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Friday, October 31, 2008

Me and Zuul (a retelling)

For Halloween.

Paging Dr. Venkman.

It began in January of 1982. I lived alone. Or, so I thought. By all appearances, my apartment was just a normal old apartment on the first floor of an old brick two-flat. It was right across the street from the even older Saint Josaphat's School and Convent in Chicago.

There were so many things I loved about that apartment. The high ceilings. The hardwood floors. That my landlords let me use their washer and dryer for free.

And then there was Zuul.

The first time Zuul made himself known to me was the only time I ever "saw" him. I was about to fall asleep when I turned from one side to the other. My eyes flitted open, and there, embedded on the surface of the old plaster wall, were the white hot eyes of someone or something staring me right in the face. Needless to say, I was quite startled. I blinked hard, and whatever I thought was there was immediately gone.

The next time Zuul made himself known, he was a little gentler in his approach. One evening I was reading a book while sitting in a chair in the living room. Except for the turning of the pages, the place was quiet. Engrossed in the book, I heard my name whispered from across the room, "M_a_r_i_e." No one was there. I bolted across the room to the windows, but no one was on the street.

Zuul wasn't always quite so subtle. One particular morning I awoke to the most foul smelling odor I have ever smelled in my entire life. It was reminiscent of the smell of sulfur. But not on a small scale like with matches. More like industrial sulfur, but stronger. Holding my breath, I jumped out of bed and ran outside to the front porch. Thinking a nearby tannery had a mishap, I fully expected the smell to be just as strong outside. But, the smell wasn't outside at all. After gulping several breaths of fresh air, I went back inside, ran through the apartment, out the backdoor and into the basement. By now, I was certain the smell must be coming from the basement. But the basement smelled just fine. Upon returning to my apartment a few minutes later, the smell had fully dissipated like it was never there at all.

And then there was Zuul the lover. I was asleep in bed, laying on my side as I often do, when I was awakened in the middle of the night by what felt like a hand softly caressing my thigh through the blankets. I was afraid, but remained calm and quiet. I just kept my eyes closed.

One day I was standing in front of my open refrigerator about to lift some orange juice to my lips, when suddenly the realization of what was going on hit me hard. The senses. Sight. Sound. Smell. Touch. What's left? Taste. Zuul was trying to invade all my senses. I set the orange juice back in the fridge without drinking a drop.

A few days later, I got a kitten.

Zuul never returned again after the kitten moved in. At least not that I knew of. Was it the cat or that I didn't drink that orange juice, thereby not tasting him, thereby not allowing him to infiltrate all five of my senses? I don't really know.

Everything in this story really happened. It wasn't until much later that I put the name of Zuul to it. Zuul was discovered a few years later in Sigourney Weaver's character refrigerator in the original Ghostbusters.

Posted by Marie at October 31, 2008 1:02 AM

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