Jackson was a pretty dull guy. That's what everyone said, so that's what he believed. He worked at a dull little bank in a dull little town, just outside of Athens, Ohio. At least in Athens, they had the Lunatic Asylum, but there in The Plains, Ohio, well, the name sort of said it all.
It didn't bother him all that much. Life was nothing if not consistent. Each day after the bank closed, Jackson counted the cash in his drawer, make sure it was consistent with his transaction report, and then return his float to the vault. He then walked three miles to his tiny one bedroom apartment where he popped a TV dinner in the oven, and whittled away the evening hours in front of the television.
Life was simple, and that was just the way he liked it. That all changed the night the heavy mist came to town.
It was very strange. There was no warning on the weather channel. It had been a perfectly bright, sunny and happy day – just the way it should have been. As the sun went down however, something sinister came with the darkness.
A think, almost grey-blue cloud slowly filled the streets of the sleepy little community. It wasn't smoke, there was no odor. It wasn't fog either, not that Hocking River was really capable of invoking much of a fog anyway. The problem wasn't so much the heavy mist itself, but what it brought with it.
The bank closed as usual, the lobby lights were turned off and Jackson began his count. It hadn't been a particularly busy day and he had been the only teller on duty that afternoon. He didn't anticipate the task taking very long.
Something outside the bank windows caught his attention. Jackson placed his finger on the transaction sheet to keep his spot and watched as the dark cloud quickly rolled past the front windows. After a few moments, everything was black save for the mist swirling directly under the outdoor light. He jumped as it unexpectedly failed with a loud crack.
Now completely surrounded by darkness except for the teller light directly over his head, Jackson felt his spine begin to tingle a little. "I'm not looking forward to the walk home," he said and resumed his count.
Again, something caught his attention. What was it? Did something move in the darkness of the lobby? No, he tells himself that he's just being paranoid. He about jumped out of his skin when the service bell on the counter beside him made a loud ding.
Jackson squinted into the darkness directly in front of him. "What? Who's there? We're closed!"
A young man's hand reached out of the darkness and placed a large knife on the counter in front of him. The blade was well maintained and shone in the dim light. A young man's voice spoke from the darkness. "I'd like to make a deposit."
Jackson pushed back from the counter, his eyes wide open and his heart pounding. "Who are you? What do you want?"
No answer came from the darkness. The hand slowly drummed its fingers on the handle of the knife.
"I'm not alone, you know. If you kill me, the others in the back offices will call the police! You won't get away with this!"
Still no answer comes. Jackson leapt from his stool, sending it crashing to the floor behind him and sprinted into the rear hallway. He opened the first office to his left.
"Maggie, there's some creep out front with a—, " Jackson trailed off. Maggie was slumped over on her desk, her face lying in a pool of blood - her dead eyes frozen in a state of fright or shock.
Jackson felt his throat run dry and he had trouble swallowing. His lips moved, but no sound came out. "Maggie?" he finally managed to sputter.
The sound of the service bell again rang through the office. Jackson was frozen, still looking at the older woman dead at her desk.
Again, the service bell rang. Tears streamed down his face as Jackson slowly returned to the front counter. "Why?" he whimpered into the darkness. "What did she ever do to you?"
The only reply from the shadows came in the form of the hand once again. Strangely, the hand looked older now. The skin was not as smooth and was freckled with age spots. It placed a rather worn looking knife on the counter – dried blood now decorated the blade.
"I'd like to make a deposit," an older, gruffer voice declared.
Jackson felt as if he would throw up. "You won't get away with this!" he screamed and ran back to the hallway. He opened the office on his right.
"Murry, Maggie is—" Again, Jackson is stopped in his tracks by the sight before him. Murry is slumped back in his chair with multiple puncture wounds in his chest. Flies were buzzing around his corpse.
Jackson lost control of his bodily functions and began to tremble. His limbs felt cold and the room began to spin.
The now familiar service bell rang again.
As if he were drunk, he stumbled back to the front, unable to speak.
An old, withered hand placed a dirty, rusted knife on the counter in front of him. An old voice rasped from the darkness, "I'd like to make a deposit."
Jackson stared at the old knife in front of him, then over to the back hallway. Only one office remained. Without acknowledgement, his body turned and slowly began lumbering to the double doors at the end of the hall. Entering the office, he found Judy torn to pieces. Bits of her littered the desk, walls and floor.
The terrible bell requested his presence at the front one more time.
It felt as though something was dragging him to the front now, as if he were no longer in control of his own body. One foot stepped in front of the other, but he swore he wasn't the one doing it.
The darkness was silent as Jackson stared into it. There was no movement. No requests were made. He looked down to see a knife in his hand. The blade was old and cankered with rust and gore. A crazed look crossed his face as he held the blade in front of him.
"I'd like to make a deposit," he whispered, then plunged the blade deep into his chest.