A desperate trip into the ruins of Turner Field

Streeter Lecka

A harrowing urban safari to the abandoned playground the Atlanta Braves once called home

A hellscape surrounded it: the tall, once-gleaming corners of what was known once as "Turner Field." Once, people walked these spaces, and purchased beer in aluminum mock-bottles to drink while watching a game, and living life as people did in the now-distant year 1997.

Now, only feral dogs and the merciless wind inhabited its spaces, a picture of desolation itself.

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We approached from the east, staying downwind to prevent possible scavengers from picking up our scent. Ahead, we found the stadium. Its profile was sorrow itself, a devastated shell of a former age.

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The damage boggled the mind. How anyone had made it in this stadium for 17 years, much less five minutes?

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The human soul can endure far more than suspected, far more than anyone dared conceive even in their most ghoulish nightmares. That was the only possible explanation for living among such rubble, and doing it for so long.

I bet they only had one Waffle House in here, I thought out loud to myself.

The filth of three generations covered the ground:

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We somehow moved through it, driven only by the desire to see the face of decay itself. Time had devastated the once-proud temple of sport, and parts were literally falling off of it as we moved. I looked up, and saw the threads of Turner Field unraveling before my very eyes.

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We needed to move fast. The entire building was seconds from falling down around our ears.

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Devastation.

I looked down, and saw the shadow of some forgotten horror:

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It could have been just water stains, but I'm pretty sure it was something way worse, like the shadow of a spherical thing incinerated by a nuclear flash. Something like a giant novelty baseball, or Cee-Lo.

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We moved in the dying light. On the wall, a sign written for the long-dead, indicating some mysterious distance in the primitive imperial units of the late American period. Devolution must have set in by this point, as a sign indicating direction was written without words, and now pointed to...to what? What was it trying to tell them? And what was it telling us, now, standing amidst the rubble of a dead people?

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The dust of ages covered everything. I should have worn gloves, but the urge to reach out, to touch something human, to come into contact with ruin itself. This that is dead was once alive, I thought to no one in the silence.

Who were these strange people of the past?

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Why were they so fond of the University of Alabama?

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What were these ghostly messages from the past?

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What was a Taco Mac? Where was it? AND WHAT DID IT MEAN? We had no answers, but then---

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--oh god--

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WALKERS.

We fled quietly but quickly before they caught our scent. As I retreated, I passed one last mystery, a broken promise from the dead to the miserable living.

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No you won't, I thought to myself. You won't ever call again.

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