I see all manner of things to and from work everyday. I work about thirty miles away from my home and I spend two-three hours in the car per day, travelling the motorway, high streets and residential areas, so it’s fair to say I see my fair share of sights.
From dog walkers, to mothers taking their children to school, to the bored faces of other commuters; I pass by so many different people. And I’m a people watcher so I pick up all sorts of ideas about new characters on my way. From the way people dress, to their actions, to their language and the way they talk, I drink it all in and if I’m lucky I will spot someone who might make it to the page in some version or another.
I see drivers do crazy and dangerous things that make me gasp out loud or curse them whilst doing the shaky fist action (note: I’m good at this and have mastered it down to a fine art). I see so many weird and wonderful things: from the man who wears a carrier bag over his hat during the rain (I like this, to some it seems like madness, because surely you wear a hat to stop your head getting wet, but how do you stop your hat from getting wet? Think about it); to the jogger who must be in his seventies at least who wears the biggest headphones I’ve ever seen and jogs as if he might keel over, but never does; to the full-on six foot transvestite who walks down Rayners Lane without a care and reminds of the bra-stealing trani from Run, Fat Boy, Run. Yes, I definitely see some weird, wonderful, crazy, dangerous and downright scary things.
But none quite so weird and scary as today.
Driving down Luton Road, heading towards junction 11 of the M1, my attention was caught in my rear view mirror by the sight of a car switiching lanes very quickly and cutting in just behind me. Nothing weird or scary about that, I hear you say and you would be right, except the driver had no face. He was wearing a cream hoodie and no matter how much I strained and squinted to see the face under the hood, there was none. Just a vast black emptiness. Oddly the driver kept slowing down and then speeding up again, but it didn’t matter how close his car got to mine, I still couldn’t see a face. It was 8.45am so it wasn’t dark outside, I could see perfectly clearly but something about this hoodie spooked me. Eventually he sped past me under the motorway bridge, and did a u-turn and sped the other way. Curioser and curiouser.
Okay, so the cynical ones among you are probably thinking, yeah right. Maybe he just had a really small head which was shadowed into darkness by a giant hood. Maybe I need my eye sight testing again. Maybe. But it did get me thinking about what it means to see a hooded figure and how great it would be to get that into a story.
Doing a quick search on the internet, most articles and posts seem to discuss what it means to see a hooded figure either in your dreams or upon waking. Often the appearance of a dark hooded figure is coupled with sleep-paralysis. But generally, the internet seems to say that seeing a hooded figure is never a good thing. One person even said that it means that you are being harassed by a demon because you have either dabbled in the occult or pornography and are therefore going to Hell in a thousand tiny pieces, so that Satan can feast on your body a million times over whilst forcing you to listen to the back catalogue of Genesis. Okay, so this internet source didn’t say that, but you get the picture. If it’s not Genesis, it’s bound to be something equally evil.
My friend Nadia seems quite alarmed by my story and says she is going to pray for me. I guess she knows about the occult and pornography thing too. Damn.
Anyway, whether I am doomed or not, I like the idea of getting this into a story and I’m thinking I’ll give it a modern twist and stick to a hoodie-wearing faceless demon. Only I better do it before the Devil comes with his Genesis LP’s. Because that would be scary.