01 Feb I used to work at an old thrift store
A mere four years ago I was in a rough patch and working part time at an old thrift store a few miles from where I lived. I was the only employee other than the owner himself. The owner was a small elderly man with little to no family; and now that I think about it, he never mentioned if he had one. He kept to himself but always was very nice to anyone he met, including me. His name was Dan; I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his real name but I didn’t care to ask.
Dan took me in when I didn’t have much and felt like I would do anything for him. He didn’t have much either since the clientele at the thrift store wasn’t exactly “poppen”. The store gave a very “down at the creek” type of vibe and was apparently built from the owner’s bare hands, or so he said. He was old but didn’t give the impression of being a man of physical labor, I didn’t question it. From time to time things would break and doors would fall off their hinges, and I would do my best to put them back together. This place was no doubt showing it’s age but it felt like home.
The first thing one would notice about the store is its unique existence among the wild. I mean, with no exaggeration the store was surrounded by miles and miles of trees and would often feel desolate. We had our regulars who would stop by but other than that, foot traffic was bleak. Dan would usually work the mornings up until noon and me, the second half which usually meant closing the store by myself.
Then one night… I wouldn’t say I was necessarily afraid of the dark, but when closing shop I felt a heightened awareness around me. I felt like something was watching, I just didn’t know what. By then, the sun was long gone and all I could see was the dark outline of the towering trees. I didn’t actually experience anything crazy but I knew something was off. I brushed it off, got in my car and drove off.
Trying to sleep that night was a bitch, tossing and turning. I felt a migraine rushing in like a destructive tsunami. I took some pain medication then quickly dozed off into a dream. The dream was visceral, all I could see were swarms of vibrant color swirling and swishing around, moving like mist against the wind. Then suddenly my dreams shifted, I was back at the thrift store.
There I was, standing in front of this old but all too familiar thrift store. The night was as dark as can be and my ears were numb from a chilling freeze. Directly behind the building sat a ginormous presence, in fact, this thing was colossal! I trembled; hardly able to speak and not knowing exactly what to say I give a very hesitant “hel…..hello”.
Then without warning, this beast, the size of a 20-30 story building starts flapping its wings and sends me flying on my ass. Jetting it’s massive body straight up into the air, it began to hover over me, wings flapping with tremendous force making it hard to breathe. I tried to grip the ground as best as I could but I was no match for this destructive force causing me to glide every which way. I surrendered; And I could tell you, I remember very little beyond that.
I wake up the next morning still left thinking about what exactly I had just experienced “must have been the meds” I tell myself. The one thing I did notice is that my ears were still freezing; odd considering we were in the middle of July. I then get a call from Dan shortly after “I was wondering if you could cover the whole day at the store for me?” I pause “Is there something wrong Dan?” he hesitates “n…no” Dan quickly spurts in an egregious manner. “Umm sure, I’ll cover the day?” The phone clicks, Dan hangs up. What was that about? Maybe he’s coming down with the same illness as me? Either way, I’m left with an added nauseousness to my stomach. I then head off to the store.
On the way to the store, I was honestly still thinking about the strange encounter I had with Dan over the phone, pretty much wondering if he was OK and all. Minutes fly by and hours pass. Everything starts to seem standard for the better half of the day which was a major relief considering I was still feeling uneasy when I had arrived. Then, an hour before closing time I take the liberty of playing some of my favorite tunes, ranging from Johnny Cash to Pink Floyd; the classics. Dan would not approve but “what the hell” I thought. Finally thinking my day was gradually improving my music cuts out from the overhead speakers, static begins to intrude. What the fuck? All I can say is that what happened next changed everything; till this day I’m still left a bit dumbfounded.
Nervously twirling my right thumb against my index finger I begin to inspect the store, cautiously walking, looking for anything that may be out of the normal. Suddenly, the overhead speakers begin projecting a strange sound; alien by most human standards. It’s…beautiful to say the least. The sound began to shift in frequencies as if dancing across the thrift store’s creaky walls in elegance. I could feel it all across my body; I’m left in a daze. Unable to speak, I think I spent hours standing in one place.
At one point I remember the room turning purple as if standing directly under a black light. My eyes watering, I began to feel a warmth shooting through my veins; no doubt emanating from the constant movement of these shifting frequencies. Unable to move I begin floating in a standing position, about 5 inches from the ground. I feel a presence shifting behind me, but I don’t feel scared.
I close my eyes, my body now spinning in a clockwise motion. I hear a voice behind my ear softly whisper something I couldn’t comprehend; I give a loud gasp, I tried to open my eyes but I couldn’t. I felt like my body was distorting and glitching as these loud sonic waves began pulsating and bouncing across the room.
Whispering in my ear again I hear “We are here for him” “He was not wise, he has deceived us” I tried to respond but it was of no use.
“You may not understand at the moment and surely this will pass.”
Confused, I could only cry out in agony.
“We made a deal, he did not hold…we have appeared before him but chose you as his pawn.”
I then hear silence for what felt like an eternity.
“He was not wise, he has deceived us” “He ran, but there is no running when you are nil” “There is no running…..when you are nil”.
I felt like crying at this point, and I did. I then felt my chest thumping as a swift burst of air came racing down my lungs, I gasped.
“We will disperse, but before we do…”
Feeling my voice come back I cry out “Who are you!”
It responds “We are what matters, we are everything” “We will disperse, but before we do…” it pauses for a few moments.
“We would like to extend you an offer”
“We will share the meaning to all of this…this thing..the secret to all of this…this thing you call life… it will all make sense…we will give the meaning of life to you, at a price”.
At this point, I’m still unable to see and willing to do just about anything, I ask a very defeated “How?”
I hear silence for a few moments
“With your life” “We will share with you the meaning of life…we will give you a moment to absorb this revelation.. then…we will take what is ours.”
Still confused and unable to process what was being said to me I cry out “I just want to go home!” “Please… I want nothing to do with this. I just want to go home!”
“Very well,” it tells me.
Suddenly the pulsating stops, and my eyes open. It was night out and the store was in complete darkness. Hardly able to breathe I stumble outside and race into my car; I needed to get the fuck out of there.
Four years have passed since then. I still can’t explain what happened to me that night. I even tried calling Dan that night when I got home but the line went straight to voicemail. No one knows where Dan went and I honestly question whether he’s still alive. Upon doing a quick Google search it seems that the building where I once worked is no longer there.
All I can say is that I value my life so much more after that night.
Even if I don’t know the meaning behind it.