Tunnel Image

The Confession

Do not expect any confessions from us you idiot. Buy a celebrity magazine or some shit like that. On the surface there’s only boredom, nobody helps each other out, but fortunately underground everything is good. Partnerships arise and the truth is told. So here is The Confession.

At the age of sixteen years old we were just kids pissed off with the world, more or less like we are now but younger. We spent our time in the park doing the opposite of what our parents would have liked, not to mention what the council would have liked. In our district we had a favourite place to hang out. An oasis. Nobody entered except writers and some of the neighbours because to get inside you had to jump a wall, therefore it was only really seen by those who were curious enough. We called this place “the septic tank”. It was a kind of hole for everything, filled with dirt, bad weeds and empty cans. On one hot summer day we were lying there with a killer hangover. We had arrived at 3 pm and ended up sleeping there for 5 hours, just with what we were wearing. In the middle of that lethargic nap, suddenly one of us woke up screaming. A huge rat was trying to nibble on his feet! After shutting him up and making him stop screaming we realised that there were more rats. What the hell? One of them was dead, that rat stood in front of us, his inanimate head was coated in red. Have sucked our blood in the state in which we were was suicidal, poor little cannibal bastard. After this furry shit, the septic tank kept the magic of the inexplicable for all of us. Until the whole place was torn down and rebuilt. Gasping for the breath of youth, several years after, we tried to decipher the bowels of the septic tank, once everything was refurbished we managed to go down there.

In 1921 there began a project in that urban moorland. They initially built a building, a garage workshop. Was a substation for the Gran Metropolitano de Barcelona and it had an elevator to lift up cars to the surface from deep below. It was a very rare artefact to see in a metro system. I have a vague memory of how it was, seeing the structure from the outside when I was just a child. At the time we were there there was nothing left in this fenced field between blocks of houses except a grid next to where we always sat. You could look down through that hole and see right where the lift was placed. We could feel and smell the vapors and hear the noises that came out of that hole every evening, thankful of it in winter because of the heat that came out of it. Now none of its remains. There is a nice and awarded building, and a new square much more deforested than it had been in the past. But underneath it is all still the same.

One day we decided to go down to see what the fuck was going on there, many years had passed ince we met that red dead rat in the surface and now we had to go down there right? Straight to his nest. It was one of our first explorations with some purpose, fuck knows how but it felt like closing a circle because that place is a part of our history with the city, and it would be remain closely linked to us in future adventures. Once we had located the entrance we managed to go down stairs to the pit which consists of two stair levels that are quite high, about four storeys high or so. Neither of us couple of rats that went down that day had ever been there before. Everything was new for us. Eventually we studied maps and read articles about the place and it’s history, but all of that came later. Our first intrusions were performed without any planned exits. Just going down and knowing at least that we could hopefully return through the way which we had entered. There’s always the possibility that someone or something gets in your way but the tunnels are there to keep pulling you until you find another way out. 

From the first moment we found ourselves inside a nice entrance where we could feel the warm embrace of the underground. It was strangely tranquil and we even turned on the lights. It was very quiet all the time, as we had expected. Our backs began to bend to resemble the shape of a rat, crouching over, and even our senses changed: sharpened ears and vision, and soiled fingernails. We started sniffing everything nervously. After a few pointless bites to have checked the materials around, our ears vibrated strangely. The rats in unison stopped completely, the noise of footsteps was echoing over the fan noise. Quick, quick! Move smoothly and scan the horizon where the tunnel goes out of vision! Said one rat. Yessshh quick quick, listen quietly to what the tunnel bringssssh!

As the rats we are, before reaching the tracks the first thing we did is prepare our equipment in an anteroom intended for the ventilator. That was a mistake now with those walking sounds approaching from the same direction. Carrying the tripod deployed was fatal. In addition the fucking fan makes so much noise than you can not hear any shit. It always happens the same way, you run a little to separate yourself from the noise as much as possible. Many believe that in the tunnels after service there is no movement, but that’s not true. Moving trains can surprise you at any time, with no warning.

Just when gone past the vent we could see the lights bouncing off the walls around the curve in front of us. Not a train, but torches. The noise of footsteps on the ballast turned into voices. It couldn’t be anything else than two track guards talking. We heard multiple voices, so it was not a man walking alone, there had to be two or more. FUCK no place to hide!! It was too late to run  and retreat back to the vent. SHIT, shit! So what we did? What any little boy would do: put your hands on your face and say I’m not there. We squeezed into a narrow hole and wished hard not to be seen… sounds really stupid, right? Well, that’s what we did. We left everything in the hands of fate, maybe we would not be seen. This is not a bad joke so I will not extend more, just when they were coming close to our hiding place we started trying to squeeze more into the hole, pretending to be part of the wall somehow. Suddenly the guy saw us, he was alone. “What are you doing here?! What THE FUCK are you doing here” He asked frightened. “¿Graffiti?” he asked. Nope, we’re taking pictures. “Photos?? Photos of what?! How the fuck you entered here?” The guy was embarrassed and nervous. “Are you crazy or what? You must put at least a yellow vest to walk through the tunnels” He saw that we had good intentions and began to relax. After exchanging a few words with that guy we noticed that he was almost about to confess something to us. He stopped, looked down and said, “Well guys, I guess you heard me speak alone, right?” The truth is that yes, in the distance it had seemed that there was more than one person. “Look guys, I feel very bad, my wife doesn’t give me orgasms… I can only go to whores to get it.” he said. The guy was devastated. This kind of work must burn down the most tanned guy, walking through an entire subway line only with a torch and a walkie-talkie checking the shit on the tracks and doing it every night, it has to be hard. Night shifts from 12 to 4 am. The guy said he was from the south, was a funny and friendly guy. We even talk about his car, his vacation … I even think that the guy was high. He advised us to put yellow vest always to go down the tracks.

Lift hole. That orange light is the grid where we met that fucking red headed rat.

After talking some shit we asked him about the workshops. “Look, if you go straight down, you will see a hole in the wall on the right side, it looks like a door. You should cross it and you will be already inside. Ah! One more thing! You must not go up this line” He said. “The line manager is in the next station, be careful. You haven’t seen me, huh?” No, no, and you neither. That track guard disappeared walking down the tunnel with his flashlights going from one place to another.

This was our entry to the workshop, a dark, damp tunnel that ran right underneath that place where we had left to die so many hours years ago. There were no longer any tracks, if there had even ever been in it’s day. The truth is we didn’t care at all about such historical data.

We kept walking to the desired workshop, it was not far away now. The workshop stayed in silence, in that place you could only hear water flows through the walls – there were leaks everywhere – and a water pump that occasionally activated. Nothing more. The whole place had some kind of religious feel to it, like a silent church even though we were only meters from an active station. We also visited the next one, just to find an emergency exit at the end, so that day we came out through the first exit in our way. And that’s all, only left to say goodbye.

What might happened to that tortured track guard? I’ve always wanted to meet him again. That guy loves to talk a lot, I do not doubt that he probably told the story to his colleagues. Sure someone explained that he had met two guys trying to hide in a hole in the middle of a tunnel. But the truth is that no one else came to meet us that day.

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