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The Vortex

I saw one of the hitchhikers attached to Joe, so I know they do exist. It’s pretty trippy. I was in my room one afternoon when Joe got home from work and blew past my doorway, with an intense look on his face, heading into his room….with a trail of sparkling orangey gold sparkles trailing behind him, like a comet tail.

“Uh…Joe?” I finally managed to call out to him. He was in his room now, door open, and had headed into his bathroom.

“Joe??”

“YEAH?” he called out, sounding as intense and annoyed as he looked.

“Um…I just saw the weirdest thing…You had like this trail of sparkling sparklies attached to you…when you went by me in the hallway…”

I didn’t hear him say anything for a second. But that was because he was coming back out to talk to me face to face.

“Yeah, TELL me about it,” he said, sounding intense still. “I’ve been hearing about it all fucking day at work. People have been coming up to me saying they see stuff around me, and on me…”

“Wow…”

“It’s one of them. The hitchhikers,” he rolled his eyes. “I’ve been hearing about it all day. Trust me.”

Trippy.

But I didn’t end up telling my boss Felicity about the fact I had supernatural stuff going on in my apartment until about a week after the filing cabinet incident. And it was by accident, it just slipped out. She was driving me home on a Friday afternoon, and asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. I was fishing around in my back pack on the floor and without realizing what I was saying, I said, “Um, no, not really. My big goal really is just to hunt down some infrared film…”

whoops. I looked up from my backpack, frozen.

“Infrared film?” she asked, puzzled. “What for?”

I was just so used to talking about this stuff with Joe and Julie and Mike and Dave, that I didn’t think before I opened my mouth.

“Um…” I hesitated, smiling, not sure if I should go forward and tell her. Fuck it, go for it, I thought.

“Well, we sort of have some paranormal stuff going on in our apartment, and we were thinking that maybe we’d be able to catch it on infrared film. We’ve tried regular film, but nothing came out…”

She was grinning, and jerked her head backwards a little to show surprise, like, WOW! Where’d THAT come from?! This is interesting! Cool! She wanted to hear all about it. So I told her some of the most basics of what was going on.

“Wow, so what were you thinking when that thing happened in my office? Remember, a week ago??” she was grinning.

I just laughed and shook my head.

“You must’ve been thinking it was another one of those incidents!”

“Yeah…actually, I kind of was…I just wasn’t going to say anything about it.”

She was still grinning, and shaking her head, remembering back to that whole deal, only now, with a new perspective on it, thinking about what must’ve been going through my mind.

So we talked for the rest of the ride about all this sort of stuff. She listened, hanging on my every word, intrigued. She didn’t disbelieve me that I had things happening. In fact, she started telling me about her own various stories from over the years of things she’s experienced. You know – Those miscellaneous puzzle pieces that we all have.

I never really wound up getting into TOO many details with her about the stuff that went on at our apartment. She is my boss, after all, and I don’t know that deep down she isn’t going to think I’m a nut.

Shortly before moving out there were some smaller incidents. Like the time when I was up and about this one night, around 9 pm or so, in and out of my room, doing things. And as I crossed into my room and passed by my closet door to my left, I was hit with a blast of heat, like if someone had opened an oven door.

I kept walking, it taking a second to register what I’d just felt. Then I slowed, and stopped. Stood still, looking up into the air straight ahead, going hmmm…

Back up, reverse, back to the spot, more slowly now.

I ducked my head down, and around, in the general area from where I’d just passed by. I discovered that it was coming from right next to where I had this Railroad Crossing sign, leaning up against the sliding closet doors. (me and Joe had jacked this RR sign from up at Commerce, but it was knocked over on the ground anyway, so it’s not like it was being used, or like we’d actually “STOLEN” it or something…haha) But that’s where I was feeling this blast of heat emanating from. It was kind of coming from in front of it, and sort of to the right. It was hard to pinpoint. But it was definitely a “blast” effect, just like an oven, enough to make me scrunch up my face and eyes from the force of it.

