Short Story: Rise of the Dark Mist
Harold knew the stories and his younger siblings, Jasmine aged 10 and the little chatterbox, Ronnie aged 6, were terrified of the old derelict elderly home, which housed many people during the war. The wind gathered pace and a gust of fallen brown leaves engulfed me, as I walked past the building. It was 4.30pm and the air changed. I’m not sure why, but I was curious about this old building. I looked up at the window - was someone there? I looked back as I adjusted the collar of my coat. There was no one. I WAS CERTAIN. Or maybe it was my imagination.
Harold never believed all the stories, but he was fascinated. He was more intrigued by the history and sightings - people moving in the windows and lights mysteriously turning on and off at night.
Everyone had a theory. Harold wanted evidence - meat-on-the-bone of speculation. He was a young, talented student at Goldsmiths, who secretly had a passion for supernatural stories and he knew this house was different. It was magnetising. He'd had an old friend, Christopher Celt, who was studying biochemistry at Yale University. If there was one person who could find conclusive evidence was Christopher. The temperature change around the derelict house - Chris could do a reading. He's my only hope, without some evidence to back up my story, I'll be laughed out.
So, Harold emailed and skyped Christopher. Chris had just come back from a lecture and debating club, when he saw his computer monitor illuminate with a photo of Harold.
'Hey, what's up Harry? Long time no see.'
'Did you get my email?' Harold said, with tension in his voice.
'Yeah, I got your last email - you mentioned something about a creepy house and temperature fluctuations. You want me to measure it?’
'Yes, this is crucial. I need your expertise and I have a hunch there's something going on with this house. Take a look at this video. I took it yesterday night,’ Harold e-mailed a video link to Christopher.
Christopher's face changed in an instant, eyes-wide and mouth open, as he tried to examine and evaluate. His every motion, seemed to be excited and at war with his scientific mind and what he could see. It defied everything he knew.
'Where did you get this?' Christopher was interested and knew his friend was onto something. He was in.
Harold looked at Christopher. 'So, you think I have something worth looking at?' There was silence from Chris. He was never one lost for words, but today was different.
'I'm getting on the next flight. I'll be in London as soon as I can. I'll let you know my ETA.’ The Skype signal went dead - clearly Christopher knew it was a phenomenon he had to get a closer look at. He even forgot to say bye. I wasn't bothered - just glad he was on the team.
Harold was very opinionated, driven and determined to find a story worthy of any double-page spread. So far, he only made coffee and was a glorified tea boy on an internship with a newspaper who wanted to be taken seriously and get his work on the editor's desk. This thought made him ever-more eager to impress. He knew there was no one who'd covered the story, so it was his baby and he wasn't letting go.
Harold's parents were cross-continental - mother from the East End of London and father from Peru. He had messy, dark brown hair and thick black spectacles and was never without his heavily worn, almost vintage looking black leather bomber jacket. Harold never cared for his appearance. He was bohemian in manner at times and oblivious to the ordinary mundanity of shopping and material things. He preferred investigating and discovering the heartbeat of a story, digging and finding hidden old bones like an archaeologist on an expedition.