I sort of got a cat recently. It’s not really my cat, just a stray, but it was always roaming around my building. It climbs on my windowsill, and enters if someone walks into the building, so I would often see it in the hallway. I started feeding it so it was now getting into my apartment regularly and spending time there. It comes and goes as it pleases, but it definitely seems to like me and hanging out at my place.
It is black with some white spots. I decided after a while that I should give it a name. I think it is a female cat, but no name I could think of felt right until a name “Simon” popped into my head for absolutely no particular reason. It felt right so I named her that.
Anyway, one day I walked into my apartment after being out for a while, and Simon was in there, looking right at the fireplace. Just staring at it, not moving. I went to see what she was looking at, couldn’t see anything, and gave her a little nudge. That was when she snapped out of it, like I just woke her up or something.
The fireplace came with the apartment but its only decorative now. It used to be functional long time ago I think, but now it just connects to the wall.
I kept noticing Simon getting stuck staring inside of it, always from the same position, and would always remain completely frozen until I’d move her. One day I let her be and she spent hours just staring, completely mesmerized, before I intervened. Finally I tried to figure out what she was looking at. I went right up to the fireplace, examined every corner and saw nothing.
Then I went up to where Simon was standing and tried to see if there was something from her perspective that would catch my eye. She was looking straight and slightly upwards. I sat down on the floor and tried to figure it out. For a second I thought I saw a glimpse of something, although nothing was really there.
At one point, the phone in my back pocket vibrated. From the way I was sitting, I was sort of leaning on it and it was between me and the floor, so the vibration threw me off balance a bit. I answered and it was my friend Boris who was supposed to come over later that day. But he was saying that he was here now and asking why I wasn’t answering the doorbell.
I realized that five hours had gone by.
Confused, I opened the door. Simon was still staring. I told Boris about what happened and how time mysteriously flew by. He thought that I was either joking or just got too high to keep track of time, which I sort of resented - I only had two joints that day.
Eventually he started trying to figure out what Simon was staring at as well, and after some effort, he froze. I tried to call him, but he was not responsive at all. I got beers and finally pushed him a bit after a while. He acted perfectly fine and just said “I can’t see anything there,” when he realized that I was already drinking my beer. He thought that only a second passed between him trying to see what was inside the fireplace and me sitting in a chair in one corner of the room, to me now having beers out and drinking.
We tried it few more times. It wasn’t always easy to find the right spot to look at, because there really was nothing there to see, but when we did it would always have the same effect. Luckily we never looked at it both at the same time, so we’d always pull each other out of it.
I have no idea what that’s all about. I’ll avoid looking there and keep checking on Simon every now and then.
It is especially unsettling because the person who used to own this apartment died in it. Out of dehydration/starvation. However it wasn’t that unusual since he had a lot of health problems and they figured it was just a very unfortunate situation - he probably fell and couldn’t get up or something similar, I am not really sure. But what if he was looking at the thing in the fireplace and no one was there to snap him out of it?