What is likely the last of the trick-or-treaters just left my
doorway. To my utter dismay, I find myself sitting in my recliner,
my hands gripping the arms of the chair. I can't believe I could
No. My eyes close tightly. I never forgot. I've never stopped
remembering. Knowing that the fear stems from my delusions doesn't
help. I open my eyes wide, frightened of my memories, horrified
to see again what happened a year ago tonight. The feeling is
so vivid, so intense that I can't distinguish past from the
present. Am I reliving it again? I don't know. I feel the hairs
on the back of my neck tingle. I notice an unrecognizable odor
that takes the oxygen from the air like cheap incense. My memories
* * *
I had been sitting in this chair with my eyes closed, my thoughts
moving idly from the history of the holiday to my own perceptions
of the spirit world. Then I imagined -- I felt - no, I KNEW
- that several things, entities, spirits - I have no idea what
to call them - entered my apartment. They filed through the
door - the closed, locked, dead-bolted door - without a sound,
their presence suddenly so real that my fear and confusion caused
me to blurt like a crazy person, "No more! Nothing else enters."
To my surprise and relief they stopped coming. My eyes still
closed, I struggled to breathe. I sensed something massive at
my feet. I heard a voice, "Open your eyes."
No way, I thought. No way did I just hear that. It must have
been my imagination. The sound filled the room, or was it my
head, but it wasn't at all loud. "Open your eyes. You are not
a child. Hiding beneath the covers will not make the monsters
I was pressed back into my chair, the weight immense. They pried
my eyes open. Instead of ghost-like figures or evil-faced ogres,
I saw void - a lack of light. I fought to get away but was forced
to watch the shadow come close - forced to listen to it laugh
at my pitiful protests as I screamed.
"Why do you fight?" The voice shouted in my head, but was also
calm, controlling, evil. "You asked us to be here."
I pleaded, "I didn't ask for this."
"Oh, sure you did." The larger one leapt onto my chest and I
fought again to breathe. "You said, 'Please God, allow me the
experience of the spirit world. Allow me the presence of angels.'
That's what he said, wasn't it?" His voice sneered and the others
He lifted off me and I watched the couch fly across the room
and stick high upon the opposite wall. Fighting to take my first
real breath since their arrival, I found myself rising up, then
floating upside-down towards him. Screaming, my arms flailing,
I spun as though strapped to a wheel on the wall. I heard more
Totally under their control, my screams changed nothing. My
fighting was useless. I begged for understanding, "But I asked
for the presence of angels. YOU are not angels."
"He speaks of Earth-bound reality." They laughed again, like
a pack of hyenas. "Your definitions mean nothing. What is an
angel? Something that protects you from harm? Something with
pretty white wings who speaks softly and answers prayers and
LOVES you? Imbecile! Humans are jokes in the universe. You ask
for things you know nothing about, then cry for help when they
arrive." By this time I had stopped spinning and was being tossed
around the room like a stuffed animal. My lip was bleeding,
my jaw felt like I'd been punched, the wind was knocked out
of me as if I'd been kicked in the stomach.
Finally I landed by the door as they turned their attention
to shaking my upside-down refrigerator, emptying its contents.
I heard, "These eggs are spoiled! He should thank us!" Drunk,
evil laughter. I opened my door and started to run, but then
was slammed back against a wall.
I shouted for help as my table was used as a Frisbee. "Go ahead
and shout," the leader screams. "No one can hear you." A bubble
floated toward me, popped, and I heard my own shouts. "I just
LOVE your world," he said with glee. "If it can be imagined,
it can be done. When will you moronic humans realize this?"
"Aww you look tired. Here, have a seat!" I was thrown against
the wall above the couch. Bouncing off the wall, I hit the couch,
and the couch and I both crashed to the floor.
The spirit continued ranting, "What's more ludicrous is that
you will wake up and think this is all a dream. Even with the
bruises, even with eggs on your kitchen floor, you will think
you walked in your sleep; you fell off the bed. This is how
humans justify this reality. Things you can't explain you attribute
to fantasy, dreams, visions, aliens, bad drug trips… anything
but admit that we are real."
The table landed on top of me. I screamed in pain as I heard,
"Table for one?" More laughter. "This is our night because your
whole idiotic culture wills it to be. This holiday, ALL HALLOW'S
EVE, and its ridiculous customs stem from a Christian desire
to demonize Samhain, the pagan celebration of the end of summer.
Now, because so many people 'celebrate' this night, we are free.
We are invited and on this night, we rule your world!"
My mind raced as he continued his mad historical treaty. I reasoned,
hoped and prayed that since my thoughts brought them here, my
thoughts could make them leave. I shouted, "In the name of Christ,
Buddha, the Goddess, of all those who embody the spirit of love,
I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!"
Silence. Hesitation. But then I was pounced upon and ridiculed,
"You think you can make us go away by spouting things you read
in your god-damned books!" I ignored the pain and continued,
"I bring in the White Light of Protection, I command the warriors
of Light and Love to banish this negativity!" My struggles continued
and I noticed that I was able to push them away for the first
With increased confidence, I shouted any exorcism-like thing
I could think of - each time feeling stronger, sensing them
becoming weaker. Eventually, with a flurry of kitchen table
chairs thrown across the room, they disappeared.
In my relief, I thanked God. I thanked Goddess. I thanked anything
and everything I could think of. I relished the silence as my
bruises made themselves known. Then the fear of what happened
hit me. I sank to the floor, my head at my knees, and cried.
Then I heard it. Crying. Someone else was crying. Then I heard
others. I lifted my head. The crying continued louder and louder
and then the evil laughter began, so loud my ears hurt, and
I was picked up and held against the wall by my neck. They were
here, mocking me with their fake cries. I choked, gasping for
air, shocked and horrified as I realized what my failure meant.
"Imbecile! We leave only when it's TIME to leave. We will mock
you and your Light until you fully KNOW the true nature of this
world you inhabit - which you never will." I was thrown across
the room to land back in the recliner in one last dramatic demonstration
of their power. "Thank you for inviting us to your celebration!
Same time next year?" Shrieks of wild amusement at their antics,
"Sorry about the mess!" The laughter faded away as I cried in
pain and terror.
* * *
My mind comes back to the present, my breathing shallow, hoarse.
I can still smell that odor, feel that chill. The pressure on
my chest is almost unbearable. My eyes open - had I closed them?
The darkness screams at me, nothingness surrounds me. "But,
but you only exist in my mind! How can you…?"
"Rules! Those who write the rules know nothing of the world."
The immense being flips over my recliner with ease. As I fight
to right myself, three other figures jump on top of me with
a crushing mass of undefined shape. The more I struggle, the
heavier the weight becomes, and the more they laugh and laugh
© 2002 Rob Daugherty