by Louis Shalako
I was about twelve years old, the first time I ever felt the presence. My friend Billy Jones and I had ridden out to the local airport on our bicycles, those little kid’s banana bikes, with the long seats, high handlebars, and a great big sissy bar sticking up almost higher than our heads. Mine was red, and Bill’s was a beat-up old blue one. It was a good fifteen kilometers from our homes, quite a long distance for small boys to roam. Our moms would have had a fainting spell if they knew where we were.
We used to watch the planes land, pester the security guards and counter staff, and just have a good time in general. So exhaustion may have played a role in the fact that I was laying on my bed after supper, quite early on a dull, and rather chilly, spring evening.
It was in that weird half-world between true sleep and actual consciousness. I was aware of my mother, and my five-year old sister in the kitchen. At first there was no hint of anything there, nothing unusual. Something grabbed me from behind, but there was nothing there. Facing the wall, with my blanket drawn up close under my chin, on my left side, with knees bent and my arms curled up in front of my chin. Rolling my eyes in stark terror, I could plainly see that there was nothing there, although I couldn’t move at all. I wasn’t paralyzed—I wriggled within its grasp, but to no avail. I couldn’t speak or call out. After all these years, I couldn’t really tell you if I tried that—I just don’t remember.
I probably did try to scream—who wouldn’t, right? The room was deathly silent—I remember that much. I couldn’t move, and there was no sound. Something that I could not see, only feel, had wrapped big arms or tentacles, or something around my entire body, and it was shaking me as a terrier would shake a rat. There was one short, sharp intake of breath, just enough to sustain me, and then the whole spell passed, leaving me wide-eyed, thoroughly awake, and doubting my very senses. I doubt if I slept a wink at night for about the next three weeks.
I don’t know if I believe in ghosts, or spirits, or demons, or anything like that. But I am convinced something happened in my bedroom that night. Now, I’m not epileptic, and I’m not known for spasms, hysteria, or even nightmares. But that event really shook me up. All young people go through dark times when they find themselves truly alone, and when they spend a lot of time wondering, “Is there something different about me? Is there something wrong with me?” I remember thinking, “Why me?” Forty years later, I still wonder, “What was all that about?” And it still shakes me up, to think on the sheer mystery of it. Once I got the idea of ghosts in my head, I really did begin to think that there might be something different inside of me. Whenever I tried to tell anyone about it, they always looked at me differently afterwards. That’s for sure.
I’ve always believed that most ghosts were pretty decent people, once, and why the heck would they ever want to pick on me? I’ve never done a ghost any harm. But it really makes you think. As for whatever it was, the thing that shook me, I really couldn’t say if it was inherently evil or not. How am I supposed to know? But the effect it had, was to frighten the living daylights out of me. And I was just a little kid, after all. That wasn’t very nice.
It was in my late twenties when I became aware of the presence again. It came to me in a dream, one I could not forget, not for the life of me. It was a sleek black cat, very big.
It was like a jaguar without the spots, a jungle cat, with huge yellow orbs for eyes, slit-like when it regarded me. I found that dream very disturbing, for over the next few months, it seemed like that dream was always there, watching me—always lurking there in a corner of my mind. Reminding me of something, but what? But what? When a dream comes back two or three times, it must be an important one. There must be some kind of a message, and an urgent one, coming up from our subconscious minds, or from somewhere else. For some reason that big black cat was watching me, stalking me, never letting go. One prepares to sleep with a certain note of defiance, after a time.
“Come and get me, you mangy varmint.” A few drinks helped, a little, and one wonders, how one could wake up so tired in the morning, all covered in sweat? Was I wrestling with demons, all through the night?
Now that animal never caught up to me, and I know that for sure: one, I’m still here, and two; there was none of that shaking. So it never got hold of me, and it eventually tired of me, and the thing went away.
Let me compose my thoughts here for a moment…there was this other time. I don’t know, it kind of blanks out when I try to think about it. I had it just a minute ago…let it come. It’s right there on the tip of my subconscious mind. Yeah, I remember now. I was alone in my place in Grand Bend, Ontario. It’s in Canada. I lived a few kilometers outside of this little tourist village. It gets very dark and quiet out there in the off-season.
And something was there. It never touched me. Somehow I knew it was there. You could just sense it. I had every light in the house turned off. It must have been three thirty a.m. I remember whipping open the door to my closet, and throwing punches into the clothing hanging there, mostly to see if something might come out…then I grabbed up my long-bow, and strung it. I stood in the dark, and listened with all my might. My dad made that bow for me when I was about six, maybe seven years old. I was wearing gym shorts and nothing else. Goose bumps rolled across my ribs in wave after wave; the hairs stood up on my neck. It was hard to breathe. I had to focus in on my diaphragm a little, gulping air. The real problem is trying to gasp in great gobs of air quietly.
I got an arrow strung on the bow, and holding it almost fully drawn, I carefully searched every nook and cranny of that house. I used the tip of the arrow to push open sliding, mirrored closet doors—if you think that isn’t scary, with the shock of seeing yourself coming around the corner, reflecting back at you in the brief glare of car headlights coming in through a crack in the curtains. I had to go into both bathrooms, search every closet, the laundry room, it was unbelievable. But I was absolutely convinced it was there, as I poked and prodded, and felt my way around in pitch blackness, with my horrible, hyper-awareness; almost feeling the walls in my blindness, with some other sense—although miniscule background noises probably helped. And at every second, paralyzing in intensity, expecting to feel something—something horrid.
Something cold and evil; something other-worldly.
I don’t know, man. At some point the thing must have left, at some point you just know it’s gone—it’s like you just can’t feel that presence anymore.
Sometimes I throw my awareness straight up into the sky, and look out into the night.
I float over the lights of the city. And I figure it’s still out there somewhere. Sooner or later the presence will be back. I don’t know if there is anything a person can do to prepare for that presence. But I feel that I’m a lot stronger now.
|"Let's be children again."|
My grandmother says that there are people out there who can read her thoughts.
She says they’re very powerful, and that they know everything. She says they’re building a whole new world order. She said that they put dead people upstairs and make them do all the work. When I visit, I have to explain who I am and how I’m her grandson.
My grandmother is ninety-seven years old. When I think of those tired old eyes, and all that they’ve seen. It makes me weep. She is such an intensely good person…
“Let’s be children again,” she said one day, right out of the blue.
I think she’s dreaming now, gone back to that state of child-like grace as she stares out the window. It’s like she’s waiting for something, or someone.
I’m sure she’s trying to tell me something very, very, important.