Misty Fingers of Death by E. M. Sole

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Narrated by Bob Eccles

Misty Fingers of Death by E. M. Sole
Illustrated by Eleanor Bennett

In a little while the world will end. Not the whole world or for everyone, just for the man standing there on the street corner. He’s going to die, very soon. Ask me how I know. Go on, ask. Maybe I’ll tell you. Maybe I won’t. Guess it’s your lucky day, cause I feel like talking. You see I’ve known when people are about to die for as long as I can remember.

Looks like he’s leaving. Let’s follow him so you can see that I’m right, and while we walk I’ll tell you all about me and what I see when people are about to die.

The first time I remember seeing it … I guess should tell you what it is first, shouldn’t I. It’s a mist twisting like a snake around a person. The mist starts out faint, so faint I don’t really know if I can see it. That’s a week or so before a person dies, but over time it gets denser wrapping around the person till near the end I can’t really see the person inside. They become a walking cloud, denser where the cause of death is.

This man has some kind of illness. The mist is reddish and densest around the left side of his chest. It’s like with my grandmother. It hung heavy around her throat like a winter scarf. They said she had cancer and she was going away, I thought she was going on vacation but she never came back. I didn’t know what that meant. I was only four years old and she was the first person I saw it on. Mom acted like I was crazy when I asked her why grandmother was wearing the funny scarf. She didn’t understand, but why would she?

It wasn’t till a couple years later, in spring, school was getting out in a few weeks everything in my life was going fine, when I noticed the mist hanging over Goldie, our dog’s lower back. I didn’t remember grandmother at first, not till Goldie didn’t wake up one day. She left and didn’t come back just like grandmother. I saw her dead body before my parents carted it away. The mist was gone.

I don’t know what happened to her and no one ever told me. I was just a kid then and no one ever tells kids anything. It left me too scared to talk to anyone about it.

With the beginning of summer end of school and getting a new puppy, there was enough to drive it out of my mind, but midsummer, just before the fourth of July, we were packing for a vacation, and the mist was around Mr. Marten, our next door neighbor. He wasn’t around when we got back. I never saw him again, and don’t know what happened to him. I tried asking and listening when no one knew I was around. Now I know he died. From his heart, probably, from what I can remember. The mist was very faint last time I saw him though.

The man turned the corner. Hurry up or we’ll lose him, but not too fast, don’t want it to look like we’re following him. Wonder where he’s going? Probably the sandwich shop for lunch. Too bad he won’t get to enjoy a final meal. It won’t be long. As it nears the end the mist starts swirling violently. And it’s just started to.

What is the mist really? I don’t know. Maybe it’s death, or the hand of fate. Maybe it’s a demon thingy leading him into a deadly time and place. That’s what I think that it’s like a living thing feeding on people, eating them till they die, if not from illness then by attracting bad luck like an accident.

Why can I see it and no one else? I don’t know. Go ahead. Call me crazy, enough other people have. I’m used to it.

After the neighbor, no one else I really knew died for a while.

I saw the mist a couple times on strangers. Volunteered in a nursing home, a community service project for school, and saw it there. I failed that project because the mist hung over that whole place not just a few people. It was stifling, suffocating me in a few minutes and I had to run away. Boy was mom mad. She gave me a long lecture about compassion, and caring for people who need it.

When I was fourteen, I had a very good friend named Jimmy. I saw the mist on him and I tried to save him. The mist wrapped around his neck. It was yellow, a thick rope of grey yellow, just around his neck. It was very different from anything I’d seen up to that point. I told him to go to the doctor. He did and the doctor checked him out thoroughly and he didn’t find wrong with him. I watched Jimmy like a hawk, carefully, so he wouldn’t have an accident. He died anyway, if you can call it dying. He tried to hang himself, but his sister found him. They tried to revive him. He was in a coma for a long time.

Guess that’s why it was just around his neck.

I tried a couple other times to save people. Strangers, friends, but they just called me crazy. Then, when I predicted the death of a guy at school they all avoided me, called me a jinx, a witch, and blamed me for his death so I stopped going to school.

My parents sent me to a psychologist. He said I was schizoid, and paranoid and gave me medicine that really messed with my head, but I didn’t stop seeing the mist. I’d learned my lesson though, don’t tell anyone.

It won’t be long now. See how he’s clutching his chest? He must be having a heart attack.

He’s going across the street to the sandwich shop. Too bad, they have great Reuben. He won’t be eating one today.

The clerks talking to him. Now she’s calling an ambulance. He’ll be dead by the time it gets here. The mist is already fading. It’s like he’s dead but doesn’t know it yet.

Let’s go in.

No? Why not?

Why did I tell you all of this?

Maybe I needed to talk to someone, or maybe I’m just a nasty person who likes to torment people, or maybe I’m still trying to save someone. You see, the reason I’m telling you this is you are wrapped in the mist. Would you like to know when and how you are going to die?


AUTHOR BIO: E. M. Sole lives in Nebraska, and has been published in The Lorelei Signal and Rose & Thorn Journal.

ILLUSTRATOR BIO: Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16 year old internationally award winning artist. Her photography has  been published in the Telegraph , The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. See more of her photography at www.eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com