See The Light
(South Street – Photos by Joe)
The five of us all gazed at a blue neon glow that was brightest by the Fish Market Restaurant on South Street. I shuffled my feet, blinked, squinted, and pretended to look real hard. Don’t know if the shuffling of the feet worked, but I did my best not to let on that I clearly saw what we all were searching for.
The others, who included my lady friend(LF), the pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts), along with a white interloper from Queens named Terrence, all knew they were missing “the bigger picture.”
The blue was representative. I saw “it,” but held my cards close.
Last month I had seen a similar glow over a late evening crowd holding placards, set behind police barricades by the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park. It had seemed more like a blue gossamer upon their head and shoulders–or a touch of twilight that remained. Of the times before I had seen a similar glow, I had thought it nothing more than spirit matter, which I use to describe various unexplainable, airborne disturbances.
That night I had looked about for another trace of the blue as I headed up Central Park West. At my right was the stone wall that surrounds the rectangular park. While beginning on the corner across the street–for as far as the eye could see, were stately apartments, hotels, museums, and houses of worship. They create one of NYC’s many amazing skylines. It can be a visual treat from one of the park’s winding paths. Directly across the street, out front the comparatively-new, Trump high-rise hotel, I had spotted a point of blue as it glided toward the large globe that sits in the middle of Columbus Circle. All of a sudden, it had looked as if the point closed, re-opened, and rotated. I dropped my gaze to see my shirt and arms were illuminated by the same blue that fell upon the crowd.
Now, if I turned, in front of the old Fulton Fish Market building that sits on the water on South Street was a similar, hovering point of blue. It was like a floating eye, a probe, possibly–lighting upon the Fish Market Restaurant across the street. At various times the others had glanced back. I thought the only reason they didn’t see it was because it was tiny. After all, I had missed it plenty of other times throughout the city.
I nudged my LF’s sweaty arm, and whispered for her to turn around. She abruptly looked up at me. So did the others. I shook my head, not wanting to show them. Yet num and nuts, who both looked super cool in cottons with sweaty, slicked-back hair, started to grow jumpy and make the odd whimper.
I knew they were on to something. Those two are good at picking up shit, annoyingly good. But this is one secret I didn’t want to unravel just yet, especially since we were plagued by the interloper named Terrence–the big white guy who didn’t sweat. If I showed him, in the future he might think of me as his personal guide to the supernatural. I didn’t want that.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said, and started toward Fulton St., which is the main thoroughfare in the historic seaport area.
“Ner, nu, ner, na,” num and nuts uttered to each other. So much for their summer-chic, MTV beach house “façade!” Those two are whacked. I know that–and so do my readers.
“What is it?” my LF asked, her long black hair lying damply on her shoulders.
Num and nuts limply angled their arms a few doors to the left of the Fish Market Restaurant.
My anticipation rose. I shuffled my feet nervously. Terrence’s eyes opened wide and he smiled with hound dog cheeks.
Sure enough, where they had pointed, a steel gate over the front of one of the buildings opened a moment later. It was old and rickety, the kind that a person had to raise by pulling chains, yet it slipped up the painted steel rail without a sound or person in sight. Behind it a door opened and a man slinked out onto the sidewalk. Dark blue lines outlined his frame.
Head ducked into the open V-neck of a coat, the person swiftly headed uptown toward Peck Slip. Terrence jumped out between the traffic and crossed the street to the sound of horns. The man’s head shot up and his back straightened.
I followed with a hop in my step. I had to skirt between passing cars, one being a cop car. I thudded ahead of Terrence and up behind the man. Along my bare arms appeared a dark outline of blue. I turned, and with a gnarl, yelled at Terrence. “If you know what’s good, stay the f— back!” He slowed. “There’s a line here that you don’t want to cross,” I said, threateningly.
Terrence sighed and came to a stop. His fleshy breasts jiggled for a second.
“Hey you, you, you!” I cried, watching the man’s steps grow hesitant as I caught up with him.
His face was bright pink as if it had been scrubbed. His short hair was dark, wavy, and clumped with a lumpy jell. The light in his eyes screamed of innocence. I recognized his face! It was the Revolutionary War soldier, Max Beckley!
“They woke me for you! They woke me for you,” Max said, his eyes alight with terror. Fear seemed to leap off his person. “I’m to give you a message.”
I stepped back in horror. My eyes were on the clumps of jell in his hair. What was it from? His birth???
It took all my power to utter, “What is it?”
“You amuse them,” he said with a strained laugh as if someone had forced the words him. He angled his face and gave an eerie, detached smile. Then he slapped his cheek. Blood oozed from his left eye. “This is what we can do,” Max said, though the voice was sweet and calm; definitely not his own. “Wake Max and kill Max. Others, too, Joe.”
They know my name.
From the corner of my eye, I spotted my friends encroaching. I windmilled one arm and cried, “Get back!”
Max fell to his knees, and his right leg snapped sideways at the calf. Yet he only moaned in pain, though such was the sound from his lips that it was like a silent scream. More bones snapped and my mind whirled in fear and disgust.
I wanted to run, but searched “them out.” I knew they were watching. I knew they were close.
Diagonally across the street in front of the old Fulton Fish Market building, mere feet from by the blue point of light, was an unusually dark, sleek space. I spotted a wide-bodied creature and saw vague motions flutter about it. I turned back to Max who was writhing in pain. His body slipped away and squished down into the curbside opening for the sewer. To fit, his flesh ripped away and more of his bones cracked.
There came shrieks and cries from my friends. My LF loudly sobbed. It took a minute or two to semi-recover after Max was gone. I looked about and saw the blue light along with the creature had also vanished.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Thirty – June/July 2010