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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

scared? yup. and found wanting

The devil was kind last night and left me alone. I was growing fearful of going to bed so this was good.
It happened on Friday. Hallowe’en if you believe in that kind of thing - and I never have before - when I was woken, presumably by a child, and lay there crossly knowing that that was that. It was 4 am. I consoled myself with the normal guff that it didn’t matter, I was resting, it was good Thinking Time, etc etc, but the truth was that I was cross; a dream had been lost and I like a good dream.
The room was quite hot thanks to our defunct heating system. Being brand new and efficient, it doesn’t work reliably. Before going to bed, I busily turn off the timer and down the thermostats, to about ten, just to labour the point. Come 2 in the morning the radiators are fit to fry eggs on. Another thing to fume about. So I did, creating angry letters in my head.

And then I felt it. A truly malign presence just to my right rustled out of nowhere. Just hovering there. I did not need to look to know it was the devil. And I did not look because I was frightened beyond any normal sense of fear, worse than when I was attacked in a locked underground carpark. Worse than half way through childbirth, half out, half in. Bleak, soul-destroying, defeated fear, a capitulation with any sense of self denied.
I could sense but not see dark red and black.
I lay pole-axed in terror, thinking that if I barely breathed he would go, that I would be spared from having to deal with it, that I could evade it. I like evasion. Seconds spent in denial are seconds I don’t have to act.
But he didn’t, he stayed there, very still, and I did not know what to do. So I set up a rapid account with God and crossed myself busily and endlessly, muttering like a possessed loon in a film from the ‘70s. I was feeling by now a quite enormous pressure on my torso which I visualised for no good reason as large tubes of air woven haphazardly, strewn casually by the devil and constituting a killing pile. I felt myself sinking and mashed and helpless. Unable to breathe. I continued to cross myself. And all this time I was awake.

Time passed, maybe half a minute. Don’t laugh. Think back, that’s a long time in a chemistry lesson, or being crushed by the devil. Then it passed. The devil evaporated and I could go to sleep again. He was there and then he was gone, and the fear went, too, although I continued to lie very still.

Bold stuff appears in quotes – oh, yes, I’ve been on-line – about the devil. Confident lies where the boastful claim of despatching him or shaming him, of the routing of him by fair means. Shakespeare reckons the devil is seen by the poet, the lover and the lunatic. A cheering thought when you know which prong of the triangle you’ve been left.
My inner Cowardly Lion would like to re-write events, to say that I saw him off. But we both know that that ain’t true. So instead I ticker-taped through my recent history trying to establish what I might have done to deserve this. Or was it the product of an accrual of unpleasantnesses, mean thoughts, glowers at Lolly, small irritations resulting in this visitation? Had Lolly herself had a paw in it? Anything's possible, the rules seem to have changed and it would be just like her having a hotline to hot places.
I’m more of a carrot girl, as a rule (praise is us), than one who responds to a stick but I felt cowed and chastened and don’t like it much.

The next night I placed my mobile phone by the alarm clock. E is stern about things like mobile phones and unnecessary use thereof. Texters had always had a special place in hell reserved for them. Such imagery no longer amuses.
“It’s in case the devil comes,” I said. “I might need to call someone.”
It sounds stupid, but it was about all I could think of. T12 would understand. He’s a child to derive comfort and security (and too many renditions of Scouting For Girls) from tawdry plastic.
I would offer, naturally, Lolly as some sort of sacrifice, should that be the devil’s bag. I can see her on an altar, fulfilling a greater purpose. But he didn’t ask and she meanwhile seems to suffer no such visitations. Is this fair? Indeed, just now, ha, how much self control can one person exercise? I had to walk past her. She was asleep in her basket, splayed, steeped in that familiar stench of satisfied eau de dead badger following a ninety minute romp with her friend near the race course (gratitude sent my way? none). I was carrying a spade through the hall. As you do. The sweet juxtaposition never realised: fetid beast, sharp blade, a marriage made in heaven divorced before the banns were published.
Ah me.
Who would know? The devil would know. Foul thoughts scare me now. I must go and charge my phone. That and lock in the shed the temptation of a shiny spade.

28 comments:

nuttycow said...

Poor ol' Lolly. Can just imagine you looking at her with murder in your eyes!

Don't do it Milla - give her a chocolate drop instead.

Mud in the City said...

http://notenoughmud.blogspot.com/2008/08/things-that-go-bump-in-night.html - enough said.

KittyB said...

A most alarmong blog Mils my dear, and so unlike you somehow. Devils? Air ropes? Texts (to Mephistopheles?) there is something Faustian herein. Repeat after me 'I'll burn my books!'

Faith said...

Er, I thought you said it was short.....

Since I suppose this was true and not made up for the benefit of us bloggers, then I can tell you that a friend of mine had a similar thing happen to her many years ago where she felt a devilish presence came and laid on top of her. She is RC, like me, and had the house exorcised. I suggest you tell the devil to begone in no uncertain terms. And be nicer to Lolly and all lovely dogs in future!

Sally's Chateau said...

This is sooooo not what I want to read, ghosts are fine by me, and heavens we seem to have a few but the Devil, deep stuff Milla.

Mean Mom said...

Well, now I'm just scared! That'll be 2 of us lying awake, tonight, then!

Are you sure you're just not overheating? Get that defunct heating system fixed!

Frances said...

Milla, I am also hoping that this presence derived from the heating system, flames of hell and all that. At any rate, I would try that as a cover story to have at the ready should you have any more visitations.

