And now for something COMPLETELY different.
The school where I work my day job has two main parts to it, and is built into the side of a hill. The older part is at the foot of the hill, with the new section built at the top. The only way to get between the two is a series of 69 steps through a narrow hallway that runs up or down the hill- depending where you’re headed.
My office is on the second floor of the old portion of the school. During the school year I’m forced to park up by the newer wing, then walk down all those stairs to get to work. When the teachers aren’t here in the summer time, I can park in one of the very few spaces near the old wing of the building, and climb a scant few steps to get where I’m going. I’m not lazy by any means, but it just seems to me that if there is an option to avoid doing 69 steps before the coffee has even kicked in….I’m on board.
Recently I discovered an unused external staircase around the back side of the building that brings me within twenty feet of my office door. At one point you can see where it had been gated off, but for some reason it is open again. So I take it when I can.
The thing is, it is a pretty creepy little stairway. It is the sort of walkway you might expect to find gracing the outsides of an abandoned prison or hospital:
The odd part isn’t the discolored, chipping concrete or the stone steps that streak with water like tears when it rains. Nor is it the vines that are spilling over from the top ledges all along the length of it. No, the disturbing part thing about these stairs is that it seems to be a place where animals go to die.
The first day I climbed the stairs, I came upon the remains of a dead bird that had been there some time. The skeleton was completely in tact, and the beak, legs, and now featherless wing arms were completely discernible. This was completely fascinating, and I instagrammed that too….since I’m weird, and since things usually drag away remains and an entire skeleton of anything is tough to come by.
I thought nothing more of it, until last week on my way in, when I spied the dead body of some kind of rodent. This one was still meaty and not at all interesting, so no pictures this time.
What made me begin to ponder the ghastly nature of this set of stairs was when I found ANOTHER dead rodent on the steps this morning. A vole of some kind. Within the space of a week, I’d found the dead bodies of three animals. The bird had obviously been there for some time, in fact still is. The first mouse kin is gone, and the second one is still there, waiting for something to pick it up and carry it away.
I’m trying to figure out why these animals have met their ends here. The bird is anyone’s guess. I haven’t a clue. The rodents though, my hypothesis is that they’re being chased by something over night through the grass and weeds on the hill above. While they’re trying to escape predation, they come to the top of the concrete ledge…where all of a sudden they’re out of things to run on, and gravity takes care of the rest. It is as solid a theory as any, but still only a theory, I’m no scientist, nor even that smart.
At any rate, the constant specter of death haunts these stairs, and coupled with the foreboding appearance of the corridor itself…..I’m half tempted to take the 69 freakin steps down the hill next time.