I enjoy picking locks… That may sound like a strange hobby, but if you search it on YouTube you’ll get thousands of hits. It has quite a fanbase. I developed quite a talent for locksport by the time I was 16, and could pick just about anything – anything that is found on your average house or shop, that is – but a Multilock or Medco; although, I had succeeded with the latter after almost an hour of sweaty, hand-cramping work.
I have always found my hand-made picks to be of better quality than the Southord, Sparrows, or even Peterson picks I have invested in, so I typically resort to those. If I’m trying to pick a smaller, thinner lock then I’ll bust out the Euro Slim set, but that is rare in the US. I can tell, just by using my short-hook and light tension, the identity of every pin in the lock I am picking. Spool, mushroom, serrated, spoorated, etc. I really have gotten quite good.
Sorry… I get carried away when explaining my hobbies. It’s annoying, I should stop.
So about the time I turned 17, I took my hobby to the next level. It started when a friend of mine bet me twenty bucks that I didn’t have the nerve to break into an actual building. You see, I had shown my skills to several friends by having them lock me out of their houses and letting me “break in”; I would be in most of them quite easily in a matter of seconds, but I had never crossed the line to actual illegal break-ins. I quickly felt myself drawn to that bet like a druggie to a fix. I knew full well, as did he, that I was more than capable.
I took his bet.
He picked out the house, empty and abandoned due to the family being evicted several years ago. I knew it wasn’t very safe… or legal, but I couldn’t back out now! And you know what? I really didn’t want to. Looking back on it I wish I’d thought about it longer. Then I might not be writing this today.
I felt the slightest pang of guilt the night that the bet was to be carried out. I mean, I was breaking the law, right? But the guilt almost instantly turned to pure adrenaline filled joy when I felt the familiar cold steel of my pick and pressure wrench in my hands. I was shaking slightly while sneaking up to the back door. It might have been partially due to the cold. It was late August and I was only wearing my darkest sweatshirt and cargos, no jacket… sorry. Getting lost in pointless details again.
The second I brought my tools to the lock, though, it was smooth sailing. It was a simple Kwikset. Three spool-pins and two regular pins in the deadbolt, and simple cheap, non-security pins in the handle lock. The false set of the spools, the give in the bolt, the clicks and pops of the oh-so-familiar pin tumbler lock that I have mastered over the last 3 years. Pure joy. I was in the house in under ninety seconds.
Now that my favorite part was over and I was recovering from the slight shaking the adrenalin rush had left me with, I looked around the house. It wasn’t very large. The family that used to live here was not wealthy, according to my friend. The kitchen was also the dining room, the family room was connected to that, and the hallway led to 3 bedrooms and a bathroom with a shower. A humble home, but perfectly functional for a small family. I grabbed my phone from my left pocket and snapped a few quick pics for proof of my crime, and then left.
I doubt it made much of a difference, but I was sure to lock the handle lock and re-pick the deadbolt before leaving. It was fun, but lacked the thrill of the original break-in.
And that’s how it all started. Before I knew it I was going out almost nightly; riding my bike anywhere from 2 to 10 miles away to get my fix. I loved it. I started getting bolder. Breaking into churches and small buildings that lacked an alarm system. I picked some tough locks, too. I got past several U.S. locks, Sargents, a Yale, and even tried another Medco… I failed the Medco after about twenty minutes of angled security pin induced frustration, but I wasn’t too discouraged. They’re tough cookies!
One of my favorite places that I broke into was this old car repair shop. They had some cool tools and stuff, and an old vending machine that I used a couple of times. Another favorite was this little Baptist church about three miles from my house. It was fun walking through the pews and looking in the kitchen and such. I never stole anything or left any sign that I had been there, so I felt no guilt at all. Heck, I even prayed in the pews a couple of times in the peaceful silence.
One night I was riding my bike to check out a new location. I had driven by there once while on the way to a friend’s house and remembered seeing a house for sale. My friend said that the house had been for sale for years, so I figured it hadn’t been bought since then.
I was about 2 miles from the house when I saw a building that I hadn’t noticed before. It looked like a large storage house or something of the likes. I had to check it out. I turned off my bike light and pulled into the grass to cut through the field. I started walking up to the building when I got a chill. It was strange. By this time it was late spring, and things were starting to warm up and stay that way. The chill was gone as quickly as it had come. I was excited about trying this new building, so I kept on walking through the grass.
I got to the back door of the structure and looked at the lock, using my phone screen for light. A Sargent. A quick scrub of the pins with my half-diamond told me it had 6: all security pins. It would be tough, but worth it. I made a quick sweep of the yard and door to see if there was any sign of a security system. Oddly, I didn’t see anything. I proceeded to pull out my favorite handmade short-hook and TOK wrench. I prefer top of keyway tension on Sargents. It makes it easier to reach the back pins without oversetting the front ones. Actually, I use TOK tension on almost all high-end locks… Anyway, I spent about 8 minutes on it, having to start over twice due to over-set serrated-pins – they almost always get me the first time through – but I finally set the last spool and the bolt slid home. I cautiously opened the door, preparing to sprint off at the sound of alarms. But of course, there were none.
