The Violet Long Light: A Horror Story…Part One

This was the last time, and I meant it. That bastard, Jerome said that

we were going out and he was already an hour late. We were supposed

to be at “The Underground” at ten o’clock and it was already eleven.

My makeup was perfect, but I couldn’t stand up all night, trying not to

get my dress wrinkled.

It had been a rough day. Everyone was coming in and out of the office

with stories about people disappearing. Pets, kids, the elderly, and

some folks who had gone out to shop or jog were simply not showing

up where they were supposed to be. These events had been happening

over in San Francisco, and it smelled like a serial something.

The doorbell rang. My heart jumped a few beats, and then came the

rush of joy and relief, followed by the shame at being happy and

relieved.  When was I going to learn to stand up to Jerome and his


I slowly made my way to the door. It was not Jerome. It was Linda

Wadley. Linda never waits to start talking, talking waits for Linda to


“You’re coming with us!”  She screamed. “I just knew that Jerome was

going to be a clown, tonight, so we came to get you. You’re not staying

home on a night like this!”

It took me no thought whatsoever. I grabbed my coat from the front

closet, snatched my bag from the sofa and dashed out into the rain

with Linda.  We were screaming and laughing the whole way.  Linda’s

date, Franklin was driving, so I felt safe. Linda drove like a banshee

back in those days, and her car smelled like fifteen kinds of perfume.

Tonight, the freshest layer of perfume was Lair du Temps, for some

reason. She got off on vintage sniffs.

“Do you know that when a…” Franklin started.

Franklin!” We both yelled. Franklin was a Doctor, and a vast,

humanoid repository of every scientific joke imaginable. Once he got

started, there was no hope for the mascara or eye shadow, because the

tears were guaranteed to flow.  Neither Linda nor I could afford his

humor right now because we were bearing a dangerous mascara load.

Even if it was waterproof, a mascara breakdown of that magnitude

could have been fatal.

We wanted to be perfect for “The Underground”.

Suddenly, Franklin swerved and swore. “What the f**k was that?

Sorry, ladies… What the Fuck?”

A lumpy, misshapen figure had bumped into the car, careened off the

front bumper, and was now barreling on through the night.  We had

crossed over the Bay Bridge and had just taken the branch that

headed toward Fell Street.

“Are you all right, Franklin?” we both asked. For some reason, Linda

and I both talked together whenever we were in the car with Franklin

and something awful happened. Franklin was always a bit of an awful

magnet, but this night was proving to be a deviation from the norm.

That moving thing did not look right. No homeless person or druggie

could take a ding from a fast moving car, and then barge off like that.

I waited. Franklin and Linda were talking a mile a minute, but I could

barely hear them.

One minute later, the Violet Long Light came. This time it was

streaking out from a room that was on the third floor of an otherwise

pitch black Victorian.

I didn’t say anything to them, but something made me want to tell

Franklin to turn the car around and go back to Berkeley, where we

could party in peace at Benita’s house. Benita always put on the best

parties, and we would be safe there.

Photobucket Linda was my best friend in the world, but I had

never told her about the Violet Long Light. It always came when it

made no sense. Always, later, sometimes years later, I would discover

that I had been close to something so evil that it was

incomprehensible. I kept my mouth shut and decided that The

Underground would be fine. After all, I hadn’t died yet from seeing

that light.

Franklin was fine, so we moved on, silent, through the wet and shiny

streets. A fog was rolling in, which meant that the rain had stopped.

We could smell the bay and sneak glimpses up into the lit up houses,

wondering if people were having elegant appetizers and cocktails.

We were not cynical enough at the time to wonder if someone was

fucking their brains out with the wrong person up in those elegant and

expensive rooms.

We rolled up to Fort Mason, where the base had been closed, but

where some of the buildings were “available” to those who had the

connections…like the Mayor and the Chief of Police.  There was a

warren of underground bunkers that no one ever knew existed, and

one of them was the killer destination for those who were in the know.

Franklin, Jerome, Linda and I, along with a few others, had been to

The Underground a couple of times. Each time was an event to

remember. One event was so wild that it went on for two days, and no

one even knew it. We knew not to talk about The Underground outside

of our little group. We feared that no invitations would ever come


Tonight, there was supposed to be a special show, so we were

overdone with excitement. I had a conflicting and sinking feeling

about Jerome, and feared that our business was over. It hurt me to

think of leaving him to fend for himself in the world, but it also felt

just a taste wonderful to think of moving on to a life that did not

involve sitting up on Saturday nights waiting for him to stand me up


As we pulled up to the parking area, something caught the corner of

my eye. I jumped and turned to look, but only saw the edge of

something moving quickly through the gnarled trees, and then

disappearing.  I decided that it was a racoon and left it alone.

Until the violet light came, and I knew that something was going to go

terribly wrong, maybe that night. This time the Violet Long Light was

on a boat, shooting far out onto the bay.

“Do you have your gun, Franklin?” I asked, out of nowhere.

“Why are you asking?” Franklin replied, indignant. Franklin was a

doctor and an F.B.I agent. What a wild combination of stuff he was.

Linda could never understand how the F.B.I ever saw Franklin as an

agent of anything but chaos.

“I just have a feeling that it would be good for you to have your gun.” It

was all that I could say. This may sound like a strange exchange, but

Franklin and Linda knew better than to make a big deal of such

pronouncements out of me. I had been right too many times for them

to argue or freak out.

But two Violet Long Light in less than twenty minutes…?

To be continued…


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