The Greenishness

This story is probably true.

It happened to me when I was sixteen. My parents had gone out one summer night and I was home alone. It was hot, windy and cruelly moonless. I had rented the Mel Gibson version of Hamlet (that’s not the scary part).

As Paul Schofield rasped ‘horrible, horrible, most horrible,’ there was a powerful gust of wind outside, all three framed prints on the living room walls simultaneously crashed to the floor and the house and I were plunged together into silent, powerless darkness.

I don’t know how long I stood, watching a greenish retina-ghost of Paul Schofield drift under the darkness and melt, thaw and resolve itself into a gloom. The wind blew trees into the windows, I hoped. I turned away from the darkness — away from the darkness, because my dilating pupils told me there was, somewhere in our blacked out house, a light.

It was coming from behind me. From my bedroom door. There was a sickly, greenish glow coming from under my bedroom door. It flickered. And then … it moved. I felt my way to the kitchen, grabbed a bread knife and ten seconds later was standing, barefoot and adrenalin-drunk, out in the street.

I stood shivering in the heat. Time passed. I was a sixteen year-old boy standing in the street with a bread-knife handle sticking out of his pyjama bottoms. I was either going to have to go back in or explain this to my parents when they came home.

I’d locked myself out and the only open window was my bedroom window. It was brighter outside than in. I couldn’t see the … greenishness through the closed curtains. As I climbed in my lips peeled back from my gums in terror.

I fell in. The knife vanished. Green flashed. I stared straight into the display of my battery-powered clock radio, which had fallen upside-down onto its curved back in the wind. The time was 10:04. I’d like to think the upside-down numbers spelled ‘FOOL’. But it was more like …

‘hOOL’


This story was originally published, in audio form, as part of Tim Sterne’s 2012 Halloween podcast.

jfc should’ve had a daughter

if ghosts were real, they’d be far more annoying