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Secrets in the Mist

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Waves crashed against the shore, stretching towards but never quite reaching the crackling fire on the sand. Seven year old Morgan listened with rapt attention as old man Machen told her and the other children the legend of António Bay.

 

"As the ship headed towards shore, a thick fog enveloped the vessel, making it all but impossible for the crew to see. In a panic, Captain Thane and his men headed towards a bright light piercing through the mist. However, instead of a comforting Beacon, they were greeted with horror, as they noticed far too late that it was merely a fire someone had lit on the beach. Too late to turn around, the ship crashed into the rocks on Spivey point, causing everything to sink into the murky depths below. The gold Thane kept on board was later recovered and used to found António Bay, but the bodies remain in their watery grave to this very day."

 

The children were so engrossed in the tale that when a large truck pulled up towards them and backfired, they all screamed. Morgan's fear soon turned to delight, however, when she recognized the tall, blonde man getting out of the vehicle.

 

"Uncle Thor!"

 

Thor barely managed to shut the door before a tiny blur barreled into him.

 

"Hello little one," he laughed as he picked the girl up and balanced her on his hip, "Did you have a good time?"

 

"Uh-huh, Mr. Machen told us ghost stories!"

 

"Ooh, sounds interesting. You'll have to tell me all about it on the way home."

 

Thor opened the passenger door for Morgan to climb into. Once she was secured in her seat, he climbed into the other side and started driving down the dark highway towards their house.

 

                        *********************

 

"You're listening to KAB António Bay. This is your night light, Stevie Wayne, and I've got a lineup ready to keep you company all throughout the witching hour."

 

Anthony 'Tony' Stark rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration and switched off the mic. He was tired and running dangerously low on coffee, but there were still several hours before he could switch on the promo tapes and go home.

 

"Might as well brew another pot," Tony grumbled into his empty mug, "It's going to be another long night."

 

Tony was no stranger to long nights. He started suffering from insomnia when he was ten years old, right after his parents were killed in a car wreck. He stayed awake for days on end in order to keep the images from his mind. The pattern continued long after he'd gotten adopted into a new home, especially when his baby brother Thor arrived. Tony was convinced that his new family would dissapear on him if he didn't keep watch.

 

When he married Steve Rogers, things seemed to finally calm down. They ran a radio station together, with Steve using the moniker "Stevie Wayne" which both referred to his name and his love of Western films, and had a generally happy life. There were a few sleepless nights after they'd adopted their baby girl Morgan, but those were few and far inbetween.

 

Then, the accident happened. Steve was gone and the insomnia came back full force.

 

He was extremely grateful for his brother during that time. Thor took it upon himself to care for both Morgan and Tony, ensuring that they could slowly rebuild the pieces of their lives.

 

When the opportunity to purchase the KAB lighthouse came up, it was only natural for Tony to ask his brother to move with him. After all, Thor could operate his commercial fishing business anywhere there was water. So they all packed up and relocated to António Bay. Tony ran the radio under his late husband's name and Thor took care of the boats and looked after Morgan. All in all it was a peaceful existence, but had a tendency to be very exhausting sometimes.

 

Tonight was definitely one of those times.

 

A familiar ringtone echoed throughout the room, causing him to smile as he answered.

 

"Hey bro!"

 

"Tony," Thor greeted jovially," how does the night light of António Bay fare?"

 

"Decaffeinated, that's how. Did you pick up Morgan from her program?"

 

"Yes, we're making our way back now. I'll make sure she has a bath and gets tucked in for you."

 

"Thanks, I owe you one."

 

"Yes, well, we can discuss that the next time you try getting out of dish duty."

 

"Haha very funny," Tony said before chugging the last dregs of his coffee," I gotta get back on the air, I'll see you guys in the morning."

 

"See you then."

 

He hung up the phone, switched the mic back on, and resumed his radio voice.

 

"Stevie Wayne here, and I got four in a row for you on KAB António Bay."

 

                             *******************

 

"Was that Daddy?"

 

"Yes it was, little dove. He's going to be working late again tonight, so I'll need you to be extra good for me, okay?"

 

"I will," Morgan said before pointing out the window with a look of confusion, "Uncle Thor, what's that?"

 

Thor looked over to see someone frantically flagging them down. He pulled off to the side of the road and the stranger quickly climbed into the truck, slumping into the seat with exhaustion.