I do not mean to take this lightly, because anything upsetting that occurs in the dark is extra scary to me.

xo

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Very well written. I don't believe in the devil or ghosties and all that stuff but I remember as a child the sort of fear that you describe as I lay awake in the dark. Spare the cat, spare the cat!

elizabethm said...

But what about the dog?
I don't know Milla, you have spooked me here but I am the person who can't watch horror movies and indeed can't understand why anyone would want to. I don't like to be scared.
But I do have my benign presence in this place which makes no sense to me at all so perhaps there is a reverse of that.
I hope you sleep well tonight. If not try getting up and having a cup of weak tea. Pedestrian, moi?
Elizabeth xx

Cait O'Connor said...

I would spring clean the room, open the windows, thwack the upholstery/pillows, ring some bells, play music, dance. Tell any negativity to be gone in no uncertain terms.
Change (wash) your bedding, it can hold negative energies from nightmares etc.
Shower and wash your hair.
Light a candle for peace. Hang a dreamcatcher above the bed. Read gentle books in bed.
Good luck. I am sure it will pass.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Sounds like a bloody good night to me. Ask him what he wants next time. I'm sure it won't be Lolly.

CJ xx

bodran... said...

Now i know your completely bonkers ! just give him the dog.
My advice sleep with the light on..I very stupidly watched "The hills have eyes" at the weekend and my light is still on..xx

Edward said...

I read this yesterday. I knew the rough outline, of course, but this is so beautifully written that it became entirely vivid. Then last night, awaking at 12.15 I felt sure that Mephistopholes had come for me - I didn't detect a presence, or feel a crushing weight, just a terrible anxiety of anticipation and apprehension. Which was due, of course, to the quality of your account. Something a bit lighter next time, please!

Ernest de Cugnac said...

interesting stuff milla. I was going to draw your attention to mud's post on similar, but I see she's already done so above.

But you know there is the consoling thought, that, though seeing supernatural things aint nice, it does point to something other than non-existance when we die ...

As long as you don't go to hell of course.

Fennie said...

What really interests me is that I've come to your blog from that of LBD and you both mention ticker-tape which despite recent events on Pondside's side of the pond (and a bit lower down) must be considered an unlikely coincidence. Still my advice would be not to give up on the tablets just yet and also to wonder who it might have been on cooking duty. If you've all been chomping on meat (unspecified but clearly not dog) and blackberry pie, no doubt with the odd randomly collected dark gilled fungus thrown in, you deserve a devilish visitation. Next time he comes, demand to see his Trident and horns and head for the bathroom. I think you'll find that will do the trick. Animal sacrifice is so awfully messy I always think.

ChrisH said...

I even prefer my visitors to yours!

blogthatmama said...

I was just about to hit the hay and I'm scared stiff and worried now! Were you asleep really and just dreaming, or what? You must wear a cross and some garlic tonight, and drape a bit round poor old Lolly too. Best of British...

LittleBrownDog said...

Well spooky, Milla! You had me gripped. Yes, and spooky, too that we both mention ticker tape. Almost on the same day. (Mind you, bizarrely, I read the killing pile as a knitting pile, and it conjured up quite a curious image.)

And as many others suggest, I wouldn't be too hasty with Lolly (you don't think it might possibly have been her, by the way? Smelly? Bearded? Other-worldly? Perhaps having eaten something she shouldn't have that made her feel all heavy - an iron, perhaps? Well, I wouldn't rule it out.)

Expat mum said...

Gawd - I thought you wre going to say that one of your sons had decided to frighten you in his halloween costume.
I think a novena at least, is required to see this one off. (But beautifully written all the same).

HER ON THE HILL said...

Ooh, Milla luv, that doesn't sound good? The red eyes are particularly alarming. Are you sure it wasn't Edward stumbling home drunk from the pub and huffing fowl fumes over you? Thinking about it, the heating is a little worrying. Hot as Hades and all that. (I have a heating problem at the moment, so sympathise there: -10 in the girls' rooms, +40 everywhere else. Please explain.) I'd certainly take Cait's wise advice - I believe totally in the concept of positive and negative energy. I keep meaning to write about it actually. Certainly some strange things have happened in our house - though it still has a positive energy about it. But there are some things that need explaining...

Chins up. Thinking of you.
xx

Amanda said...

constantly, my fear realized... but what does the Holy Spirit tell us to do??? "In the name of Jesus Christ all Evil be gone" wash and repeat... God is the King of your home, Evil cannot sustain, believe it, pray it, live it...Let us know how you are. I'll pray for your home tonight. You must be scaring the devil, keep up the good fight.!!!!!!!

Lane said...

Woo. Night terrors I can understand. The weight of the worldat 4am. But devils, allegorical or not ..... *shudder*

HER ON THE HILL said...

Hey Milla - since you ignored me just now in the Cowarts Chat Room, I'm obliged to come over and hassle you here! Have left a comment back on my blog re the one you left for me.
What a convoluted way of communicating!
x

Mean Mom said...

I still can't sleep.

muddyboots said...

yeap as in corse lawn!

KAREN said...

Ooh, that's blummin' terrifying. I won't be able to sleep tonight.

They say speak of the devil and he appears - maybe you were fuming out loud about the defunct heating without realising :o)

Exmoorjane said...

I knew this would happen at some point...well, not the Devil obviously, but all that poo-pooing of the supernatural was like a red rag to a demon...
Hmm, Kabbalistic protection ritual for you, m'dear.....worked a treat for me at the Old Rectory.
Seriously, if you need it, email me!
Fabulously written of course - if you get squeamish about Lolly on the altar, I have substitutes (but you know that).

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