We were offered the bold typed first line and asked to build a story. Here’s mine:
The damp fog refused to burn away, eating up their street until the suburb became still and their house an island.
Two teens, in that house’s finished basement, were oblivious to the hypnagogic event as their attention was focused entirely upon a ragged leather bound journal. It wasn’t an original copy; couldn’t be, yet, the text concerned itself with magic and alchemy the likes of the time period of Merlin. It also was printed in modern English and the pages, although old and weathered, were still tightly bound.
Mason had discovered it inside his great uncle’s long abandoned shack. Great Uncle Mathias didn’t die. He was said to have walked off into a fog and vanished. His ramshackle homestead stood unclaimed for 22 years until the authorities decided he wouldn’t return and wanted back taxes.
Uncle Mathias was the family pariah from an early age. His interest in the occult set him at odds with the overmodest New England roots he came from. A 52 acre inheritance of unspoiled, but useless, swampland had passed to his nephew, Mason’s Dad.
Mason had tagged along with his dad to see if the property might hold something, anything, of value before demolition and sale. The journal seemed antique and was the only prize Mason recovered in last weekend’s lengthy safari to the site.
“See that? It’s ANOTHER spell. The words are written upside down and backward! Read that one too.”.
Mason’s friend Cormac, had his chin on Mason’s shoulder right by his ear.
“Geez Louise, Cory! Stop drooling on me. You’ll give me Covid!”.
Mason turned the journal upside down and carefully read the backward handwriting:
Fog lift up. Sight redeemed…
Whilst the fool speaketh unseen.
The boys, now face to face, perfectly mimicked a scene from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a simultaneous, “WHOA”.
Mason’s cellphone was on vibrate. Suddenly, it danced across the polished coffee table falling to the floor. The boys stiffened! Bug-eyed, and holding their breath, they burst out laughing at having had the same exact overreaction. Collapsing into identical bean bag chairs they lazily agreed the “magic spell” game was getting lame. It was dinner time too.
Mason charged up the stairs letting his friend out by the cellar hatchway.
“See ya later, Cory.”
Stepping out into the yard, Cory squinted allowing his eyes an adjustment to a brighter than normal afternoon sunshine. Deep down, he sorta hoped he’d find a spooky conjured up scene.
“L-A-M-E, lame.” He sputtered.
Cory dug out his “shades” to cut the glare then he jammed his hands deeply into his pockets while tipping his head back.
“Not a cloud in the sky.”, he chuckled. “Stupid book!”.
As midnight approached, Mason sat up in his bed with a start. He decided he was just imagining he heard the hatchway door slam. The journal was nowhere to be found thereon.