The Other William

029My Dear Strangers,

A new door appeared in my house. It is located in the unoccupied bedroom on the second floor, and I have confirmed—by studying photos from my realtor—that the door did not exist when I purchased my brownstone in January.

The room’s wall is plastered brick, the doorframe is painted white, and the door itself is roughhewn wood of an unknown species. The wood smells of quality incense, the way a temple door would smell after decades of worship.

Using the black iron ring pull, I opened the door toward me and jumped backward at the sight of my own reflection.

My reflection jumped, too, but not with mirrored symmetry.

I stared at myself, my self stared back, and then the two of us seemed to realize there were two of us indeed. There was no mirror and no reflection. The doorway divided identical rooms that each contained me.

Was he another William or was I another William? Judging by his fascinated squint—an expression I knew well—the other William appeared to be puzzling over the same perspectival conundrum.

Had I summoned him by opening the door, or had he summoned me by opening a door in his own identical brownstone? Twice we started to talk at precisely the same moment, then stopped to listen when we realized the other was preparing to speak.

I intuitively knew we couldn’t cross the threshold; he would stay there and I would stay here. The other William seemed to understand this, too, and made no attempt to enter my room.

Since neither of us was prepared for the metaphysical implications of our encounter, we eventually stepped forward—warily maintaining eye contact—and simultaneously closed our respective doors.

Wonderstruck and troubled, I returned to my bedroom to discuss my experience with June, the ghost who inhabits my bedroom. She was nowhere to be found. I wrote, “I need you,” on my perpetually foggy window and hoped she’d seek me out as soon as she returned.

Then I took a mug of coffee to my study and read about doppelgängers, feeling more and less alone than I have felt in many weeks.

Look Beyond,
William Rook]

The Cat I Dare Not Describe

creepy storiesI opened the envelope and looked at the picture inside, which she had penciled on a folded sheet of notebook paper.

What gorgeous nightmares bloom in the minds of fetuses? What forms did God abandon when He molded living clay? I once dreamed of an unknown color in the cosmos, a wavelength of light existing under black, which may have been the boundary of a lost, forbidden spectrum.

The cat was less describable. I dare not attempt to sketch it in your mind…

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The Darkly Inked Liver

My Dear Strangers,

A brown-clothed stranger—perhaps the one with the mystery skin—was in the bookstore today. Something sinister is happening.

creepy storiesI had visited Market Block Books for my special order of The Spiral Grimoire. As I was talking with the manager, the brown-clothed stranger entered and walked to the children’s corner.

He was a man of roughly forty, with an angular, papery face that looked like origami. His brown attire—leather shoes, tweed suit, and overcoat—contrasted dully with the colorful books around him, and his presence in the children’s section seemed both professorial and pedophilic…

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The Cocooning Insects in My Hair

From The Equinox Society:

My Dear Strangers,

The insects Mr. Gormly booby-trapped onto my head were Hungarian curlers.

They are small and translucent gray, like blisters full of slush, with tacky abdomens that make them inextricable once they twist into a host organism’s hair.

Occult scholarship served me well, and I was able to rid my scalp of the curlers before they fully cocooned. Common smoke irritates their membranes. I lit a wad of newspaper in my hearth and wafted the smoke toward my head. The curlers instantly uncoiled themselves and fell to the floor, where I popped them under my shoe heel. The sound was much like bubble wrap.

011I took no pleasure in their extermination, but they could not be allowed to further infest my home.

A single curler defied the smoke and I was forced to shave a portion of my hair with a straight razor. I now have a bald patch, the size of a large postage stamp, to the left of my cowlick.

I admired this tenacious curler and kept it in a Mason jar, which I have placed beside the jar of luminous snow water.

According to Philo’s Enchiridion of Unnatural Insects, full metamorphosis will take several months. Damage to the subsequent page prevents me from knowing what its winged imago form will be.

Nevertheless, it is a hopeful end to a hideous ordeal.

I remain too angry to write at length about Mr. Gormly. Suffice it to say I have not yet returned to the basement. I did, however, install a more formidable lock on the basement door, and have contacted a lawyer about Addendum 7c of the Affidavit of Title.

Might the Hungarian curler incident be grounds for evicting Mr. Gormly, or at least for establishing stricter rules of tenancy?

Look Beyond,
William Rook

Unrequited Everything


“I worry I’ve offended her, or that she was not as eager for contact as I initially believed. Am I more desperate for friendship than a disembodied spirit?

If I write on the window again tonight, will I deepen her silence? If I refrain from writing, will I cut the last thread of our connection?”

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