Jennifer was at work. Spooky had gone to the post office to mail a batch of eBay stuff. And I was at home working on Part IV of the prologue of Daughter of Hounds. Oh, I have to explain something. Because I'm almost completely blind in my left eye and write with my headphones on very loud, we've worked out a system whereby Spooky or Jennifer can enter my office (I sit with my back to the door) without startling me. They walk past and sort of swoosh the air. It sounds silly, but it lets me know someone has entered from my left and behind me without freaking me out. So, I was sitting here yesterday, and I feel the whoosh. It was a big whoosh, which usually means it's Spooky, not Jennifer, whose whoosh is more subtle. I turned my head to the left, towards the door, which was open (I always leave it open when I'm here alone). And I very clearly saw a tall jet-black figure (I can't say if it was naked with black skin or clothed all in black or some combination thereof) walking past my door. Judging by my doorway, which is 7'5" (we just measured it), the figure was about eight feet tall (the top of its head was obscured by the top of the doorway). This is the clearest I've ever seen one of our apparitions. I was too stunned to do anything but watch. As it passed the doorway, heading down the hall towards the bedrooms, it looked at me. We made eye contact. There was no sound as it passed, unless the sound was muffled by my headphones. When it had gone, I took off the headphones and ran to the front of the apartment. I opened a door, turned on lights, pulled up windows shades, made noise. After maybe five minutes there had been no sound from the rear of the apartment, and I walked back to my office. Still no sign of anything, so I checked out Jennifer's bedroom and then mine and Spooky's. Nothing. Nothing but Sophie, who seemed utterly oblivious.
I walked back to the living room, figuring I'd just wait out front until Spooky returned. I pushed back a curtain and saw that she'd just pulled into the parking lot. I opened the door and remarked on her good timing as she was coming up the walk. She asked what I was talking about, and I told her a rather rushed, rambly version of what I've just written down. This sort of thing never seems to surprise her. I think she deals with it better than I do. She listened, nodded her head, walked through the apartment with me, and then told me that on the way home, she'd been startled by something in the rearview mirror, a dark figure, something which she thought she'd seen in the backseat. Based on where she was at the time, this would have happened at roughly the same time as my own sighting.
I tried not to think about it, went back to writing, and endeavored to have a normal day. But I awoke this morning about six, started thinking about the apparition and didn't fall asleep again until nine o'clock, when I slept until ten. I think I slept three hours total last night.
As usual, I won't presently speculate on an explanation. I will say that I was not drinking absinthe yesterday or taking anything else which might have produced an hallucination.
It's a weird, goddamn universe. I think I'm glad we're moving in another month.
So, I did manage to make good progress on the prologue yesterday. I did 1,058 words and should finish Part IV today, if I can ever get started. I'm thinking I'll have the prologue finished by Wednesday evening.
And I have a related announcement. I spoke with Bill Schafer this morning, and we've decided that instead of releasing "Alabaster" as a chapbook, it'll replace the reprint of "Andromeda Among the Stones" in issue #2 of Subterranean Magazine. That means that if you pick up the zine, you get two new stories of mine, plus the interview. Ted Naifeh will still be illustrating "Alabaster." But instead of having to pay for a magazine and a chapbook, you'll only have to buy the magazine. You can read "Andromeda Among the Stones" in Steve Jones' Mammoth Book of New Terror (available via Amazon). So, consider yourselves updated.
We had a good Kid Night last night, though the movies were ass. I made big messy cheeseburgers. We rented something called 13 Seconds, an independent horror film that had supposedly won a bunch of awards. I almost dozed halfway through. Despite some nice visuals and make-up FX, the acting was atrocious and the script and plot virtually nonexistent. However, near the end the whole thing took a surreal turn, becoming the cinematic equivalent of a Jack Chick track. Do heroin and go to Hell. The movie blatantly stole dialogue from Alien, took visuals from Jacob's Ladder (in fact, it took its very premise from Jacob's Ladder) and lifted the basic gimmick of Night Gallery. But the weird Christian stuff elevated it above the merely awful to the profoundly peculiar. Next we watched Ghostwatcher, which had slightly better production values, a little bit of a script, a dab of plot, and a few theatre students, but not much else going for it. Fortunately, the burgers made up for the lousy movies. I fell asleep to Ida Lupino in Moontide (1942) on TMC, an amazingly beautiful film, the sort of film that makes me wish contemporary filmmakers would shoot exterior shots on soundstages and film everything in black and white. Later, when the insomnia began, I watched The Password is Courage (1962), which was entertaining but amounted to little more than one part Stalag 17 to one part The Great Escape. Then, as the sun rose, I watched the utterly unremarkable Cause for Alarm! (1951), and then MGM Parade Show #28 (1955), which had John Carradine introducing Part Two of Captains Courageous (1937) with Spencer Tracy. Somewhere in there I dozed for an hour and awoke at ten and watched Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
I'm gonna go write now. Hopefully, it will be a ghost-free day.