• Contributing Author

OUT OF THE MIST

Updated: Jan 24

Margaret awoke screaming. It happened again…that terrible nightmare. The face is always unrecognizable, but the stature of a man is apparent.

The dream starts out with the sun streaming through the trees, with the bluest sky, and big billowy clouds. Margaret feels so happy as she walks around the park she feels so familiar with. The children are running from one another, yelling “You’re it!” “No, you’re it!” playing a very active game of tag.

Mary Zimmer, the president of the Maplewood garden club is moving throughout the park,

picking up small branches and liter.

“Good morning Margaret,” Mary yells across the lawn.

“Good morning Mary. The park looks very nice.”

It’s the exact same thing in every dream. When Margaret goes around the park for the

second time, everything changes. No one is left in the park. The children are gone, and Mrs.

Zimmer is not in sight. It has gotten a lot darker outside.

Margaret is walking slower now, looking around, frightened. There are leaves swirling by her feet as the wind picks up, and a light fog starts rolling past Mr. Farley’s drugstore, and into her path. The whole park becomes foggy, like a dark cloud hanging over her, and the whole area.

Then he appears, out of the mist. He has no face, just arms reaching out, making his way

toward her. Margaret tries to scream, but she can’t make a sound. It is at this point she awakes.

Having lunch with her best friend, Joyce, hours later, Margaret tells her about these dreams,

and how this was the third time it happened.

“How can I have the same dream over and over. It’s not normal. I must be losing my mind.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself Margaret; you lost your mind a long time ago,” Joyce said,

laughing.

“Yah, you’re right .” Margaret replied, laughing as well.

“I think you need a break from work. You need to get away from all the pressure.”

“Joyce, I run a miniature golf course! There’s nothing high pressure about it.”

“Margaret you work too many hours.”

“I need the money for school. Tuition is due at the end of the month, and I’m still short.

Margaret answered, frustrated.

Margaret, at age thirty two, decided to go back to college to finish earning her Business

degree. She still has another year to go, and it’s been hard paying for it up front. She didn’t

want to be burdened with student loans when she finished.

“I’ve got it Margaret! I know how you can make the rest of the money you need.”

“I’m not doing anything illegal Joyce. You know what a chicken I am.”

“It’s not illegal. My friend Troy just made a ton of money betting on the ponies.”

“Horse racing?” Margaret questioned in surprise.

“ I don’t know anything about horse racing.”

“Well, Troy does, and we’re going with him the next time he goes.” Joyce said emphatically.”

“I don’t know Joyce, the money I do have, I’d like to keep.”

“Hey, I’ve known Troy to walk away from a race with a couple of thousand dollars.”

“Really?” Margaret asked questionably.

“Yes and some people make a lot more than that.” Joyce answered convincingly.

“Well, I guess I could bet a few bucks.”

“The more you bet, the more your return is. You have to spend money to make money. I’ll

Check with Troy and see when he’s going to Pennsylvania again.”

“Pennsylvania?” Margaret asked with a confused look on her face.

“He always plays in PA. There’s quite a few places to go betting on horses. He really likes it

there.”

“Well let me know” Margaret said as she stood to leave.

“I’m going to the pharmacy on our way to class to pick up some melatonin. I’m hoping it will help me sleep without the nightmares.”

“Ok.. I’ll call you later.” Joyce responded as she got up to leave.

After class, Margaret went home, and immediately started working on her assignment. She

needed to put together a pseudo business of some sort, explaining how she would manage it

from top to bottom. She had no idea what business she was going to pursue. Margaret was

scribbling down some ideas when the phone rang.

“Hello? Margaret?, Joyce here. What are you doing?”

“Just trying to figure a class assignment of mine.”

“Forget that, what are you doing tomorrow ?”

“Just working at the range. Why? Margaret asked curiously.

“Could you get someone to cover you for the day?” Joyce asked.

“I probably could. Why? What’s up?”

Margaret found herself becoming increasingly curious.

“Get your money together baby! We are going to the races” Joyce yelled excitedly.

“We’re going to Pennsylvania?” Margaret questioned in surprise.

“Yep! We’re going to Penn National, where they have the thoroughbreds racing.”

“How much money do you have on you?”

“Well, I have about five hundred dollars, but I’m not spending that much!”

“You don’t know that. Bring it with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a vibe, or a hunch, or

whatever it is, and you’ll just know that that’s the horse that’s going to make you rich!’

“Joyce, you’re nuts!.”

“Yes I am, crazy over those ponies!’

“Margaret, nine am, in front of your house, and bring all your money. See you then.”

“She just hung up on me!” Margaret said out loud. “What do I wear to the races?” asking

herself.

She laughed, and ran into her bedroom, going through the clothes in her closet. Margaret

has not been this excited for a very long time. She set her alarm for seven am, took her

melatonin, and went to bed.

“She found herself walking in the park, and it was already dark. There was no one around and the fog quickly came in. There, in front of her, coming out of the mist, was a figure of a man with no face, just arms stretching toward her.”

