‘Jesus Christ…’ I muttered under my breath. You know how you can feel a little paranoid after a few beers? That feeling of non-specific post-alcohol dread? Imagine that combined with a giant grinning mutant woman suddenly appearing in your home.
Suffice it to say, it was very, very, very uncool.
‘I don’t need this,’ I sighed and closed my eyes.
When I opened my eyes her face was just a foot from my own, grinning wider than ever.
She’d dashed the length of the hallway and was now stood so close that her long, grasping arms were either side of me, her fingers twitching and clawing at the air around my face. I could see her chest heaving as if she were actually laughing silently at my attempts to dismiss her.
As if the thought that I could ever be free of her was amusing.
I screamed, a full-bodied shriek of terror, and actually dropped to my knees, covering my head as if to fend off an expected blow. It never came.
Finally, I lowered my hands, gasping for breath, shaking. The hallway was empty, the Tall Woman nowhere to be seen.
I stayed there, on my knees, for a moment, gasping for breath, then I was on my feet and I turned and ran, out of the apartment, out of the building and into the street.
I stood there, shivering, terrified beyond reason, without a clue as to what I’d do next.
Finally, I pulled my phone from my pocket and I made a phone call.
‘Hey, Andy, what’s up?’ Jason asked.
‘Jason, I need you to come here,’ I said, sobbing.
Jason didn’t ask why, didn’t complain, instead he simply replied: ‘I’m on my way.’
Less than 20 minutes later his car pulled up outside and he dashed over to the steps outside my building where I was sitting, shivering.
He threw his jacket around my shoulders and asked what happened, his voice filled with concern.
‘She’s in there!’ I stammered. ‘The Tall Woman. She’s back.’
‘Okay, Okay,’ he said, gently helping me to my feet. ‘Come on, man, let’s go in there and check it out.’
I wish I could say that I was brave when we went inside, but I’d be lying. I cowered behind Jason, one hand on his shoulder as we made our way through my home. Of course, we didn’t find a thing — we’re talking a giant mutant woman in a poky little one-bed apartment — where the hell was she going to hide?
Finally, after we’d checked every single room twice, I had to admit that she was gone.
‘I’m so sorry, man,’ I apologized, feeling genuinely stupid. ‘I got scared and… I’m sorry man…’
‘Hey, forget about it, buddy,’ Jason said. ‘So, I’m here now, where do you keep your booze?’
Half a bottle of bourbon later, we were both feeling pretty talkative.
‘She’s, you know, just kind of different, you know?’ I tried to explain.
‘I get it, I get it,’ he said. ‘It’s like, you saw something bad and you feel bad and… that’s bad.’
He didn’t get it.
‘No, she’s different, you know,’ I explained. ‘I’ve never had a repeat hallucination before. And they’ve never been scary, you know. She’s not like the others.’
‘Dude,’ Jason said, taking another sip of bourbon, ‘you’ve got, like, Charlie Bony Syndrome and you know that makes you see shit, so…’ He waved his hands in the air like a magician who’d just performed a trick.
‘I know, I know…’ I replied.