It was called Pit Stop and it started as a game. At first it was fun to rummage through the wreckage of memories that were piled in the corners of the abandoned building where Kamil and his friends played during lunch breaks from work at the factory. Fun quickly began to warp and fume as each one of the players started to disappear. Kamil was soon the only one left and he was bombarded with the memories that were attached to relics and unfathomable objects that were strewn haphazardly across the floors of the abandoned building. When he started playing the game, Kamil was eleven, a kid from a rough neighborhood who never had the encouragement or money to attend school. He was forced to take a job at the factory making electronic app-sacks that were in high demand in prosperous countries on the other side of the world. Life was predictable. Kamil gave the money he earned to his family so they wouldn’t starve. Sometimes Kamil stole small items from the outdoor market (the Bizarre) that appeared in different locations at different times throughout the city. He was admired by his friends for his daring. Luckily he was never caught. A thief was often beaten in a public demonstration meant as a warning to ward off crime. Generally life was too boring for Kamil to be dissuaded from doing anything that might be interesting. The game was called Pit Stop because the abandoned building where they played was a depressing place, a pit … and everything on the outside seemed to stop whenever Kamil and his friends entered the building.
One by one his friends disappeared and as they vanished the game became more important gaining in strength. Time slowed down whenever they played the game … and then it stopped … and, then, Kamil was alone — dredging through oddments left behind by generations of players, each strange item was attached to a ghost. There were warnings, graffiti that glowed in the dark, splattered on walls, graffiti that was never noticed before: warnings about potential accidents — legends about cannibals who lived in the building.
Kamil’s friends returned. At first they appeared like shimmering images on a movie screen. Then, he saw the corpses — half eaten and discarded like garbage. Kamil had to escape. The longer he stayed in the building, the more powerful the game became taking over his mind. Kamil was losing parts of himself. He was disappearing, becoming a ghost. He was drawn like a magnet to the glowing presences that wavered above pools of liquid radiation. He was seduced by what they offered. They were tormented spirits stuck in limbo. They wanted Kamil’s physical body so they could taste the world once again — they offered freedom. Each ghost claimed to be a doorway into another world, another life. Kamil was absorbed by the claims: lies as hollow as ghosts.