I shall start at the beginning of how my band was formed. It was 1997, four years ago, October. I had been looking for a job, and landed a seasonal position in a warehouse right outside of town, out in the middle of nowhere. I met most of my band members either in or from this place. That is the significance of this place, but not the only.
I was twenty then and eager to learn more about the outside world. My friend, Leonard, had been urging me to find a job where I would meet new people and friends and learn my beginning lessons of life. And indeed I did.
The warehouse manager told me during my interview that the Christmas season was in view and that my seasonal position had the possibility of turning into full time after the holiday. The pay was respectable, and I needed the money, so I had taken the position with high hopes of possibly being hired full time.
It was a clothing warehouse, where large trolleys of clothes would come my way all day long. My job was to make sure these large protective bags went over the large trolleys of clothes and to insure the destination tags were properly placed and then off to the loading docks they went. It was in this place that I also met Miranda.
I had only been there a few weeks. Our shifts were early, and by noon, I was normally dozing off into my own little daydreams. We had small bases to work from, which we had to share with three other people, since the trolleys came down four different tracks. Fortunately for me, I only had to share my base with one other, Steve, his name was. He loved to hear himself talk, that’s for certain. I would listen to him talk all day about college and the classes he was taking. He was going to be a cop, PI, or some kind of detective, you know, something of that nature.
Not but two feet away from our base, was another one, only that one actually had four occupants: an older gentleman who never really gave a damn about anybody, a loudmouthed woman who never shut up, I’m surprised that she and Steve didn’t get along better than they already did, some young buck, probably my age, who was obsessed with sports, and then there was Miranda.
I never really spoke to anyone in this place in the first couple of weeks that I started. I thought the more I kept to myself the less I would be noticed and be left alone. I worked alone, I ate lunch alone, and I took my cigarette breaks alone. This was the way I liked it. Little did I know that my silence from the crowds is what would catch Miranda’s attention.
It was an early morning, Tuesday, I believe right before our first cigarette break. I was already starting to doze off, when I caught wind of a conversation going on.
“I bet any money right here, that I could embarrass any male here in this room,” said Miranda. “Except him.” Miranda was now pointing at Cross, and everyone from those two bases seem to stop and chuckle as they all wondered why Miranda had singled out Cross, the silent kid who kept to himself. “And I think he knows why, too, but I can’t be sure” said Miranda, once again pointing at Cross. The workers, especially Steve snickered under their breath.
I had absolutely no idea what the hell she was talking about. Like everyone already knew, I was the quiet kid. The one no one liked or even knew for that matter. Miranda stared at me with a grin I had never seen on her face before. It was devilish, sinister, in fact. I said nothing and neither did the rest of the workers around me. They just all went back to bagging their clothes after they seen that I wasn’t going to respond to Miranda’s little challenge. Not another word was said among us until lunchtime.
Cross grabbed his lunch from his locker, got a soda from the machine, and sat alone in the corner, like he always did. He also had a book with him. Cross always read books on his break, this kept anyone from really coming up to him to start a conversation. He was reading a book on vampires, non-fiction. He hated the cheesy vampire novels where authors tried to portray their own version of them. For some odd reason, Cross was simply fascinated by the fact that a being could actually live off of life energy from another being. That’s right. Cross didn’t believe in the blood sucking vampire, but rather what the occult society had referred to as the “psychic vampyre.”
Cross was reading how psychic vampyres lived, living by obtaining a weaker species’ life energy. This was all fascinating to him. He had read all of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles up to date, and had been completely enthralled as she described these lovely elegant creatures, and how she told of how evil was beautiful in every form. Not how kids made evil look, wearing all black, most of their clothing torn, wearing makeup in all the most disgusted ways, goring up what a vampire really was. All these kids just proved to Cross that they really had no idea what it was to be beautiful and sinister at the same time, let alone acknowledge that beautiful and sinister were one in the same. Cross honestly believed that if Satan, if there is such a thing, were to walk the earth, that he would appear as the most beautiful, tempting creature anyone’s imagination could possibly think of. Would Lucifer appear to us as a demonic, scary creature? Cross seemed not to think so.
