The fall night quickly dropped down on Calvington, WI, a small, rural town with a few hundred people. The fall air gets crisp this time of year and reminds you with every foggy breath that winter is around the corner. The houses in Calvington, WI are quite far apart by most city standards, but no other house in town is further than the next that the Russel’s house. Set on a partially wooden lot of apple trees and oaks, the house is about a half mile from the Mills next door. Billy Russel and Jon Mills have been best friends since the 6th grade and are running around the Mills house as usual, jumping over the beat up picket fence and having an battle with sticks for the safety of the earth versus the alien alliance that has been sent to take over the world. As usual, they succeed in saving the earth once again, and it is time for Billy to go home. This is where our story begins.
“See ya tomorrow Jon,” Billy whips by by on his way out the door. “See ya bud,” Jon replies as the door slams shut. Billy starts down the road flipping his jacket over his shoulders and zipping it up half way, shoving his hands deep into the jacket pockets. The sound of his feet make a familiar stone crushing noise from the loose gravel that has come off of the surface of the road. Billy gets out a coin he had found earlier that day and begins to fumble fudge around with it, trying to see the date when he drops it. He stops. The road is still crunching, but much softer. Billy slowly stands up to look around. A few hundred yards away the noise stops. A shadowed figure stands with a flowing, long coat. His fedora is easy to distinguish from it’s shadow, but the man’s face cannot be seen. Billy feels a tingle in his stomach. He had never seen anyone that looked like this before and in this town, you know EVERYONE. Billy turns toward his house and keeps walking, but with a more steady pace. Crunch, crunch, crunch goes the road. Billy suddenly stops and whips around. The soft crunching noise had become louder than before. The shadowy figure with the fedora hat was now only about a hundred yards away. The figure stops. The wind blows picking up and dropping the figures coat tails. Billy turns around slowly. “Why is he following me,” he thinks starting to hear his heart beat, the branches click and the crunch or the road becoming louder and louder. Crunch, crunch. Billy looks over his shoulder. The figure is closing in. Billy walks faster. Crunch, crunch. Billy looks over his should again. The figure is only 20 yards from him. Up ahead he can see the porch lights of his house. Billy breaks into an all out run, screaming as he takes off down the road, “Mooooommmmm!!!!” Billy skips up the steps of the front porch and flies inside, slamming the door and flopping his back against it. Breathing heavy he looks at his mother, staring at her son with a confused look. “You all right?” Billy doesn’t answer. He turns around to look out the window of the door. The shadowy figure stands in the middle of the road, still unable to see his face, but the rest is plane to see. A dark trench coat flows in the breeze, his fedora sports a red, decorative feather that glows off the black background of the cap. The figure stands with his hands in his pockets. “Mom! Look! There’s a man who followed me down the road standin’ outside! He wa-.” Billy turns his head to see a deserted road. No man. No nothing.
Billy never did find out who the man was. Billy asked around, but no one knew of anyone who looked like that. The black fedora and the flowing trench coat… and the red feather, however, are ingrained in Billy’s mind. He now walks a little quicker from the Mill’s place down the road and listens to the crunch of the road as he walks home every night.