“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
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.
“Look I found a large footprint. The monster is here the monster is here too!” A child yelled.
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 trees that always were moving, eerie and cold. Was this the place where the monster lived?
nother impression from my macabre youth is an image based on a story 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 sleep-overs. There were only two channels to watch Saturdays 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 wonderful way of telling stories. I did not talk much so I was always listening to her stories. 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 thunder-storm 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 in the house. I 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 ate and lit the candles and put them around the house. I was 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 parents room. I walked very slowly, very slowly like 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 the gold chain lock. I closed my eyes and continued to walk. I had to take one more look before my 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.
he 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 tall hill surrounded by eucalyptus and pepper trees.
Our trek took us past many homes while walking up the winding street up to this place. 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 widows 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 water-mill on the side of this structure. A very large water-wheel was part of this without any water to move it. We often strolled over the small bridge that went over a dry stream bed. A small swimming pool was fond down some small steps next to 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 just for us. We played there and dreamed there.
The fairy land still haunts me. We never thought to take pictures of this enchanted place. Yet, cameras and cellphones were not an option back then. The only pictures are here in my mind.