"Darl, Lenny. Jailed in nineteen fifty-four (1954) for the stabbing murder of Charity Elizabeth Winslow, six (6) years old - Oridun, Mississippi. Presented with one (1) life sentence by The Honourable Judge Smith, fifteenth (15th) of March, nineteen fifty-four (1954)."
The picture below made Sara Beth's heart sting. It was the man from that morning, there was no question about that, but he looked so… normal. Either the picture had been taken well before the murder, or, more frighteningly, there was literally no way of protecting yourself from the truly bad. The evil didn't leave a mark until after the crime. If at all.
Sara Beth sighed impatiently. Something was playing on her mind, yet she couldn't quite grasp it. Her thoughts felt like whispers and quiet sobs, a tangled mess of emotion, the library was too quiet, the heat too low. Suddenly she started.
"How come I was the only one who could see the fog?" She whispered to herself.
"There were other people there… none of them looked twice!"
The sobs and whispers cleared, and the sound of hushed cheering filled her ears. Glancing around quickly, she looked to see where the noise was coming from. But there was no one there, the library remained empty, the carrels silent.
Tapping her pencil on her notepad, she whispered, "Was I imagining it?"
The sobs replaced the cheering.
"Or was it… a warning?"
The cheers came back. Sara Beth shivered, feeling creeped out. Something was telling her she was on the right track… and although the help was appreciated, she was starting to feel nervous.
Picking up her books and bag, she glanced around the library once more. Seeing no one there, she quickly ripped the page out of the book.
"Just in case," She whispered. A giggle echoed through her mind, and she smiled faintly as she left the library into the bitter cold.
Driving home that night, Sara Beth turned the heat up as far as it could go, trying to get the feeling back in her fingers. As she flexed her fingers painfully, she noticed the snow was beginning to come down heavily, covering the windscreen with white.
"Damn!" She said loudly, squinting. Suddenly, the radio switched on.
"Reports from the bureau are not good. Oridun has not seen a winter this harsh since nineteen fifty-four, just over 20 years ago. Authorities are warning citizens to stay indoors, and if driving, pull over as soon as possible. This storm will only get worse, so be prepared."
With a loud beep, it then shut off again. Sara Beth pulled over to the side of the road, feeling surprisingly calm.
"Whatever got my sister twenty one years ago is coming after me," She muttered. "And it better be ready for me, cause I'm sure as all hell ready for it."
She realised she had no way of defending herself, and she laughed loudly, shrilly. It was a sound close to hysteria.
A tap at her rear window some twenty minutes later made her jump. Turning around in her seat, she saw no one. She took a deep breath, opened her door slowly, and stepped into the freezing cold. And came face to face with Lenny Darl.
Up close he didn't look as old as she had originally thought. His face was smooth and dark, his eyes deep and clear. But there was a glint in them that made Sara Beth wary, and she took a step back slowly.
"What… what do you want?" She asked, keeping one hand on the car door handle.
"Iss awful cold out here, ma'am. P'aps I could sit in with you?" He smiled slowly.
"I don't think so, I'm sorry. I don't even know who you are." She took a step back towards the car.
In one fluid motion he leant forward and grabbed her hand, driving it up against her back, and shoved her head down towards the car.
"That ain't very nice o' you miss Winslow. I sho know who you are, and I know fo sho you know who I am too."
Sara Beth whimpered quietly, the pain in her arm making her eyes water.
"What do you want with me? Isn't one death enough?"
He laughed loudly.
"One ain't nothing enough, Miss Winslow. For I'm getting a bit old see, and I need su' more o' that power."
Sara Beth turned her head curiously to the side.
"Power? What on Earth are you on about?"
"The power your sister had. Powerful stuff. I was sad at first, killin sumpin so pure, but it sho had its advantages." He laughed again. "But now I need some more. Tha's where you come in, miss."
Screams filled Sara Beth's head, and she whimpered again.
"But I don't understand" She said quietly, "And what do you mean my sister had it?"
He scratched his head with his free hand, staring at her.
"You mean you don't even know, miss?"
She shook her head silently.
"Your sister had sumpin in her, sumpin powerful, sumpin normal people like me ain't meant to touch. Angel blood. When I killed her, the blood seeped into muh skin, and somehow, I became mo' powerful every day. After I been in prison fo' about fifteen years, I realised I could damn well influence the prison guard and the judge to let me go - alive. How else would a niggah like muhself have gotten out so early?"
He shook his head sorrowfully. "But now, the power's goin'. I ain't got it no more… so that's why you have to die. 'M real sorry about that, miss, but I'm afraid that's how it's gotta be."
The screams in Sara Beth's head dulled to excited whispers as Lenny grabbed her neck and pressed down hard, making her knees buckle. A thick black pain spread through her body, and she gasped. The whispers grew louder and louder until they consumed her whole being, and she thought she would suffocate. A flash of blonde hair, a twinkle of blue. And then there was nothing.