Jack Reynolds never reached the village. As he started into the mist that had sprung up out of nowhere he felt himself getting very hot and suddenly had difficulty breathing. He could see the young boy standing by the side of the road, his eyes staring at him, unseeing, unfeeling, almost alien. He held out his arms, imploring him to help but the boy ignored him and walked away, into the mist. Reynolds staggered backwards, collapsing at the side of the road as the two police officers broke into a run.
Shapes shuffled about in the mist, evil, ugly shapes, twisted and distorted parodies of people. Reynolds’ legs would no longer support him. There was something inside him, poking, probing, turning, churning, and it was trying to get out. He stared down at his hands and saw a translucent film of a sickly white substance coagulating at the tips. His eyes went wide, round with horror as it came out of him, shapeless and amorphous, dropping silently to the pavement and slinking off into the mist to couple with its fellow beings. Reynolds' heart gave out and he toppled into the road just outside the mist as the policeman and woman reached him.
They turned him over and were horrified to see that his face was a pale, almost translucent white, as though all the colour had been drained from it. They tried to resuscitate him. Amy Rossiter, the policewoman, gave him mouth-to-mouth but it was no good. The paramedics raced to help, but it was too late. Reynolds was dead. On his face was the expression of a man who had had the very life frightened out of him. They put it down to the shock of dying in the road.
It was Amy who noticed that the mist was sloping gently towards the village. She stared hard at it, frowning. Once she thought she saw something moving about in it, but when she closed her eyes and opened them again, it was gone, whatever it was, and her eyes took a while longer than normal to focus properly. Like when you stare at a light bulb for any length of time, and the light seems to stay on in your brain for a while. Amy tentatively put one finger into the mist, then pulled it back, gasping with pain and fright. Her finger was red, burnt. The rain seemed to cool it, but it felt for all the world as though she had plunged it into a bed of nettles. As she studied it, the red faded to a translucent white, like the man's face. She glanced at her companion, who was still scratching his head over the prostrate man lying beside him. He had not seen her do it. She knew she should tell him, in case he did the same.
'It was the mist!' she whispered, and he frowned at her, uncomprehending.
'The mist killed him! Look at my finger!'
'It did that?'
Amy nodded. The finger was starting to throb, and she had an uncontrollable urge to scratch it.