man, I'm not going! My parents aren't letting me leave the house
because of my grades, I told you that already." Jimmy Chappelle
hissed at his friend Ronny.
was Halloween night and Ronny and some of his friends were going
down to egg the English teacher's house and had invited Jimmy
to come along. And despite how much Jimmy hated Mrs. Phillips
because of all the F's, he had bigger fish to fry that night.
your loss man," said an unconvinced Ronny. "Hey, I gotta
run dude. I'll talk to you later, peace out."
peace." Jimmy was happy that he was now off the hook. Of
course his parents hadn't actually grounded him. They didn't even
know what his grade was in English. They wouldn't receive his
report card for another 5 days, long after the death
put the phone down and walked over to his bed, satisfied that
he'd outwitted Ronny and excited at the prospect of what was to
come. It wasn't that he opposed egging Mrs. Phillips' house, but
he had ideas for that night... He'd been saving up for and thinking
this out for weeks.
sat down on the floor next to his bed and determinedly flipped
through his CD case, almost as if there was a mystical meaning
behind his selection. Finally, he stopped and pulled out a black
CD with Treesmoke written across the top in bold orange
was Jimmy's favorite band, and his worship was like a fever. He
owned five different Treesmoke shirts. He'd given away all his
other shirts last school year. After repeated plays of every Treesmoke
CD, he'd also learned the guitar parts to each song as well as
plastering his walls with posters and pictures of the band. He
had also personally investigated and tested every rumor or myth
about the band. Fortunately for Jimmy, there was no shortage of
mystique surrounding his band. They had more musical stories and
subliminal messages than the legendary Pink Floyd.
few weeks before, Jimmy and Ronny had spent three hours playing
Treesmoke´s first album backwards trying to find the so-called
"satanic prayer" that was supposedly hidden somewhere
on the album. They had found the idea on one of many various websites
that specialized in such rumors and theories. Finally, after their
long and fruitless search, they came to the conclusion that there
was no "satanic prayer" and they were never going to
take suggestions from that website again.
on that Halloween night of October, 31, 1997, Jimmy was preparing
his next test involving his idols. Three days earlier he had purchased
the newly released and much anticipated fourth studio album. The
acid rock album was named "All Hallows Eve" and the
first track was named "1997". Loosely based on this
information, a rumor had spread around circles of hardcore Treesmoke
disciples that if you played the new album on Halloween night,
1997, while under the influence of marijuana and magic mushrooms,
you would enter into the spirit world and be able to communicate
with the dead. In preparation for the night, Jimmy had saved up
$180 from his job at the Dollar Store and bought one fourth of
chronic marijuana along with two $35 bags of shrooms. After about
a half-hour he'd finished eating and smoking.
a while after the last of the pot was smoked, Jimmy sat on his
floor listening to the music and crazy tripping. His sandy blond
hair hung at his shoulders as he stroked his goatee and stared
into the mirror. Usually when he looked in the mirror he saw himself
looking back out, but this time, he saw many different things.
giant tortoise carrying Carlos Santana on its back walked through
his closed closet door. From the corner of his eye he saw giant
fruit flies fluttering on the pine tree branches outside like
blue jays, and the floor was made of sour apple bubble gum.
was enjoying the music like he'd never before. He could hear every
distinct instrument and sound effect with incredible clarity.
He closed his eyes and pictured being with the band onstage at
the concert they were having that night in Chicago. Suddenly,
he was there, onstage next to David Page, the insanely gifted
rhythm guitarist. The reality of it all was so breathtaking that
Jimmy completely forgot he was in his room and abandoned himself
to the dream. He could see every face in the frenzied crowd, and
could feel the hundreds of hot bodies pressed into the small club.
Combined with the overwhelming smell of burning marijuana, the
beautifully simple lightshow, and the trippy band music, the experience
was so far out that Jimmy stood up and took a stage dive right
onto his bed.
then, at exactly 10:31 pm, something strange happened that Jimmy
had never before experienced in all his years of drug experimentation
and meditation. He completely lost control of the trip. The feeling
was as though he had been wrapped in plastic and suspended in
the air like a puppet. It seemed as though he was flying above
a silent movie of the concert.
Then it was over, and he was standing back on the stage, struggling
to understand what was happening. Beside him stood a familiar
clay image of himself. It was as if the sculpture had been molded
with Jimmy's skin and bone.
fuck you!" Jimmy said.. "Don't fucking come in here
and ruin my good time, you son of a bitch!" Jimmy had seen
this thing before. In many nightmares he was chased by this clay
Jimmy. Each minute detail matched. Hand to toe. Eyeball to eyeball.
