28 The Encounter
I'm a tall, yet extremely skinny guy, and I'm 21 years old. I was 20 years old at the time, and it was the week before the presidential election in the United States. I felt a lot of anxiety about the election, as I live in Manhattan and there are a lot of crazy people in that city who act as if the entire world is going to end over one simple election.
So, feeling exhausted from both that, and my university, I decided to visit my friends in Moscow. I'm half Russian, and have an apartment in the city center of Moscow.
I had never been in Russia while it snowed, and luckily during this time it was snowing. The city looked beautiful, and the vibe I had from the city was perfect. I felt so calm, safe, and the whole world around me just seemed so quiet.
Unfortunately, I had severe jet lag and fell asleep around 5PM Moscow time that day. My friend went home to get ready for her classes the next day, and I woke up around 3AM. I could not fall back asleep, so I decided to go outside and take a walk around my area while it calmly snowed.
I walked around the dead empty city in my district, and took in all of the beautiful architecture and snow falling down heavily. I don't remember for how long I was walking, but I crossed a bridge and entered deeply into a neighborhood I was not familiar with. I thought it would be okay, as I was in my district, and sort of remembered the way back home.
I eventually came up to this ginormous entrance of a block unit, with a beautiful gate on it. The gate was opened, so I decided to step inside. It looked like a small little compound, or something similar to it. If anyone is from Russia, they probably know what I'm talking about. Everything was dead quiet, and the trees canopied in the square complex.
To the right was an extremely tall building, with a ginormous door. I peeked inside, and saw a lightly dimmed lobby (typical Russian lobby vibe) with a blinking fluorescent light. I held on the door, and to my surprise it was unlocked.
I entered into the massive building, and looked around. I saw many stares wrapping around in a square leading up, a small typical Russian elevator, and to the right of the stairwell stairs that led down. The door at the bottom of the stairs was open.
I absolutely do not know what came over me, as I am not one to adventure alone - but as I stated earlier, everything felt so beautiful. The quiet vibe of snow covered Russia had me feeling so peaceful, and I decided to just tip toe on down into the basement to take a closer look.
I walked into the room with the open door, and threw on my flashlight on my phone. I saw an extremely long tunnel, and I could not see the end of it. I felt threatened by it, and got extremely uncomfortable. I decided it was best for me to leave.
When I turned around, the only light that was entering the tunnel was from outside of the doorway. I saw standing in the door a black silhouette. I quickly understood it was the outline of a person, who was at least 5 inches taller than me.
So I would say he was about 6'5". He was massive, and my stomach dropped so hard with my heart beginning to beat super quickly. He started to speak to me in Russian, but as my Russian isn't fluent, I did not understand everything he said.
"I'm sorry, I don't speak Russian" I said to him in Russian. "You speak English?" he said in English to me. I told him I did, and he asked me if I knew where I was. "No," I told him, as my mind started to fill up with a lot of different scenarios, one of which with me having to run down this tunnel and getting lost to avoid him if he chased me.
"These tunnels used to be used for Red Army soldiers to move from one place to another during the war", he explained to me. "This whole building used to be a bunker for Red Army soldiers".
I said "Aaah" to show some interest, and began to move towards the left while facing him, in attempts to get him to move out of the doorway. "This whole place is now apartments. I have one on the top floor. You should come see it!" he said to me.
"It's quite late, and I think I should be going!" I said. However, he grabbed my small wrist with a lot of strength, and led me towards the stairs to go to the main floor of the lobby. "I have a view you'll love". He called the small elevator, and if any of you have ever been to Russia - you'll know exactly what type of elevator it is. The type that can barely fit two people.
He began telling me about how he just got back from Chicago, and that his "husband" loved Chicago as well. This started to have me panicking, as I thought to myself that there would be another man up to where he was bringing me - and I would have 2 men overpower me.
Once we go to his room, I looked at this massive studio apartment he had. He had only candles to light the room, with a lot of tapestries dividing it up, with both the candle and moonlight shining through it to create a super eerie vibe.
I looked out his window as he instructed me, and I have to admit - the view was amazing. I got a panoramic view of Taganskaya, and of the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building. I then started scoping around, looking for an opportunity to get out of there.
"Where is your husband?", I asked. He looked at me, and laughed - "Oh, he's dead!".
He then picked me up, and I asked him what he is doing. He brought me into another room, and began to touch me inappropriately. He ran his hand down my back, and took my phone from my back pocket.
I did not realize he did this, as I was just in horror as this man licked me and said explicit things in Russian. I tried to pull away, but it made him squeeze and corner me even harder. After about 10 minutes of this, he told me to wait a moment. He went into his bathroom, and in this moment I immediately sprinted over to the door.
There were no lights, so I went to pull out my phone for the flashlight, only to my horror the phone was missing from my back pocket. I almost nearly had a heart attack as I realized I would have to go back into that bedroom to get my phone. I darted back into the room, and saw my phone lying on a couch he had next to his bed.
I grabbed it, and ran for the door. I unlocked 2 locks on one door, and when I opened that one, there was an outer door. I managed to get it open. As I ran out, the adrenaline was so high in me, I ignored the elevator and went straight for the stairs. I ran around in circles down it for what seemed like forever until I finally reached the bottom.
I practically leaped down a few steps to go out of the lobby and to the main door I had entered from. It wouldn't open as I pushed as hard as I could on it. I then began to start sobbing to myself, and cursing.
The thought of me having to go back into that tunnel to hide again from him came over me, and I almost began to accept that as a reality at this point. I quickly tried to pull myself together, and noticed the typical button you should press to disable the magnet that holds the door locked. I pressed it, heard the mono toned beep that follows, and fell out of the door and into the snow.
I never understood why characters could not pull themselves together when running in horror movies, always falling on themselves. But in that moment, I did the same - and I sort of understand it now. I tread through the thigh high snow, and to the main road by exiting the complex.
I sprinted ignoring my lungs screaming for air down the main road, only slowing down once I reached a bridge that lead me to my street.
Once I got inside, I sat in my bed for two hours nearly shaking before I told anyone about it.