The tiny pond by the old tree, as it was known by the inhabitants of the small Midwestern town of Applecroft, was just that. A small, gentle pond with very few fish and even fewer distinctions. It was situated near the old oak tree by the abandoned windmill, near Oak’s Grove. For years, the windmill of Applecroft was a source of pride for most people there; it had once been made famous by a big, important Hollywood director who had used the mill in his newest release called Death on Windmill Hill. He had come in with his big production dollars, cameras, props, actors, and extras to find the perfect spot for his latest vision. He chose to film the movie (at least parts of it, anyway) outside of town, near Oak’s Grove and its soon to be famous windmill.
The film was completed, and the movie production moved on, back to Hollywood. The director received fairly good reviews, although many critics argued that the best performance in the entire motion picture was the old mill. It was this, more than anything, that gave the windmill its fame. Of course, the movie left something to be desired, at least for the quaint people of Applecroft, who were not quite used to those city “horror flicks”. The town was grateful, nonetheless, of being a part of a big Hollywood motion picture event...even if it was for nothing more than having their old mill used in a movie.
For a brief period of time, people would visit the small town and make the mile-long journey to Oak’s Grove to get a glimpse of the old windmill, and take photographs and videos. They would have picnics and laugh, and take turns pointing out certain places along the way that seemed familiar to them from Death on Windmill Hill. Many would re-enact scenes from the movie…most especially the famous death scene that involved the killer shooting the policeman, who promptly fell into the tiny pond by the old tree. Some of the older members of Applecroft were not too happy with so many strangers disrupting their old fishing pond, but their grumbles of annoyance fell on deaf ears. After all, tourists coming to visit the old windmill would always buy souvenirs, shop in the stores, stay in the inn, or just sit down to a nice dinner. There was money to be made, and most of the young people of Applecroft knew a good thing when they saw it. For the most part, the “Millers” (as they would be later called) would come visit in the summertime, when the grass was bright green, and ducks swam in the tiny pond. They would take their tours and their pictures, and would most often drive back home the next day, staying at the inn over night for a very reasonable (to them) price. Some tourists would even try to sleep the night inside the mill, but the caretaker Mr. Sutherland would have none of that.
As the years passed, the windmill lost some of its appeal, and the crowds that gathered to admire it grew smaller and smaller. Eventually, the tourists stopped coming, altogether. The town slowly changed from a tourism hot-spot, into the same quiet, peaceful town that it once used to be. The old mill became nothing more than an old landmark; an ancient remembrance of a more exciting time. Time and weather took their turn on the windmill, until it became nothing more than a shell of its former self. The walls were crumbling, the well was dry, and the windows were broken. Moss and weeds had even begun to grow along the base and north wall, facing the pond. During a full moon, the old windmill would become more ominous than it was in the horror movie. For all its history and fame, however, the windmill became nothing more than a derelict structure in a small town, near a tiny pond.
It was not until that horrible night in November…when the pond was stained red, and the old tree burned with orange fire, that people began to take an interest in the windmill again.