All Were Calm
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
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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,
- 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!
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
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
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)