Thanksgiving Eve: Lights in the Abandoned Textile Mill

Graveyard Shift … 0246 hours

Thanksgiving Eve.

Weather … Clear

Location … Abandoned textile mill

Victim … Unknown/TBD

Suspect … Unknown/TBD

Dispatch. “Caller reports seeing light, possibly flashlights, inside the abandoned mill on Hwy 666, just south of the city.”

“10-4. I’ll check it out.”

Radio crackles.

“I’m close, 2045. I’ll meet you there.”

“10-4, 2037.”

Cracked asphalt drive.

Gangly weeds pushing through jagged openings.

Brick consumed by untamed vegetation.

Black sky peppered with specks of starlight.

Owl hoots in the distance.

Rats scurrying through tangled coils of honeysuckle and kudzu.

Lopsided door.

One rusty hinge.


Broken chain.

A push and a grunt.

Then a step inside.

Concrete floor.

Broken glass.

Fallen wood and metal.


An office to the left.

A hallway to the right,

A dark cavern.

The yellow beam of a flashlight leads the way.


Spider webs.

A painted sign.


Double doors.


Tall and short.

Fat and skinny.

Steel dinosaurs.

Rust and oil stains.

Mouse on a metal table.

Roaches, the size of Fig Newtons.

Light in the distance,

Shining from beneath a closed door.

Another sign.




Guns pointed.

Step forward, slowly.

Shards of glass,

Crunching and cracking under shiny shoes.



Light, unmoving.

Ease closer.

Water dripping from above.

Plop … plop … plop.

Owl hoots.

Rodents, as big as barn cats,

Rustling through debris.

Hearts pounding,

Beating like drums.

Thump, thump, thump.

Sweat on foreheads.

Slowly open the door.

I to the right.

He to the left.



A flashlight on its side,

Painting a yellow triangle across crumbling concrete.


No response.


Plop … plop … plop.


Rustling, squeaking, scratching.


Hoot, hoot, hooting.

Far away train horn,

A haunting, sad wail.

A man.

A steel beam.

A rope.

Overturned chair.

Dress shirt.


Tennis shoes,

One on, one off.

A note.

“I love you, dear wife. 

I’m sorry I failed you and our beautiful children.

Tell them I love them too.

This is the only way.

Always remember the good days.”

0342 hours.

Cause of death … possible suicide.

Victim … unknown

Next of kin … a wife and daughters … somewhere.


Hoo, hoot, hoot.

Rats, scurrying.

Train horn,

Further down the tracks,

Fading into the night.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

*Article images by Maryland photographer Sunday Kaminski.