Some time ago in the past, I discovered a strange series of ruins at the bottom of a field near were I live. There were lots of trees and other vegetation, but it was easy to make out the structure. There was a small brick hut, long interconnected concrete cylinders and metal pipes coming out of them, a steering wheel like device coming out of them, a brick table covered in ivy and moss and all this was on top of a large, man made embankment. Around the place there were endless little gutters. Passing through this ruin was a stream, and to the back of it was an old cess pit like swamp, muddy with half dead trees growing out of it. One day when walking past this place I met an old man walking past me. I asked him “What is that ruin over there?”

He told me that it was an abandoned reservoir, and at one stage it watered the small town I live in, before it was supplanted by another larger reservoir. Some time after this, I started thinking I should explore this place a little more thoroughly, with some help from a friend of mine (when I say friend I mean someone I like to talk to and can fall back on occasionally, but I wouldn’t say I have friends per se). I showed him around, he wanted to explore more straight away but I convinced him to come back when we had better equipment. We were going to make this place a base for our future schemes.

I can’t exactly remember the order these things happened in, but I will give it a try. The first day we went to this place to explore (not that it was the first day), my friend was and probably still is convinced that the ruin was a bunker and this hole next to the embankment was the entrance to it. We decided to take the dog with us, but when we were on the path going there, there were loads of sheep crowded onto the path. I was slightly worried that the dog would freak out the sheep and we would get into trouble, but my friend just wanted to carry on walking as usual. So, in effect, we ended up doing a bit of herding, with the sheep eventually deciding to go back into the field. I still felt a bit uncertain, but my friend told me we were probably helping the farmer by getting back into the field.

Possibly that same day, maybe another day, we decided to go down that hole and see what was there. We brought with us two lights from my friend’s house and two shovels in case it caved in. We were joking to ourselves about how the fact we had shovels might freak out our mutual enemies. We went down the hole and went forward on our knees; it went so dark that it rendered the light I was carrying useless. My friend’s blue alien light was much more powerful, and I believe it was he who was leading the way. I can just about remember looking up at the pure concrete above us, but the thing I remember the most was the spring. It was a very shallow stream, trickling down into the depths; it looked so beautiful in the blue light with the darkness around it. At that point we decided to head back, exactly why I don’t remember, but it was probably my personal safety fears. Later that year when there was very heavy rain, I realised what a risk we made since the hole was filled to bursting was water.

Possibly that same day, possibly a later day, I decided it would be interesting to cross the cess pit to see what it was like on the other side of it. For this we brought our wellington boots. When it got too deep, I had the idea that we could use the half dead trees growing out of it as stepping stones. There was a bed of water-lilies or some similar plant (they weren’t flowering) at the middle of the cess pit, and I thought the bed of flowers and the roots feeding them would be capable of supporting us, so I said we would only have to go as far as there and then we could walk normally over it. As we were climbing over the trees, there were moments when we slipped and went wellie deep into the mud, but we could get out again and continue climbing across. When we reached the “flower bed", I agreed to go onto it first, using a fallen branch as a bridge onto it. I was nearly there, and I either walked onto the bed normally or slipped, and whoosh, I sank at the speed of gravity waste down into the thick mud. My friend for 30 seconds or so was gloating happily, but then came the task of getting me out. Two times he tried pulling me out with a stick, but it just broke under the mutual strain. So the third time I just had massive heaving of the legs to try and find some footing, and after that good heaving I found the branch again and walked back to the tree I cast off from. It’s a good job it was me, if it was my friend he would have certainly drowned. We then made it back across the cess pit by the trees (note: this isn’t actually a place were humans come to defecate and dump waste, it is just “like” a cess pit). I then took off my mud soaked jeans and washed them in the stream (yep, they were cold and wet afterwards) before putting them back on again.

So there is my anecdote, since then I still talk regularly with this person in school, but we don’t do as much with each other at the moment. We used to refer to this area as the “secret place”, but it hasn’t really been very secret at all, and it certainly isn’t anymore. The place is owned by a farmer, it is still there and has remained pretty much the same, but the gate has been tied shut with barbed wire placed on-top, I don’t think the farmer wants’ anyone looking around anymore or ever. However, since writing this anecdote, I have once again become curious about what it’s like over there, and perhaps with better knowledge and better equipment I may take a better look again.

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