I stepped in.
When I flipped my phone light on, my heart nearly stopped. I was face-to-face with a tall, naked creature. I started to scream, but ended up falling down and producing nothing but a small squeak instead. I looked back up, expecting it to move in and grab me, ripping open my stomach and spilling my entrails onto the cold, hard floor… but it didn’t.
That’s when I realized it was not moving at all. I was shaking quite badly, and my heart was pounding so hard I could see sparks of electricity in my eyes, but I managed to stand back up and move closer to investigate. It was a prop. Looking closer I figured it was for a movie or something involving aliens. Its long, slender limbs, intelligent face, dark greenish body color, amazingly white teeth that all came to needle-sharp points.
I looked away from the alien thing, eager to get away from it. As far as I could see with the miniscule beam of light produced by my phone, there was nothing but outfits and statues. It was a storage house for movie/play props. I laughed a bit at being scared so easily by an inanimate object, and continued on with my exploration of the place.
There were props and costume racks everywhere. I came upon a large wooden castle that looked like the one used in Romeo and Juliet. This is quite detailed, I remember thinking vaguely. I continued on.
I came upon another door that led to an office. It wasn’t locked so I simply turned the knob and stepped in. There was a medium-sized desk, a swivel chair, and a small waste basket next to a few filing cabinets. I went over to the desk and opened the main drawer. There were envelopes, papers, paperclips, etc… nothing interesting. I went to the filing cabinet and tried the handle. It was locked. I got my half-diamond out, applied a bit of varied pressure, and jiggle-picked it. It opened like a charm. Easy.
There were several files and papers that looked like they had to do with purchases or something. Not very interesting, either. I had only opened it for the fun of picking the lock, really. As I was closing the drawer, though, I noticed a picture. It was a small print –four by six or so– of a tall, dark creature: the prop I had seen upon entering the warehouse. My heart jumped a bit higher into my chest. It certainly didn’t look like a prop in that picture. I know they have CGI and all that fancy tech today, but it didn’t look like a computer cleanup job. It had its arms up in front of its face as if to hide from the cameraman. Its fingers were incredibly long and slim, almost frail. Its mouth was open in what looked like a scream of rage mixed with fear. I put the photo down and closed the filing cabinet as quickly and quietly as I could.
When I stepped back into the main part of the warehouse, I heard a slight shuffling noise a good distance away from me. I quickly turned my light up to the area of origin, attempting to spot the source of the noise, but to no avail. I was nervous as hell by now, and eager to get out. I felt even worse after the noise – which sounded much too heavy to be a mouse, or even a rat – and I was about to completely lose any “cool” that I still had. I’d definitely had my fill of the warehouse, so I started back to the door to leave. I wove my way through the aisles of shelves that were full of seemingly long forgotten props, careful not to bump anything or disturb the dust. I saw the door at last. I had closed it after me so that no one could see it cracked open, so it was a little bit difficult to see.
I was walking towards the door at almost a jog when I first heard footsteps. Long, soft footsteps, coming from what sounded like forty feet or so behind me. That was it. I lost the last strand of self-control that I had been desperately clinging to and burst into a full out sprint. I heard the footsteps quicken, becoming louder as whatever it was gave up its attempt at stealth and ran towards me with long, loud strides. It had to be covering ground at more than twice the rate I was. I got to where the first prop was located upon my entering, and… the prop was gone. I barely had time to register this as I leapt for the door, grabbing the handle as quickly as I could; not bothering to even think about re-locking it. I heard the thing let out a loud, harsh cry as I made it through the door, slamming it shut as hard as I could; the alien thing slammed into it on the other side at the same moment. I just prayed to God that this thing wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to open it again.
In my crazed confusion, I had forgotten where I’d hidden my bike. I remembered covering it up with leaves in the ditch – in order to keep it hidden from the view of late night truckers, or whoever else might be driving around at 2 AM – and started retracing my steps by the road in a frantic attempt to find it. I heard a loud thud from the direction of the warehouse as I finally hit my foot on the bike’s aluminum frame. I grabbed it, mounted, and was pedaling away as quickly as I could possibly pump my legs.
My Sigma speedometer read 33mph when I looked down at its illuminated face. Maybe I could join the Elite Peloton at the next Sunrise Century, I thought vaguely, as I rounded a sharp curve.
Then I heard it again: the sound of that rasping scream, the long, heavy footfalls. I checked my rear-view but couldn’t see anything. It was almost completely dark due to the new moon, and there were no streetlamps out here to aid my vision. I heard the footfalls getting closer, louder. I pedaled for all I was worth, switching to the last and highest gear that my bike had to offer.
