The Story of Ox

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.



        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 unaware 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 and, additionally, not wanting to provoke him, 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 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 frantic eyes.  That distinctively sinister

smile remained stitched across his face, and it seemed as if a forked tongue would shoot


        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...  (Scroll up and click on 'Continuation of Ch. 1')