Norwood Public Library is launching a monthly Teen Book Box program, sponsored by the Friends of Norwood Public Library. Each month, up to ten teens can receive a book box, filled with library books, snacks, and surprises. Library staff will hand select books to suit each teen’s tastes based on their application/survey. The library books and boxes will be returned, but the snacks and surprises are for the teens to keep! This program begins in January 2024. Applications will be accepted the first two weeks of December.
The Season of Fog
By Arianna Ostroski
12 March 2001
I live in Colima State, Mexico, my name is Adela Perez, and I’m fifteen years old. So tonight, I was out on a late night walk. I walked peacefully on the streets of my hometown. I had simply needed to escape the pressures of the world for a minute, and the only way I could avoid the eyes of the people around was to go out while they were sleeping. My mom understands the worries I hold and had allowed me to leave for a short walk. It was about eleven at night and I had been walking quietly, in solitude until I looked up at the sky, which was unusually cloudy for this hour.
“Huh.” I muttered to myself. I was about to dismiss any thought of it but of course I lowered my head and checked behind me out of instinct. I turned around to find fog so thick it looked like you could cut it. Like any smart kid would, I decided to turn around and go home before it got any worse.
“I’ll be lucky if I even manage to find my way home through all of this.” I thought aloud, knowing all well that my house was only down the street.
As I stepped into the haze, my eyes watered and the air felt like it was drowning me, the stink of the violet haar invaded and burned my nostrils, my breath hitched and I quickly stepped back, gasping for clean air. The mist moved towards me, and as it did, I remembered that my neighbors’ grandparents had been in previous world wars.
Maybe the neighbors have gas masks stored away? I thought. Now, this situation can’t be that bad that I need to break into my sixty year old neighbor’s house, can it? I approached the old man’s home and crouched by the door. I just glanced to the side of me and noticed that the fog was creeping closer, I brushed it off and went back to what I was doing.
Quickly and stealthily, I removed a bobby pin from my hair and got the lock open. Like a shadow, I stepped quietly in the house. Being the skinny, lightweight girl I am, I found it easy to avoid waking anyone up. I made my way to the basement door and went down the stairs.
I felt along the dusty, gray brick walls of the basement for a light switch, as I did, I felt a string graze my forehead. I pulled on the string and on turned the basement light. I tool in my surroundings, struggling to keep my cool. I suddenly realized the situation and the panic set in. Lord, I hoped it was all a dream.
“These should be useful.”
I smelled something funny, so I tilted my head up to the basement windows to find the gas sneaking in through the slightly ajar window. That was when I really started to panic, right until I discovered a decent sized box labeled “war utilities.” I opened the box and desperately searched for a gas mask.
If I don’t find one of those visors right now I could die.
I felt something circular and pulled it up. I was holding onto the air filter of an oxygen mask, of course, the rest was attached to it, thank heavens. Thankfully there were two there, I grabbed both just to be safe. There happened to be a crossbody bad so I took that and placed the extra mask and the flashlights in it. I pulled my long, dark coffee colored hair into a ponytail before fastening the mask to my head, and just in the nick of time because the mist that was infiltrating the room was about to reach my face.
I made my way out of the house and the fog was already way past the door, it had invaded the entirety of the house as well, which only made me worry for the safety of my mamá. My mother is the most amazing person in the world, she cares so much for me and brings out the best in me. She is always there whether I’m laughing or I’m crying. If anything happened to her, I don’t know what I’d do.
As I walked down the empty street, straining my eyes to try and see more than three feet away from me, I grabbed a flashlight and switched it on. It didn’t help as tall, the only difference was it made the film in front of me appear white.
“Damn it” I sighed and put the flashlight away, but I was silenced from my groaning and complaining by the groans of someone else. It sounded almost as if they were dying.
“Hello?” I spoke loudly, in order to be heard from a decent distance.
I soon discovered that I should not have yelled that because I then heard footsteps rapidly approaching, whatever it was was charging at me. I screamed as I saw close to me the decaying face of my kind neighbor Héctor. I was being attacked by some sort of zombie, he had a tight grip on my arm and was trying to eat my flesh. I was struggling to get the undead man off of me before I thought to grab the big metal flashlight from my bag and bash him with it.
He dropped, weak, twitching, foaming at the mouth.
“Disgusting.” I proceeded with caution After a few feet I came across a long metal pipe on the ground.
“Oh lucky me” I said unenthusiastically, even though I meant it wholeheartedly.
I picked up the pipe and carried it with both of my hands, holding it tightly, preparing to defend myself. As I made my way down the street, I looked out for more neighbors affected by the undeath that came with the fog. A little ways down the line, three of the zombies leaped at me, one I knocked down as it was charging toward me, I had hit it in the head with the pipe. The other two, I whacked ’em both in the head in one swift move of my two handed self defense item. I beat them around a little just to be sure.
