The Mysterious Church and Restaurant

There was an abandoned church in a sleepy mountain town. At night there was a make-shift tent in front that functioned as a restaurant. One night something really strange happened.

by Lynn WL

I'm a college student, and I love spring break because that's when I can go wild and free without being watched by my parents. Last year, however, my boyfriend Rick and I broke the norm. Instead of doing the usual wild and crazy stuff we decided to spend some romantic time together in a secluded place for spring break.

Rick grew up in West Virginia which he said was very beautiful, and he longed to see his home state which he had not been to in many years. We both loved nature, so we decided to go camping and hiking in the mountains of West Virginia.

The Appalachian mountains were indeed breathtakingly beautiful, and our campsite was very secluded. The nearest town was about 40 minutes away. It was far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, and the cool crisp mountain air was invigorating. We felt like we had the entire world to ourselves.

The first day we just took it easy. We explored the area, cooked our own meals, and had fun with each other. At night we were surrounded by the sounds of wildlife. I kind of enjoyed it although it got a little unsettling at times. But with Rick by my side I felt safe.

I admire Rick. He was the only child, and both his parents had passed away. He worked full time for a while after he finished high school, and now he was supporting himself through college.

The second day we did some serious hiking. When we got back we were tired and famished. We were also running low on food, so we decided to drive to town to eat dinner. The town was really small, and everything closed early. We had a hard time finding a restaurant that was still open, and it was only 8 pm. We almost gave up and thought we would just go back and eat junk food. Rick decided to drive around a little bit more, and suddenly we came across a very interesting, if not odd, sight.

old church at nightThere was an old church building with no name, and there were two guys doing some repair work outside. Right beside the church there was a huge party tent with tables and chairs under it, and a sign hanging in the front that said "Chinese Food." The lights were on, so it was likely open.

Being part Chinese, I was pretty excited to see it although the food would likely not be authentic. But who cares, right? We were fucking starving! So Rick pulled into the parking lot, and then we walked towards the tent.

There were no one else in there. The two guys that were working outside walked in and greeted us. They were not Chinese. "Good evening, have a seat!" one of them said.

"Good thing you guys are still open. We're starving, and have been driving around town but couldn't find an open restaurant," said Rick.

"Yeah, most places close early in this small town. Not many people go out after 8 pm," said the guy as he handed us the menu. "We are converting the old church building into a restaurant, but we currently have day jobs, so the only time we can do the work is at night, and while we work on the building, why not cook at the same time, right? Kill two birds with one stone, since it never gets too busy anyway. Hopefully, we will already have some recognition by the time the building is ready." he continued.

"Sounds like a fantastic idea!" replied Rick. We ordered a vegetable soup, beef with broccoli, and sweet and sour chicken. The other guy was the cook, and he prepared our food in a jiff. The soup was pretty good, the other two dishes were so-so. As I expected, the food wasn't authentic, but it satisfied our tummies. We went back to our camp happy.

The next day was a rest day for us. No hiking or other strenuous activities. We woke up late and headed back to town for lunch. After having lunch at a burger joint, out of curiosity, we drove to the place we ate the night before. We knew it wouldn't be open as the guys told us they had day jobs, but we just wanted to see what it looked like during the day.

When we got there we were kind of shocked to see how dilapidated the church looked. There was no evidence of any repair work ever being done. The walls were really dirty, and the paint was peeling. There was also no tent, nor any indication of it ever being there. Long grass covered the ground where the tent was, which definitely wasn't the case the previous night. We were really puzzled as we tried to figure out what was going on.

Rick parked the car, and we walked to the building. He turned the door knob, and surprisingly the door opened effortlessly. The knob wasn't even functioning. There was a loud creak as it opened, and we were greeted by a strong musty aroma. We were taken aback by the decrepit interior.

The altar and pews were covered with a thick layer of dust; the walls and ceilings were crumbling, and there was all kinds on junk on the floor. Obscene graffiti filled the walls. Some words written in red caught my attention: THE BEAST IS HERE followed by the number 666.

Despite the mustiness, I was able to smell something else - a putrid pungent smell. I looked around and found the source. There was a huge black dead rat with no head under one of the pews. I felt sick. I quickly ran outside and puked.

"Rick, let's get the fuck out of here!" I exclaimed as I was trying to breathe in as much fresh air as possible. I was still feeling nauseated as we drove off.

