The mist came in the late night, just before the dawn. Its evil flowed over the hillside and soaked into the woods, the leaves, the stones and streams. Its fringe carried with it an unnatural cold, something vile and wet that found its way into your bones like moisture working through the mortar of old brickwork. We all felt that cold. It fell on our sleep and sent shivers through our thick wool blankets. The children curled their legs to their chest while mothers and fathers tugged covers above their shoulders and pressed together for heat.
Had it been daylight, we may have noticed. We may have had a chance. However, darkness is the escort of evil, and in darkness evil came once again.
The rooster did not crow; there was no light to crow to. Outside our small village, the mist sunk its shroud into every limb, every bit of soil, every hovel and livestock pen. The animals huddled in the corners, silent and afraid. Something was coming, that they knew, but they were unaware that what they feared had already came.
The mist sunk into their fur, then into their flesh, and in time they all felt the urge to kneel, to rest, to succumb to death. Each one shuddered their dying breath.
It was McKellan who alerted us first, him being the widower of our small clan. He was the first to snap from terrible dreams to the bite of the cold damp. He thrust his door open to a fog he did not believe. Though his lantern was lit, he could not see. Fear stroked his old heart, but he pushed on from the frame of his door. It did occur to him that he might die, but it never occurred to him what he may have left to live for.
The mist fed on him all the same.
Though the morning grew later, a near-perfect darkness encased our homes. Light could not shine through. In this darkness, the leaves of the ground melted into black blood and smothered the stones they rested upon. The soaked soil turned to a gripping mud that first stole boots then socks and then suckered onto skin and bone.
That was when we first woke. It was to the screams of McGreggor. He had gone outside as well. His daughter was crying of the cold. The strong father he was committed himself to making a fire, despite the apparent lateness of the hour. Upon going out, the ground took him in. The more he struggled, the more the mist delighted in his pain and surged its power into the mud trail leading to his meager pile of wood.
In the end, his death was technically that of drowning.
The village stirred then. The mist muted all sounds, but it did not mute the sensation pressing down. But the realization only resulted in the same tragic mistake. Curiosity triggered investigation. Investigations led to open doors.
Open doors led to doom.
Some fought back, as well as one can against a vapor of evil. They slammed doors and sealed cracks with clothing and furs and did anything they could to keep the mist back.
But the mist bore down, and those that resisted had it worst of all. They suffered inside their own sanctuaries—the very places they call their home. Where they sat to eat with family and friends is where the mist dripped in from the ceiling. Where they lay their children down to rest is where the vapor soaked its insanity. Where they cooked and played and kept warm by small fires is where their cold, dark deaths came. The mist infiltrated them all. It stretched onto their skin and seeped into their pores and poisoned their very streams of blood.
It consumed them all from the inside, as it did with every living thing. When it had its fill, the mist lifted, and there was nothing that remained.