“I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or luster, or name.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
One impression from my childhood was of the invisible monster. This is how I remember the monster which is my first impression from my macabre youth.
The whirlwind went round & around. As a child I watched it while sitting on the concrete steps. Was a monster in the whirlwind? All week the kids talked ’bout the monster. They were chasing the monster. They were running from the monster. This week was the week of the monster. A pack of kids from the neighborhood grabbed me. I was encircled by them. We ran down the hills. We hung from the trees. We dug for thin white crystals deep in the earth. Playing, laughter and stories filled our days. One of the kids said,
“There over there, there it is the monster!” They were all now pointing their fingers at something I could not see.
“Where, where?” I yelled.
Then I ran with the others to the safety of a home.
Gales of wind and rain outlined the monster while looking out the windows. The storm ended and we all raced outside. Our rain boots left footsteps in the mud. A child yelled,
“Look I found a large footprint. The monster is here the monster is here too!”
We all looked at it and yelled. We all ran down the muddy dirt road. We ran by some trees. As we passed the trees a strange coolness ran through me. These were the same eerie and cold pepper trees that were always moving, was this the place where the monster lived?
Another impression from my macabre youth is an image based within a story told to me by Gigi. She was my best friend at eight. On Friday we walked down to Gary’s market on Topanga Blvd and for 25 cents each of us got a bag of candy. This would fill a pillowcase and was a must for our Friday night sleepovers. There were only two channels to watch on Saturday mornings on TV. It was either cartoons or scary movies. We watched The Werewolf, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Gigi’s room was on the other side of the single-story house, which was far away from her parents, giving us a lot of privacy and time together. Gigi had a fantastic way of telling stories. I did not talk much so I was always listening to her narratives. This is the one that made a deep impression on me. Etched, inked, and printed in my memories.
All the lights were out in the house. There was a thunderstorm over the valley. The light of the thunder lit up the rooms. The trees scraped the windows. The howling of the wind blew past the house. I was all alone and walked into the kitchen to turn on the lights for a glass of water. The lights were not working. Then … then I noticed a shadow outside the kitchen window. I hid behind a curtain. I saw nothing. My parents were coming home soon. They did come home with lots of candles and some food. We lit the candles and had our supper. My brother and I were then put to bed. Later that night I heard more scratching and scraping on the windows and could not sleep. I got up to get another glass of water when I stopped and listened. I heard a scratch at the front door. It got louder and louder. I had to pass the door to get to my parent’s room. I walked very slowly, very gently as a cat. I stopped breathing as I looked at the door. It was open and I felt the cold from outside. The only thing holding the door from opening was a gold chain lock. I closed my eyes and continued to walk. I had to take one more look before I burst into my parent’s bedroom. There before my gaze was a long black strand of hair and hands pushing at the door. The fingers glowed white with long fingernails.
The last impression that I will share here to you the reader is a about a place that still mystifies me. I don’t remember how Linda, Gigi and I found out about the fairy land. It was a couple of miles up the-hill from where we lived. It was on a very round mound surrounded by eucalyptus and pepper trees.
Our trek took us past many homes while walking up a winding country road. We would sneak away to go there. We kept this place to ourselves. We only visited there a few times as children and lost interest as we grew older. I think at 11 years old we may have visited it about five times in the month of Autumn. I noticed, while passing a few homes on the way, women looked out of their windows at us. The neighborhood caught on to our journeys to the hill. We knew this. It was a magic place to be protected.
A path led us up a hill to a small church. There was also a small house and a watermill on the side of this structure. A large waterwheel was part of this without any water to move it. We often strolled over a broken wooden bridge that arched over a dry stream bed. A miniature deep empty swimming pool was found as we walked down stone filled steps. Here was placed a large statue or totem pole. Strange faces were engraved on this that frightened us. We took long moments to wonder about these things. Funny, the buildings here were built for people smaller than 11-year-old girls. It was a magical place, we imagined, just for us. We played and dreamed in our fairy land.
The fairy land still haunts me. We never thought to take pictures of this enchanted place. Which is now gone. Bulldozed over with new homes placed upon it hiding its magic secrets. Yet, cameras and cellphones were not an option back then. The only likenesses are here in my mind.
This ends my three impressions from my macabre youth. Stories told by an adult about a time “without knowledge, or luster, or name.” No Mr. Lovecraft I disagree there is a luster for me still each time I remember!