I had always known there was a realm other than ours. I have felt and seen shadowy presences before. I usually handled these small shocking moments by telling myself the absurdity of the situation and continuing whatever I was doing. This act of denying seemed to keep me safe from whatever takes place in this other area that surrounds us. Reason and rationality seem to make the fear a little more tolerable. So I have kept these small moments in little boxes away from my daily routine.
Sometimes a simple reminder will bring back a fragment of belief. A fragment seems to be all that is necessary to open momentary doorways into parts of reality unknown to us.
“Do you know about the Autumn People? Those shadows of figures we see from the corners of our eyes.” He reached over to pick up his Bourbon that sat beside him. I enjoyed a few drinks and pleasant conversation with a friend of mine who specialized in Mythology. His apartment was lit by candles in cast iron skull holders. Swords and chain mail displayed on the wall along with asian tapestries dulled by time reflected the candle light.
“Of course. We all have those moments.” I replied.
“There is a parallel world to ours. As active as ours. Filled with many different types of creatures. Most of them hate us and avoid us like the plague. They hate us because we are corporeal. If you don’t ignore Autumn People you will see them everywhere. Or so the story goes.”
I was drinking wine and felt slightly drunk as he spoke. Somewhere in my mind the conversation had released a memory from its packaging. I recalled when I was a boy of eight and lived in a small Ranch House in the desert.
I had a habit of lying on my bed to read throughout the night. I remember it was late and I needed a glass of water. I stood up from bed and put down my book. I adjusted my eyes to the dark and felt my way to the hallway. I didn’t want to turn on the light and wake my parents so I crept into the hallway. The illumination of bathroom light from down the hall cast shadows into the kitchen. I walked slowly to the bathroom and wondered who was using the restroom so late at night.
I stood directly in the middle of the bathroom doorway and froze. Standing in the bathtub was a girl with blonde hair and freckles. She must have been my age. She stood in her own glow that seemed to light up the bathroom. She looked down to her feet and her arms draped forward onto a simple yellow dress made of worn flowery print.
I moved quickly into the kitchen and filled a glass of water. As I passed by the bathroom again I walked faster constantly reminding myself that what I saw was not real.
“How many times can you acknowledge them before you believe they are real?” I asked in a loud tone as I packed my bags to leave. He walked with me to the door and did not answer my question.
“Remember they hate us and a few want to harm us.”
A month passed since the conversation on the Autumn People. I liked the sound of their name. I thought it had a poetic ring. I found myself repeating it throughout the day. I decided to run an experiment and I began to believe. I felt that if I faced the unknown maybe I could learn not to fear it.
I was recently divorced and lived in a three-bedroom home that was empty every other weekend. In the evenings I would recline with a book and a glass of wine. The wood fireplace in the living room would burn bright on winter evenings.
I noticed it while reading. More of a shadow, but a form all the same, that walked down the hallway of my house, looked to the left and to the right but never at me and walked back.
Every evening no matter where I was I caught glimpses of its nightly walk. Whatever this entity was it was stuck on repeat. I soon became comfortable with its presence and caught myself talking to the entity at times. Boring things about my life and the situation with my divorce.
The shadow never seemed to show any signs of acknowledgement it would just walk look and return.
My mother visited every day to see how I was doing and if I needed any help. I told her about the hallway specter and convinced her to believe. She acknowledged its presence after a while but soon joined me in my complacency.
One evening I noticed that the figure had started to make its walk down the hallway. I looked down at my book but when I looked up the figure did not look both ways at the end the hallway but stood in front of the window and blocked the setting sun. I backed up in my chair and made to run but the figure only stood for a moment and then disappeared.
I arrived from work after the sun had set and met my mom at the door. She came in and we walked over to the kitchen to see if I had food.
“Let me take you shopping for groceries.” She said as she fumbled for her keys in her purse.
“I can’t say no Mom.” I walked behind her to the car and helped her into her seat.
“How about the Savemart down the street?” We both started the drive to Savemart a few blocks from my house. The night was cold, rainy, and overcast. At moments you could see the moon shining through the cloud cover.
When I exited the car I saw my first shadow figure. It stood close to the car and seemed to face me. I then noticed that mixed between the few people going in and out of the store there where many figures walking through the entrance.
“Mom there are “Autumn People” here. A lot of them.” I held my Moms arm as we walked through the parking lot. She did not act as if she saw them and maybe she didn’t but I decided that ignoring them would be the best option.
When we walked into the store I began to see “Autumn People” no longer as shadows but as patrons of the store. Glowing men and women stood amongst the shoppers. They did not move but stood in one spot with long distant stares.
“Oh my God I see them!” My mom gripped my arm tighter. We tried to ignore them as we put our groceries into the cart. “I made eye contact. Son, I made eye contact!”
I stopped shopping and looked at my Mom who looked scared. I then looked in the direction my mother was pointing. A middle aged woman with brunette hair held in a bun behind her stared deep into my eyes. I could feel the blue in her iris freeze my thought.
“Mom. Let’s go. Quick.” We left the cart and started to walk towards the exit of the Savemart. The woman was quickly walking after us. I noticed when I glanced behind me that a few more of the “Autumn People” amongst the shoppers had begun to follow her.
When we reached the parking lot no one followed us.
Suddenly glowing half shadow half real apparitions appeared and disappeared rapidly around us.
“I see that Son. What does this mean? What is going on?”
“I don’t know. Come on let’s get to the car.” I pulled my Mom and began to run to the car. When we unlocked the car an entity stood right by Mom and when I sat in the driver’s seat one stood by the door. Both vanished and Mom screamed. I saw in the rear view mirror two men….
The power behind prayer is that the incantation to the heaven’s fall back to earth and find a home in reality. The faith in belief contains within it a great power that can manifest itself in positive change or horrific ends.