As he was reading, he slowly ate his lunch, a sandwich along with some potato chips. He could smoke here in the lunchroom, so there was no use in eating quickly so that he may run outside and catch a smoke. He could sit here comfortably for a full 45 minutes and relax. Not that this job wasn’t relaxing enough, but it was still his own time. Cross glanced up from his book, and noticed that Miranda was walking his way. He acted as though he were captured in his book.
“You cannot deny what you are, Crossman,” said Miranda as she passed his table, and then giggled. Cross pretended not to pay any mind. Then all of a sudden he couldn’t concentrate on his book. He slammed it down, lit a cigarette, and waited for Miranda to come back by staring at her. It didn’t take long. She sat two tables away from him, with her back towards him.
She grabbed her tray of food, and got up to go sit with Cross. She sat down and started finishing her lunch. “Nobody calls me Crossman. Not even my mother.”
“And what are we reading?” asked Miranda as she picked up his book. Cross said nothing. Miranda flipped through a couple of pages of his book, giving an occasional grunt every now and then, like she read something in the book she hadn’t known before.
“Does this fascinate you, Crossman?” she asked. Cross still said nothing. He just looked across the table.
I took one good long look at the woman sitting across from me. She still wore her grin, almost a fake smile towards me. She had long dishwater blond hair, green eyes that were unbelievable, fair skin, flawless. All in all, almost damn near perfect features. She had an hourglass figure, what every other average guy would call a perfect ten. But there was something wrong about her features that I just couldn’t place my finger on. I happened to notice that when she did give me a full smile, that her teeth were so far out of line, and discolored. Not that I have perfect teeth, but this was fairly obvious to me, and it seemed out of place with her culminating features. Something was just unnatural about this woman, and it seemed as though no one noticed it but me.
Miranda was one to flirt, especially with Steve. I took note of a few conversations between the two while we were on cigarette breaks. Maybe they thought I wasn’t paying attention, but their conversations were always around me, and only me for that matter, and this struck me as odd. Miranda would tease Steve telling him what she would do to him if only she wasn’t married. And Steve always seemed to flirt right back, absentmindedly, like he didn’t even care she was married. This too, struck me as odd.
What I mean by other guys calling her a perfect ten is that I did not find Miranda attractive, pretty yes, but not one I would lust after. She knew of this, and told me about it later. But that is beside the point right now. Our conversation continued at the lunch table.
“So are you going to answer me?” asked Miranda. “Does all the vampire gore really intrigue that mind of yours?” Cross still said nothing, his face without expression. He just sat there staring coldly into her eyes, smoking his cigarette. “Well, well, aren’t we the socialite?” Miranda said, pushing her tray of food aside to join Cross with the light of a cigarette. As she lit it, she stared right back at Cross through the exhaled smoke between them. She took a deep drag, and let it out her nose, and simply told him what was on her mind. “I will say this, Cross, you will find out soon enough what you are. And you will be unable to deny it. That is a guarantee. Good day, to you sir,” she said with a wink and that sinister grin returning to her lips. And simply just walked away.
It was two days before Miranda and I spoke privately again. Only the next time, it was a bit more intimate.
It was still early morning, before our first cigarette break. I remember this because I woke up late that day, and I was dying for a cup of coffee. In all the time I worked there, I still never got used to actually doing something besides watch the sunrise in the morning. I don’t sleep much, so I think I’ve seen more than my fair share of sunrises.
I was keeping to myself, as always, listening to Steve babble something he learned in school the night prior. No one else spoke that much in the mornings besides Steve. And then I heard Miranda’s voice: in my head.
“Hello Cross,” she said. At first, I paid the voice no mind. I just simply glared around, letting my eyes do the glaring. Nothing. No one was even looking in my direction; they were all just working away at their trolleys of clothes.
“I know you can hear me, Cross,” This one caught my attention. I turned all the way around, real subtle so I may not be thought of as some kind of paranoid schizophrenic or something.
The voice I heard was almost like an echo, yet very faint. I thought it might be my imagination, or perhaps even sleep deprivation but when you hear something in your head, you are either crazy or it actually happened. And since I don’t believe in insanity, I went with the latter.
As I turned around, I noticed everyone was still working. Yet Miranda had given me a small squint of the eyes, as I slowly took my surveillance of her. It wasn’t a concerned look from her that caught my attention.
