Here is how these things happen.
You’ll agree to humour your friend, Eric, over lunch and listen to his plan to find a UNSW urban legend that he saw on Reddit, and the meetup will end with him reaching the conclusion that whatever he was talking about isn't that interesting anyway.
This meeting in particular doesn’t seem to be going in that direction though.
“Have you heard of the basement?” He asks.
“They say that the quad elevators have a secret, basement floor.”
I tell him that it’s a myth, but he remains determined.
“If we could just prove its existence, we would definitely go viral,” he proposes over his meatball sub that is slowly dissolving onto the table below. His dark eyes are unfocused again so you know he’s dreaming up one of his grand ideas, and the imprint of his palm is still stark on his cheek from when he dozed off in an earlier online lecture.
I protest that I have a lab in ten minutes. He says it won’t take that long, wiping grime from his mouth and staining his grey UNSW-library-issued-hoodie in the process.
I find myself following him down to the quad anyways.
“To be honest, I’ve never taken the quad elevator.”
“I always counted the Basser steps as my daily cardio.”
He laughs at that as he fishes out his phone, no doubt for his precious tiktok content, and we get into the elevator.
I look to where he’s pointing. He’s already filming. It's a blank button with no symbol.
The back of my neck prickles. “Hey, I don’t think we should pre-“
He presses it, and the elevator shifts with a heaving groan. The lights flicker.
“-A bad idea,” I finish.
The doors open to a steel corridor. I frown at the distant noise - I can’t tell what it was or where it was coming from.
I say we should leave. When I turn around, he’s already left the elevator.
I peer down the length of the corridor, dimly lit, and sigh…It’s just like him to rush into things without notice. I really want to leave, but I guess it wouldn’t be right to just ditch him.
Throwing my self-preservation out the window, I start after him, muttering curses and vowing to give him a long and painful death for making me go through this.
The murmuring I heard before turns into a steady chant. Among the disused University equipment in the basement is a group of people, all dressed in grey robes. I bob my head around, trying to get a clearer view of the spectacle. Of course, my curiosity overtook me, and my observational hubris may just kill me but the whole thing was so surreal it’ll be foolish to leave now.
Placed in the centre, they seem to be standing over an effigy of the… UNSW star gates?
My foot lands a little too hard, right onto an old stack of open day brochures. They scatter, topple, and the next thing I know is thirty-something heads turning toward me...
TO BE CONTINUED.
Written by Lesley, publicist at UNSWeetened.
Developed by the UNSWeetened 2022 team.
Illustrations by Laura (UNSWeetened Designer), Teresa (UNSWeetened Designer), Juliet (UNSWeetened Editor).