It was the night before Halloween. Sarah, a sophomore at Columbia University, was up late preparing for her anthropology exam. She had been resisting the urge to raid the refrigerator, but finally, she gave in. Only to find that there was nothing there to satisfy her. The problem was that it was really late now, 1 a.m. She felt like kicking herself for not stopping by the local Morton Williams supermarket earlier when she had the chance. Now she would have to walk from Elliot Hall all the way down to 115th Street and Broadway.
The famished student thought to get someone to join her, but she didn’t want to disturb her dorm mates, because of the ridiculous hour. She was slightly anxious, but she had made runs on her own as late as 11 at night. She convinced herself that she would be alright, and so she ventured out.
Walking down Claremont Avenue the street was deserted and tranquil. As Sarah turned left on to 116th Street, she encountered the full moon Shining brightly in the sky over Broadway. Turning onto Broadway, she came upon a pile of garbage bags that had been left out for collection. There was one orange trash bag that didn’t fit in with the others, which were all black. The other thing was that the orange bag appeared to be moving. Sarah hurried by suspecting a rat was feasting inside the pile of neatly stacked and packaged rubbish.
The supermarket was just ahead at the next corner. The young student breathed a sigh of relief, and thought to herself “That wasn’t so bad.” As the automatic doors slid open allowing her to enter and begin gathering mostly junk food and candy which is what she was craving.
At the cash register, there was a little old lady who rang up her dozen or so items. Sarah thought “Poor thing you should be at home sleeping.” Ironically the old lady was thinking precisely the same thought about Sarah. The two exchanged a smile, and the coed headed for the exit.
As she stepped out into the silent street, the now confident late-night shopper thought to herself “This is not as bad as I feared at all.” Then she came upon the pile of trash bags once again. Only this time the orange one was not just moving, but Sarah could hear a distressed cat’s meow coming from it.
“Here kitty, kitty, here kitty.” Sarah carefully pinpointed the cat’s exact location. Then she used her dorm key to tear open the plastic bag just enough to liberate the cat. The cat poked her little black furry head from the orange bag. Her wide green eyes stared back at Sarah’s smiling face, but for only an instant. The shiny black cat bolted free and raced around the corner like a missile before Sarah could even take two paces.
When Sarah reached the corner to make her way back up to Claremont Avenue, there was no sign of the cat. There were plenty of parked cars, so Sarah assumed that the black cat was spooked and was probably hiding under one of them. Sarah thought “Oh well, at least I did a good deed and saved an innocent creature from being crushed in the back of a garbage truck.”
As Sarah reached Claremont on the home stretch, she noticed a figure on the sidewalk apparently riding a bike toward her at a high rate of speed. At first, she considered crossing the street to avoid the person, but then she thought such an expression of fear might do more harm than good, so she decided to play it cool and stay her course in route back to Elliot Hall, which was now within sight.
Within 10 seconds Sarah found herself face to face with a witch riding sidesaddle on a broom. The witch was hovering about four feet off the ground.
“Hold out your hand young one. “ The green faced old witch dressed in all black and smelling like ashes told Sarah. Sarah was in a state of horror. She wanted to scream, but no sound came out when she opened her mouth. However, she did comply with the witch's request out of fear.
The witch then placed a one-ounce gold Kuggerand coin in the palm of Sarah’s sweating palm. “Thank you for freeing me. Have a Happy Halloween and keep up the good work.” With those words, the witch silently went airborne and took off in an arc up Claremont Avenue and back around 116th street towards Broadway and beyond.
Sarah dropped her groceries and took off running like a track star toward the dorm. She pumped her fist with each stride, tightly clutching the ounce of gold in the palm of her right hand.
Adam was a successful equities trader. A young man of 28 years of age, he was already a multi-millionaire worth over 30 million dollars. His old man helped him out with a million-dollar loan to get the ball rolling, but from that point on it was all Adam’s doing. He had studied finance at the University of Chicago’s School of Business and had returned home to New York City to apply his knowledge.
When Adam was a child, he was very much interested in science. His parents were religious, but somewhere along the line, he had rejected religion for science. To him, religion was nothing more than superstition. Adam existed in a world of numbers, statistical probabilities, and logic. That’s how he made his money speculating in the financial markets.
