longexposure October 8th, 2013
Excitement and fear and second-thinking decisions seem to go hand-in-hand readily in the world of decrepit, corroded metal. Especially in this part of the world, such environments are few and far between, so it’s hard not to be enthusiastic. But, there’s that whole horror of waiting for things to disintegrate and commit one to a nightmare of jagged metal. Haven’t we done this before?
Up above, the mechanical elements and power control for this station were long ago fallen into disrepair, but there were niches that gave glimpses into the larger portion of the structure, which didn’t look to be in great condition, but certainly could have been worse.
I pressed against grimy concrete, peering into darkness, tracing the paths of ladders with my eye, and working out where the access point must be. It wasn’t difficult to find, and soon I was looking down the upper ladder into a place that had obviously seen a great deal of flooding over the years.
I was, in fact, on a flood plain, so the entire place must at times – recently, even – have been submerged, so a thin layer of filth wasn’t a huge surprise. My hand on the top rung, the ladder felt fairly secure. Feet a little further down, still good… for a few rungs. Before the ladder was done, I’d hit rungs I just wasn’t game to put my feet on, and I skipped the last two entirely, leaving me on the upper landing, which crunched softly under my feet.
Immediate parallels came to mind of half a world away, corroded gangways snapping beneath my weight, and similarly, if this one went, there’d be nowhere to go but way down. Major vertical supports looked sturdy, but the cross-supports between them had been reduced to rusty spindles of metal, and who knew what the platform on which I stood was connected to? Gingerly, I edged my way into position and began shooting, lighting from where I was, bouncing lights off different surfaces, rather than moving around to place anything.
With that, I was done, and gear went haphazardly into a bag, to be sorted out later. When I reached the ladder, I went for the highest rung I could get my fingers on, and made mental contingency plans for the worst. It was only seconds later, though, that I was up and out and standing on sweet, sweet concrete again, surrounded by the night-time sounds of trees and insects and frogs.
Inside and outside are different worlds, tenuously connected, and the tension of the inside was nowhere to be seen now. Just a benign tower in a valley, under a sea of stars.