She found herself walking in the park, and it was already dark. There was no one around, and the fog quickly came in. There, in front of her, coming out of the mist, was a figure of a man with no face, just arms stretching toward her. Then he was gone. Margaret woke up for just a few minutes, without fear, and she quickly fell back to sleep, having another dream, a nice dream, that kept her until the alarm went off.

Margaret was dressed, and waiting in front of her building before Troy and Joyce got there.

She felt very nervous, and kept feeling for her purse. She was carrying over five hundred dollars with her, and was very uncomfortable, thinking someone else might know that. The car horn startled her, as her friends drove up.

“Well, how did you sleep?” Joyce asked.

“Well, the melatonin must have worked somewhat. I had a small version of my nightmare,

and it didn’t even bother me. I went right back to sleep.

“Hey Troy, thank you so much for taking me.”

“I’m really glad you are joining us. I just hope you win some money.”

“I hope so too!”, Margaret said enthusiastically.

It was a pleasant trip, taking one and a half hours. WELCOME TO PENN NATIONAL was on the sign at the entrance. There were so many people gathering around. Trainers were exhibiting their horses, walking them pass the audience. A portable bar was being set up on the second tier of seats, and food was accessible everywhere. Joyce and Margaret were running to keep up with Troy, who was apparently familiar with the place. He went up to a vendor, and bought each of them a program. The horses were all listed with information about each of them.

“The next race in in an hour. ”Troy announced.

“Lets step outside, and get a drink while we look through the program. “

They found a small table close to the bar. Margaret found herself looking around for a drink,

as she was getting very nervous.

“Hey guys, drinks are on me. You drove.”

Hey Joyce, have you noticed the number of women wearing hats? What’s with the hats?”

“I’m not sure, maybe it’s a racing thing. There sure are a lot of hats floating around.” Joyce

answered as she continued to look around.

“Ok ladies, the drinks have arrived.”

Troy set up the drinks, and Margaret didn’t waste a minute getting started on her whiskey

sour. It was only a few minutes later when she dropped her drink and gasped!

“Guys! Look at the name of the sixth horse!”

Joyce read it out loud; “Out of the mist Maxy”


“Oh Margaret, that’s the one! Your dreams told you. You have to put all your money on

him.”

“That horse is 30:1. It’s a loser.” Troy laughing as he said it.

“Don’t listen to him Margaret. Being 30:1, you’ll win real big” Joyce said excitedly.

“I have a strong feeling that I have to do it, I must do it, I’m going to do it!” Margaret said

nervously as she walked up to the window to place her bet.

“I’d like to place five hundred dollars across the board on Out of the mist Maxy.”

“Well I’m going with a real winner. I’m placing one hundred on Louieville Lexy.”

“I’ve got a hundred here for Smokey Sunrise because I like the name.” Joyce added.

“Well let’s go outside and look at our winners.” Troy suggested.

“I think we need another rounds of drinks. The race will be starting soon. Margaret

said nervously.

The trainers were walking the horses around. They were all so beautiful. Margaret caught a

glimpse of Out of the mist Maxy. He was trying to walk the other way, and he was shaking his

head up and down, and from side to side. He was awfully vocal too, neighing loudly, while his trainer was trying to keep him in line.

“Oh great!” Margaret said out loud. “There’s six horses in front of us, and mine is the only

one acting like a moron! He’ll probably run the wrong way.”

The announcer began, so they took their seats.

“Well, welcome to today’s racing. These ponies are pumped, and ready to go. Well except

for maybe Out of the Mist Maxy. He looks like he changed his mind.”

The announcer laughed, as well as most of the audience.

“Oh No! I just lost five hundred dollars.” Margaret cried out.

“Well they’re off!” the announcer yelled out. “And moving out in front is Deisel Engine,

followed by Louieville Lexy, neck in neck with Smokey Sunrise. Coming around in fourth place is Louie XVII, followed by Stewie Rocks. Bringing up the rear is Out of the Mist Maxy.

Margaret swallowed the rest of her drink, and closed her eyes. FIVE hundred dollars, FIVE

hundred dollars, she saying over and over in her head.

“What is this folks? Out of the Mist Maxy apparently woke up!!! He’s coming around the

outside, and is neck to neck with Deisel Engine coming into the final stretch. We have Deisel

Engine alongside Out of the Mist Maxy. Louieville Lexy is gaining!”

Everyone was on their feet, screaming and jumping. Margaret couldn’t breathe.

“And coming into the finish is…Do you believe it folks…Out of the Mist Maxy!!”

“Oh my God! I won! I won!” Margaret screamed. Troy and Joyce grabbed her, and

congratulated her. Louieville Lexy came in second, and Smokey Sunrise, fourth.

“Margaret, do you know how much you won? “ Troy asked her.

“No, I have no idea.”

“You won fifteen thousand dollars.”

Margaret almost fell to her knees. “Oh I don’t believe it!” “I love you guys. Thank you so

much for bringing me. I could pay off school for the whole year! I’m so happy!”

“Come on guys, dinner is on me. But right after that I need to get right home.”

“What’s your hurry?” Troy asked.

“I need to go right to sleep.” Margaret answered.

“Oh so you can have another nightmare?” Troy questioned.

“You know it.” Margaret said, smiling.

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