There wasn't much to see in that sleepy little town, so we decided to take a scenic drive along the highway, enjoying the beauty of the Appalachian. We stopped occasionally to take pictures and walk around admiring the different plants. I was finally able to get my mind off the disgusting scene inside the church.

Before we knew it, it was 6 pm and the sun was setting. We needed to get back to town quickly for we wanted to eat dinner and get some groceries before heading back to the campsite.

We had dinner in a steakhouse and then headed for the nearest grocery store. I was busy looking at the pictures we took earlier, and wasn't paying attention to the surroundings. Suddenly Rick tapped on my thigh and said, "Lynn, look!" while pointing out the window on my side.

My heart skipped a beat as I saw the all too familiar sight. An old church building, two guys doing some repair work, and a tent to the side of the building with a sign that said "Chinese Food."

Before I could say anything, Rick was already pulling into the parking lot. "Rick, what the fuck are you doing? We just had dinner. Let's just go to the grocery store before it closes!"

"We aren't coming here to eat. I just wanna find out what the fuck is going on with the building and those two guys, and everything," he replied.

"I really don't think that's a good idea. Let's just leave. Please..."

Rick snickered and said, "I thought you were adventurous!"

"Not when it comes to weird shit like this. I'm actually scared, Rick!" I tried desperately to change his mind.

"Aw, come on babe, nothing's gonna happen! I'm just gonna talk to them for a couple of minutes, that's all," he said as he parked the car and got out. I reluctantly followed him to the tent.

The two men once again greeted us. "Well, welcome back! Have a seat." said the same one that talked to us the other night. We both sat down as he put the menu in front of us.

"Hey, uh... we stopped by here earlier this afternoon," said Rick. "There was no tent, and the building looked so worn down like you guys never did any work on it. What's going on?"

"Oh, uh... we take down the tent when we leave. We don't want anything to happen to it, you know. And the building... well, we just recently got started, and maybe the bright sunlight exposed the parts we haven't worked on making it look..." the guy tried to explain.

"And there was a huge headless dead rat inside!" I interjected, feeling a little sick again as I remembered the sight and stench.

"Oh, really? Well, we haven't replaced the door yet, and we don't have the key to the old one, so a cat or another animal must have dragged it in," he replied.

Meanwhile, I was nervously flipping through the menu, and was feeling really sick as I got to thinking what kind of meat they were using as ingredients. Rick opened his mouth to say something, but I immediately got up and said, "Rick, I'm really sick, let's get outta here."

I ran towards the car without waiting for Rick. I puked in the bushes right beside the car. After I finished I looked back towards the tent, and had the shock of my lifetime. It was pitch dark. There was no tent, no tables and chairs, no two guys, and... no Rick! I panicked and started yelling his name. "Rick... Rick... Riiick! Where the fuck are you!?"

I ran towards the church and around it shining my flashlight trying to find Rick. "Rick, this isn't funny! If you don't fucking come out now, I'm calling the cops!" Dead silent. Not even a cricket was chirping. So I called 911.

The cops arrived within five minutes. The officer in-charge was cold and condescending, making the situation worse for me. After taking my initial statement (unfortunately, I wasn't very coherent) he said, "That's why we always warn people not to go into abandoned buildings. You just never know what kind of danger you may run into. But kids don't listen. They are thrill-seekers, they expect to find ghosts or whatever. Then they get robbed, abducted, or even killed. Not by ghosts, but by criminals and derelicts!"

"But we weren't in the building," I protested. "We were sitting under the tent outside. It was a restaurant."

"Look, kiddo!" said the officer. "I don't know what you've been smoking, but I'm gonna be gracious and not search you or your vehicle for any illegal substance since you're going through a lot. As you can see, there's no restaurant or tent out here, and there never has been!"

I just kept quiet for I knew arguing any further would be futile.

===

It has been almost a year now, and they still have not found Rick. He vanished without a trace, like he never even existed. This whole thing has taken a toll on me. I'm depressed and doing poorly in school. In fact, I flunked a couple of classes last semester. I also get sick every so often. I still cry almost every night thinking about Rick, and regretting the fact that I didn't wait for him that night.

I still secretly wish that he would one day show up. Yes, just as suddenly as he disappeared. But I know the chance of that happening is getting slimmer with each passing day.


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