It's the Fall of 1994 in the small milltown of Belford, New York. The leaves are turning, the kids are going back to school, and the heat of Summer is giving way to a cool, misty season. It happens every Fall.
Only this Fall, people are disappearing into that mist. Some people are found torn apart, some people are found dead for no reason, and some people aren't found at all. Other people see strange things in the mist: ghosts and campfire stories.
There's something out there in that mist. Something old. Something that has slept for a long time, but has now woken up hungry. Maybe the people of Belford could resist it, but as the terrible Fall wears on, more and more of them start...changing. Acting bizarre and violent. In the end, only a small group of teenage defenders are left to make their stand.
Author is a troper
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Hometown contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The first time we see Brenda Powers, she throws a glass at her daughter's face. Vicki ducks it with no difficulty, since it had happened so many times before, she knew it was coming.
- Both Natasha Van Dyne's mother and Valerie Robard's grandmother count as emotionally abusive.
- Alpha Bitch: Natasha Van Dyne
- An Axe to Grind: Luther Harfield's weapon of choice.
- And I Must Scream: The victims of the Heart Eater, trapped in an eternal nightmare while it feeds on their souls.
- Badass Grandpa: Sven Olsen. He knows full well that bad things tend to happen to people who talk too much about Belford's secrets, but he does it anyway so his grandson will have a fighting chance. When the "bad things" come for him, he beats them down with the family Bible. Unfortunately, they brought back-up in the form of The Reaper...
- Badass Preacher: Father Sheehan. While many holy men have used their holy symbols to drive away evil spirits, fewer have used them to physically beat them to death.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Angelina Santos-De La Cruz is kind, friendly, generous, non-judgmental, well-behaved and religious. And she will break your arm if you threaten her friends.
- Big Friendly Dog: Buddy. At first.
- The Big Guy: Angelina isn't extraordinarily large, but fills this role by sheer physical power and training. At one point she pulls two (murderously angry) fighting girls apart, and they immediately stop trying to get at each other, because: "Both of them knew, even through their fury, that they couldn’t get through Angelina Cruz to each other. They might as well be on opposite sides of a solid wall. Perhaps they could hurt her, but then she would crush them both, and they still wouldn’t get a chance to get at each other."
- "Big Dave" Baumann is a more traditional version. Jason is tall, but doesn't have a lot of bulk.
- "Psycho Mike" is this for Team Jerk Jock.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Unlike the ghosts, the Reaper and Shady never really existed as living creatures. Both were congealed out of the mist and half-believed campfire stories by the Heart Eater. This is how Shady could appear in a body of water that should have been far too small for a creature its size.
- Date Rape: Rodney does this to Vicki at least once via But Liquor Is Quicker. Given the time, place and social class in which she lives, she doesn't recognize it as such.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Spook. Without him, the Heart Eater has no sentience of its own, being nothing but the spirit equivalent of an ant lion.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Two people try to summon Satan over the course of the story. It doesn't work out well for either of them.
- Good Bad Girl: Vicki. The other sexually-active girls in the cast are perfectly nice people, but don't quite have the self-confidence to pull this off.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. While it turns out that Vicki doesn't need an abortion (but rather some help in overcoming her eating disorder), abortion was definitely considered as an option.
- Good Shepherd: Father Sheehan. He's seen far too much sorrow in all his years on the job, but he's there for his parishioners in their time of grief.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Played with. Kara experiments a bit with Jason, but although it goes well, all it does is confirm that she really is gay.
- Jerk Jock: Darren Edwards
- Psycho Mike, to the point of being Ax-Crazy.
- The Juggernaut: The Reaper
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Psycho Mike" Higgmann. The Reaper. The Roadster. The Heart Eater.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Rafael de la Cruz is a tireless, hard-working, conscientious sheriff who cares deeply for his community. He is also a good father...and he considers it his duty, as a good father, to ensure that his daughter has no further contact with her lesbian best friend. Who knows what happened during all those sleepovers over the years?
- OOC Is Serious Business: The easiest way to tell if someone has become a Changed One. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle, but when the local Big Friendly Dog turns murderous, you have a pretty good clue.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Alma Lorn, Luther Harfield, and The Roadster. Maybe the Reaper, too, but there's some question as to whether he was ever alive. All are very solid when they manifest, and seem to be under the control of a greater force. Dissolve into mist if dispelled or destroyed.
- Psycho for Hire: Except for Alma Lorn, the ghosts seem to serve this purpose for The Heart Eater.
- "Psycho Mike" Higgmann fills this role for Darren.
- Sacrificial Lion: Kara
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Natasha and Darren get away with a lot of things that kids from poorer families would not.
- Sinister Minister: Luther Harfield
- Stalker with a Crush: Spook is this to Vicki
- Stock Ness Monster: Shady. An odd and suspicious case, since all sightings report a creature far too large to survive and stay hidden in the bodies of water where the sightings took place.
- Teen Pregnancy: A recurring theme. In the opening scene, we see a couple having unprotected sex, leaving the girl to fret about the possibility of this before something attacks her out of the mist, rendering the question moot. When we first meet Val, she is discussing with Vicki her relief at avoiding this. In addition to an earlier scare that happened offscreen, Vicki has a brief scare that she may have a Child by Rape from Rodney, but it turns out that her real problem is that her eating disorder has stopped her from menstruating. Vicki and possibly Val themselves are a result of this. Overall, this is treated as the surest way for a young woman to be trapped in Belford forever.
- Angelina is constantly warned by her elder female relatives that any sexual activity at all will result in this.