When I first decided to share this with you, I thought a more poetic (or clever) title would be fun.
Once Upon a Midnight Gnome
Only the Gnomley
Then I thought back to my first reaction on hearing what I am about to share with you.
I’ll be brief: I thought it was nuts.
That’s when I realized I should not attempt to “dress it up” at all.
The further we go, you may already be hovering over your mental file cabinet (file under: … potential crazy or serious whacko).
If you have read Bending God, this may lead you to the first. If you have not, I risk being put under the second label. (I won’t take it personal. Life has a funny way of showing us our errors.)
The title is not a metaphor. It means exactly what it says.
Here it is, with no exaggeration, exactly what I saw, heard, felt and experienced.
To be true to the facts, this started in 1999. I was living in Los Angeles.
It was an uneventful conversation. I was sitting back, letting the two idly banter, as they often did. The talk harmlessly drifted into why Richard was crazy.
To this day, I still have no idea why I was brought into it, or why he felt the need to share this strange detail…
Rather than defend himself against being crazy, Richard feigned thoughtfulness, “Well, I won’t argue there. It’s possible you know. I’ve considered it.” Then he leaned close to me. With the glint of mischief (so I thought) he whispered loudly, “Did I ever tell you about when I saw a gnome?”
Eric saved me from stammering. He said in a disbelieving tone, “Whaaat? What are you talking about?”
“I told you about it. You laughed!” Richard said quickly. Without missing a beat he turned to me and continued casually, “I saw one at night. It was running across the floor. It was about this big,” he measured his hands apart to about five inches tall, “it had clothes on, just like you see in the pictures. This little hat and a big nose. I think it even had a knife or something!”
Then he leaned back and chuckled. “Scared the hell out of me!”
“Well, there you go. You are nuts.” Eric said with mild amusement.
Richard sat watching me. I sat watching his face. Looking for a sign. Was this a joke? Pulling one over on the newbie?
I had known Eric for a little over six months. In that time I had an entity turn the water in my bathroom on, twice, saw the night sky turn white, more than twice, been psychically pushed over on a public sidewalk, woken up to an entity bouncing and shaking my bed, gotten zapped in the forehead with so much energy it hurt, had voices sing to me, and so much other insanity I couldn’t dismiss it quickly.
Still, everything I experienced hadn’t been what I expected. There wasn’t anything Hollywood about it. The idea of a storybook gnome, clothes, dagger and all, running around… was too conventional to take. This had to be a joke.
Finally, Richard seemed to get the confirmation he needed. He turned to Eric and bellowed a laugh, “He doesn’t believe me!”
“Why would he? You’re nuts.” Eric said with a slight smirk.
“Well, if I’m nuts, then you…” Richard starts to say until I cut in.
“So, are you serious?” I make sure he can hear my skepticism. I don’t want him to think I’ll be fooled that easily.
“Hey, think what you want. I didn’t expect it. Shocked the hell out of me seeing it.”
“Whatever. I wouldn’t go around telling people that.” Eric goaded him.
Their conversation fades into the background. Richard didn’t continue pressing it. If he was pulling a joke he should try to convince me. Still, there has to be a line between fantasy and reality. All the real things I’ve encountered don’t come close to fantasy.
Besides, why would he say he was scared? What would be so scary about something that small? Thinking for a moment I came to a conclusion.
He was making it up. I didn’t believe him.
Fast forward four years. It’s now 2003. I moved from Los Angeles to Portland. The quick little three minute story from Richard was a footnote memory in my mind.
I find myself in an art museum. Everything is clean white marble. Large paintings line the walls, with elaborate golden frames. Uncomfortable stone benches, common in museums, are the only decoration in the place.
Turning I look at the painting nearest me.
It’s about four feet tall, fairly wide. A colorful scene of a forest in autumn. The golds, oranges and reds of the trees are extra vibrant against the plain white wall. The brush work is incredible, really capturing the detail of the landscape.
Suddenly, the painting moves.
For a brief moment it starts to pull me in. The forest opens up and I can see deeper into it, as if it became three dimensional. Shaking my head I blink my eyes and look at it again.
It’s a colorful and bright forest. But only a painting. Staring at it, I wonder if there’s a trick to it. Like one of those 3D paintings where you look at it a certain way and the image opens up to look three dimensional.
My breathing slows. I stay aware this time, mindful of the moment.
Looking at it, a movement stirs in my chest. Unaware of it before, I instinctively start to scan the picture. Immediately the movement is triggered. It begins to come to life.
The trees sway slightly. The path, winding through the trees, opens and pulls away from me as I can actually see it wind into the distance. The more I scan the more it comes to life.
