Standing in front of a dark, wet, sewer-hole, flames of my desires flash before my eyes. This was it—one of the secret tunnels that lead to Paris' underworld.
Rumors of an underground city grew more and more over the months; at parties serious “cataphiles,” followers and freaks luring the streets of Paris, would motivate others to delve deep into the mysterious scene that still creeps against society—to seek it, go under and rediscover deceased souls and decayed bones forgotten a 1,000 years passed...
As a man with a headlamp and rain boots forcibly pops out, our insides shiver screaming success in excitement and fear, like waiting to enter a haunted house ride at Disney World.
A girl covered in mud from head to toe falls out after him, we look at each other, they both look at us, at each other, and then laugh.
A group of rebels zoom past us and quickly sneak in as our cataphile “guides” whip out their cell phone lights, proceeding to squeeze in the secret abysmal, ninja turtle-like opening. Before dipping in—they stop, turn around and yell at us to “hurry!”
We descend tiny metallic iron ladders that lead down as far as the eye can see, morphing as we go into an eternity of mini, stoned steps. 80 ft under, temperatures drastically drop and darkness takes ahold of our senses.
Finally hitting solid ground we regroup ourselves in whispers and murmurs and follow on, from time to time bumping into disoriented individuals pleading and pulling toward a different direction. Walls with graffiti-accented arrows lead a certain path, but then randomly and abruptly disappear. Our guides tell us to ignore it, to not go “astray,” that they will not wait for anyone, so we continue our “said” route.
As our feet vanish in muddy pits, we slither across dripping walls of swamp and marsh, twisting through, in and out of barriers and concave rocks. We support one another; scratching, scramming, and screeching out each other’s names to keep the comfort and sane.
Involuntarily bouncing to a surround sound, our hearts gradually thrive, thumping louder and stronger with each step. A generator’s gracious hum gently greets us in flickering beams of light that weave through waves of music.
Relieved of our final destination, we accept the grim forces of a “literal” underground grave-rave, and sigh.
Squishing through one last crack, we hold our breaths and are submersed into a sweaty, sealed space, swallowing us into a mass of swaying people in a secret spot under all of the earth.
No wi-fi connection, no calling the police, no turning back, no getting out…
Cold cryptic pathways lead to black-light lit holes, caves and enclosed rock for-mated rooms slowly separate and disperse, but then stealthy sync and wrap back around to a main maze where the music plays.
Two sound systems encompass the vast space, but not entirely.
And trying to avoid thrown, crushed cadavers covering the ground, we exhume and unearth every nook and cranny of this once mined, quarried-bubble.
Wandering off alone, an anxious sense of loss amplifies our toxicity levels—but just a façade.
Dancing, drinking, and drugging our selves with delusion, we intertwine and continue circling. Our eyes accustom to the gloom, inducing us to feel bigger and grasp a sense of control, as opposed to how small we were when we first came in.
Discovering multiple dead ends, an inch of boredom spews, so we decidedly leave.
Without our “guides,” we exit back out through the main crack attempting to amuse ourselves by remembering the path. Seeking to pursue the pleasant adrenaline of getting lost—we chase some for a bit—panic, but our nervous systems sub-consciously recalls the route back.
Scurrying up, out through now our maze-chamber, I consistently look back into the void behind me, taking pride in the clandestine-like life we lead.
Eventually, we burst out from under the earth like vampires burning back into reality, sun shining and all.
And that’s it.
We look at each other each with huge grins, take deep breaths of fresh air, trying to let our vision settle.
Pedestrians stop, pass by looking at us as if we were the Night of The Living Dead (we probably were), then continue walking.