This story is about a year old now, but I'll never forget it.

It was Monday, and the group I was with was planning on meeting at Y Mochyn Du pub later that night. I found internet, looked up the directions,  and decided to split off from the group to go to an internet cafe to write my family. I had only been in Cardiff a few days, and had already gotten lost enough to feel confident with my surroundings.

The internet cafe was a whole new brand of creepy. The guy at the desk had long, greasy hair and resembled a crack-addled Argus Filch.  His eyes were really buggy out-y and he smelled AWFUL. "1 pound for an hour." He said to me. 

He was even creepier when I left. He didn't blink.

At all.

After leaving the cafe, I looked up the directions I had saved earlier. iPodbuddy had a whole list of helpful directions for me to read.

It was all making sense until...Continue on Cathedral. Wait what? After wandering around for another hour, I decided that "Cathedral Street" didn't exist. I consulted iPodbuddy and noticed a little line going through the park. Since there was no such thing as Cathedral Road, I decided to take that path to cut through the park to the pub, since it appeared to be

The park path was creepy as all get out, because it was slowly getting darker, and there were a lot of twisty trees.

When I reached the end of the path, I saw a bridge that led out of the park and into a parking lot, and beyond that...THE PUB. Glowing like a beautiful beacon of hope.

I finally found the pub!  Now I can tell everyone in the group how I got lost and tricked by Cathedral Road and how the park is super creepy when it gets dark.



OKAY, I thought. I'll just wait. I bet they're late. Maybe it was canceled.  Maybe it was 8:30? I'll wait. Yeah. I'll draw, or write.

Or just sit here.

Eight. No group.

Eight thirty.  Still no group. I decided to go home.

Upon leaving, I noticed the sign next to the pub said "Cathedral Road."

It pissed me off.

Instead of taking Cathedral road, I looked back over at the park.

IT WAS CLOSED. It had closed while I was sitting in the pub.

It was then that I remembered what the director of the program, Tom, had said. He had told me something about there being  hole in the fence that let you out by the City Hall, on the other side of the park. That'll be great! That way, I can just cut right through the park. YES. For some reason I guess I imagined the park to be much smaller than it actually was. It certainly seemed smaller during the day.

(Bute Park is located right behind the Castle. It has one large part in the middle where there are no trees and some Gorsedd Stones. There are trees surrounding everything else. These aren't just normal trees. In the daytime they are the coolest trees you'll ever see. They twist and bend and grow in the most unusual and sporadic ways. The branches are the best to climb, because they are so twisty and cool.)


But at night...they looked like thousands of writhing, tortured fingers coming up out of the ground to snatch you and take you to the underworld to be inhaled by Satan.

So I started running, which was probably the dumbest thing to do in the moment. 

Everything is  ALWAYS made worse by panic-induced running because your body is like omg there's SOMEONE BEHIND ME THEY'RE GONNA GRAB MY ANKLES RUN   RUN  RUN, and you never seem to outrun that maddening panic that grips your entire body, and makes your eyes feel like they are turning to acid and your heart keeps trying to burst out of your chest and you can never seem to run fast enough...

I ran until I got to the edge of the trees.

That's when I realized, really realized that I was actually locked in the park. The gate was closed...Nobody else was in there. My spine got all tingly-scared.

It was only made worse by all of the crows that seemed to be EVERYWHERE, screeching and flapping around above my head and around the silhouette of the castle.

Why? Why crows? I try and be all hard core when it comes to creepy things, but I can't even watch a scary movie. I love drawing disturbing and spine-tingling things, but I'm pretty sure it's just because I'm so terrified of them that I just don't know what else to do.

I had to keep going, though. I couldn't just turn back and go through all the awful trees again! And take stupid Cathedral Road that is in a different place every time, like that underwater turtle island in Aladdin 3. 

Again, I decided to make a run to the other side  


I booked it across the grassy area and ran straight for the area I thought Tom said the hole in the fence was.

But there was NO HOLE IN THE FENCE. CUTE. The gates were all definitely closed. My whole body was still all bursting with adrenaline, so I decided that I would climb the fence. The fence was about 7 feet tall (it seemed like it was at least), with big old spikes on the top of it.

It didn't look too menacing, especially after I got locked in a graveyard at night a few years previous to this (different story, different post) and had hopped that spiky fence successfully.

So I climbed it.

I still don't know how I climbed it so quickly, especially in the shoes I was wearing. I could see and smell my freedom. It smelled like a dirty street, and all I could see was a rubbish bin. BUT STILL. 

Then I was at the top, straddling the fence. YES, I thought.

Now you can go home. Now you won't be impregnated by a creepy Park-Incubus.

In my excitement and rush to get to the other side of the fence I slipped. I would have fallen off and hit the ground if it weren't for my bum. It got caught on a spike! My bum! It poked a hole in my favorite pair of trousers! It truly felt like the Park's last ditch attempt at destroying me.

 Then I noticed the elderly couple standing a few feet away, watching me.

How long had they been there? What weird people. Why aren't they saying anything. ARE THEY EVEN REAL.

So I just went for it and leapt off the fence, landing on my feet. I was pretty proud of how I landed, because it felt like I was in a movie, running away from bad guys, except the bad guys were the Park and in reality, not even scary at all. I said Good Evening to the couple who may or may not have been made up by my exhausted brain, and ran across the street.

That's when I realized I had no idea how to get home. Swallowing my urge to lose it and kick a kitten in the face, I consulted iPodbuddy.

But iPodbuddy was being really stupid.

Instead I wandered around, hoping to spot a familiar place or monument,  until iPodbuddy cooperated by connecting to some internet.

I got the street name I needed from him and finally, after almost being hit by cars going a different way than what I'm used to, I found the street and saw the familiar train station ahead. YES.

Turns out Cathay Street is like a million miles uphill. I started to cry a little out of pure frustration and exhaustion (I still had a bit of jetlag). I was sweaty all over, because Wales thinks it's funny to be super humid so nothing ever dries completely, and I had a pounding hunger headache.

Eventually I reached the street I lived on. Oh, creepy neighborhood, I've found you!  Your garbage infested streets, with those cute seagulls screeching and ripping their way through the rubbish to eat my leftover orange peels. It was wonderful.

I ran to the door, and realized my key was inside. None of my roommates were there, so I couldn't get in. Exasperated, I tried the windows.  Nothing. Instead I went to the house across the street where the other group was living and stayed there until I could get a key from someone. Took a shower there. It was ice cold because Wales also thinks its funny to trick foreigners by having a hidden button outside the bathroom that turns on the hot water.

The shower is like "I'm freezing! Betcha can't find my secret button!"

You look and look and are finally convinced that there IS no secret button  and you end up taking an ice cold shower, ignorantly wondering if all British people liked cold showers. My roommates came home, and I crawled into my bed. I think a kid slept in that bed last, because every inch of it smelled like urine. Or a sweaty man. Or....ew.

But falling asleep at home, safe and warm, not carrying a Park-Incubus' child (Parcubus?), was the best feeling ever.