Thor looked over to see someone frantically flagging them down. He pulled off to the side of the road and the stranger quickly climbed into the truck, slumping into the seat with exhaustion.

 

"How far you headed?"

 

"Just to the other side of town."

 

"That's close enough."

 

Thor started the engine up and began heading back down the highway. He stole a glance at their new companion and noted that it was a young man in his mid-twenties, with long, curly black hair and striking green eyes. He was currently chatting with Morgan, who was rather fascinated by the large sketchpad in his hands.

 

"Did you draw all of these?"

 

"Yes, I did."

 

"They're really pretty," Morgan said before leaning towards him in a conspiratorial manner,"Uncle Thor's pretty too, you should draw him next."

 

"So, Uhm," Thor cleared his throat in an attempt to clear the awkwardness, "do you hitchhike often Mr....."

 

"Loki, and not before last week. You're my thirteenth ride."

 

"I must be fairly unlucky to get that number."

 

Loki gave him a lavicious grin.

 

"I wouldn't say that."

 

Before he could respond, all the windows in the truck suddenly shattered, causing it to swerve. Loki quickly covered Morgan with his body to protect her from the flying glass while Thor slammed on the brakes.

 

"Is everyone okay?"

 

"I think so," Loki said shakily before looking at the child in his arms, "are you alright darling?"

 

The girl nodded shakily before burrowing herself further into his side.

 

"What on earth was that?"

 

"I'm not sure," Thor said, clearly just as shaken as his niece, " but let's get out of here before we have to find out."

 

"Agreed."

 

                                    *************

 

"Here, this should settle your nerves."

 

After reaching the house and getting Morgan calmed down enough to go to sleep, Thor joined Loki in the living room with two glasses of whiskey.

 

"Oh yes, thank you."

 

Loki took a long, slow drink before speaking again.

 

"Do weird things like this always happen around here?"

 

"No, not for as long as I've lived here at least. What about you? How are things where you're from?"

 

"Norway, and nothing overly strange," he said before downing the rest of the alcohol and setting his glass next to Thor's," but then again, I come from a lot of money and very little freedom, so I'm probably not the best expert on these kind of things."

 

"Is that why you're hitchhiking across the globe? For freedom?"

 

"It's part of it," Loki said before leaning closer, "mostly I was just tired of my father trying to set me up with his business partner's daughters when I'd rather have their sons."

 

"How tragic."

 

"Indeed."

 

Thor surged forward and captured Loki's mouth with his own. They moved against each other at a frenzied pace, with the younger man climbing into the older one's lap.

 

"Let's take this upstairs," Thor whispered once they finally broke for air.

 

"I believe that is the best idea you've had since you picked me up."

 

                ***************

 

For many years, the town of António Bay was quiet and peaceful. At midnight on its 100th birthday,however,several things went haywire.

 

The nozzles flew from their pumps at the local gas station, pouring fuel all over the ground. Car alarms started going off as the one payphone left in town kept ringing incessantly.

 

             **************

 

Mayoral secretary Darcy Lewis was awakened by the sound of her dog barking like crazy. She padded over to the window to see what was the matter, only to jump when the TV behind her suddenly popped on. Before she could react to that, an arm chair suddenly scooted forward on its own.

 

Darcy decided to swear off drinking so much wine before bedtime.

 

          *****************

 

At the local church, Father Bruce Banner was writing notes for the next week's sermon when  part of the wall in his study collapsed. He walked over to inspect the damage, and noticed a leather-bound journal. On the opening page, he saw the messy scrawl of his great-grandfather, Brian Banner. As he started to read the writing within, the information left him stunned and horrified.

 

          ***************

 

Thor was awoken from a comfortable sleep by a knocking at the front door. Quietly, he unwound his arms from Loki, slipped his pants back on, and creeped down the stairs.

 

"Alright, alright I'm coming."

 

Thor made it to the doorway just as the knocking stopped. He stepped outside and looked around, but there was nobody there. He shrugged, stepped back inside, and reengaged the locks. As he started to go back up the stairs, he noticed that the grandfather clock he'd inherited from his mother had suddenly broken.

 

                ************

 

Finally, at the end of the witching hour, a fishing trawler called the Seagrass , dissapeared within a mysterious fog.