The fog was thick this morning, swirling and rolling in huge clouds down the streets, gliding in between the trees and houses. It hung, motionless in the low-lying areas, pooling in thick, opaque sheets to obscure the vision.
Not that Abby cared in the slightest.
Today was her day to curl up, warm and cozy, in her favorite fleece blanket, cuddled up in the window seat with a good book, and while away the day… reading and watching the world go by.
In fact, the fog only added to the perfection of the moment.
Abby had always loved fog. The mystery of it, the spookiness of what could lie hidden, waiting, within the fog-bank. It was both an enticing draw, and a fearful deterrent, making her want to go wander in it – and hide from it – at the same time.
From her second-story window, she could just make out the rooftops of a couple of the houses across the street, the fog was so thick today. And the sun was nowhere to be seen at all, she decided. Drab, murky, and perfectly “stay-at-home” weather.
Just then, movement from across the street caught her eye. Dark shapes started to ooze through the fog, ominous and foreboding… large shapes, that didn’t really resemble… people?
Abby turned her head a little to see better, without making herself obvious to whomever was down there. She knew that she was visible in the window, and it had never bothered her, till now. Now, she was all too aware of her position, exposed and vulnerable, up there in her big, bay window. Anyone looking up would see her, perched there like a fuzzy voyeur.
Looking, without really looking wasn’t easy, but she could now make out what seemed to be Mr. Granger’s pickup, sitting in his driveway across the street. What was he doing home so early in the day? He worked downtown at the restaurant, head chef of La Vie En Rose’, not really a French restaurant, but it tried to act like it. The food usually wasn’t too bad there, if you liked fake French-sounding dishes that were really just Mom’s homemade, dressed in it’s “touristy best”.
Living in “tourist-trap-town” had its ups and downs. One of the ups was all the new people you could meet, and that brought good money to spend in the shops along the shore. The downs was all the new people, bringing their “tourist trash”, and their out-of-towner habits and expectations. It got old having people expect you to act in a certain way, or look a certain way, as though you were part of a carnival freak show.
That’s why Abby loved her “Fog Day” times so much. She could hole up at home, pretending like she was the only person left in the world, and could do just whatever she wanted.
Watching the movements in the fog, Abby noticed that the darkness was getting thicker, closer together – solid, almost, and the light patches were getting smaller, and none of them looked like people… at all.
Turning completely toward the window now, she realized that she could hear a siren, faint, but growing louder. It was the warning siren, the one that her Papa had told her to always listen for, and if it ever went off… to hide.
“Take your blanket, the big one, and high-tail it to your closet, young lady,” Papa would say. And Abby would nod her head and smile, knowing that the siren would never go off. That was just an old myth, the stories the old-timers would tell about the “Fog-Monster Siren”.
Junior, down at the barbershop, told it best…
” ‘Bout 50 years ago, it was, last time the Fog rolled in, thick as soup and twice as heavy, and when it rolled back out again, near everyone were dead. Only those what holed up at home, hiding from the fog, not letting it in the houses, were saved. Among them, myself, who my Mama had hidden in a cupboard in our basement, frightened like the child I was.”
Abby loved to listen to the old stories, but never believed them. But, looking out at the fog, with the darkened masses of shapes looming over everything, Abby could almost believe.
Nah. Old men’s stories, was all it had to be. But… just to be safe, Abby grabbed her blanket and dove for her closet, scooping up a pillow from the window seat as she went. Dark and warm, she soon fell sound asleep, curled up on the floor of the small, sealed room.
The next morning, Abby wandered all over town, looking for someone to explain what had happened, only to realise she’d gotten her wish… she was the only one left in town. And the fog… was gone, burned off in the sunlight of the new day.
-Jan. 12, 2014