The fog (revisted)
My oldest piece of prose on Prose:
It appeared suddenly. One moment Mira was enjoying a beautiful sunny day hiking, the next she was ensconced in thick fog. She reached out to touch it, then drew back. She could no longer see the lake or the tree tops; only the rocks at her feet and the twisted roots that threatened to do the same to her ankles. She walked slowly, gingerly, hoping she could feel her way back to the main path without ending up falling off a cliff, tumbling in the lake, or wandering aimlessly in the dark with the bears.
The warmth of the day was gone. She felt a chill so deep she began to shiver. She could hear her heart beating in her ears. She stood motionless, trying to calm herself so she could listen, hear. Something. Someone. The air was so still. All life in the forest seemed to have ceased its happy song with the onset of the fog.
She continued her trek. She couldn’t see any of the markers on the trees so she had to hope she was following the path to the parking lot. She kicked herself for seeking the solace of the silent woods rather than staying in the main areas, but she had wanted to avoid the loud, joy-filled chatter of rowdy kids and barking dogs.
Minutes passed. There were more rocks and the path was climbing, not turning as she thought it should, but she was afraid to change direction. So she climbed. Then she saw some movement in the cottony air in front of her. She couldn’t breathe. She thought, what are you supposed to do when you see a bear? Climb a tree? No, they can climb trees. Run? No, they’ll chase you, and when they catch you, they’ll rip your throat out with bear claws so sharp your head will hang listless and bloody from your shoulders. Oh God! What to do? Lay down! That’s it! She lay down on the cold, hard ground and the shape came closer, bigger, louder. She could hear its ragged breath. She was terrified. She closed her eyes and thought, no one knows I’m here. I will die and no one will know where to look.
It stopped. She waited. She felt its warm breath on her face. And then it licked her. And someone said, “Hey, boy, wait up. What the hell?”
She opened her eyes and the biggest dog she’d ever seen was standing over her.
“Miss, are you okay?”
“Oh my god! A dog!” She started laughing uncontrollably as she sat up. “Yes, I’m fine. I thought your dog was a bear. I was playing dead.”
“Well, you’re probably lucky it was Mr. Bojangles here. Not sure a bear would have stopped at sniffing and licking.”
“Yeah, stupid I guess. I didn’t know what to do.” She dusted herself off. “Am I near the main road yet? I feel like I’ve been walking for hours in this fog.”
“It did come in quickly, didn’t it?”
“Yes, I was really surprised. One second it was all sun and blue skies, the next it was a bad horror flick.”
“Ha, yeah, well you’re going the wrong way. We have to head back toward the lake. Mr. Bojangles and I are heading that way. You’re welcome to tag along.”
“Thanks so much,” she said, glad for the company of the man and the dog.
Of course, not all beasts have paws and sharp teeth. Some rescue lost woman in lonely woods immersed in fog that hides blood and muffles screams as well as the splash of a lifeless body thrown in a secluded lake.