During my childhood.
My mother and aunts would tell me stories about all of the children that got lost in the tunnels underneath the fortress. My Mom told me a about a girl who was playing hide and seek with her friends. She wandered into one of the tunnels underneath. She never found her way out. I imagined her underneath us, wandering around, trying to find her way out.
Some friends that disappeared after my adolescence.
We sat at the edge of the wall, our feet dangling off of the precipice. It was night and the old city across the bridge glimmered in the river. She pointed to the field below, shrowded in darkness. "One time I got really drunk and fell down there. I broke my leg."
One of the guys who was sitting behind us overheard and related how he too had gotten drunk and fallen off of the edge of the fortress. However, he had only received some minor scrapes.
That night, I also talked to a foreigner who had come to visit for the summer. He told me he couldn't tell me what his real job was. That's why he told everyone he developed retro-style cellphone games. One other time he invited me to go visit a hat store with him. But I never went. The foreigner and the dude who had fallen off of the wall started to have a conversation about politics and philosophy, something about whether or not a state could ever function under anarchy. The foreigner took out his phone, it was one of those retro flat ones of course, and started searching for examples of societies that had thrived under complete anarchy. I believe his search was inconclusive.
All of us gathered on the side of the wall facing the river. The other side, that faced towards the east, where one could see the mountains under the veil of a thin mist, had been closed off. A girl committed suicide by jumping off the wall because her boyfriend had broken up with her. This precaution had been taken to discourage any similar behavior.
Today, sometime in the morning.
After, visiting the Creepy Camcorder Dude's stop, I went to visit the old fortress that overlooked the river. This is the second place I remember seeing him.
This old fortress had experienced a series of evolutions throughout its existence. It was built along the river by the first nomadic tribe that settled here. Since then, occupying and domestic leaders had added onto it. Now, it functions as a public park. Teenagers get stoned on the tombs of forgotten monarchs and monuments built to prominent communist figures are covered in graffitti.
I walked towards the side facing the river because the other side (where the chick jumped from) was still blocked off. Children raced one another with their bicycles and retirees played chess along the sidewalk. I eyed the retirees to see if perhaps the Creepy Camcorder Dude was among them, not that I necessarily thought that this was his crowd. I bought some ice cream from a vendor and proceeded towards one of the tunnels. This tunnel took me towards the lower level of the fortress that opened into a garden full of red flowers. This tunnel didn't swallow me and trap me underground like I had feared as a child, but it did smell like piss. This introduced a new set of concerns altogether.
I remember this garden being the place where I saw the Creepy Camcorder Dude for the second time. He had sat in the center of this garden. I walked around the garden, past the distressed monument of the communist heroes. I was the only one in there. I walked towards the center, stepping all over the flowers, afterall there was nobody here to see me. When I got to the center, I looked straight ahead towards the smoking chimneys of the boats in the river. It was a nice view, but not as nearly as enchanting as whatever the Creepy Camcorder Dude had been looking at that night.
When those friends were still there.
I saw the Creepy Camcorder Dude one night when there was a concert here. A local thrash metal band was playing and there were a bunch of really intimidating goth and metal kids hanging around. I thought they were super cool. My friend - the one who fell off of the fortress - was friends with some of them.
We hung around the lower level of the fortress, which had a set of steep stairs that led to bottom of the field. This area had a monument dedicated to four communists figure (don't ask me, I can't remember which ones), and a garden full of red flowers.
My friend was chatting with some of the older kids. I didn't say much, I just listened for the most part. But then I saw him, sitting in the garden. He was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the garden of red flowers, his eyes staring in the direction of the sky and the glimmering city lights in the river. A few of the kids had taken notice of him. They pointed at him and made a comment or two. The Camcorder Dude didn't seem affected at all. He kept staring ahead.
I thought I saw the camcorder in his lap. Although he was staring in the direction of the river, he was looking at something else entirely. I wonder if he managed to catch it on his camera.