That was what they called it. The fog that rolled in from the hills some nights and sent everyone to sleep. When the sun rose, so too did the citizens of Glothe. Under the shroud of retreating mists, they picked themselves up off the street or wherever they landed and carried on with life as though it had never been so rudely interrupted. But there were some who never woke.
Blood splashed on the white sheet I’d thrown over my head in a last minute costume. A few drops, nothing major, but I’d still need to find a way to bleach it out before putting it back on the bed at Grandma’s.
My little sister stared at me, mouth agape in comical disbelief. She was fourteen now, and I half-expected her to be ‘too cool’ to go trick-or-treating this year, but the annual outing was something we enjoyed religiously with our parents and apparently she wasn’t ready to give that up yet.
I blinked, unmoving, as I regarded the middle-aged man clutching his bloodied nose. My sister’s boyfriend promptly dropped her hand to go check on his father.
‘Jesus, Merlinda!‘ My sister shrieked. Guess I ruined her date.
‘He was touching my arse!’ I shouted back.
‘I was brushing dirt off your costume!’ The man whimpered in defence.
I looked over my shoulder. Several dried autumn leaves clung to the sheet over my bum where I’d sat in the garden waiting for my sister to finish collecting her treats from a friend’s house.
‘Sorry,’ I mumbled. The shrug was half-hearted—I’d been groped by far too many Casper the Pervy Ghosts at uni Halloween parties to feel truly apologetic.
It smelt like every other library, though it was certainly different after dark. The perfume from the books was stronger at night, sweeter and more pungent, made all the more noticeable by the lingering whiff of coffee.
Mila stumbled behind the others, torch in hand. Andrik led their little group through the shelves,all the while whispering in Tao’s ear. Tao let out a muffled laugh and Mila scoffed; her brother wasn’t that funny.