“These poor people…they don’t deserve this.”
I moved from the road to the sidewalk just to read the house numbers easier.
“One sixty six…one sixty four…” I counted down all the way to my address and kicked in my door.
“Mamá!” I shouted for her, muffled yet loud.
“Adela! Is that you, mija?” My mother questioned loudly from behind the basement door.
“Yes, mamá, I’m home!” I exclaimed.
“Mamá, do not open the door, the gas is all in the house, let me come to you.” I opened the basement door. She was waiting at the top of the stairs and closed myself in with her. There were no windows in the basement, and prior to my entry, she had covered the cracks above and below the door, and the vents. So the air quality in my basement was better than the air quality outside, even with no ventilation.
“I have a dust mask for you, in case we leave, but be warned, it’s dangerous outside” I told her. Before responding she hugged me tight.
“I’m just glad you’re safe, my love. I tried to get outside and call for you but I couldn’t get through that smoke, I’m so sorry.” She apologized, but I understood.
“It’s okay, I’m glad you didn’t go into it. It’s like an apocalypse out there, if you had become one of those zombies, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.”
19 March 2002
It’s been a week since the fog rolled in, and it hasn’t cleared up. Mama and I have been living off of the preserved vegetables and jellies in the basement, hydrating with the water jugs that we had in case of an emergency. Today, we decided to travel outside of town to find clean air.
“It would only be logical to find out of there’s some place better, even if it is risky to go out” I suggested to my mother.
“Sí,mija, as much as I don’t want to agree with you, hiding won’t help us anymore.”
We left with what little fuel there was in our tiny car. After a short drive, we discovered our town was the only place where there was a haze like that, so we moved somewhere else, not even turning back to collect our things.
24 November 2018
I live in Jalisco State, Mexico, my name is Adela Perez, and I am thirty-two years old. After two decades of research, I’ve discovered that the fog comes once every two hundred years, and it stays for twenty.
I remember telling my mother one day, “I feel for the next kid who in two hundred years has to go through exactly what I di, unless of course, they find some way to stop it or lessen it.”
“Well, we won’t find out in our lifetime” she sort of joked.
I’ve read fiction with concepts similar to the reality I lived in my hometown, but I never thought it could be based on real events. Who knows, maybe I’ll publish these entries and attain fame just for living through tragedy, a mass death…the season of fog.
If I Could Kill You
By Celia Cragg
If I could kill you without being caught I would
It’s all I’ve ever wanted so maybe I should
No one would care if you weren’t ever found
They’d be thankful if you were six feet underground
They’ll get tired of pretending you’re someone they love
Your life could be over with just one shove
I’d torture you and tear you limb from limb
Then I’d throw you in the water and watch you desperately try to swim
If they find me near the scene I’ll make it look like a coincident
I’ll cry and say it was a horrible incident
While I laugh inside as I remember your pleading face
I’ll smile when they think they solved your case
I fake a smile when I see you but death is running through my head
Everything would be so much better off if you were
So I’ll fake being your friend as long as I can
Don’t listen to people that tell you I’m a madman
Besides I’m all you’ll ever want and need
Your death is all I want, guaranteed
The Ghost Town
by Caitlin Donahue
There wasn’t supposed to be anything interesting happening in Shurfield. Everyone came here for peace and quiet. Almost everybody has a story from their great grandparents about how they came here to settle down in a small safe town. Everybody except for the Akbar family.
The Akbars were here before everyone else and there’s rumors about how they’re vampires or witches. Of course, everyone knows those are just stories people made up around the campfire. That’s exactly what George Marsh thought too, until there was finally something in the town paper worth reading. According to the latest gossip around town, there’re been a string of deaths in Shurfield that can’t be quite explained. Official reports say that it’s a wild animal going on a frenzy but George knows that isn’t right. He has a nagging feeling tat something is going to happen.
“GEORGE.” Mom screamed from the bottom of the stairs. “YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!”
I grunted and threw on some clothes. I gave them a sniff and decided they were clean enough. Besides, if I waited one more second until I went downstairs, I’m sure my mom would explode. I grabbed an apple and finished it just in time to catch the bus.
I was trying not to fall asleep for most of the day but something piqued my interest in 8th period, Adela. She was definitely weird enough to be the murderer. Today she was sitting in the corner writing something down.
“Dude.” Wyatt whispered with a judgy look on his face. “Stop staring.”
“What do you think she’s writing?” I asked back.
“Probably a list of people to kill.” He smirked, and I smiled back at him.
Finally, the bell rang. I was about to leave but while Adela was rushing out, she dropped a small slip of paper. This was my chance to see what she was up to. I “accidentally” dropped my pen and swiped the paper with it before I walked out the door.
