The visions started, just as all things around my house these last few months have started, for no earthly reason I could discern. There was no warning, no idea that perhaps I was trying to accomplish too many things in my life at the same time, and this was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and smell the roses.
Of course, that couldn’t be it. That would be far too simple and totally against the Karma of whichever life I was being forced to relive at the moment for that to be a workable solution.
All I know is that I’m seeing things; horrible things in my house, and it’s scaring the living hell out of me.
Before you think unkindly of me and my assumed lack of both spine and character, please allow me to embellish this tale further. These are not, after all, the drooling ramblings of a lunatic or otherwise deranged individual, but the well thought out and reasonable views of a professional horror writer.
As I mentioned, these visions started, now that I put pen to paper and think about it, very soon after my publisher called to remind me of an approaching deadline, but was in reality an attempt to ferret information about my latest horror offering before I was ready to share its contents.
I gave him the polite runaround, asked about his family, exchanged a few other pleasantries, and then assured him that when I was ready he would be the first to know.
I replaced the phone as he was still muttering his goodbyes and sat staring at the familiar blank page on the monitor for several minutes until I decided that it was well past time to have my first drink of the day.
I’ve never been a heavy drinker and in the past had scoffed at the idea of drinking both alone and during the day. Lately though, I find that a good, stiff drink or two is the one sure fire ticket to some of the best chapters I’ve ever written and with that in mind, went to the wet bar and mixed a drink.
As I toasted myself in the mirror behind the bar and the first swallow of the fiery liquor caressed my pallet, I saw it. It was at the bottom of the mirror standing beside me, but when I looked down, it was gone.
I looked at the glass in my hand and then back into the mirror where there was nothing but what I expected to see. I topped off the drink and returned to my desk and the blank page and thought about it for a moment.
It was nothing, I decided at last. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, or a smudge left by the woman that comes by once a week to clean the house for me. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d forgotten to do something, and I made a mental note to say something to her
I woke sometime later that night with my brain clouded in a thick fog of alcohol, slumped in my chair at the desk and my chin resting on my chest. The glass was at my feet with a swirl of liquid around it and the ashtray was filled to overflowing with half smoked cigarette butts and ashes.
I ran my fingers through my hair, wiped the sleep from the corners of my eyes and glanced at the monitor. Words filled the screen from top to bottom and I leaned forward to read what I had done.
‘Wonderful! Magnificent! I’ve done it again.’ I thought, as I mentally patted myself on the back and continued to read.
The words ebbed and flowed across the page like a magnificent, mystical body of water twisting and turning through a beautiful landscape. Never had I done as well without the benefit of a drink and I congratulated myself for coming up with the solution to my problem.
I was already counting the money from the sale of my next book when I saw it again. It was sitting on the couch across from me completely in the nude. Its short skinny legs were crossed and a look of utter disdain was painted across its horrible face.
At first look it appeared to be feline, but after the shock of seeing it had worn off, I could see that at one time, a long time ago, it might have possibly been human. For some reason, I wasn’t as afraid of it as I was before. There was something vaguely familiar about it, and something in the back of my mind tickled a memory loose.
I had seen this thing and felt its presence before. I knew what it was and instinctively, who it was, but I couldn’t put the two together at the moment.
The face itself was hideous. It looked as if it had been torn asunder and haphazardly reattached to itself, leaving shreds of flesh stringing from its forehead to its throat. Its eyes were large, brown and liquid, and seemed to reach through my soul to find the truth, if indeed any still existed in the tortured recesses of my mind.
This time though, the alcohol fog thinned and my thoughts were finally cohesive. There was no mistaking it for anything other than what it was, and I was rendered helpless in my chair.
I had heard of this happening in my first or second year of college and, at the time, put it down as the philosophy of a professor that had smoked too much dope in the past, and had mistakenly believed beyond the shadow of all doubt, the hype that the alumni had been feed about him and his teaching abilities.
Jesus, I was so sadly mistaken. He had been right all the time. I had been too dumb to see it though, until now and now it was too late. I was at the mercy of the creature on my couch and I had no one to blame but myself.
I closed my eyes to keep from seeing its hard gaze and when nothing happened after a few moments, opened them to discover the creature gone from the room.
I walked unsteadily to my room and after checking the contents of the closet and under the bed fell across the covers and pulled a pillow over my head. I was scared, tired and drunk, and in a flash, I was asleep.
By noon the next day, I had regained the ability to walk my current rendition of a straight line and headed for the bathroom. My head pounded like a sledgehammer on an anvil, and as I fumbled through the medicine cabinet searching for a couple of aspirin, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a keyboard being used.
I chewed the aspirin and swallowed them dry, praying that a little self-torture might help speed the healing process, and while still in a hung over fog traveled the few steps to my office and opened the door.
The creature I had seen on my couch was in there, kicked back comfortably in my chair with its feet propped up on the desk and a smug, self-satisfied look on its horrid face. I was torn between screaming in fear or trying to say something, but was stopped when it wagged a ragged finger in my face suppressing my urge to speak.
“It sure as hell took you long enough.” It hissed, helping itself to one of my cigarettes from the pack on the desk and lighting it. “I thought you might be smarter than that, but I see now that I was wrong.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked, already knowing in my gut the answer I would hear.
I felt that I was between a rock and a hard place and didn’t like it one damn bit. I was both pissed at the implication and scared to death to hear the truth.
“Just who in the hell are you anyway?”
“You really don’t have a clue, do you?” It said shaking its ruined head, the loose tendrils of flesh whipping back and forth around its head like dreadlocks on a Rastafarian at a reggae concert.
“As much as I’ve helped you in the past and it still hasn’t dawned on you, has it?”
I stood there in stunned silence.
“Let’s talk about your latest book.” It said, totally ignoring my earlier question. “How’s it coming along?”
“It’s doing just fine, thank you.” I replied and wondered why I was having this conversation with an apparition anyway. “I write every night without fail. I have it covered.”
“After how many drinks,” the apparition asked, as its face began to swirl and shift. “Is it…covered?”
“I don’t know. A few drinks, maybe. Shit, perhaps a lot of them.” I tried to qualify my statement and was dumbfounded as to why I even responded.
“Depends on the day of the week, I guess.” I managed to blurt. “But it still doesn’t take away from the quality of what I wrote.”
“Ah, the crux of the matter has finally arrived.” It said. “This brings up the quality of your work, which is in question when you’re drunk. The quality of which is, by the way, pure shit.”
“That’s your opinion.” I sputtered, standing my ground.
“You’re right. It is my opinion.” It stated flatly and nonchalantly blew a smoke ring in the air. “But there’s something else, something very important you should know about your writing.”
“Yeah, and what would that be?”
“It’s not you’re writing anymore,” it replied.
A bright shimmer of white-hot light illuminated its face and as the light faded, I saw a caricature of myself, as my Muse, sitting in the chair in front of me with a wicked grin splitting its evil face.