All Were Calm
Springmeadow Nursing Center
Raleigh, North Carolina
October 31, 2008 - Halloween Night
Sitting in her wheelchair, eighty-nine year-old Lois Dollworth slowly raised the remote
control toward the television set and zapped the local newscast off the screen. Then
shook her head, lamenting the reported casualties of a drunk driver.
They were so young; what a shame, she thought before
painfully struggling to get
out of the wheelchair and into bed, with some much-needed help from her trusty walker.
minutes later, after she had just crossed-over to the side of slumber, she was
abruptly awakened by thirteen booming door knocks in rapid succession like a submachine
'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, who had
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
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
other patients, or perhaps he simply returned to his great-grandparent's room. Lois' mind
was easing and her nerves settling, but unbeknown to her, the stimulator of her turmoil
was still lurking behind the wooden curtain.
Now the door slowly moved inward, and following it stepped forth a figure that,
at six feet four inches tall and approximately
two hundred and eighty-seven 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 who 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' extended
index finger. The strange man simply stood completely motionless, like a wax statue, two
feet inside of Lois' violated sanctuary, his 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. His 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. Now however, 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 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
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.
- Black, matted, shoulder-length hair. Greasy looking, too.
- Brown eyes. Beady. Far apart.
- Heavy eyelids.
- A long, wide nose.
- Very large nostrils.
- Thread-thin lips, as previously observed.
- Bushy, connecting eyebrows.
- A protruding brow.
- A sloping forehead.
- High cheekbones.
- A receding chin.
- Extreme prognathous. (The projection of the jaws beyond
the upper part of the face.)
- A long, jutting, flattened philtrum. (Space between the nose and upper lip.)
- 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' 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 television 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
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.
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, and to prevent his cumbersome body
falling, he descended lower for an even closer view of Lois' frantic eyes. That distinctively
sinister smile remained stitched across his face, and it seemed as if a forked tongue would
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 who 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')