Fifteen oak trees along, in the middle of a clearing, on a raised painted concrete plinth, a Tardis-like structure sits, its mirrored aluminium walls reflecting the muted autumn girdling greens of the woods. An electronic reader pad flares its infra-red beacon through the soft thicket.
An access card waved over the reader instructs the door to slide left into the mirrored wall. The enclosure claims another user until it ejects them into the greenery, the door closing automatically.
Sterile walls reflect. Water and waste recycle. Wash. Don’t touch.
No steps to descend, no latch to lift or drop, no graffiti to puzzle over.
Fifteen oak trees back, the bunker lies abandoned, brushwood enveloping its concealed secrets. Stories and history languish within – dormant. Faceless memories bleed through porous grout. Age-old graffiti scrawled across the dull ceramic wall tells of unrequited love and Kilroy’s presence.
Gangling weeds eke through hairline cracks in the uneven stone steps. An inky- black hole yawns upward in place of the massive hinged wooden lath door of childhood. The old door’s burnished metal drop-latch used to clang into a square hasp on the stone wall, the noise reverberating through the trees – an announcement of sorts.
Railings, once polished and shiny black, are now rusted through and spiked with split metal shards. A cast-iron sign suspended from the vertical bars back in the ‘60s is long gone, the jagged ends of two rusty nails jutting out in its place.
A mangled syringe lies half-buried by a blackened bloody cloth.
Only the permanently traumatised remember this place and what went on here.
A broken corner of a rusty sign peers from strangling roots.
Fifteen oak trees away, the aluminium enclosure’s access pad glows red.
ALVA HOLLAND is an Irish writer from Dublin. First published by Ireland’s Own Winning Writers Annual 2015. Three times a winner of Ad Hoc Fiction’s weekly flash competition, her stories feature in The People’s Friend, Ellipsis Zine, Train Lit Mag, Firefly Magazine, Stories for Homes, and Microcosms Fiction.
Image: Markéta Machová