As midnight descends upon the small port town of Kingsport, Ivy Morgan, Jonas Markham, and Ray Brannigan are in Ivy’s room discussing the fire at St. Francis Catholic Church. Concerned about stories they’ve read in the Kingsport Chronicle (particularly about a recent break-in at the local library), the three decide to sneak out of the Shoremist Inn to investigate the library under the cover of night. Unfortunately, the squeaking doors and creaking floors make it difficult to stealthily exit the boarding house without waking the owner, Caroline Weeden. Disappointed, the investigators decide to go to sleep rather than arouse suspicion.
A thick fog lays over the town as Ivy, Jonas, and Ray exit the inn shortly after dawn. The unseasonable chill in the air makes it feel like early March rather than mid June. The investigators drive to Mother Gamble’s Boarding House, where Ray picks up his things and checks out of his room (Mother Gamble is not disappointed to see the curfew-breaker leaving her home). From there, they travel to the center of town, where Ray had spotted the closed and padlocked library. Walking up inconspicuously, Ivy can read the Closed for Repairs sign on the front entrance. They all notice that the police and fire stations are located directly next to the library. Satisfied with their reconnaissance and unable to navigate the town through the soupy fog, the investigators return to the Shoremist Inn.
Jonas is reading the Chronicle’s account of the St. Francis Church fire, when a knock at the door interrupts the evening meal. The landlady brings two police officers in to the dining room – one is tall, handsome, and polite; the other seems surly and preoccupied by something in his ear. The handsome officer addresses Ivy and introduces himself as Steven Lord, and the other as Otis White. It seems that Father Allighiero, who has been in and out of consciousness since the fire, has asked to speak to Ivy and Jonas. Officer Lord is aware that Father Allighiero is being moved to Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday, and suggests that she and Jonas go to visit him as soon as possible. Officer White probes his inner ear vigorously with his index finger.
Grabbing Ray and jumping in the Daimler, Ivy and Jonas carefully navigate the fog-obscured street and make their way to Congressional Hospital. Inside, they are shown to Father Allighiero’s bedside. The priest is in a pitiful state, with nearly half his body covered in blackened burns. The investigators stay close to his bedside, listening to him periodically babble in Italian (“è un demone nella chiesa”). Suddenly, Father Allighiero grabs Jonas by the shirt and opens his eyes.
“It was a demon! A DEMON! It came through the floor and attacked me! God is punishing me for what I’ve done! PUNISHING ME!”
With that, the priest slackens his grip on Jonas and passes out.
Unable to get another coherent word out of Father Allighiero, the investigators walk back to the car. As they cross the road, Ivy and Jonas see something shoot down from the sky at Ray. Looking up, they notice what appears to be a rapidly moving cloud (or pseudopod?) with numerous writhing and protruding tentacles. Suddenly, another tentacle grabs for Ivy. A young nurse, walking from the parking lot to the hospital, stands in the street looking skyward, frozen in terror. Jonas attempts to reach the woman, but she is snatched from the ground by a misty tentacle and pulled into the sky. She disappears from view, and the investigators race back in to the hospital.
Ivy, Jonas, and Ray stand in the hospital entrance, looking up at the rapidly moving cloud formation. As if turned off by a switch, the fog suddenly breaks, revealing a warm, muggy evening. From the front desk, the investigators hear a nurse yelling for someone to call the police. Within minutes, officers Lord and White are on the scene, taking statements from Ivy, Jonas, Ray, and the rest of the hospital staff. After nearly an hour, the investigators are allowed to leave.
Eager to investigate the Kingsport Library, Ivy, Jonas, and Ray head back to the center of town, where they plan to eat dinner and wait for darkness to fall. Stopping at a restaurant called the Sea’s Bounty, they are greeted by a raucous crowd who is buzzing about the rumored disappearance of several townsfolk. Listening intently, the investigators hear similar stories – something came out of the sky and snatched up some local residents. As the evening progresses, the crowd dwindles until Ivy, Jonas, and Ray are the last patrons. Wishing the proprietor well, they leave the Sea’s Bounty and quickly and quietly make their way to the library.
Pulling the locksmith’s tools from his jacket, Jonas is able to make quick work of the padlock. Ray stations himself as a lookout at the front doors while Ivy keeps an eye on the police station. Heading cautiously through the library, flashlight in hand, Jonas can immediately tell that vandals had nothing to do with the damage within. Several tables are broken in two, and bookshelves look to have been clawed into pieces. Amazingly, several sections of the library appear to have avoided damage completely. Wondering if there’s a connection between the areas of the library that were damaged, Jonas calls Ray (who asks Ivy to watch the front doors) in to investigate further, but they are unable to find a connection – the damage seems random.
With ten o’clock quickly approaching and no immediate idea of how to proceed, the investigators decide to head back to the Shoremist Inn and continue their investigation the following day.