"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Saturday, 12 December 2009

8. An Astronaut Dropped


"Something caught my eye. My twirling slowly stopped. I tried to focus on it but my mind was swimming and my vision was jagged and kaleidoscopic – it took a little time for my senses to settle and adjust. The thing that caught my eye was up in the sky. I wasn’t sure how high because I wasn’t sure what it was. It appeared to me to be tiny and completely still, but entirely white as if the sun had caught it the way it catches the moon"

You know, to be honest, 'secure' came round to visit me regularly. I'd been through too much back in Glasgow to allow small incidents to affect me too much. On the scale of things, the events thus far were miniscule, little discrepancies - but life's full of those! 'Secure' buddied up to me as if we went 'way back', and, from time to time, we'd crack open a bottle together!

The first time was when I finally decided that I would take the two solitary bottles of red wine - uh, that was just my initial supply! - from the kitchen cupboard and drink them before, during and after consuming a delicious sardine salad. That night - it was just a few days after I'd moved in, I think - my evening meal seemed to stretch on and on: I ate then I drank, then I played music, then I picked at lettuce leaves, then I drank, then I ate chocolate bars and hand-cooked crisps, while reading the odd sentence of a book and wiggling my leg and humming to the sounds of the stereo, all at the same time. Then, a slightly light-headed and slightly light-on-my-feet atmosphere got the better of me, and I found myself floating and wavering outside to the front of the house, glass in hand and glass twirling in the air like some elegant dance partner.

"I felt light like an eyelash, self-assured like a simple sum, and as untroubled as a hare when he learns he is to race a tortoise. I felt like that nebulous, fleeting, shifting, disparate force that I like to call Me"

Above my head as I spun round, I could see star beside star beside star, stretching in every direction, dim then bright then dim then bright, and all turning as if I was being given a vision of the universe in motion, all speeded up and all making some blissful, beautiful sense. I know that I smiled, I know also that I made infantile whoop! and whee! noises and I felt light like an eyelash, self-assured like a simple sum, and as untroubled as a hare when he learns he is to race a tortoise. I felt like that nebulous, fleeting, shifting, disparate force that I like to call Me, but can never ever pin down for long!

Something caught my eye. My twirling slowly stopped. I tried to focus on it but my mind was swimming and my vision was jagged and kaleidoscopic – it took a little time for my senses to settle and adjust. The thing that caught my eye was up in the sky. I wasn’t sure how high because I wasn’t sure what it was. It appeared to me to be tiny and completely still, but entirely white as if the sun had caught it the way it catches the moon. I stared and blinked voraciously, trying to see more detail in it, yet the light of it danced and flashed and made focusing on it almost impossible. My mind raced through options: a helicopter, a UFO, a light on top of a pylon that was itself in darkness, some night-sky phenomenon that was new to me – what else? what else? I couldn’t for the life of me think of any more options, but also I couldn’t eliminate or be entirely convinced by any of the options I’d already considered.

Then, between two flashes of light and within the intervening moment of comparative dullness, I thought for a second that I new exactly what I was looking at. As soon as the thought arrived, I discarded it. But it quickly reappeared and I realised that I had to question it. To me, the ‘thing’ appeared like a human figure suspended high in the sky and emanating some sumptuous white light, yet with some feeling at its core that was empty and black. The thought began to settle in my mind and, as it did so, I became increasingly disconcerted by it. I began to walk backwards towards the front door of the house, still keeping my eyes fixed upon the shape. Why didn’t it move? Why did it just hang there? All of a sudden, I came up against something hard, I stumbled and fell backwards onto the gravel and my hand rested on the thing that I had walked into – it was cold, dark and hard and slippery to the touch: it was my Fiat Punto!

In my inebriated state, and after having twirled for so long, I had lost my bearings and stumbled into my car and not the front of the house. I quickly looked around me, took in the lie of the land and steadied myself. Only then did I look back above the tree-line to where the white figure had been. Bright light had been replaced by black void. The figure had disappeared.


"The thing that caught my eye was up in the sky. I wasn’t sure how high because I wasn’t sure what it was. It appeared to me to be tiny and completely still, but entirely white as if the sun had caught it the way it catches the moon"

A bird or a bat flew over the top of the house. There was a sudden wave of branches from the tree-line. A breeze rustled my hair and felt like fingers. The front door moved slightly and creaked as it did so. I looked quickly behind me and wondered if a shadow to one side of the house had moved. Then I wondered if I heard the selfsame shadow cough. Lastly, before I ran towards the front door, I realised that I couldn’t see what was on the other side of my car and the thought of what might be there terrified me. As I ran I clutched the top of my head for fear that something might swoop down from the sky and attack me. Even with the front door safely closed, my hands stayed firmly on my head and every few seconds I would look above me for reassurance that there was nothing hovering above me.

I’m not sure when – I think it was quite a nice moment actually, one with a cup of tea and a biscuit and my feet up on a stool – but, at some point before bed that night, it struck me that a ghost had dropped out of the sky, and now it was walking the grounds of my house, peering in my windows, and looking for me. After that, my tea felt cold and my biscuit tasted stale.

3 comments:

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Stephanie, I'm just eight entries in, and I'm really feeling the mood. I think I'll stop there for the day. More tomorrow. Indigo

IndigoWrath said...

In fact, I'm so intruiged by this, I've added you to my blogroll. I hope more folks come over to check this tale out as it unfolds. Indigo

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Silly girl didn't anyone ever tell you that drinking while in a dilapidated shack is akin to those ditzy girls who head straight for the shower in a scary movie?