This is such an odd story… I first got the idea when I played a game called, Oxenfree. It’s about a group of teenagers encountering supernatural events on an abandoned island, or at least it was abandoned when they got there… I guess that sparked my imagination.
They would take many such trips these coming days because both of them were sick of being cooped up in the old house. But Banks noticed that the patrols became sparser until they failed to come at all. The mist was getting thicker too, and colder. Banks couldn’t help see shadows in the mist and it was possible that the patrols was just lost in the mist but they did not pass by their house anymore, which made him worry. One evening, there was loud banging on the door. Strangers voices demanded that he’d open up and Banks reached for the gun and aimed at the door. His hands trembled, would he be able to shoot? Lillie saw his struggle and she motioned him to follow. They went into hiding in the cellar which Banks found preferable from shooting somebody.
Eventually, they broke in the door. Two shots were fired to break the lock. They called out to them but when there was no response, they were quiet. Banks heard them sneak around and when they determined the house was empty, they started talking and rummaging. They were quite aggressive, as if they were ransacking the house, tableware was thrown on the floor and furniture toppled over. Banks trembled with anger but her touch calmed him, not that he would have rushed up there to stop them, he was just angry about their disrespect. They stayed for a while and ate some of the food before they got tired and left, no doubt making use of the noon light to get back before the mist became the thickest. Banks drew a sigh of relief as they left and they emerged to see the mess. There were shards from vases and china on the floor, not all had been destroyed, however. They saw mudded footsteps leading up and down the stairs and they looked at each other, assuming the worst. Father! She cried and rushed up the stairs. Banks followed behind her and when they entered the room, the smell of death was still strong and the medical equipment had been toppled over. Wires dangled and played on the floor, no longer attached to the body. He wasn’t breathing. Lillie stood by the bed and held her fathers hand silently in the dark. Banks didn’t know what to say and couldn’t help but wonder if the old man died before or after the wires and tubes were pulled out of him… To think they would be after him… Why now? What had changed?
Banks looked silently behind her. The air became heavier and he became uncomfortable. It was no longer safe to be in the house, he determined, and he let her mourn as he gathered their things and prepared to hide in the cave. It wasn’t an ideal place but nobody knew it but them. She came down, quietly and slowly and she smiled at him, though her red eye betrayed her crying moments before. She was a trooper, he thought and loved her even more. They hurried out when the mist was thick and Banks followed her lead up the hill. She knew the way by heart. Finally, they came to the cave and nobody was to be seen. He didn’t know how long they would have to stay like this, it was him they were after but considering how they had barged in, they weren’t above hurting others. Banks decided to head back to base and talk some sense into the captain or take their punishment. Hopefully they would leave her alone, it was the only thing he could do because there was nowhere to escape.
Banks headed out in the night without telling Lillie. He had left his weapons in the cave and he felt oddly at ease. He was doing this for her and he was surprised how much he would sacrifice for her. He was truly in love, he thought. The mist at night made it hard to find his way back, but the stars were clear and he knew which one to follow and he came soon to the front gate. It was closed and he shouted for them to open. There was no response for a while until he heard a voice on the other side. It was nervous and rude, telling Banks that he would not fall for its tricks. Banks tried to reason with him, then another voice said that what if it’s him? It took a moment before the gates opened, slightly and Banks was met with almost the whole base pointing their guns at him. They backed away as he moved forward, as if he was cursed. He saw people he knew, but most were new faces. He couldn’t see Hjalmar or James among them…
Where is the captain? Banks asked.
They looked at each other and he heard a “shut up” coming meekly from somebody in the group. “You monster.” Then, the big guy came and he walked up to him. His steps were uncertain but forceful. He stopped before him and smiled as he saw the shock Banks expressed. “What has happened here?” Banks asked.
The big guy said that there was a change in leadership and he punished Banks in the face. This seemed to dispel their fears for they swarmed him and hit him with the end of the gun until they tied him up and dragged him to the cantina. He was thrown into a storage room where the captain, Hjalmar, James, and a few others were being held. They were shocked to see him and captain explained what had happened. Everything had worked well with the new recruits, but people started disappearing in the mist and the big guy and his group told lies about the witch and Banks being her pet until they refused to leave the base altogether. It might have been a mistake to send them out at night, but he saw no other way because the enemy had managed to attack them twice already… It was inevitable that some of them would be lost, either by the enemy or by tripping in the mist. Anyway. they captured me and those that opposed was captured too. They chose the big guy as leader because he was the only one that did what had to be done, they argued, and he had witnessed the witch and lived. Baxter has yet to make a move, if I could understand what he was thinking… Maybe he was really dead, as they say?
Banks was shocked but not entirely surprised now that he heard the story. He prayed they would not find Lillie in the cave and decided not to tell anyone in there. As he suspected, they questioned him about her but he refused to talk. They honestly believed the mist would settle and all would be fine if they found her and killed her. He saw desperation in their eyes and he continued to refuse. He didn’t worry about his own safety, only for how long she would manage in that damp old cave…
© Christopher Stamfors