Tuesday, October 13, 2015

RPG Carnival: Something Has Come To Town


It was one of those nights that's so pitch black you can not see your hand in front of your face. People are saying something came into town that night from the marshes and fens to the west. There's few folks who live out that way. No one saw it, but a few people talked about hearing a low pitched wailing sound in the wee hours of the morning the next day at Sullivan's Diner. I heard them whispering about it to the Sherrif, but he didn't seem to take their kind of talk too serious. They said it was a sound that had been haunting the fens and the pine forest for the past few months. It sounded like a peel of thunder raised up into the throat of a hound, or a wolf, and eventually dissipating into the night as a shuddering kind of laughter. It happened three times between two and four in the morning they said. They were awoken by it, and did not sleep again.

Thirteen weeks later people had stopped talking about the tragedy ... That Mary Benson had been taken to the psychiatric hospital and would probably be there for some time. That their only son, Henry, a funny little boy of 9 who liked to play with toy soldiers and read super hero comics, was inexplicably withering away in his bed, unwilling to eat. That Mr. Benson had become grizzled, argumentative, violent and secretive. People stopped mentioning that Penny, their twelve year old daughter was still missing since the night of the dark wailing. No one wanted to think on it anymore. People started carrying weapons in town. Mr. Harrison accidentally shot a store window last week. He said he saw something in the fog.

It was a full moon last night. Halloween will descend in another week, but none of us want to go out for trick-or-treat. It's been bitter cold lately. Huge murders of crows have been piling up on the trees west of town, darkening the grey sky at sundown, filling the shrouded days with their hellish cawing. Almost as if they were waiting for something. A feast of crows. Lately, one could imagine that. Two more families have fallen into ruins. The Galloway's house burned down the other night. No one survived. And then a block away, the Johnson's barn was broken into and four of the cows were ... slaughtered. In the barn. None of the Johnson's have been seen since that night. Their house is empty. The door was locked from the inside. Rumors of a black stain on the carpet in the master bedroom. But no sign of the Johnsons. Only a half eaten dinner was left on the dining room table, napkins strewn on the floor. Shoes. But no Johnsons.  And a barn with walls darkened by dried blood.

It's been raining. The road leading from Fenhaven Village has been blocked by flooding for two days now. The shelves in the general store are bare, and Mr. Corning closed shop saying he needed to stay home with his wife. She came down with The Sickness last week, and she can't see and her fingernails turned black. The fog over the town is so think it's hard to see more than a yard past the hood of the car. But the fog is patchy. Sometimes it opens up and for 20 feet the air is crystal clear, almost like a bubble within the mist. Then it vanishes and we're enveloped in the chilly gray again. Once on the edge of the bubble, just beyond in the mist, I thought I saw something standing perfectly still. It was something that looked like it could have been a person, except that where it's head should have been there was something that seemed to drain the light. It's hard to explain. It looked, if I can describe it at all, like a hive of hornets converging on one black spot. I don't know. Maybe I didn't see it. Maybe it was my imagination. It vanished into the fog and we kept driving. My dad said I shouldn't talk about it. But I can't get it out of my head. Neither can he, I think.

At dinner we heard something scraping at the window. None of us looked. No one spoke. We didn't eat. I looked at my plate. My hair was standing on end for two hours. Finally it stopped when the storm began and it was raining hard. I went up to bed. It's cold in the house tonight. I'm in bed writing. Lightning is playing tricks on the shadows outside my window. Shadows I don't like at all. I don't want to look at them anymore... but I can't stop myself. There's shadows... but there's no trees outside my window. Shadows of what?
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