I stuck my head around where the sign was, feeling it again. Blast of icky heat, just like an oven. Ugh. And it made me feel NAUSEOUS too. Which was the bizarre thing. So I kept sticking my head in, a few times, over and over, scrunching up my face, feeling my stomach roll from the nausea, being curious and masochistic, at the same time.

Finally I just stopped, being creeped out. I don’t know what that is, I thought, and I don’t wanna know. So I left it alone.

And soon after that, there was the night where I was up and about, like usual, around 9 pm, and I came into my room and plopped down on my waterbed bumpers, just vegging out. I noticed that the usual white line activity was magnified. Like by 100 times. The white lines were coming fast and furious, zoom! zoomzoomzoom! zoom! Just a whole bunch, all at the same time, going completely aggro. And not only that, but there were big black lines as well now. Well THIS is a first, I thought, watching this, fascinated, and a little nervous. I was watching it the way one watches t.v. The black lines were THICK though, not thin laser lines, like the others. And they were completely aggro too. White lines, black lines, everything aggro, out of control, in front of me, right up ON me, in my face, in my lap, completely all around me, surrounding me. I was flinching and ducking and covering my face even though I couldn’t feel them. It was an involuntary reaction. Until I finally jumped up and ran into Joe’s room and told him excitedly to come check this shit out!!

He came in, and curiously looked around. Maintaining his usual blank look of objectiveness. But even he had to raise his brows, because it was so obnoxious.

“What’s going ON?!?!” I said. “Why is it LIKE this right now? What does it mean? Is something happening?”

“Uh, yeah, something’s happening…you have something in your room right now.” His eyes were looking up at the ceiling, behind me.

I turned to look where he was looking. I didn’t see anything.

“I don’t see anything.”

“It’s right there…” he smiled a little, pointing to it. He kept his finger extended, keeping track of where it was moving, so I could follow along. I looked again. Still didn’t see anything.

“What do you see?” I asked him.

“Just a translucent thing. Floating around up by your ceiling.”

“Oh. I can’t see it.” I sat there calmly on my waterbed bumpers, in the middle of this. White lines and thick black lines going aggro and making me flinch, and some supposed translucent thing floating about up in the air.

Just then the cat wanders in, off in her own little world. She didn’t even look up at us or anything, just jumped up onto my waterbed and started poking about through my stuff I had on my headboard. My bookmarks and trinkets and stuff. She was always playing with that stuff.

“I wonder how long it’ll take before she notices it?” Joe smirked, eyes going from her to the thing up by the ceiling. She was oblivious to anything at that moment.

I watched her, and watched Joe watching her. And then, as if she just heard something that startled her, she jerked her head around, eyes going right for the ceiling where Joe had been tracking the entity with his finger. Her eyes went from startled, to wide and shocked and scared. She jumped a little, jerking back in surprise at what she was seeing. Then she mewed, sounding scared, and jumped down from the bed and bolted out of the room.

Me and Joe just cracked up over that.

Not too long after that, we finally moved out.

[Section regarding moving out and the circumstances surrounding it removed so as to not sidetrack too much. There was all KINDS of stuff happening at this time, but in short, we were evicted, due to the incident mentioned at the very beginning, where the cops showed up, then thought Joe had a gun, and we were standing on the patio, with our hands up in the air, guns pointed at us. Joe was arrested that night and taken off to jail in Santa Ana, and the apartment complex ended up evicting us because of this incident, and it all fell into place on May 27, 2001. Exactly one year later to the date of moving in. Mike had to help me pack up Joe’s room, because there was no way I could handle all that electronic equipment on my own without my brother there to help; then I ended up securing a lawyer who was a contact of a friend of mine that I used to work with, and bailed my brother out of jail. Which in retrospect I should NOT have done. Bad, bad move. After he got out of jail he was originally going to go up to the Bay area, same place I was heading in the near future, but wound up going to Portland instead. He fixed up my old Nissan that had been dead in the garage for most of the past year, got it working again, and I ended up giving him that car so he could get to Oregon. Six months later, I followed him up there after I saved enough money finally to buy my own new-used car, and moved into the apartment he was renting.]

