This happened in the summer of 2012, my fiancé, now my ex, came to visit me in Fullerton from England. We were in a long distance relationship. While he was visiting me, I decided to show him my favorite town in California, Yermo. It was the place I explored my first abandoned building, it was the place where I got bit by the urbexing bug. He had never been.

Before we stopped in at my favorite diner in town, I decided to take him to explore an abandoned mechanic’s garage on the edge of the town. or at least the main drag.

He was into cars, so I figured it’d be a cool thing to show him. By no means was the building beautiful. It was a brown stucco structure. Not that uncommon in a place like California. But inside, she was beautiful. Yes, I give buildings genders. I went in through the office and he went in through the waiting area. I figured it was okay to split up, I mean, it was daylight.

The drug cartels didn’t start using these buildings until sundown, but we’d be in Vegas at that point. Not to get married! I started to photograph the decay in the office; the rotting wood, the old wires. Then I heard a noise that made my skin crawl. The buzzing of flies. Not just one or two, but dozens. I shudder just writing that! I went into the next little room and saw a dead coyote.

This may be a bit morbid, but I started to take pictures of the corpse. It was then I noticed that this coyote hadn’t been shot or died of natural causes, it had been killed. Across it’s fly blown belly were these weird Spanish words. I refuse to learn Spanish and anyone who gets angry at me, I just say Ich spreche kein Spanish. Unless I am in an all Spanish speaking country.

But the whole Ich spreche kein Spanisch usually shuts them up. Because at that point, I’m not even speaking English. The coyote also seemed to have nails in the pads of the paws. I was still taking photos of the coyote corpse when I heard my fiancé scream. I tore through the building only to find him outside in one of the service ports. He had a crazed look on his face.

There sat a young man, an odd symbol carved into his head, scratches covered his body. He held a bloody screwdriver in his hand and was repeatedly stabbing a cat. His face was freckled with blood and a huge grin crossed his face. My fiancé and I backed away and drove off to Vegas. We still aren’t sure what was happening in that mechanics garage. But I know I haven’t been back since…