My concentration is broken as I’m suddenly aware of someone standing right beside me. Surprised I flash my head to the side. It’s Eric. He’s looking up at the painting.
Puzzled, I try to figure out where he came from. That’s when I realize none of this is real. It’s a dimensional dream. It was too lifelike. I got too caught up to notice.
Looking back up at the painting I notice it has returned to its former flat, state.
“Have you figured it out yet?” Eric asks.
To confirm his answer I start scanning the painting. Watching and feeling it come to life, it suddenly becomes not a painting, but a window. It’s then I realize there is a more substantial lesson here. Something to do with another aspect of dimensional portals, or a deeper lesson in what scanning really is.
“Yes. If I scan it rather than looking at it, I can open it up and…”
Eric spins on me, suddenly filled with urgency. “Eric!” he yells at me. “Eric you have to wake up!”
I begin to stammer. He’s never done anything like this. I’m confused on what to do.
“Eric you have to wake up now! Wake up now or you’ll miss it!!”
Trying to focus on my sleeping body his voice begins to fade but the intensity of his demand does not.
The urgency is shaking me. Eric is shaking me to wake up, but I can no longer see or feel the museum.
My eyes open. I’m back in bed laying on my side. My bed is pressed up against the wall, which I am facing, about a foot and a half away.
I’m shocked awake by my bed shaking. It feels like someone is standing above it, shaking it hard! Now my brain is racing into alertness. I’m quickly trying to deduce if the bed is really shaking, or if my consciousness came down so fast it’s still vibrating so much its creating the sensation.
Instantly, I don’t care.
Inches away from my nose, right in front of my face, a small bubble begins to appear in mid-air.
Right at the head of my bed, just above me, is a window. It has no curtains and a light from the apartment building shines directly into the room. It’s a small room, so it lights it up as if there were a full moon out. More than enough to see clearly by.
The bubble looks like rippling water… only it is rapidly growing and forming right in the air!
I gasp as, what looks like floating liquid, grows from an inch in diameter to about a foot. At first it is almost flat, but quickly swells to look more like a true bubble. I’m right in the middle of telling my body to get up and move the hell away when it pops!
A small tiny figure blasts out of it! I’m so close, my face mere inches away, the sight slams my heart into my throat.
It’s a gnome.
Hat. Strange gray clothes. Distorted face so filled with wrinkles it looked ancient. Big, crooked nose. In a way I can’t explain… it was really, really scary.
Plus, once it hit my bed, it paused just long enough for us to catch eyes. Then it ran across my bed faster than a panicked cat.
Almost as quickly I threw my back against the wall. In a move I am not proud of, I ripped my blanket up to hold in front of me. If it came at me that fast, it would be the only barrier I had.
My eyes are wide with fear. My eyelids pinned against my forehead. I can’t miss a breath of movement. My chest is hammering. Adrenaline cranking through every muscle.
Do I lunge at it? Wait for it to attack?
Entities are one thing. Mostly energy, I can use energy to counter them. In this place, this dimension, I’m stronger than they are. But this… this creature, this is real! This gnome!
Living, physical, things change the game completely!
In the moment, I don’t recall or question where the memory comes from…
Somehow the brain pulls it up. A choice detail from Richard’s forgotten story so long before – the gnome might have a knife. (You can laugh about the image of being in a knife fight with a gnome. Go ahead. Some night, maybe you’ll understand.)
Shocked and surprised, I’m caught in the moment.
Without thinking I go back to the moment our eyes locked, I grab its frequency and scan the room. I’m surprised for the second time. It’s energy is so strong – but it’s so small!
Instantly I have a lock. It’s moving back and forth, quickly, at the foot of the bed. Part of me goes on instincts and starts to lunge for it, then I catch myself. I keep tracking it and my thoughts return.
It’s as surprised as I am. It wasn’t prepared for me. We’re in the same boat. Then I feel it scan me back! It is aware, I am of aware of it. We both know where each other is. I feel a sudden urgency from it: escape! It doesn’t want to run out in the open, where it might be vulnerable.
A strange energy moves through the room. It’s opening a way out.
Without thinking, I take a hard gulp. Now or never. Pushing against the wall with my foot, I propel myself towards it. My hands are out to grab it. Moving closer I see the top of its head. Crashing over the end of my bed, I feel it vanish.
Scrambling with my eyes I look everywhere. Gone. Not a trace.
Shaken I turn on the lights and search for any physical evidence. Something left behind. There’s nothing.
… as the title suggests, this would not be the last time I would see the fairy tale anomalies. Only the first.
Later, I would be even more surprised to hear someone else, through a completely different method, speak about seeing them too! But we will only talk about that if you’re interested.
What do you think? Ever seen one?