Three raps, urgent, loud, on my bedroom door.
And I wake. Hard, harsh intrusion.
Terror lie, listen for pinpricks, burglar creeps,
Or ghostsound in an upstairs hall.
Adrenaline outpourings to an unknown god.
That happens sometimes in this house. Knock, knock, knock. Who’s there? No, don’t ask. Just in case there’s a reply from the estranged twin underworlds of crime and Hell.
After a while I can convince myself that nobody, alive or dead, was knocking on the door. It’s the pipes. The wood. The roof. The expansion contraction of the cooling house. But I can’t quite believe it and fear reigns, believing they will knock again that robber or dead child is there, that if I move I’ll be attacked or worse, have to comfort the lost or experience their agony.
Then I need to look, like the second to die in the horror movie.
And that’s why, approaching 4am, I’m sitting downstairs and every light in the house is on. Even now something in my mind can’t quite believe in the rational explanation.
Gone are the days of confirmatory hallucinations. Only memory remains and it’s the hate sunk eyes and fallen skin of the man in the sour ripped purple suit.
When I’m able to return to my bed, knowing I am alone, I’ll still be listening. Fearing three more angry knocks on my door. Wishing I still had a god to deliver me from evil. Not that he ever did or ever could but the story comforted when I felt presences in Fawdon, in Crawley, and when I used to see the old woman who died in the Victorian college lift shaft or place-memory murder at the castle.
Where does hallucination end and vision begin?
When does contracting wood become a stranger at the bedroom door?
When does another world tumble into ours?
Don’t ask those questions at 4am when hormoned fatigue is sovereign. At 4am the answers may turn out to be here and now. At 4am phantom or Fantomas may be waiting for me on the stairs back to bed.