With Halloween among us and a recent discovery made, I decided to share this short story with my followers. I wrote this story for a creative writing class in High School in 1992. My mom helped me edit it and I didn’t change a thing. I hope you all enjoy reading it. If you enjoy it, please write me a comment and share it with your friends. It took a long time to make it out to you. 🙂
The Night The Fog Rolled In
As the sun slowly descended over the waters of Sleepy Bay, an eerie fog rose from the ground and began to advance into the little town.
I was sitting under a large oak tree, leaning against the trunk reading my book, when all of a sudden I heard an earth-shattering scream in the distance. I quickly rose to my feet, dropped my book on the ground, and ran to help. When I arrived at the scene a crowd of people had already collected, blocking my view of what it was that called us there. I nudged my way through the sardine packed crowd. Upon arriving at the front I, too, saw what had captivated the attention of everyone here: the body of an old woman known as Mrs. Borish.
What terrified everyone was that Mrs. Borish was sitting in a chair on the porch of her house, missing the most distinctive part of her body – her head. As the police arrived and took charge by taping off the crime scene, inspecting the area and calling for backup, they began to interrogate the crowd with questions.
“Did anyone see what happened? Was there anybody suspicious in the area?”
Nobody saw a thing. Within minutes the backup arrived and began to herd the people away from the scene.
“Nothing to see here. You should all go home.”
Suddenly, one of the younger officers spoke up drawing everyone’s attention his way. “Captain,” he said, “you should take a look at this!”
The repartee intrigued the townspeople, especially one nosy little girl named Prattle. Prattle sneaked through the crowd, crossed under the police line undetected, and overheard the conversation between the young officer and the police captain. Once she mentally collected this information, she scurried across the crime scene to her mother’s side and told her mother what she had heard. She was loud enough for the entire town to hear; “The killer took old Mrs. Borish’s head and said if we want it back it’ll be at the high school auditorium at eight o’clock!”
People murmured amongst themselves, repeating what they had heard her say. Soon outrage and fears were thunderously voiced among the spectators. One police officer had to grab the bullhorn and shout for calm to gain their attention. Once silence permeated the group, the police captain spoke. “First of all, what you heard is true; however, I would highly suggest that everyone go home and stay there. If there is a criminal chopping off heads, the safest place will be in your homes behind locked doors and out of harm’s way.”
The humming amongst the townspeople began in earnest, as they digested the news they had heard. Suddenly, a young woman from down the street came running up to the scene, hollering for the police captain. The crowd hushed and moved aside to let her pass.
“Captain, captain! Your radio – turn it on! The murderer is on Channel 89 making his demands!”
In a nearby squad car, the officer sitting behind the steering wheel reached over to turn the police band radio to the appropriate channel and connect it to the speaker on the top of his car for broadcasting. The voice was heard saying, “… and if you don’t want any more headless people in this town, I suggest everyone meet at the high school auditorium no later than eight o’clock or else everyone will be killed! If you don’t think I can do it, let me just tell you this – I’ve got this town wired! Leave your children at home and they will die! Men – if you leave your wives at home they, too, will die! I want the attention of the entire town or else!”
The anonymous voice wickedly laughed until the transmission was abruptly cut off, leaving the static of the empty channel to hiss over the car’s speaker. Anguished cries and moans rose from the witnesses into fears of great anxiety.
Prattle yelled again, “Look, Mommy!” She pointed to the headless body and her mother gasped at what she saw. Everyone watched as the headless corpse seemed to glow like a star, and then a ghostly image seemed to float from the body into the twilight sky. The spirit spoke to the crowd saying, “I will avenge my death!”
Moments flew like seconds when suddenly someone at the rear of the crowd noticed the time on his wristwatch. “It’s 7:45!” he hollered for all to hear.
The police captain, after collecting his thoughts from witnessing this strange phenomenon, loudly spoke up in a gruff voice. “Okay everybody. You heard the man. We’ve got ten minutes to get to the high school auditorium – let’s get moving!”
