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2. Threshold

1. The Drafting Board

Urbex: Threshold

avatar on 2024-07-06 16:02:19

180 hits, 32 views, 3 upvotes.

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The rotten board snapped in the middle as I heaved on the metal crowbar. It continued to crunch and crumble as I worked the leverage back and forth until the remains of the wood fell free of the window frame to the old carpeted floor below.

Tallulah immediately peered in, shining the flashlight past the unexplored threshold.

"What do you see, Tali?" I asked, leaning over her shoulder.

"It's clean."

"Well, that makes sense, it was boarded after all..."

"No, I mean, it's spotless, no dust, no nothin'," she interrupted.

I leaned in closer and let my eyes adjust to the sharp white light of the LED flashlight. She was right. On our side of the window was the 7th floor of an abandoned tower. Musty carpet blackened with 60 years of decomposition, graffiti tags covering half the walls. Ripped wallpaper, decomposing drywall, and all the other detritus that comes from animals, vagabonds, and hoodlums. On the other side was an immaculate office room. Sparsely furnished... No. Starkly furnished. There was a large hardwood desk and nothing else. The loop carpet was pristine, the surface of the desk glossy, and the mod pattern work wallpaper seemed freshly applied.

"What the fuck..." I murmured.

"You're tellin' me."

I took a few steps back and looked around the room again. This location had popped up a few weeks ago on an Urban Explorer site and immediately garnered attention.

"SWIM found a window to an old office. Got spun and thought something was watching me from inside. Creeped me tf out. Just looking for a den, but thought someone here might want to check it out."

The following post described the dilapidation we now stood in, along with the pristine white window frame, once boarded up, that we were now examining. Based on the geometry of the building, this window frame should be looking into the elevator shaft, which only contributed to the mystery.

Of course, almost everyone on the forums regarded it as a hoax or told the poster that his weed was dusted. A couple, including us, found the claim curious enough to investigate. We tried to collaborate with some others and arrange a meetup, and some promised to join us, but the site was deep in the dead Appalachians, and most other UrbExers were in actual cities. In the end, we arrived alone.

Tallulah interrupted my thoughts. "Roarke, check this out."

She shined her light through the window and to the wall on the right to reveal a door. That in and of itself wasn't strange, but... I walked around the central elevator shaft to where the door should have been on the other side and saw nothing but a bare wall. "There's... no door," I stated flatly.

She joined me and confirmed my observation. I felt a chill despite the hot and humid air of the Appalachian summer and the long-sleeved jacket I wore to protect from broken glass. I held the light as she took out her phone and videoed the phenomenon. She texted the short clip to another explorer who went by "Brace." He'd planned to join us on this trip but couldn't get away from work. His response was filled with apologies and curses about growing up and not being able to slip away as easily as he used to. His response was rapid and enthusiastic. "Shit, that's wild! Wish I were there! Keep me posted!"

"Well, there's really only one thing to do, right?" Tali shrugged.

I chuckled but nodded and went back to the window. My core was trembling, but I kept from showing it, as I wedged my fingers into the crease of the windowsill and the window. Fingers calloused from sport climbing found solid purchase in the tiny gap, and I heaved, sliding the sticky window up with a pop and shudder. The air that blasted out of the office was cool.

I whistled in fascination. "Well," I stated. "Ladies first."

"Pass. Hard pass," Tali laughed nervously, as she wrapped one arm around her middle and shone the light past the threshold. Swirls of dust reflected in the beam as air continued to flow out of the office.

Chuckling in turn, I stepped through the window, filthy boots finding unmarred carpet. Silence fell on me. The hoots of owls, the whistling of wind, the creak of the rusted fire escape all faded away to the stillness of this empty office. Tali followed after me, then tugged on a few desk drawers, only to find them affixed in place. I made my way to the door and opened it. I expected to find a flat wall or the reverse side of the smooth drywall we'd found on the outside of the room, but part of me hoped for something more. That part of me got its wish.

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