visit the equestrian range. I guess it doesn’t really matter. We saw what we saw, and whose idea it was doesn’t change that.
We rolled into the compound of the equestrian club. I haven’t visited the club since that day, so my memory of the layout is foggy. I remember the motorbike climbing up an inclined path, and not being able to see much beyond the top. I remember reaching the top, seeing an empty building with a sort of seating area to my left. The floor of the building was tiled with the kind of tiles that you expect to find in a gas station bathroom. The kind that’s always wet. I cannot remember what was in front of me. Maybe it was some sort of toilet or some other uninteresting structure, but it isn’t significant to this story. What drew my eyes were the barn houses to the right.
The barn houses are located at the bottom of a decline, not the same as the one we had just climbed. They are simple structures, made of wood painted brown and covered with green roofs. Both barn houses have similar layouts – double sided barn doors at front of the buildings (the kind which opens outwards to let in fresh air and let out animals), small windows line their sides, and the rest is hidden from sight. The windows and doors of the barn house nearer to us were shut. Looking back now, I think that was for the best. Had I seen the horrors trapped within those walls I might have never made it back. The doors on the other barn house, however, were open. I couldn’t see much of the inside of the barn house, but what I did see was enough. Horseshoes, with the ankles still attached were hung along the barn wall. Black fluid dripped from each horseshoe, dried blood spreading like roots into the ground. The blood pooled along the length of the wall and turned the earth black. The worst of it was the noise. The sound of steel against stone and the sounds tortured beings – dogs whimpering as if being struck over and over, cats wailing in pain, the sounds of horses choking on their own blood, their strangled neighing still haunt my nights. The worst of it all was the laughter, the mad joy that broke through the pain.
What my friend was doing, I cannot say. This was a personal horror. To this day I’m still not sure if what we saw next was the same. We have never discussed it. I saw a man walk out of the barn. He was dressed in green overalls and black boots. He held in his left hand a blade, long and bloody, and in his right, a cat’s ear, dripping with red. His boots were shiny in the remaining daylight, and his overalls were splattered with blood. I took all this in without looking at his face as if my mind knew to save the worst for last. His smile. It was wide and crooked, the smile of a madman. His teeth were red. His eyes were opened wide, as if he had sewn them open, and couldn’t close them if he wanted. They were pointed right at us. His gaze chilled me to the core. I knew at that moment that I would never forget that face and that he would never forget mine. I had seen his secret pleasure, his bloody passion. No one is supposed to see. No one. His body turned towards us, knife rising upwards, body tense and solid, like a statue. Then he ran. I was almost jerked out of my seat when my friend fired up the motor. We sped out of the compound. I didn’t look back until we were clear of the junction that leads into the cursed ground. There he stood. His eyes and mouth wide and smiling. We rode back to our apartment, and neither of us ever brought it up. I cooked dinner that night. The raw chicken that I handled felt wrong in my hands. I threw it out. I think that he is bound to that place, that he cannot go any further than the junction. This I know deep down. If I ever set foot there again, he will know. If he ever steps out, I will know.
Tonight feels different. I can feel something crawling about the edges of my vision, something testing its limits. I feel it near. It is drawn to me. That’s why I’m writing this. To whoever reads this, never visit the equestrian club, lest it se
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual locations and happenings is merely coincidental.
Written by: Resistors in Series