“Relax, Cross, you are not crazy,” I went back to my trolley of clothes. Steve was still babbling and I turned myself so that I could work with Miranda in my view. She caught on to what I was doing and grinned her sinister grin.
“I really wish he would shut up already,” this was all too real for me. I couldn’t possibly smile or chuckle at her little joke; I was in shock. Not knowing what to do, I attempted to talk back.
“What is this? Telepathy?” I asked. No answer back, just that grin. The rest of the morning progressed regularly until lunchtime.
I couldn’t possibly eat. My mind was running in a million different circles. All I could do to keep these questions from ruining my sanity was smoke my cigarettes. I had two down before Miranda joined me at my regular table.
“Not bad for your first time,” she said as she sat down across from me. The loudmouthed woman that works on Miranda’s base was sitting at the table next to us. She must have heard what Miranda said because she immediately turned in our direction. Miranda pretended not to notice and started eating. The loudmouth woman turned to join the conversation at her table.
“Pay her no mind, she’s nothing,” she said as she took the first bite of her sandwich. I just sat there and smoked my cigarette. All the questions that had been tearing me up all morning had left.
“Not going to eat, Cross?” asked Miranda. “Well, then let me ease your mind a bit, and I will leave you alone.” Leave me alone? I didn’t want to be left alone. I wanted her to sit there and fulfill my curiosities of what I thought might have happened, actually did happen.
“The answer to your questions? Is that what you want?” She picked up her tray and went to the table with the loudmouth woman. Before she sat down, she looked at me for a brief moment and winked. I didn’t have to say anything, or ask Miranda anything. She had answered my questions with questions. I sat alone again with an ashtray to fill before my break was over.
Miranda didn’t talk to me the rest of that particular day which left my mind wondering about a whole lot of things for the upcoming weekend. Saturday came and went and I still couldn’t get the whole Telepathy thing out of my head. I questioned if it was real, or if it did indeed happen. All these things ran around in my mind causing me to lose sleep Saturday night. I tried to get my mind off of things on Sunday by playing chess.
When I was growing up, I was always taught that chess is the answer for everything. It involves life and it’s answers in almost every form. I have found that the only answers that it has involves getting the mind off of your personal everyday problems for a little while because the game takes up your entire mind during it’s play. Not to say that I disagree with what I have been taught, because every time I have troubles in my life, I always turn to the chess board, and you will notice as I finish out this story, that I played quite a bit of chess during this time in my life.
Playing chess by yourself can be rather mind blowing on its own, so after playing almost all day, I noticed the night was beginning to fall and decided to take a walk.
It was wintertime and the day had brought us a great 4-inch snowfall. It was my idea of a perfect setting. I used to go to this church parking lot to think about things. It was in a small neighborhood and off from the parking lot was a big open field. It was used as a soccer field to my knowledge.
But like I said, I would go to this parking lot just to sit and think. This was where I got most of my ideas for writing songs. I usually walked there so no one would recognize my car. It was my own private solitaire area of the world. And at this time after the little telepathy episode with Miranda, I had much to think about. I was confused, eager and afraid all at the same time. Miranda obviously knew something that I did not, and I needed my own space to think about the day’s events.
I was eager to learn more about what had happened between Miranda and I but was also afraid of the supernatural part of things. I think Miranda knew this, hence the reason why she left me alone at lunch that day to think about what actually happened, never really answering my questions at all, which is the reason I was confused. All these mixed emotions had brought me to my regular place of solitude, but on this particular night, as odd as my day was, my solitude didn’t last very long. I was sitting on the side steps of the church looking out into the field. The snow had not yet been touched. It was pure, unharmed by men, so perfect that I could not help but to stare at the beauty Nature had allowed me to see. The snow had particular importance to me then, for it was pure, as I surely needed something pure in my life at this point even if it was only temporary. The sky had not one star for the clouds took over the horizon. A very thin fog was starting to fall as I lit my cigarette. I took a deep hit from it and watched as my visible breath mixed with my exhaled smoke. The trees around the border of the field were something from a painting; perfectly holding the new fallen snow in even levels across their branches. This was indeed a scene to remember.
As my exhaled smoke thinned itself, I noticed a small figure out in the far end of the field. Very odd thing this was, but then again, most things in my life at this point were odd. I squinted to see if I could recognize the figure but never saw his face. I grew angry that the figure was ruining the image of scenery and also at the fact he was invading my peaceful solitude.
