I paint graffiti. I paint graffiti but not in a way you’d expect. Instead of hitting the streets, tagging my name on walls and billboards I go underground. Many people don’t know this but Los Angeles, as well as every city, has tunnels running under it. No, these aren’t sewers carrying LA citizens precious excrement away from their toilets, these are the tunnels that take rain water from the mountains and bring it to the sea. So I go into these tunnels, underground, and I paint.
I’ve been doing this all my life. It’s calm down there. Pitch black nothing. I’m alone. Sometimes I listen to music, smoke some weed and dance like a freak. Other times I zone out, underneath your house and focus on the paint hitting the wall wondering if in 100 years these tunnels will be there. What happens to these tunnels? Will they be rebuilt? Will they crumble in the next huge earthquake? Or, in 100 years, will some kids, just like me, take a walk down into the darkness and see what I have painted just for them.
Out of the thousands of times I’ve stood underground I’ve never run into another soul. Not a graffiti writer, not a bum, not even a hot girl who was just looking for someone to hook up with (this last one I’m still waiting on!). So you can’t imagine my surprise, late one night under Culver City, when I look over and see a group of floating eyes hundreds of feet down the tunnel.
My heart sank. This has always been my biggest fear. To one day turn around and have a guy just standing there. Slenderman has come to visit. Or a wild animal with rabies drunk on human blood. But no, the fear is real, it’s here, and it consists of 8 floating eyes.
At first I just stood still. Frozen. Staring off trying to decide if it was a hallucination or real. I turned my headlamp off and listened….nothing. I called out, “Hello!”....nothing. I turned my headlamp on and the eyes were closer. Hot white fear bolted through my body. I scurried around, grabbing my cans, my water, all my shit and throwing it into my backpack. I was ready to run but there’s only one way out and that’s past the eyes.
I have no other choice, I have to go for it. I grab a can and hold it against the concrete wall. I start running and screaming dragging the can against the wall. It makes a loud scraping sound that along with my screaming probably sounds like a hell demon. I do this for 500 feet and stop. I wait. No sound, no eyes. Then there they are. One by one popping up. Further down the tunnel but still watching. Again I hold the can against the wall and scream all the way out.
I eventually see a dim light coming from the end of the tunnel. It’s night but the moon is bright and I can see something in the distance. As I get closer I see a family of raccoons one by one climbing up the concrete ladder that is attached to the wall. Relief washes over me. No monsters, no Slenderman, just raccoons. The second this happens a burglary alarm goes off in the building closest to me. Again that hot white fear bolts through my body as I run and I run and I run.