Today was just another day for Adam. He made money. Lots and lots of it. He wasn’t cocky, but he had become sure of himself. Tonight, he would celebrate with his fiancee by having a steak dinner at the Capital Grille on East 43rd Street at the base of the Chrysler Building. It was one of his favorite restaurants in the city. The staff there knew him as a big tipper, and as such, they bent over backward whenever he showed up.
Three months earlier in August tragedy had been averted thanks to a miracle performed by Chrome Dome, the leader of the Chrysler Cult. The Chryslers were a cult that had recently sprung up in New York. They worshipped by chanting while marching clockwise around the Chrysler building anticipating the arrival of the Messiah.
In August a four-year-old girl named Abigail Richford was hit by a car right in front of the Chrysler Building on Lexington Avenue. The child appeared to have been killed. It was Chrome Dome who restored her back to life with just a touch and a few words of prayer.
When the tires of a yellow taxi had run over Abigail's little body, a crowd gathered around cursing the taxi driver and consoling her grief-stricken mother. Then Chrome Dome and several of the Chryslers, all dressed in white, made their way through the crowd. The cult leader knelt over the child’s lifeless body. He removed his white hood revealing his shiny bald head.
“Fear not only believe.” He gently whispered into Abigail’s little ear. As silence fell over the crowd. With only his words the child’s body was made whole again, and she stood up and ran to her mother. The onlookers were amazed. One woman fainted. A few fled not knowing what to think. The story made the headlines the next day. Chrome Dome began attracting throngs of new converts to his cult from far and near. By October 21st there were 7,000 Chryslers, clad in white robes, following Chrome Dome around the Chrysler building day and night.
So it was when Adam made online reservations at the Capital Grille. He was surprised to receive a call back from Helen, the mai·tre d'.
Hello Mr. Adam, this is Helen at the Capital Grille.
Good afternoon Helen. “Don’t tell me that I can’t get a table this evening. I’ll be pissed.” Adam laughs.
No, no nothing like that Mr. Adam. It is just that we are advising all of our guests that The Chrysler Cult people are parading around the building and that they shouldn’t be alarmed. Everything is okay.
“The Chrysler who?” He replied to Helen. Adam spent most of his time following the business news and rarely paid attention to anything else, not even sports although he was an avid Knicks fan. But then he vaguely recalled seeing some nut job on CNN claiming to be ushering in the age of Aquarius or something.
Okay, Helen thank you kindly for the heads up. I will be there at 7 p.m.
You’re welcome, sir. Party of two, correct?
Correct! Adam then ended the call and returned to his computer monitors.
Chrome Dome had been receiving instructions from God. Today would be a special day. Something truly monumental would happen today. God told Chrome Dome to have Abigail and her mother, who was now a convert, to parade with him this evening. God’s instruction was that Chrome Dome should carry Abigail. The media had given her the name “the Undead Girl”. The puzzling thing is that she was alive although she did look like a corpse. Most people who saw little Abigail were revolted, by her appearance although she smelled like scented primrose.
As 7 p.m. arrived, everyone was where they were destined to be. Adam was seated with his lovely redheaded date. Chrome Dome was parading around the Chrysler building clockwise holding “the Undead Girl”. The local news media were present in anticipation of what Chrome Dome promised them would be a big event.
When Chrome Dome and Abigail reached the window of the Capital Grille, the girl turned her small face to the window and smiled looking directly at Adam, she began to point at him. Adam looking out could see the spooky child smiling and pointing at him. It sent a shiver up his spine.
“There is the non-believer.” She whispered into Chrome Dome’s ear.
Chrome Dome then halted the march. The believers, who now had grown to such a mass that they encircled the entire block, then approached the building and placed their foreheads against the structure. Some faced glass others rested their heads against brick, marble, and concrete. They all chanted the same words. “Fear not only believe.”
Within the blink of an eye, the Chrysler building and 666 Third avenue, the two structures which take up the entire block vanished along with Chrome Dome and all of his followers.
The only things left standing were Adam, the former atheist, and his fiancee. Beneath their feet, a tiled mosaic plaza now covered the entire city block. It featured a detailed image of everyone who had just vanished set against the backdrop of the now missing art deco skyscraper. Chrome Dome and Abigail's faces were pictured larger than life at the center of the mosaic above the words "Fear not only believe."
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,