It was a bleak and gusty night,
|The Silent Night
2003 by Michael Levy
The convention had gone on
far longer than anyone had anticipated,
As he stepped out into the cold, stormy night air
he could heard faint rumblings of thunder,
Flashes of lightening lit up distant hills,
A fierce storm was rolling in.
It was ninety miles to his home,
Out of the blue he remembered,
there was a short cut,
An old timeworn road
that nobody used any more,
It went through an old abandoned mining town
that embraced a string of bizarre past tales,
As he was leaving
everyone told him not to go down the forgotten trail,
Strange stories from bygone travelers
had put the fear of death into the local towns folks,
His courage had been fortified by a few jars of ale,
He told the towns folk
the storm will be rolling in within the hour,
According to the map he held in his hand
he could cut twenty minute off
his journey by taking the short cut,
He might beat the awful storm
that was about to commence.
They called him a crazy man,
Despite a volley of protests, he jumped into his car
and accelerated away into the turbulent night.
Five miles from town, he rerouted from the main highway
and drove down the small winding obsolete road,
After fifty minutes driving the heavens opened
the rains came down in a torrential downpour,
He slowed down to a crawl as found himself
on the outskirts of the sinister town,
He drove very slowly through the dark dispiriting main
The engine of his car began to splutter,
The rain was so torrential
the road became awash like a flowing river.
The car came to a sudden standstill outside an old dwelling
with oil lamps burning in the window,
He rubbed his eyes as if seeing a mirage in a dessert,
Yes, sure enough, the house had glowing, inviting lights,
He opened the car door, put up his umbrella
And walked down the path,
Knocking on the door, he could hear
strange music coming from within,
The door leisurely creaked open,
He closed his umbrella
sheepishly making his way inside,
The music was coming from a room
at the end of the hallway.
He called out"Hello anyone at home?"
"Hello is anyone in the house?"
Still no answer,
He slithered nervously down the hallway with
a fast beating heart and tight dry throat.
As he reached the doorway it slowly opened,
He made his way inside the room.
It was crammed with people
all dressed in the garbs of yesteryear,
In Fact, many yesteryears,
Perhaps hundreds of yesteryears?
They all sat around the room
in the center was a coffin!
Was it a wake? he thought,
They all stared at him with cold glassy eyes,
One man held out his hand, beckoning him to take a seat.
But nobody spoke.
Thunder crashed every five seconds,
lightening flashed across the room,
The faces were all deathly white,
The wailing music played on
but no musician could be seen,
He took his seat and waited for someone to speak,
There eyes continue to stare right though him,
He sat quietly in the corner, fearing to converse
in case he said the wrong thing
and they threw him out in the vicious storm.
An old man that sat next to him
pushed a note in his hand
it read in block capitals: STAY SILENT!
He sat there in silence for what seemed forever,
Then, all of a sudden the storm seemed to vanish,
He decided to take his chances with the weather,
Standing up, he gestured his nodding gratitude
within the stillness of the room,
Gracefully bowing, he backed out of the room.
He whizzed back down the hallway and into his car,
The rain dissipated into a light sprinkle,
He put his key into the ignition and Bingo!
It started with the first turn of the key,
He put his foot down on the accelerator,
speeding out of town like a bat out of hell.
An hour and half later he was back home,
He poured himself a double whisky
and sank into his favorite armchair utterly exhausted.
He was just dosing off when his wife came into the room,
Where have you been all night....
I have been worried out of my mind,
I'll tell you in the morning,
With that, he went up to his bedroom
slung off his cloths
and within two shakes of a lambs tail
he was sound asleep.
He slept until mid-day
When he told his tale to his wife
she burst out laughing saying;
"Pull the other one!
If I did not know you better
I would say you had a fancy women."
The next day at work, he told everyone
about his strange weekend adventure,
Not one person believed his weird tale,
They just laughed and ridiculed him,
This was the start of a prolonged
and lengthy day-long campaign of ridicule,
They had been looking for some excuse to attack
as they felt he was always an oddball,
The more they ridiculed him
the more he insisted his story was valid.
It then got to the stage where
he wagered a $1000 to prove his story,
"Let's all go to the old town
and I will speak with the people there
They will confirm my tale." he retorted
They laughed out loud again saying;
"The town has not been inhabited
for over one hundred and fifty years.
It was abandoned after the mine exploded
killing fifty men." came the unyielding response,
"Make that wager $4000 dollars," he angrily answered,
"You've got a bet, you daft bat," was their mocking reply.
The next day they set off in convoy,
They reached the timeworn road
and drove down the bygone dusty tracks,
As they reached the town the hairs
on the back of his neck began to stand on end
in anticipation of meeting the bizarre folks once more,
They pulled up outside the old house
and walked down the path,
The front door was hanging on just one hinge
and swinging to and fro,
As they walked down the hallway
the stench of rotting wood was overwhelming,
He never noticed the smell on the last visit,
At the end of the hall the
door to the room was wide open,
The room was empty,
As they all turned around
and were about to leave the room,
In the corner of the room,
Lay his umbrella, with his initial on it,
Under the umbrella
was a note, on old brown paper, that read
Michael levy was born in Manchester, England on the
6th March 1945. After many life experiences and a successful business
career he retired to Florida in 1992.
(Messages are forwarded by The
So, when you write to an author,
please type his/her name
in the subject line of
Another story by Michael
The Preservation Foundation, Inc.,
A Nonprofit Book Publisher