The only thing missing was the healed gash on his left arm. The
scar was about three inches long down his left arm near his wrist
from getting bitten by a rat when he was seven. The gray thing
had bitten him so hard that it had exposed the bone underneath
his skin and Jimmy had to have fourteen shots for every possible
disease the rat might have been carrying. In his dreams, the scar
was the only thing that allowed him to tell the difference between
himself and the thing.
something was different this time. The thing standing next to
him not only looked completely real and tangible, instead of hazy
or blurry like it usually did, but it also had the three inch
scar on its left arm.. The only noticeable difference between
the two was that the thing seemed to have been very carefully
painted in three dimensions with pastel paints.
after the appearance of his clay twin, the entire room went silent.
The band kept playing and the crowd kept screaming, but no sound
could be heard. It was a total, dead quiet. Jimmy looked around
in confusion. Everything was silent, from his twin to the cute
blonde in the front row who was singing along with the music she
could apparently still hear. As he watched her, mouthing the words
to a song he didnt recognize, he got the eerie feeling that someone
was reading over his shoulder. He imagined the clay twin standing
wanted to look. Could he? Was it?
turned his head extremely slowly, but the figure was gone. It
had vanished into the air.. Then, all of a sudden, Jimmy felt
a light tap on his shoulder. Dreading what he would discover if
he turned around, he squeezed his eyes shut and slowly turned
to face the thing. Once he was certain he was facing it, he opened
his eyes and saw exactly what he'd expected to see, only worse.
The vibrant blue eyes had rolled back in the thing's head. It
smiled with a malicious grin. Forever they stood, facing each
other for what until finally, it opened its mouth and chanted,
in a strong but raspy voice.
father, murdered son
with me and I'll have won
the street you've heard about,
wicked candle, lights burn out"
chanted this three times, holding Jimmy hypnotized by his spell.
After the third time it started laughing like a mechanical madman.
eyes flew open and he stared around his room in a panic. The laughter
was still ringing in his ears as though the twin was in the room
with him. The music had stopped playing. He noticed that his body
was shaky and nervous. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself
in. Breathe out. But the faces in the posters on his wall were
still talking and dancing with each other. He concentrated very
hard on a bright summer day with flowers and butterflies flying
over a field.
felt his muscles ease up their tenseness and his heart slowed
down to a regular beat again. Opening his eyes, he spotted something
at the other end of the room in the shadows. It seemed to him
like someone was standing just beyond his darkened vision. It
stepped forward. The thing was there, in his room. It cackled
loudly, opening its clay mouth and revealing a deep black pit
where its tongue should have been. As the echoes of the outburst
died away, the thing took another step into the light and spoke
in the same raspy voice it had spoken with in the dream.
the street you know all too well
lights burn black and you fly to hell"
soon as the words escaped the thing's grinning mouth, Jimmy's
bedside lamp clicked off. The room plunged into a pitch black.
Jimmy, terrified of what the thing might be capable of in the
dark, didn't move. He remained petrified, hoping that the thing
couldn't see without the light. He listened intently into the
blackness, trying to catch the sound of a breath or a footstep
to let him know where the thing was. It was the most intense silence
Jimmy had ever heard, only broken every few minutes by bouts of
wild cackling sounds coming from different parts of the house.
First it came from the kitchen, then a few minutes later from
the living room, followed by the staircase, and then it came again
from the hallway just outside his room. After the last screech,
there was silence again. Then there were scratching sounds right
outside the door and rattling of the door knob.
after hours in the pitch darkness, the knob shook and Jimmy heard
the door swing open. It was a bitter relief for him though, as
he had been expecting the hallway light to still be working. The
light was not on however, and although Jimmy didn't know it, no
light was on in the whole house, nor was anyone besides him in
the house. His parents and sister had gone to the movies. And
since he'd told them he was going to bed, they hadn't thought
it necessary to wake him up. They wouldn't be back for another
two hours. Jimmy would never see them again.
cackling came again from right inside the dark doorway. Jimmy
closed his eyes tight and clenched his teeth in panic. "If
I can't see it," he thought "maybe it can't see me."
He laid in the pitch darkness in complete silence for a very long
time, concentrating on not breathing too hard and on slowing his
heart, which was beating with the speed and loudness of an African
out of the black came the cackling again. So loud was it this
time that it seemed as though the thing's mouth had to be less
than a foot above Jimmy's left ear. His heart was racing now like
he'd just run a marathon and he couldn't possibly stand the suspense
any longer. He leapt out of bed and rushed towards the door, fearing
the entire time that he would run into the thing somewhere in
the total darkness. He made it to the door however without hitting
anything and he proceeded to flick the light switch up and down
in the vain hope that it would turn the lights back on. It didn't
work though, and, having lost most of his bravado finding himself
out of the security of his bed, and in the middle of the house
he now saw to be empty, he stood completely still for what seemed
like hours. As he stood there in the total darkness he started
trying to convince himself that all of this was just in his head.
just a bad trip, that's all," he told himself in his mind.
why are the lights out?" answered a voice in his head that
sounded eerily like the voice of the thing.
squirrel probably got electrocuted on the lines and the power
is out," he answered it, trying to sound matter-of-factly.
it replied, "but then why do the neighbors still have power?"
