RC: 1-LB-F (Read and Comment)

Chapter One

All Were Calm 


Springmeadow Nursing Center

Raleigh, North Carolina

October 31, 2008 - Halloween Night


        Sitting in her wheelchair, 89 year-old Lois Dollworth slowly raised the remote control at the television

set and zapped the local newscast off the screen.  Then, she shook her head, lamenting the reported

casualties of a drunk driver. 

        They were so young; what a shame, she softly said before painfully struggling to get  out of the

wheelchair and into bed, with some much-needed help from her trusty walker. 

        Fifteen minutes later, after she had just crossed-over on the side of slumber, she was abruptly

awakened by thirteen booming door knocks in rapid succession like a submachine gun firing. 

        'For heaven's sake, I'm not deaf,' she feebly shouted. 

        It took about ten seconds for her to calm down somewhat.  Then, she switched on the table lamp and, in

a flat, inhospitable tone, she said, 'Come in.' 

        At that moment, the door swiftly flung open.  So swiftly, in fact, that the inner knob forcefully

initiated contact with the side wall, making a loud thumping sound.  The impact's reverberation caused

several cherished paintings hanging on the wall to fall, crashing to the floor and cracking the glass

while dislodging the frames.  After the door had nearly rebounded all the way back to its originally

closed position, the perpetrator that banged and shoved it remained a mystery. 

        Despite her initial shock, Lois soon regained her poise, and her acute mind rationalized a theory for

the bizarre occurrence; evidently, a resident's mischievous great grandchild was running unsupervised

up and down the halls playing the first half of trick-or-treat.  But how could a little kid knock and push a

door so hard and fast, she mused.  Must be a strong brat, she surmised.  Lois shook her head in disapproval

and mild disgust at the youngster's appalling behavior. 

        Following three quiet, drama-free minutes, Lois assumed that the wild child had lost interest in her

door and finally decided to leave her alone in the lofty pursuit of harassing other patients, or perhaps he

simply returned to his great grandparent's room.  Lois's mind was easing and her nerves settling.  But,

unbeknown to her, the stimulator of her turmoil was still lurking behind the wooden curtain. 

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        This time, the door slowly moved inward, and following it stepped forth a figure that, at 6'4" and 287

pounds, was clearly no child!  Lois was glad to see her obtrusive guest; initially unawared that she was, in

fact, looking straight at the "prankster." 

        'Oh, hi!  Did you catch the kid that was banging on my door,' she excitedly inquired.  Without verbal

delay - hastily neglecting to await a reply - she fervently complained, 'Look at what he did to my

paintings,' while pointing downward. 

        Oddly, he neither responded nor turned his head in the direction of Lois's extended index finger.  The

strange man simply stood completely motionless, like a wax statue, two feet inside of Lois's violated

sanctuary, arms folded above his flabby belly, staring directly at her with his big head tilted to the side. 

Then, a part of the 'wax statue' began, ever so slightly, to move; its thin lips slowly stretched, staying

together, until they formed an extra-wide, alligator-like smile.  Beholding that ominous grin, along with

the evil intensity in his unblinking eyes was jolting.

        Lois now realized that the being planted in her room, grinning from ear to ear  and glaring at her with

fiery zest, was none other than the phantom on the other side of the figurative portal - which the

protective door symbolically divided.  But now it seemed the dimensions were coalesced, thus allowing a

demented, zombie-like creature to encroach.  The solidarity of a humdrum, comfortable domain composed

of palpable causes and effects had instantly dissolved, morphing into a macabre surreal realm beyond

anything remotely rational or predictable.

        She gasped, her eyes expanded, her muscles tensed, her heartbeat accelerated, and sharp,

excruciating spasms shot through her back, rendering her immobile on the bed, unable to even squirm. 

Knowing her vocal chords weren't strong enough for attempted screams to be heard, her only choices in

this dire situation were to give up, hope, pray, or think.  Being neither a quitter, passive, nor particularly

religious, the Mensa member characteristically chose the latter option. 

