Thursday, July 7, 2022

Into the Phantom Hills

November 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Secrets of NYC, Stories


(Photos by Bald Punk – Central Park – Click twice to fully enlarge)

A bone chilling breeze woke me from a wild dream. I was outside on my feet, and it was dark. My arms were raised above my head. My legs felt like jelly . . .

I had remembered leaving Strand Bookstore after purchasing Nexus by Henry Miller, and making my way into the Union Square Station, where I jumped on the uptown N Train and took a seat.

To my surprise, across from me was the cute coed employee who had helped me find the novel at Strand. In the store, she had soundlessly slipped in behind me in the tight aisle that was tall with books. She had offered her assistance as I rose from a squatting position, having given up my search. Any surprise by her sudden presence was erased as her perfume hit me. It smelled fruity. By my second whiff, I was enrapt. Then I felt a surge of warmth in my head and loins as she squeezed in front of me and plucked the last work in The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy off the shelf.

Seated in the subway car across from me, she smiled like a bubbly hostess. There was a spark of attraction in her eyes. I was about to ask about her perfume, though was taken by another rush of warmth.

I noticed that her skin was tinged green and growing darker by the moment. Her irises seemed to be blossoming like flowers.

There is no way to escape her,” an old lady whispered, who was seated in a pitch black, far-off-part of the subway car. She was hunched over a round table that had a crystal ball in the center. “She is full of far too many wordless tricks and lures.”


The next thing I remembered, I awoke hours later in the dark of a cold night. It took a moment to realize I was outside.

My arms were waving and my legs motioned like I was in a drunken stupor. The only reason I didn’t fall was because someone had me by the shirt.

It was Benny, “the cigar store Indian,” he had me by yoke of my collar. There was a look of both determination and fright in his eyes as he led me along a dark path.

Overhead was the outline of trees. Even higher, I saw incandescent lights of apartment windows. We were below street level, on a path at the south end of Central Park by The Pond.

I heard voices that sounded ethereal. They were lovely and I wished they were louder. I could have listened to them all night.

“Look only in my eyes,” Benny cried, “and no one else’s.”


Off on a murky plateau I saw a phantasmal party. Flickering colored lights shined up from the ground upon a group of frenzied revelers.

Clouds rolled in from the fringe of the plateau. In that direction, I saw a group of bearded men. There was a jovial light about their faces. They drank ale from ornate, silver mugs. I could smell the ale as if I had the foam on my upper lip. It was both sweet and bitter.

The salesgirl from Strand’s was with a group of other women dressed in colorful clothing. She had full red lips, and her face was a radiant green. The short dress she wore revealed wide hips and skinny legs.

I heard more voices that came to me in a gust full of heady scents. I looked to the girl, and she smiled cravenly.

I broke away from Benny and ran to her.

“Don’t you dare!” Benny cried with a blood curdling intensity. “You’ll be lost forever!”

The girl back peddled and waved me on. Behind the gathering was a large tavern that was embedded in a hillside, blanketed by crawling vines and tree branches.

She went inside the tavern and held the door open for me. Candlelight flickered in the windows and danced on her emerald skin. I picked up my pace, knowing if I made it through the door, I would be beyond Benny’s reach.

Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Twenty-One – November 2009

Phantom Hills of Mannahatta

Into the Phantom Hills

Everything is Wrong



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