When I got out of the school doors I finally looked at the piece of paper. A wave of disappointment washed over me as I saw it was just an address. It didn’t last long though , because then I realized that the house was on Cemetery Road. I didn’t notice because the real name is Smith Street, but I guess everyone decided that it wasn’t scary enough already so they made an unofficial name change.
Cemetery Road isn’t actually where the cemetery is, but it’s called that because it’s the start of an area of Shurfield no one goes near. When all the young couples decided to new cooler things and left their old parents to move into retirement homes, suddenly all these houses got abandoned and half of Shurfield got turned into a ghost town.
Anyway, this is why I knew I needed to go to this house. If Adela was doing some witchcraft in an old abandoned house, I wanted to catch her doing it.
After my parents were fast asleep, I knew it was my time to shine. I mean after years of me resisting the perfect circumstances to sneak out, I finally had a good reason to. They really made it too easy since they gave me the downstairs bedroom.
I carefully opened my drawer and picked up the flashlight inside. I’ve watched enough horror movies to know to at the very least, bring a flashlight. I creeped out of the door and to the back of the house. Then I jumped on my old rusty bike and started to ride all the wat across town.
The streetlights were bright and the streets were mostly smooth at first but the closer I got to the dead part of town, the more the lights flickered and the more potholes there were. When I got to Cemetery Road, I leaned my bike against the last working streetlight and flicked on my flashlight.
Of course I wasn’t scared of anything, but at that moment I wished my flashlight was just a little bit brighter. I pulled out the paper in my pocket and looked at the house number. I let out a big sigh and started walking towards the other end of town. Did it really have to be that far? The farther I got from my bike the more I could hear my heart beating over the sounds of trees clawing at the old cracked windows and owls cooing from what used to be attics.
I was totally being a wimp, but it didn’t matter because it was just me and the darkness surrounding me. At least, I think I’m alone? Suddenly, just before I get to the house I hear a twig snap behind me. I whip my head around and stare at the empty side of the road. I see a raccoon scurry across the street and I feel my whole body relax.
“See?” I whispered to myself. “Nothing to be afraid of.”
I take a deep breath and finally step up the moss covered stone stairs of the house. I’ve gone way too deep into this to back out now, I think to myself as I push the door open. I try to be quiet but the door creaks every inch I move it. The house looks almost just as I imagined it with all the dust and cobwebs but there’s something different. When I thought of what it might look like, I assumed there would be cloth covered furniture and emptiness but this house has a strange feeling about it like I just stepped through a dusty time machine.
I walked along the hallway until I stumbled upon a room with the door open. My stomach was filled with butterflied but I pushed through and went inside to reveal a home office. In the middle of the room there was a big grand wooden desk and behind it was a floor to ceiling bookshelf expanding almost to both sides of the wall. I walked around and admired the perfectly preserved room before something caught my eye.
My mouth went dry as I saw part of the floor that didn’t have a layer of dust on it. There were footprints that looked like they walked straight into the bookcase. I walked up to where the footprints stopped and I looked at the books in front of me. There was one book that made my heart skip a bear. I could see where someone had tried to grab a book, and I did the same. All I could hear was my heavy breathing as part of the bookcase popped out and I swung the secret door open. I took a step inside and I was dumfounded at what I saw.
Inside the secret door, there was a small room with even more books? Before my eyes could finish racing around the room, none other than Adela popped up behind me with a small pocket knife pointed towards my neck. I held my breath as she spoke.
“What are you doing here?” She whispered angrily. “Did you follow me?!”
All I could muster was a whisper. “Please don’t kill me.”
She had a confused look on her face as she stepped back with her knife still tightly clutched in her hand.
“Excuse me what?” she laughed. “Really? You think I’m some kind of psycho don’t you?”
All I could do was give her a blank stare.
“No. I already figured out who did it so you can go home to your mommy and go to bed before you mess this up for me” she muttered as she turned away and resumed flipping through an ancient looking journal.
“Wait who?” I asked.
“None of your business” she replied with an attitude.
“Well you just pointed a knife at me so why shouldn’t I believe it’s you and tell everyone what I think?”
She rolled her eyes and answered back “because if I were a murderer I would have already killed you.”
I thought for a moment. “Let me help you, I mean if you’re so determined to catch this guy you’ll need some muscle to help you out.”
She looked at me with a disgusted look on her face and snapped back “I don’t think you’ll be much use against a ghost.”
I laughed in her face but quieted down after I saw the seriousness on her face.
“You think I’m joking?” she replied back.
I shook my head and said “I guess not but I really do want to help.”
“Well lucky you because I’ve already got most of this figured out. I think this dude that lived here before it got abandoned is haunting this town.” I must have had a confused look on my face because she continued. “I found his diary in this room, it was kinda cryptic but it said his whole family died from pneumonia.”
“So he’s going on a killing spree because he is sad?” I scoffed.