I needed to get some assistance from Mike in dealing with Joe’s stuff, and his half a room full of radio equipment, because there was no way I could’ve done it all on my own. Mike, being the good friend that he can be, agreed right away. I offered to pay him, (hell, everybody wanted some of my money right then, the movers, my new landlord-to-be, the lawyer…what was one more person, I figured. Take it while I’m doling it out!) But he refused, and said no way would he take my money.

As soon as Mike stepped foot in Joe’s room, and took a look around at the enormous volume of electronics going on…scanners stacked upon scanners…the radar dish…the word processors, hooked up to it all, processing…he just shook his head like, WHAT the…?

“You know, and he wonders why he had all that…PARANORMAL shit happening in here! I mean, LOOK at this place! This is why you guys had so much activity going on. That stuff is attracted to this! I mean, LOOK!” He was yanking at wires and unplugging random shit, just trying to make sense of the jumbled mess of electronics filling half the room.

I just looked at him, grinning.

“I never told you about most of the stuff that went on in this place,” I said. “One of the things I never told you about was that some of the ‘things’ that would pass through here would play with Joe’s electronics. They would poke around and push buttons and turn knobs and stuff. They were drawn to it. Then he had what he nicknamed the Static Critters. I never told you about those either. They were here solely for his electronics. They’d float around his room, and interact with him and the cat, but most of all they’d land on his wires and soak up the electricity. They lived on his equipment.”

He was nodding his head and frowning the whole time I was talking. Yanking more wires, unplugging more equipment.

“I believe it,” he said, tossing wires up into the air. “LOOK at this place!!”

When I showed Mike the huge broken mirror with the “S” shaped curve in the bathroom, his response was, “That’s impossible!”

We managed to get all the electronics disassembled and packed up in a matter of two hours. He even helped me haul all the furniture down to the dumpster. Which was very helpful. Then the Mexicans raided the dumpster and took all of what used to be Joe’s stuff for themselves. But it was never Joe’s stuff actually. It was stuff he begged, borrowed or stole from others. Recycling!

Moving day arrived – May 25, 2000 – Joe was still in jail in Santa Ana, so I packed up both of our stuff. The day was cloudy and rainy. I was still in my “devoted sister” mentality so planned to rent a storage unit for his stuff so that he would still have everything when he got out. I’d hired a guy from a local waterbed company to come drain and dismantle my waterbed, which he’d done the night before, and I’d also hired a local moving truck company to come move our stuff. They were scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. Sometime around 1:45 my phone rang. I was standing in my now dismantled, empty bedroom lit by the natural white gray lighting from outside when I answered it. A friendly sounding woman from the moving company was informing me that the truck with the two moving guys was on its way, everything was on schedule and they’d be there by 2 p.m. as planned.

The moving truck was on its way!!!! To hear those words…..it created the happiest feeling I had felt probably in years, seriously. Exhileration soared up. I hung up the cordless phone and turned to my kitty and said something to the effect of “Kitty!! They’re coming!!” She just looked up at me with big wide eyes as she always does whenever I say things that she doesn’t understand but which have a meaningful voice behind it. :D Freedom would finally be mine, the movers were on their way, I would finally be leaving this paranormal hellhole after being trapped for so long. I couldn’t contain my excitement and felt compelled to dance around and around and around in my empty bedroom in manic glee. In a big circle I danced, letting out the excitement. Then Kitty joined me. !! She ran around in circles with me, looking up at me with her big yellow eyes and little kitty face the whole time as she did so, her little legs running along. Around and around we went. It was one of those magical sorts of moments that don’t happen too often. In retrospect I’m surprised she did that and joined in, seeming to understand what was going on, versus being spooked by all this sudden manic movement and running the other way. ;D She got it though. I danced around until the mania wore off and then I flopped on the floor, laughing as Kitty rubbed up on me. Sure enough, the movers arrived at 2 p.m., loaded up the mid-size truck with all our boxes and stuff, and we were on our way. First stop was Pouch Storage in Lake Forest, to rent Joe a unit. (small unit, $60 a month….) I led the way in my Nissan that was now working thanks to Joe being able to fix it, so long as I provided the right parts. Next stop was the new room I was renting off of Rockfield Boulevard. On to my new life.

