Dense fog rolls over a black hill, creeping through acre after acre of dark pine forest. Lonely beset in the valley is a sinister dwelling, creamy façade caked in soot strewn with dilapidated windows framing who-knows-what, obstructed here and there by thick, jagged teeth of dirty glass. This house should have collapsed long ago. What’s that, there? Cloaked in shadow beyond the attic window?
Silence, deathly silence but for young Jamie’s panting and the crunching of dead leaves beneath his feet. Freezer burn with every breath. He reaches for the brass doorknob... only to recoil twice as fast. The knob is flame-hot to the touch; however, there is no smoke, so there can be no fire.
Jamie closes his eyes and quiets his mind. Few moments pass before a gust of wind crashes against the face of the structure, passing through the gaping windows, filling the first level with a loose but violent cyclone. Whatever glass that remained is expelled to the forest floor. The antique front door cracks and splits under pressure and at last swings open, squealing hinges undone by its impact with the adjacent stretch of cement wall.
Jamie smiles soft satisfaction. For the first time in nearly a century, he crosses the soiled threshold of his once venerable family home.