He wore a black what seemed to be some kind of robe, with a massive hood, hence the reason why I couldn’t see his face. He walked slowly almost as if in pain, and was holding a long thick stick, which he used as a walking staff. It was taller than he, but I could see that he used it to aid in his walking. His slow steps took time, how much, I lost track of, but indeed they were gradual, as I watched him hesitate with each step he took. With each step came the same movements as well. Staff, left foot, right foot, staff, left foot, right foot. His hood was kept faced at the ground he walked on, never looking elsewhere.
As I watched him, it wasn’t his gradual steps that kept my attention, but rather this so called staff. It was taller than he, as I said, but it was crooked towards the top, bending backwards towards the figure holding it, like it was holding a small shelter over his head of some sort. It branched off in two other places that I could see, around his hand that held it, once again showing some kind of protection over this odd creature that was invading my open field. I honestly felt that whatever tree he had pulled this from had personally made this particular branch strictly for aiding this man’s feeble walk.
I smoked my cigarette slowly while watching this, trying to keep still there on the steps of the church, so that he may not notice me. This was intriguing to me, this man, figure, or whatever he may be. In these modern times, even the homeless did not dress the way this man was with his cumbersome robe. And the hood of this robe was really fascinating, from its colossal size, and the thickness of it. As he walked closer to my direction, I saw the real size of this robe he wore. It seemed to drag behind him while also covering his feet. He simply had a thick rope tied around his waist to keep this garment closed around him. Indeed, this was an unusual being.
He stopped in his steps and the hood of the robe turned in my direction. My cigarette burned down to the butt, so I dropped it when it burned my fingers, startling me as the man turned in my direction. Still I could not see his face, but there was a light colored beard that protruded from the lower portion of the hood. He raised his staff, and I became mesmerized. He lifted it straight up vertically, and tilted it so that it became parallel with the horizon. Strength belonged to this creature, even though he had a limp about him. With the staff perfectly horizontal, I noticed a small blue aura around the crooked end of the staff. It started small, but revealed itself rather beautifully as it progressed on the end of the staff. I watched as he then raised the arm holding the staff above his hood and a small trail from the blue aura followed this movement. He began moving the staff in slow figure eights, allowing the blue trail to follow the staff, and it grew stronger with each turn of his wrist.
My heart pounded in my chest, as I realized that this man had seen me, and intended this little light show of auras from staffs for my witnessing. As the aura grew bigger and brighter, I held my breath out of fear what might happen next. This was not a natural scene that is witnessed every day and I wanted to make sure that I remembered every last detail.
He lowered the staff once more holding it horizontally in front of him. He was almost invisible now, for the blue aura of light was so bright and vast. It grew brighter and brighter, and I squinted as I watched it’s light take over that of the moon shining through the thick fog of clouds. I almost had to turn my head it was so bright, but then in the blink of an eye, it was gone, as was the figure conducting the light. I looked all through the field, and he was nowhere to be seen.
I reached in my pocket and grabbed another cigarette, my hands shaking. I was angry and curious all in the same moment. Unsure of what I just witnessed, I was angry that whatever it was intruded into my peaceful thinking, but I was also curious of what it was out there in that open field. I lit my cigarette and began walking out into the field.
The fog was growing thick, and the moon forced it’s way down to light my way. When I reached where I thought the figure was to perform this little act for me, there was no evidence that he had ever been there at all. The snow was perfect, freshly fallen. I looked all over for tracks of his dragged robe, small holes in the snow from the staff. But there was nothing. I searched around in circles, but the only tracks I found were that of my own feet. No evidence that what I just witnessed actually happened.
His performance was intended for me, I finally concluded, and sat in the cold snow giving up on finding any visible evidence there might be on the figure. I knew the only confirmation I had was all in my head. I lay down on my back smoking my cigarette, with my arms and legs spread.
I was lying in where I had seen the man with the staff. The snow had begun to fall again in large snowflakes filling the footsteps I had taken through the field. This was nature’s way of telling me to keep what I had seen to myself. While lying on my back, I watched as the snowflakes came down on me, looking like falling stars approaching my cold body. With this position, I began to make a snow angel to kind of bless the spot in my own personal way to keep the memory my own.
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