Within days Joe was released from jail, courtesy of the lawyer I got him in my misguided devotion, and so now he had a CalTrans sentence he was supposed to complete in lieu of jail time. As mentioned I gave him the Nissan because again, I was quite misguided and very devoted. I would have done anything for him to make sure he was okay, and part of that was to give him the car. You need wheels to get around in life. I knew I could always get another, all I had to do was keep working at my current job which netted me lots of money, but him being able to land another set of wheels would be impossible in his current circumstances. So I got him sprung from jail, saved all his stuff in a nice little storage unit, and gave him a (second) car. (He accidentally blew the head gasket and destroyed the engine of the first one I had bought for him for $2,000.) So in the meantime he was living out of the Nissan while he figured things out. I’d let him use the bathroom in the house I was renting to shower and such. Anything beyond that and it was pushing the limits of what the landlord woman would allow. And it was during this time period that we decided to pay our old apartment a visit. Joe never did get to say “goodbye” before being abruptly hauled off to jail in cuffs. So he wanted that closure. And to see what his room was up to.

I’d been out for six days at the time we went back. So I was curious myself to see if the place would still be “lit up.” Mostly, I was curious about the white lines. That was the number one thing I wanted to check out. To see if they would still be there now that I was gone.

I still had the key to the place, because I never turned them back in to the office, being that we were rudely evicted. We parked the car across the street at the Albertson’s, to avoid the security that the complex was now employing, and we walked over to the complex.

Nobody was around, so we silently ducked up the stairs to our old place.

The door was wide open.

Joe looked a bit surprised about that, but then I pointed out that the door was freshly painted, and probably some of the walls inside. So they were airing the place out.

Oh, he nodded.

We slipped in to the place. All the lights were off, and the only light was the light coming in from the outside light. Which was very bright, and cast light into the living room, kitchen, and both bedrooms. So we could more than adequately see our way around the place.

I headed right for my room, and Joe to his.

I stood there in the middle of the room, lit by the outside sidewalk lights coming through the blinds, and the light from the front door. I let my eyes adjust to the semi-darkness for a minute or two.

Then I saw them. The white lines.

They were very weak now. But they were there. One…and after a long bit….two…and after another long bit…three. Very slow. And few and far between. But they were still there.

WOW! I thought, completely floored. It just hit me. The realization that the reason they were so strong and powerful and constant…was because of me. I was the cause of them. I was the reason they were there. And without me, they would eventually just fade away. And die off. Like they were now. They were barely going right now. And given another week, they’d be gone completely.

Then I noticed the shapeless blob sort of whitish blue thing in the area where my computer used to be. It was just there, hovering and blob like, slowly moving and changing shape.

okey dokey.

And I left the room. Joined Joe in his room, to check out the scene in there.

I’d pretty much avoided Joe’s room if I could during the last week I was there, packing everything up. I didn’t like being in there. It was bad enough I had to spend five hours cleaning up all the grime in the bathroom, that was five hours spent in his room when I didn’t want to. But after that, unless I absolutely HAD to be in there, I wouldn’t go in there. Kept the door closed off. Didn’t allow the cat to go in there. The vibe was “scary”. Not to sound corny and cheeseball, but, that’s the only way to put it. It was just wrong, and scary, and not something I could handle being around.

But now it was okay, because Joe was there, and we were just visiting. We would be leaving shortly, forever, never to step foot in that place again. So I had to visit.

Joe was just walking about, stopping here and there to “feel” things out.

“Yeah, this place is definitely lit up. STILL!” he laughed. “I feel bad for whoever moves in here after us.”

“I know,” I agreed. “Come here, come check out what I did to the bathroom…” I made him come look. I flipped on the light, and showed him five hours of effort. The place was spotless. The only unsavory remnant of “the situation” being the broken mirror, still leaning up against the wall, sliced in two, with that lazy “S” shaped wave.