I looked ahead on the road and saw what I was dreading: the upwards hill. What goes up must come down, aye? The next thing I did was more of an impulse than a plan. I turned off of the road and shot into the woods at 24mph. Despite the lack of light, at first I was okay. I had been mountain biking before, and the ground was packed hard enough that my road tires didn’t sink into it. But then I took a very large spider web straight to the face. Now, I am usually okay with creepy-crawlies – I even own (and often handle) an Emperor Scorpion – but large spiders… I started batting at the monstrosity and ran right into a tree.
I got up from the crash, leg aching from the impact, having momentarily forgotten the reason I was in the woods in the first place. I heard crashing branches and that scream again; that sure got my mind back on track. I started running like hell, thinking in my panicked state that I could outrun it. As I heard the crashing and screaming getting closer and closer, my own scream started to exit my mouth. I dived to the right, where the leaf cover was thicker.
Lying down, I tried unsuccessfully to slow my breathing. Though, after about a minute I was able to quiet my breath a bit. I thought I might just have managed to outsmart it, to get away. Then I saw it. It was hunkered down into a crouched position not 10 feet away from me, scanning the undergrowth. I realized I had stopped breathing completely, and tried to let out my breath quietly. I failed in that endeavor, causing a painfully out-of-place noise that the creature was sure to notice.
The second I let out the breath, its head shot in my direction. I held as motionless as was humanly possible, waiting for it to spot me. It looked closer, starting to move towards my makeshift hideout. All of a sudden, there was a noise farther into the woods. It jumped up from where it was at and ran off towards the noise. That was it, I thought. I had managed to escape. I was free. I was beginning to stand up to run off, and it happened.
Suddenly, it grabbed me by the leg and swung me up into the air screaming. I felt my lock picks fall out of my pocket and desperately tried to grab them, but failed. What did it matter? I was about to be torn apart by this thing. I closed my eyes and waited for the pain, the tearing of flesh, the blood.
It slung me against a nearby tree. I felt something in my back snap when I hit it. My legs instantly lost feeling, and I felt the warm trickle run up my stomach notifying me that I had wet myself. I had lost control of my lower half. I screamed in pain and terror as it lifted me up again and bashed be against the ground, my mouth hitting a rock which knocked out several of my front teeth. The monstrosity screamed as it bludgeoned me against the ground over, and over, and over again. I was about to lose consciousness. I could feel the world falling away, possibly forever. The monster raised me up to its face, stretching its mouth open so I could see every one of its perfectly pointed teeth. I stared from my upside down perspective, waiting for the ending strike.
It held me closer to it, stuck its tongue out, and tasted my face. I screamed and tried to hit it. This caused me great pain. I missed. It grabbed the arm I punched with using its other hand, and pulled. I shrieked in agony as I felt my shoulder struggling to stay with me, but it finally gave and came out of socket with a loud, sickening POP. The pain was excruciating. I was already crying harder than I could ever remember crying, but I managed to cry harder. Through my tears and blood, I saw the thing smiling at me. Smiling! It reached one of its fingers out and slashed my left eye. I felt the warm ocular fluid join the tears in their decent up my face. The last thing I saw – from my right eye – as I fell into the dark void of unconsciousness was its hand coming up to my face as it stuck two of its clawed fingers into my mouth, gripping my tongue.
I am writing this from a hospital bed on my laptop my mom brought for me. It has been 3 weeks since the attack. I don’t know why that thing let me live. I wish now that it hadn’t. I don’t know how I managed to crawl to the highway after waking up that afternoon. But I did. The doctors say I will probably never walk again. I have been into various other athletic activities, most including some form of gymnastics. Now I can never flip again. I can’t stand the thought. I wish that it had killed me. It would be a blessing to be dead now.
I see that thing’s face every time I try to sleep. Every night I close my eyes, praying for it not to come; right as I’m about to drift off, though, its grinning face will bring me back to miserable consciousness. The doctors have had to put me to sleep with drugs so I don’t die of sleep deprivation or something. I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. I have lost my ability to walk, most of my teeth, one eye, my tongue…
I am done being in pain. Done with the nightmares.
I am writing this for my family, friends, and whoever else might be able to read it and save themselves… please, please don’t do what I did. You don’t know what you could find. You may be looking for fun, but it’s not worth it. That thing is still out there somewhere.
I go home tomorrow. I have a plan.
I’m home now. The house is still mostly the same. They haven’t installed all the disability devices to help me get upstairs and around. Good. I’m glad.
My dad keeps a gun in the top of his chest of drawers. It’s a Springfield XDs. A beautiful gun, really. Nails tacks at the range. I hate to put it to such gruesome use, but it seems like the fastest, least painful way out. I will soon be in sweet relief.
Goodbye mom, dad, everyone. I am sorry you’ve been through so much pain on my behalf. You won’t have to worry about me anymore, though. Trust me, this is better for all of us.
I love you all so much…