When one looks at the horizon from the shores of the quiet town of Philbin Beach in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, one could see the whitish gray mast of The Saratoga Mariner. The Mariner sat idly in the distance, a forty-foot schooner rocking back and forth in perfect synchronicity with the waves. The boat just lay dormant – adrift in one spot – never moving save for the bobbing motion that all ships experience when out at sea.
The Mariner was first spotted at the break of dawn, just as the first rays of sunlight were appearing over the horizon, on October 9th, 2006. From the shore, it looked as if a line was drawn right down the center of the sky. The mast of the vessel, still black against the red morning, soared into the air and was plainly visible from the beach. For the next half hour or so, the locals thought nothing of the Mariner's presence. It was, after all, exceedingly common to see various boats anchored far off the shores of Marthas vineyard as the sight of the New England coast line was truly one to behold. It wasn't until the fog that accompanied the arrival of the Mariner appeared that the citizens of Philbin Beach payed any great attention to the boat that lay miles offshore.
The fog was unlike any that those living in the town had ever seen before. The mist had a luminous quality to it and, like a strobe light, would slowly pulsate with a neon blue color. Even more confounding was the speed at which the fog had moved from the sea to the shore. In just a short matter of time, the blue fog had befallen the sleepy town and had covered it in a dense blanket. Thick fog was nothing new to the small community, but this was different. It was practically impossible for one to see even three feet in from of them. Three people were killed in motor vehicle accidents over the course of one day which is nothing that had ever happened in Philbin Beach's history before.
Most people stayed inside all day, afraid to go out when confronted with the threat of being run over. Though no power lines went down and no transformers blew, electricity went out across the town. Many sat in their humble abodes while others remained in the local diner, huddled around battery powered radios in an attempt to be updated on the conditions outside. The televisions would not work and the only response one would get from a phone was static with a curious underlying, high-pitched electronic buzzing sound that would oscillate over and over again.
As the fog befell the town only an hour beforehand, a deathly silence came over all of Philbin Beach. The mist not only impaired the vision, but it also acted as a suppressor to almost all sounds. Only when walking through the most densely populated of neighborhoods would one be able to hear even the collective crackling of static of radios hardly tuned to one channel.
Though the inhabitants of Philbin Beach all had their fisherman's superstitions, there were few who outright and openly believed in the paranormal. Despite this, with the appearance of the fog came a rash of ghostly experiences; most compelling of which is the story of and old, eccentric recluse that goes by the name of Richard Masterson.
According to Masterson, he had been all alone in his small saltbox colonial cottage perched on a tiny cliff on the edge of the ocean. Though he had electricity in his humble abode, over the years he found that he had no need for a television or radio. The only things he needed were his fridge, stove, and dishwasher. The only objects that he had to keep him sane were his antique books (mostly collections on the lore of the great seas) and an antique gramophone that had been passed down over two generations, for which he had countless records in vinyl.
While listening to "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller for the sixth time in a row (as soon as the fog had rolled in his gramophone had started acting up) in the ethereal blue light, Masterson was snapped out of a half-asleep state by a scraping noise at his window. Slowly rising from his chair, careful not to fall over in his advanced age, he made his way to the window from which he heard the strange sound. Looking outside, he half expected to see someone staring back at him despite not being able to see a thing through the dense fog. The only thing that did catch his sight was a peculiar swirling in the otherwise still mist; as if somebody had been moving around just outside his window.
Dismissing the vision as his eyes playing tricks on him or, less desirably, as the eventual onset of dementia, Masterson moved carefully back to his armchair. Partly through the motion of sitting down, he froze as he looked into the kitchen to see the back door slowly close shut as if someone was intentionally trying to limit the amount of noise that they were making while moving about the small hosue. What unnerved Masterson most was the fact that he had not even heard the door open. He remained motionless in this awkward position with knees bent and arms stretched out behind him, disregarding the acute pain in his arms and legs. With eyes wide open and the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck standing on-end, he listened for movement in his house.
Perspiring, partly due to the strenuous nature of his posture though mostly because of the situation at hand, Masterson's forehead was damp with cold sweat. Curls of wet, white hair clung to his face and the nape of his neck. He jumped at the sound of footsteps moving up the stairs.
Though bright outside, the blue light eminating from the fog did little in the way of lighting his house. Rather, it looked as if it were much later in the day; as if the sun had fully fallen beyond the horizon and the last bit of light from dusk was quickly fading away. The house was filled with black and all different hues of blue-grey.
Moving from carpet to hardwood, Masterson moved carefully so as not to alert the intruder to his presence. He heard faint footsteps as the stranger moved up the stairs onto the second floor landing. Masterson quietly followed in close suit. He stopped dead in his tracks as he watched the top of the door to the only bedroom swing shut. With his heart racing he quickly climbed the last three steps and burst into the empty bedroom. Looking around the room with utter confusion he took two steps forward. His mouth was dry, leaving a sour aftertaste whenever he'd try to swallow. The only other thing he could taste was the salt as sweat dripped from his white moustache into his open mouth.
Looking side to side, Masterson once again froze as he saw a petit shadow scamper from the open closet door, out into the hall, and into the study on the left side of the hall.
Following silently, Masterson inched his way to the door of the study. Peeking into the dark room, the sudden, soft glow of the fog illuminated the stranger. It was just a child, a little boy no older than five years old. Masterson's blood ran cold as he saw water dripping from the clothes and the matted, black hair of the child. His red turtleneck and denim overalls were drenched; an observation that disconcerted Masterson as there had been no rain recently, just the fog.
The child stood facing the away from Masterson with his face and palm pressed against the window. At the child's feet, a puddle had formed where water had been dripping from the boy. Streaks of water cascaded down the window pane and pooled on the chipped paint of the window cill. Masterson slowly began making his way towards the child, the glow of the fog projecting the silhouette of the boy at every pulse of blue light. Walking towards the imp-like toddler with his hand extended, Masterson reached out for the boy's shoulder. Attempting to place a comforting hand on the boy's collar bone, he couldn't do anything to mask the fear in his trembling hand. As soon as Masterson's hand made contact with the boy's shoulder, a violent tremor went through the child's body, resonating in Masterson's.
Masterson recoiled at the sight of the boy's face. His eyes were glossed over, showing no color and his lips were blue and cracked. The boy's skin was grey and mottled with the navy blue vein patters all across his face. A brackish liquid, what seemed to be rusty water, poured out of the child's open mouth, ears and nose.
The “boy” extended both arms, he wet hands grasping for Masterson who had fallen over backwards onto his hindquarters. With heart racing and sweat pouring down his face as water did the boy's, Masterson got up and ran out of the study, not looking back to see whether the demon child was following him or not.
Masterson flung open the front door and ran out onto the walkway leading from the sidewalk to his doorstep. When he hadn't heard anyone in chase, he stopped, looked around and collapsed on the pavement.
Written by Mr.Zalgopasta