I had to admit, I was still curious about the place, seeing as my initial foray had been cut so short. It took him some convincing, but I finally relented, thinking, "Hey, no biggie. What's the chance lightning will strike twice?" And with a comrade present at least, there would be a lesser chance of a similar run-in. At least being armed with the foreknowledge that there could be danger lurking in those woods was an advantage I hadn't had on my first go-round. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the original incident was probably a fluke, and that I had nothing to worry about anymore. Besides, that was well over a year ago now, and those dogs prolly either moved to greener pastures, froze to death, or starved over the winter anyway.
This was only about two months after the Johnny Redding incident, by the way. We waited until the snow melted, and made our move.
I said "okay, sure" but had no intention of doing so.
When I called him up that morning, he asked me "Hey, you think I should pick up a can of mace on the way down?" I said it couldn't hurt. We parked at the strip mall on the Gratiot side of the woods (the opposite side from where I entered the last time), and began wading into the "Lost Neighborhood."
He kept saying how freaked out he was by this (having only recently read my story about the dogs), and was visibly on edge, yet he really wanted to explore this place. This is totally understandable—for someone who puts himself in harm's way as much as either of us do, when you hear a story about one of us who actually does get caught in a serious life-threatening encounter "in the line of duty," sh*t suddenly gets real. Nobody wants to get ate by a pack of dogs.
It doesn't get much more stereotypically Robocoppy than this. There was even rubble sprinkled on the roof of the car, a nice touch:
This I think is another of the communal facilities that would have provided amenities to the workers' housing that used to be here by the Hudson Motor Car Co. Body Plant:
Here's another car, a Ford Taurus wagon, which seems to have just fallen from the sky:
As soon as I snapped this next photo, I turned around to face the opposite way and all of a sudden heard...the blood curdling sound of dogs barking behind me.
John shouted at me "Don't run!! Don't turn your back!!" and I knew he was right, but the only thought going through my mind at this very moment was, "Oh heeeellllllllll no, this can't be happening again." I had maintained my composure the first time and resisted running, but this time the car was almost within sight and I just wanted to run to it.
I instantly recognized the two dogs. They were dogs #3 and #4 from my original encounter! What are the f#$%ing odds...? John had his can of mace already out and was positively bristling with the fight-or-flight combination of pure rage and fear that comes from the immediacy of an imminent threat to your life...I could tell he was thinking the same thing as me—"No f#$%ing way, this can't be happening"...his worst fear was playing out just as he had dreaded before we put ourselves into this ridiculous situation. He was pointing that can of mace like it was a nuclear f@#$ing missile...his arm was so rigidly thrust forward that I knew he must be just absolutely boiling with adrenaline.
I forced myself to stop and face our attackers, and John shouted at the top of his lungs to scare the dogs. I saw them turn tail and duck back into the brush as John picked up a large PVC pipe off the ground and started waving it at them too. We took our chance to retreat from the scene as hastily as possible, while looking back every two seconds to see if we were going to be pursued. John still had the mace can locked in a death grip, and I had my pocketknife ready.
Once it became apparent we were not being pursued and were within reach of the car, we started taking the deep, stress-filled breaths of relief that come while ratcheting down from a near-mortal-combat situation, and the heavy spewing of strung-together but unrelated cuss words that follow, eventually melting away to nervous and perturbed chuckling as we got into the car.
So yeah. Just stay out of those woods.