The confused crowd milled together and then seemed to move like a herd towards the school grounds. An eerie silence pervaded the awkward twilight as a thick fog swept into the town. The fog played at the areas surrounding the moving crowd as if leaving a path for the group to follow. No one dared to step into the fog; no one thought about going home. Only the shuffling footsteps could be heard in their nervous walk to the meeting area. Only the ear-piercing scream that brought everyone forth at the beginning of this strange assemblage, and the threatening voice they heard on the squad car’s speaker propelled this crowd to the school.
Upon reaching the school auditorium doors, the transfixed crowd began to enter and gasped upon the vision, which awaited them. A projected sign lit up the red curtains on the stage with large black lettering that simply stated, “Please Sit Down.” People collected in groups, sitting uneasily in the chairs. Others checked their watches. In the distance the town clock struck eight times to signal the hour. Everyone hushed.
As the eighth peal sounded, Mrs. Borish’s apparition flew in through the window and through the red curtains onto the stage. Within seconds, the curtain rose to display Mrs. Borish’s severed head sitting on a table. The head’s eyes were closed and blood seeped and puddled around the severed appendage. Without warning, the eyes on the head flew open and the mouth screamed, terrifying the townspeople assembled within the auditorium. People huddled together, crying, screaming with fear.
The eyes of Mrs. Borish’s severed head surveyed the room, seeming to stare into the very souls of each person sitting there. Then the head spoke: “Where is he?”
Only little Prattle spoke up. In her childish innocence and brave young voice, she asked the head, “Who?”
“The man with the axe, little girl.”
A shadow from backstage appeared behind the severed head in silhouette, seeming to hold an axe above his head.
In the back of the auditorium, a man quickly stood up and yelled, “He’s behind you!”
Everyone gasped as they witnessed the head turning around as if to look behind itself at the man who appeared from the curtains. With a vicious swipe, the silhouetted person smashed the axe near the severed head on the table. Many in the auditorium screamed. The oxygen was sucked out of the room as everyone gasped.
The man spoke. “Glad you all could make it.”
Startled by the recognizable voice, everyone looked at each other in confusion. The silhouetted shadow removed his mask and to everyone’s surprise revealed himself as the husband of the victim, Mrs. Borish.
Mr. Borish announced, “Welcome to our play. It’s called “The Night The Fog Rolled In,” and you are all going to enjoy it. Now please welcome…” and Mrs. Borish crawled out from under the table and stood before the audience. Thankfully, her head was where it should be and all were convinced of the trickery of this morbid scene. As Mr. Borish finished his announcements, he declared boldly; “May the show begin!”
Soon the actors (the four police officers, the woman with the news report and even little Prattle), were quickly rushing back stage while the curtains were lowered, preparing the stage for the new scene. As costumes were donned backstage, little Prattle stood before a relieved audience and announced, “We’ve got to change into our costumes now. The popcorn and drinks will be served shortly. Oh yeah, hi mom!” She waved at the crowd as she skipped backstage.
I sat in my seat in the back row, astounded and relieved as was everyone else in the room. Amidst chuckles and conversations from the audience, we were all impressed at the outrageous ruse used to successfully coerce us to come see their play. Relieved people settled into their seats, paying the vendors for popcorn and refreshments. The bustle and laughter of a crowd ready to be entertained filled the room until the red curtain began to rise. Everyone hushed, watching the play unfold before them on stage.
On the stage was a backdrop of an old vine-covered cottage in the woods. Little Prattle entered the scene from stage right, wearing a maiden’s dress….
By: Kathleen Shields – 1992
Edited by NAS
Excellent short story!! I hope you won some kind of prize for writing it, Kathleen!!! Thanks for sharing it. Hugs and Kisses, Sylvia
Very Hichcockian! I loved the twist at the end.
Darn! misspelled Hitchcock!
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