“Well that’s the most logical explanation I have.” Adela said with a sigh. “We both know it wasn’t a wild animal.”
I shrugged and asked “OK well what should we do then?”
“I think we should find the family’s graves” she said with a nervous smile.
“Seriously?” I asked wide eyed. “You really think it’s a good idea to visit an angry ghost’s grave?!”
“Do you have a better idea?” she grumbled with a bit of annoyance in her voice.
I said nothing and we both walked out of the house. She quickly grabbed her bike from the side of the house and we made our way towards mine. After we reached it I begrudgingly got on my bike and we sped off in the direction of the real cemetery. We rode in silence until we reached the gate of the old beaten down fence around the graveyard.
“If I die it’s your fault” I mumbled, wishing I just went home instead.
The lock was ancient so it didn’t take much for it to break off the gate. We both cringed as the door made a long drawn out screeching sound as it opened. We slipped through and made our wat to the start of the first of many long rows of graves. I shivered as we began looking for the name that was on the name of the diary.
“Oh” I said, “you never told me what name I’m looking for.”
Her face went a little more pale.
“Akbar” she mumbled. “And no, I didn’t know him, I only found the address from my parents because I overheard their conversations. There’s nothing much to talk about so let’s just keep looking.”
I nodded my head and didn’t say a word. It took a little time but we finally found all four graves of the family. When I saw them I kind of understood why this dude wanted to haunt the town. All the graves were almost all covered in vines, broken, and covered in trash. I knew there were some rumors about the Akbar family, but were people really that crazy and superstitious?
It took until the sun started to rise, but me and Adela cleared all the vines and did our best to find any chipped parts of the graves and place them in their correct spot. We weren’t quite sure what else we could do to make this ghost happy so we hurried home and we agreed to meet up after school the next day if anything else happened. We waited and waited but as quick as things went haywire, Shurfield was quiet again.
Me and Adela never really talked again after that night, but we had an unspoken respect for each other. I’m still not sure of it was a vengeful ghost or just a bear, but I’ll still remember that day as one of my proudest moments.
Norwood Public Library is holding another writing contest this October! Kids ages 12-18 years old are invited to showcase their creativity in a local writing contest. Share your scary stories and poems with us!
A panel of three judges will choose a total of THREE winners. Winners will have their works posted on the Norwood Public Library website and receive a $25 Amazon gift card, generously donated by the Friends of the Norwood Public Library.
The categories will be:
Judges will not see the author names of submitted works. The winners will be announced on October 31st.
To enter, please see submission guidelines below:
Word limit: 2,000 maximum. No minimum.
Format: Typed. PDF, Word, or Google Doc.
Submissions will be judged on style, creativity, and grammar.
(The judges request the contest contain no sexual assault, young child deaths, or animal cruelty. For further clarification, please email email@example.com).
Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or print copies can be dropped off at Norwood Public Library.
DEADLINE: October 27th at 4pm. We open for submissions October 1st.
Our Summer Reading Program is about to begin! We have many fun events and reading incentives to entertain and educate throughout the month of July and into August. Our Read-At-Home program kicks off July 1st. Patrons of all ages can track their reading in two ways: log reading on paper forms available at the library or track reading via nowlibny10.readsquared.com.
Check out our calendar for fun events throughout the summer!
Leonard Halpern (40 votes) and Kathleen Hartman (40 votes) have been elected to serve terms commencing June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2026 on the Norwood Public Library Board of Trustees. The election was held May 16, 2023 from 12:00pm to 8:00pm.
Congratulations to EmmaLee Farns, winner of our Spring Writing Contest for Teens. EmmaLee won a $30 gift certificate to The Brewer Bookstore, sponsored by The Friends of Norwood Public Library. Thank you to all of the teens who submitted their works. With 30+ submissions, our judges had some talented works to read and tough choices to make. Keep writing! Here is EmmaLee’s winning poem:
Painting The Sky
By EmmaLee Farns
It was a summer evening
riding in the car with friends.
The music was loud,
echoing in my ears
bouncing off of my many thoughts.
The only thing I could think about
I knew she had painted
the sky for me that night,
For there was a beautiful sunset.
I hung my feet out of the window
and closed my eyes,
trying to clear my many racing thoughts
feeling the wind blowing against my feet.
And I finally felt peace.
Our new catalog is here! Thank you for your patience. In addition to checking out items, we are now able to register new users, renew items, place holds, and more!
Our new catalog launches April 26th! While we migrate, our online catalog goes offline around 4:30pm on April 18th. However, patrons can still check out books at our library and eBooks should be available to patrons with active library cards. During this transition in services, renewals, holds, and user registrations are temporarily paused. At Norwood Public Library, we will be open during our regular hours. Please note that some of the libraries in our system have adjusted their hours during this time when you plan your visit.
Full services will be up and running soon! Thank you for your patience. We’re looking forward to our brand new system!