The Ecphorizer

Upon a Midnight Dreary
Mark Chaet

Issue #68 (July 1987)

Late one night, I sat at my desk — a beautiful oak rolltop with dozens of small compartments and six small drawers at each end of a desk top fitted with a leather inlay. The right edge of the desk jutted out beyond the beginning of the windows, which, in the weak glow of my small flex lamp

The hand... sailed slowly through the air...

on the desk top, completed the Gothic image I so much enjoyed when I sat up [quoteright]ate, writing and drinking Pernod.

My head was down, pencil moving over paper, charging through the first thoughts of a story about a mislaid corpse. All at once I was aware of a glow, a blue light coming in through the leaded panes! I raised my head and tried to see what could be outside. Suddenly a hand, a hand connected to nothing at all, a hand fully ten times the size of yours or mine, came through the windows. I don't mean through as a rock would smash through, but materializing through. I saw the windows and I saw the hand, and the latter simply passed through the material of the former. The hand, with the first two fingers extended and the ring and little fingers curved slightly, the thumb curled under, sailed slowly through the air into the center of my room, remaining there approximately six feet off the ground. Slowly it turned around and changed itself into a fist with the first finger pointing! Pointing at me!

Needless to say, my mood through all this was chaotic. So many different feelings and emotions fought for dominance that I didn't know where I was. I was terrified. I was fascinated. I was enormously excited — it was, after all, an incredible adventure. What could it mean?

The hand sank slowly to a height of around four or five feet and began to move in my direction. I found that I was backed up against my desk. Nowhere left to retreat to. The hand moved inexorably closer. I realized that all was silence. Not a sound to be heard. I wondered if I were dreaming. The hand had nearly reached me. The extended finger pushed against my chest. I looked down. The finger rapidly came up, flicking my nose.

"Oh no," I cried, "a macabre practical joke!"

I must say one expects better of the other world. 

MARK CHAET, who claims to be visited now and again by gigantic disembodied hands, lives in — you guessed it! — Los Angeles.

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