The voice was right. From his new vantage point, Jimmy could see
out the window, and although his vision was still heavily influenced
by the mushrooms, he could tell that the neighbors' houses all
had power still.
our electricity short-circuited," he answered, trying to
shrug it off while remaining completely terrified inside.
why is no-one here, I wonder?" said the voice, sounding increasingly
like the thing as it grew raspier.
probably all went to bed," he answered quickly, without thinking.
only 8:30, though," spoke the voice without hesitation, "and
your sister would never go to bed before 10 on a Friday, you know
that. So where are they?" The terror inside Jimmy was such
that he felt his heart was going to explode if this went on any
duh-- they went trick or treating," he said out loud, still
holding eyes shut and relieved he'd explained away the haunting
questions. But the voice didn't stop. Now distinctly out of Jimmy's
head and somewhere around him in the darkness it shot back:
or treat ended at 8:00, smart ass. It's been a half-hour, and
besides, your sister said she didn't want to go out this year."
by now on the verge of outright panic, tried to keep talking to
stall the thing and come up with a plan, but only incoherent babbles
came out when he opened his mouth to speak.
they're not sleeping, or out trick or treating," the thing
continued aggressively out of the shadows, "What could have
possibly happened to them, hmmm?"
mocking voice rang throughout the room, and it was obvious that
it was about to reveal something horrible that only it knew
"They're dead, Jim-bo, dead, and by now, probably stone cold.
It's been hours, Jimmy, you didn't realize how fast time went
by at your little concert, but it's been two hours, and I killed
them as soon as you left. You can check if you don't believe me,
what's left of them is piled on the bathroom floor down the hall.
But you know it's true, you know I'm not lying. Why would I lie?
I don't have to lie. I'm completely in control no matter what
Jimmy felt an invisible force grabbing him and dragging his entire
body down to the floor. His face smashed against the hardwood
floor and he felt his softened brain banging off the sides of
his skull. He lay there in silence for a few seconds as though
dead, staring out into the black, when suddenly, the flash light
that he kept near his bed and that he'd completely forgotten about
turned on at the end of the room. It hung as though suspended
in the air on an invisible finger. Behind it, sitting on the bed,
was the thing. It was sitting cross-legged facing him, the flashlight
illuminating its face oddly and casting shadows everywhere
the fuck do you want from me?!!" Jimmy screamed at the thing
as tears started to run down his face. The thing sat and stared
him right in the eyes. Jimmy was channeling all his fears and
adrenaline into stirring up a blind fury of hatred for the thing.
His head was aching from his fall and his vision was still very
blurry and occasionally things swirled around but he was so pumped
with adrenaline that he was set on action, any action. The thing
sat and watched him with interest and amusement clearly revealed
by the smile on its face.
you!" yelled Jimmy, as loud as he could, still lying on the
ground, "Fuck you!"
thing stared intently into its victims eyes, as though concentrating
very hard on its task of driving Jimmy to the edge of insanity.
But then, with absolutely no warning at all, Jimmy leapt up off
the ground and charged at the thing with the resolution of a Spanish
fighting bull. When he reached the middle of the room Jimmy jumped,
launching himself into the air towards the bed. As he floated
in the air he noticed the flashlight moving in front of him as
though held by an invisible hand. He watched it pull back towards
the bed then come swinging at his face like a baseball bat.
impact of the flashlight broke his nose and knocked him right
down out of the air. He squirmed around on the ground clutching
his nose with blood gushing out from between his fingers. The
blood began to collect in a large pool on the floor near his face
as he stopped moving and tried to see out of his pain-blinded
eyes. The thing was standing now and it towered above him like
a hunter towers above his cornered prey. Its cold, victorious
blue eyes gazing down mercilessly at Jimmy's broken face.
stared up at the thing, the pain from his nose searing through
the rest of his face. He watched in silence as it rose in the
air like a crow on black wings that grew out of where its arms
had been. It flapped in midair for a few seconds, its eyes having
not left Jimmy's the entire time. Suddenly it flapped its wings
hard and shot upwards through the ceiling. Jimmy could hear its
insane cackle out on the roof, getting louder and louder. He sat
up, still grasping his face and listening as the maniacal laugh
grew so loud that it seemed as though he was sitting next to giant
speakers blasting it out. It grew so loud that Jimmy screamed
in pain as he felt the insides of his eardrums rip and tear. The
excruciating pain surged through him and a white hot fire burned
his brains to a crisp. No more sounds came to his bleeding ears
and he sat, in the permanent silence as the thing rose out of
the floor, drifted towards him, and pushed itself down his throat