        Lois focused all of her attention on the deranged intruder, inspecting each feature thoroughly in the

hope that - IF she survived his inevitable attack - she'd be healthy enough to communicate and provide

the police with a precise physical description.

        Under a tremendous amount of psychological pressure, Lois cooly observed: 

  • Early twenties. 
  • Pale complexion. 
  • Rough skin texture. 
  • Brown eyes. Beady. Far apart.
  • Heavy eyelids. 
  • Bushy, connecting eyebrows. 
  • A protruding brow.  
  • A sloping forehead. 
  • High cheekbones. 
  • A receding chin. 
  • Extreme prognathism. (The projection of the jaws beyond the upper part of the face.
  • A long, wide nose.
  • Very large nostrils. 
  • Thread-thin lips, as previously observed.  
  • A long, jutting, flattened philtrum. (Space between the nose and upper lip). 
  • Black, matted, shoulder-length hair. Greasy looking, too. 
  • Thick stubble on his face and neck. (Looked like he hadn't shaved in over a week.
  • A potbelly. 
  • Towering height.
  • Very broad shoulders, and muscular-toned arms. Thick neck. A massive chest, as well. Built like an NFL linebacker. No doubt, he was extremely strong!

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        His overall appearance was brutish, even beastly.  He looked like a cross between a neanderthal and a

bull.  The word ugly popped into Lois's head.  That sparked a strange current of self-amusement in the

midst of her immediate peril.  Humor was so unfitting for the occasion that the old woman wondered if

she was crazy.  Then, a vivid vision materialized in her racing mind like a clear scene on her TV screen.  

She was lying on a hospital bed.  Sitting in a chair right beside her was the most handsome man she'd ever

laid eyes upon.  It appeared as if he was drawing on a sketch pad in his lap.

        The weirdo came out of his stillness; he turned around to gently close the door... turned back around...

and then began to... slowly... walk.  It was in a wobbling fashion like a penguin; his upper torso shifted

side-to-side as his bowed legs and pigeon feet gradually transported him toward his petrified prey.  Ms.

Dollworth kept her saucer eyes fixed on her patiently pursuing predator every unorthodox step of the way,

making a mental note of his peculiar - almost comical - walking style in order to add it to her detailed

description-list.  She desperately hoped that all her keen observations would not be in vain. 

        Finally arriving at the edge of the bed, the slothful fiend arched his hunched back forward to closely

inspect the decrepit old woman he was terrorizing.  With both hands pressing down on the mattress [for

support] to prevent his cumbersome body from falling, he descended lower for an even closer view of Lois's

frantic eyes.  That distinctively sinister smile remained stitched across his face, and it seemed as if a

forked tongue would shoot out.

        Now their faces were separated by less than a foot of empty space.  Suddenly, the maniac's beady eyes

began darting back and forth.  It was apparently a result of the ecstatic frenzy he derived from the sight of

sheer human terror.  Indeed, he seemed to mentally feast on the bulging brown eyes and trembling lips of

the feeble victim he was hovering over and examining. 

        She couldn't move.  She couldn't scream.  She couldn't do anything!  She was totally trapped and

helpless - at the mercy of this real-life horror character that was in her face.  It was emotionally

unbearable.  Overwhelmed by the extreme panic, Lois squeezed her eyes shut, ground her teeth, and bated

her breath, while her weak heart pounded hard and fast like the thirteen door knocks.

Chapter One continues.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read a portion of your story.  I think the premise of the story is interesting.  It has drama that pulls the reader in.  You've got a good idea here.  Go for it.  It's worth writing.  Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to review your work.  I wish you well.  (2-PS-F)

I read your story "All Were Calm."  It is really well written!  Well done!  Please keep me posted on your writings.  You are a talented writer.  (6-LL-NF)