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The Fog

A sad short story

 

She wakes up next morning, turns and twists for another ten minutes, figuring out where she is and even more trying to grasp the meaning of the nightmare and what caused it. To no avail, again. She remembers every second of it and there were many of them in total blackness, neither a sound nor movement. Just nothing for what seems hours now. Reluctantly, she lets her faded memory scroll through the night again. It was just too awful. The darkness and the will to give in to it at all was there, like before. Then she remembers the bright light, just before waking up, it seemed. As if that was worth considering something hopeful anyway. No problem, it was just a dream Angie, lil girl. So she tells herself for the next five minutes, it was just another dream.

The yellow sunlight hits her face through the cracks in the curtains and makes her smile a little at the memory of last night’s sunset. It was been a beautiful one. There was red, orange and even violet. And it moved, or the sky moved. At least she thinks it did.

“Get up, Angie.”

Her inside voice calling. So silly.

“Ok, take one step at a time, girl. You have been naughty last night…, again.”

She puts on her silky bathrobe and takes a deep breath to brace herself to face the mirror, a pure disaster.

“No way out of this, is there, Angie? Come on, one step at a time. Just do it.”

She returns to the bed and pretends to rest for a few minutes, enough to get some courage for step one. The toothpaste tastes awful and makes her puke a little when she spits it out. The wall beneath her eyes looks like a dungeon, so deep.

“Time for some make-up before facing the world, lil girl”.

It sounds in her head like a hammer beating the anvil. She needs to sit down again and returns to the bed, breathing in distress. Until her breath comes easy again. She jumps up, too soon and collapses again.

“Too soon, Angie. Take your time… You have to fix that make-up.”

“Yeah.”

She stumbles to the bathroom again and takes another look, fumbles a bit with the blush brush and tries to amend the damage of last night. A little colour on her eyelids brightens her up together with the mascara and some bright shiny lipstick gives her a fresh look again. When she opens the curtains, the full sunlight fills up the room with a brightness that makes her almost happy. Little pieces of old dust drift in the quiet air and create a display of chaotically moving particles, unaware of each other but nevertheless seemingly interacting. A feeling of wanting to make this a beautiful day overcomes her as she chooses a frivolously short white dress with a pink satin shawl around her waist.

“A cigarette, Angie. You need the cigarette.”

She sighs and walks to the kitchen. She lights up and watches the smoke curl to fascinating shapes, soon to settle in a slowly pulsating layer over the table.

The percolator gurgles out steaming water onto the coffee filter while she carefully prepares the cup with cream and sugar.

Although the sun is shining, the air is cold and clammy outside, but quiet as if time stands still. Again, the coffee fumes dance in the air in an almost impossible choreography of floating angels. She sips from the coffee and lights up another cigarette, while admiring the colourful display of autumn leaves on the old oak trees beyond the lawn. The damp leaves even shimmer as they gracefully glide down to earth and find their final resting place. To disappear forever after giving back their nutrients to the tree that grew them, leaving them with as an ignored skeleton.

“Too gruesome.”

She shivers away from the voice and just walks down the stairs to feel the grass and the leaves covering it. Her heels sink into the moist soil.

“Do something today, Angie. You can do something. Think.”

“Shut up!”

She touches the grass and giggles.

“I’ll show you what I can do,… again.”

She sits down with her arms around her legs, stares and listens to the trees. It is so quiet she can hear the dew drops splatter on the carpet of fallen leaves. The moisture of the grass slowly creeps up her clothes. The thought of ruining her dress in this folly makes her want to laugh out loud. She slides down on her back, closes her eyes and concentrates on becoming as damp as the soil, well aware of the charred walls of the guest house. The smell still lingers and so do the screams.

She returns to the house and sits down in her office, looking at the mess she left last night and sighs again. It is just no good going on like this. The pretty dress clings to her skin and it feels cold. It is time for a warm up. The martini’s slide down, makes her shiver and sweat at the same time.

“Angie!”

“Yes, I know. Shut up.”

She walks to the bedroom and lies down, thinking about how she screwed up. She feels the drowsiness come and succumbs to it. Hours later, it is already dark again. She looks outside and sees nothing but a vague picture of the garden of what was before. No leaves, no grass, no trees. There is just emptiness, nothing to look forward to. But the full moon, shining brightly through the fog creates a ghostly shimmer in the sky. The fog itself moves in waves. She wants to go outside again, feeling it all again.

 

At first it feels weird, standing alone on the lawn. The woods seem far away and unreachable at first sight. When she walks towards them, they come closer. The trees look majestic in the mist. She walks to the nearest oak tree and looks up, seeing a monument of nature. Standing tall and stern, quietly withstanding the lack of any breeze. She touches the bark with a feeling of giving in to something she has been lacking for ages. The fog gets thicker around her and before next she can not see a foot beyond her. She moves into the wood, stumbling while her feet hit fallen branches. Her pretty dress and more is definitely ruined by now. The fog is drawing her into something far more important though. An occasional clearing shows her the light of the moon, very bright at times.

“Keep walking, Angie”

She knows the wood very well, after being there very often, replenishing her thoughts. The familiar old, well known trees mixed with young ones trying to make a living. The fog is not helping though as she walks through the undergrowth, bruising her face and arms swaying branches out of the way of her sorry progress towards the road.

The fog gets thicker, like nothing she has ever experienced. It is like standing in a vacuum. There is no feeling left, just nothing left to care about. Just herself.

A shimmer of hope shows up when she sees the lights of the road. It is a tiny road at best. It curves along the woody leftovers of mankind. She sits down for a while, thinking but the voice gets the best of her again.

“Keep walking, Angie”

“I don’t want to! Leave me alone.”

Her voice sounds muffled in the white darkness. She shrugs, there is nothing like a good fog to hide the future. The future is just a step away.

She stands up and walks along the road. The street lights illuminate everything but also nothing as she tries to find the way home. Her hair falls in shreds down her shoulders from the dampness. She strokes her temples and wonders if this is the way to go.

Then she sees the light coming, a very diluted light. Two lights, actually.

“Weird, why two?”

Her last thought disappears when the truck hits her.

 

Written by Solbe.

 

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