Standing in a marble hallway, I was confronted by the most terrifying thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t move, had nowhere to go and my feet suddenly finding their own will, failed to move after my very strong desire told them to do so.
Frozen against the wall, my eyes stretched painfully wide and I stood, trapped by the vision before me.
The emanating noise that resounded off the corridor walls echoed so intensely that I longed to slam my hands over my ears to block off the cacophony - but couldn’t because as I said, I was frozen.
“Aaaaaaahhhhhh!” said the voice, almost choir-like.
The entity stretched from ceiling to floor, wall to wall. It blanketed the space with a presence so horrifying that every hair on my skin and every nerve in my body stood on end.
The entity manifested itself with a sticky glue-like substance and anchored itself to the four corners of the hall. Like a web built by a hectic, maniacal spider, part of its blanket was woven in beautiful symmetrical stitches, while others were haphazard stringings of madness as if at first there was something rhythmic and sentient about its presence, then as if rushed and frantic, it threw anything it could against the wall in order to trap its prey.
That prey was me.
I was a mere five feet from the web. I was forced against the wall and there was no exit. I was a psychic prisoner of an unknown creature who appeared to be so cranky I dared not utter a word or expel a single breath.
And speaking of breath, this guy was halitosis central. What lie in the center of the web was something unimaginable and so gruesome I will have nightmares about it for the rest of my life. I’m sure by telling you about it, you won’t believe it, but it was . . . a face. A face of giant proportions, skin stretched tight in the center of the web into a sinister grimace.
Its eyes were wild and tormented and rolled feverishly in their ghostly sockets like a man driven insane by torture. The face started bouncing in the web as I watched, horrified. I had no clue what was to happen next and was sure my end was forthcoming. I also expected to become part of that crude, sticky web.
While screaming low, hollow tones, the face began to swing towards me like a pendulum. It got closer with every swing and with each sway I could smell its foul breath upon me, coming ever closer, expecting its fangs to clench down onto my head crushing my skull, piercing my brain.
I remained frozen, except for my nerves that betrayed my intense fear by quivering uncontrollably.
As it swung in my direction, I tried to avoid contact, but was already backed against the wall. The face swung closer and closer, its breath so foul, I can’t begin to describe it. My face twisted in abhorrence of the odor.
After about the twentieth swing in my direction, it began to utter words. Baritone, raspy and hoarse, while yet barely a whisper, they blared in my brain.
“Ha da ga da sig,” it said.
The sound was almost intelligent and I realized it was trying to communicate something.
I ducked to avoid being hit by Mr. Big Faced Halitosis, and screamed, terrified, “What do you want from me??” as I covered my ears and cowered low to the ground.
“Ha da ga da sig!” it said again, low, creepy and just as sinisterly as before.
“Wha, wha, wha, wha, what?” I uttered my response just as unintelligibly as the face.
SPLAT! Was the next thing I heard as the face hit the wall. It had been swinging so furiously that the momentum had become uncontrolled and the law of inertia had taken over, slamming horrid face into cold marble.
“Uuuuggg,” cried the face after the impact, and I cringed for fear that it would retaliate as missing its prey would surely bring the entity to anger.
Instead, the face shook itself to and fro as if trying to regain consciousness. I myself shook in fear as I watched the spectacle before me.
Then the face began to howl, “HA DA GA DA SIG!” but this time the eyes squinted in apprehension of hitting the wall. On the rebound, it cried again, “Seriously, have ya gotta sig? Come on now!”
I twitched and cried in disbelief, “WHAT?”
In a hurry before it hit the wall again, it said, “YOU DOPE! Have ya gotta cigarette?”
It swung back again and then hit the wall one last time.
A huge trembling smile swept over my lips. I finally understood the visitation and groped my breast pocket to appease the creature, “Non-menthol?” I asked as I shook a cigarette loose from my pack in a gesture of offering to the malicious entity. My hand quaked uncontrollably.
Almost as soon as it had started, the swinging stopped and with a “Woosh!,” the web tore itself down and disappeared. The entity morphed into an apparition of a human man, so handsome and beautiful he was incredibly intimidating. With chiseled features and wavy brown hair, he was so real and vivid he looked like a beautiful human. And besides his perfect features, he glowed.
He took the cigarette from my pack and slapped me on the shoulder saying cheerfully, “Thanks bub. ‘Preciate it. Gotta light?”
My hands were still shaking as I reached in my front pants pocket and pulled out my lighter then flicked it.
He took a long drag off the cigarette and as he turned away, he said, “I really gotta pick up a body soon. I love everything about being a ghost, but it’s taking so many theatrics to get a cigarette these days, and it’s getting old. Besides that it’s getting really painful.
“And I do love a good smoke, don’t you? I don’t think I’ll ever give it up.”
He exhaled a huge cloud of smoke as he walked away down the hall, leaving me standing there aghast and stupefied. After several steps, his image disintegrated into transparency and then - vanished, the only evidence of his presence being a cloud of cigarette smoke.
I stood there for the longest time, trembling, and finally lit a cigarette for myself.
For once, being a smoker came in handy.
But as I stood there, I thought, "I really wish people would buy their own, dang it."