“Damn…” he marveled at how clean it was. He smiled at the mirror, and the memories attached to it, and ran his fingers along the slice.

We flipped the light back off.

“Come check out my room…You can still see the white lines. They’re really faint and weak, but they’re still there…”

We went and checked out my room together now.

We stood there in the middle of the room, hearing our old white trash neighbors yelling back and forth with some friend of theirs who was standing under their window, talking to them. The same neighbors that Joe had had the run in with (because the neighbor guy was rampaging on his family, as usual) and which resulted in Joe getting arrested. We rolled our eyes. Real life, in the “normal” world, crashing into our bizarre existence in this apartment. Joe looked around. He could see the faint and weakened white lines too.

The bluish blob thing was also still there.

“Do you see that?” I asked him finally, breaking the silence. We both had been staring at it.

“Uh…yeaaah…” he said, seriously.

“Okay, so you DO see it too then…that thing…right there…”

“Yaaa…the bluish white blob thing…”

He used the same word choice I did. “Yeah. That.”

We stared at it for a bit.

okey dokey.

Back to his room again.

We stood in the middle of his room again, for one last time, checking things out.

And that’s when I saw the thing in HIS room. I had had the shapeless bluish white blob in my room. HE had some white thing with…stringy looking tendrils coming out of it. And it was moving towards us, in slo mo, with all those stringy things coming off of it, in every direction, moving around. You know what it looked like, now that I think about it? A nebula. The Tarantula Nebula, in fact, to be specific.

I stood there, head cocked, staring and staring at it, wondering if I was seeing this. I glanced at Joe to my right, and saw that he was staring at it too.

“Do you see that?” I broke the silence again.

“Yeah, I do. It’s time to leave.”

“What IS it?” I watched as it continued to slowly make its way toward us.

“I don’t know. But it’s time to leave. Go.”

“What IS it though??”

“Just GO.”

“But what IS it???”

“GO!”

So I did. Turned and headed for the door. He followed, still looking warily back at it. It was still slowly making its way to where we had just been standing. On a mission or something.

We headed back down the steps, onto the sidewalk below. Leaving the whole thing behind. A year’s worth of memories, good and bad. Things we’ve never experienced before, and probably won’t, ever again.

“So you saw that too then, right?” I brought it up again.

“Yeah. It had all these stringy things coming off of it…” he said, as we walked along.

“Yeah! That’s EXACTLY how it looked! All these stringy little tentacle things coming off of it.” It never ceased to amaze me, even to the day I moved out, that Joe could accurately describe the phenomenon to ME. Verifying it.

“So what was it?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like that. That was new. Did you see how it was coming right for me?!?”

“Yeah! It was moving in slo mo, with those stringy things coming off of it…”

“Like uhhhhhhhh….” he imitated it with his hands, doing an “I’m coming to get you!” noise.

“That was TRIPPY! God, what WAS it? That’s what I’D like to know!”

“I don’t know. I just know that I’m not lettin’ it attach itself to ME! No thanks, I’m atta here. No hitchhikers, sorry. Find somebody else to attach to.”

I laughed. We got back to the car, got in, and went back to Lake Forest to drop me off at the room I was now renting. He’d be spending the night in the car, as was his new routine. Usually he’d park against the curb on the street where I lived, other times he’d go up to the train tracks I’d shown him a few times up in L.A. in Commerce, and he’d park in the large train station lot there, because like me he enjoyed the urban L.A. vibe and trains.

Joe didn’t have a job or any money, and should he manage to get one he’d have to somehow juggle his CalTrans sentence with it. Something he wasn’t in the mood to do. It’s a whole story in itself what was going on during this time period, but in the end he refused to deal with CalTrans and wound up skipping out of California altogether. SEE ya, buh bye. So in June I watched him drive off down the street in my old Nissan, away from the house I was now renting a room in, on to bigger and better things in Oregon. And that would be the last time I’d see him until November, when I later moved up there myself to join him. But as always I’ll stick to the relevant details pertaining to what was paranormally woo-woo in this new segment of my life……

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