They Came in the Fog
“You’d think they’d have built enough condos already” Mia said.
I was staring out of the window and only vaguely listening to her real estate musings. We were coasting down a beachside highway, going through a series of inconsequential small towns.
“These little towns need to to get as many people as they can,” I said, “most of them are just going to use them as vacation homes. Beats having whole neighborhoods empty nine months out of the year.”
“Smugness isn’t a very attractive quality.”
“Hardly anything is attractive about me so it fits.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“If that’s true you need to pull over so I can drive.”
“Because you clearly need glasses.”
“Hush,” she said, but she smiled when she said it.
I was about to resume staring out the window when she slowed the car.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“The fog’s coming in,” she said.
Sure enough, the fog was rolling in from the lake. Fog moves in a peculiar way. I always think of it as moving live a wave crashing agains the shore, but that’s hardly the case. Instead, ghostly tendrils weaved their way through the cars as the fog snuck into the town through which we were traveling. It was like the hand of some misty giant was grabbing the village.
“Spooky,” was all the commentary I could manage. I was too enthralled by the meteorological phenomenon.
“I know right,” Mia said.
Before long, the fog was so thick neither of us could see the hood of the car.
“I need to pull over,” Mia said and she slowed and parked on the road’s shoulder, the gravel crunching underneath. As we got out of the car, we realized we weren’t the only ones stopping. We couldn’t see them but there had to be at least ten other vehicles stopping from the sounds of it.
There was a chorus of doors opening and closing as people exited their vehicles.
The closest couple approached us. They were older, he looked like he investigated homicides on television, and she looked like a TV homicide detective’s wife.
“Fog’s crazy right?” he said.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Came right out of nowhere,” his wife said, “I’ve never seen it this thick.”
“You’re from around here?” I asked.
“Yup,” he said, “doesn’t seem to much use waiting here. Plus it could dangerous on the road. There’s a grocery store up the road…”
The man was interrupted by screams in the distance. The highway was adjacent to the beach, and we heard screams coming from the water. People in swimsuits started rushing past us.
“Now what do you think that’s about?” the man asked.
“Sharks?” I said.
Our new friend nearly doubled over in laughter, he had one of those deep belly laughs that rang out for miles. We were on the coast of the Great Lakes so there weren’t any sharks for a thousand miles.
But the people were still running and screaming. Soon we started hearing screams from the line of cars.
One girl came sprinting past us, looking as though she’d seen a ghost, and just kept repeating “They’re coming. They’re coming!”
Mia went to calm her down, but the girl ran away terrified.
“Well that was weird,” she said.
More people ran past us.
Every one one of them was screaming.
I looked out into the fog. Unless one of the frightened beachgoers as within a few feet, I couldn’t see anything.
But this changed.
Both my new friend and I could see dark figures out in the fog. They came slowly. Without a reference point, I couldn’t tell how big they were, nor how fast they were moving.
The cop looking man went to say something, but a pale grey three fingered hand appeared on his shoulder. He looked more shocked than scared before he and his wife were yanked into the fog.
Mia grabbed my hand, pulling me out of stunned state, and ran.
Boy did we run.
I had never really been prone to athletic endeavors, and Mia worked out, but it was mostly yoga and flirting with her trainer.
But we flew. I sprinted as though an unnamed horror was chasing me. Mostly because that’s exactly what was happening.
We sprinted, trying to avoid obstacles as they would only appear a few feet in front of us.
Against all odds, and sputtering and sweating, filled with adrenaline, we came across a small grocery store. It was as good a place to hide as any, though the large glass door wouldn’t keep anything out for long.
The people in the store were continuing as normal, but as Mia and entered the commotion of a small town grocery store came to a gradual halt. People froze in place and cashiers stopped mid-checkout. We could hear the screams outside.
The fog completely filled the door, all white mist from edge to edge. Any hope we had of them not finding us were gone when the figures showed up. Three dark areas appeared moving with the same slow, deliberate pace they had at the beach.
The middle figure put its hand, the same large three fingered hand we saw earlier, in the middle of the door and a second later the glass crashed to the floor. Anyone that wasn’t paying attention before, was certainly doing so now, and the place erupted in screams. Everyone dropped their groceries and ran to the back of the store, trying to squeeze through the exit in the rear of the building.
I went to follow, but Mia grabbed my hand and pulled me a counter near the entrance.
I was the correct call as the fog flooded into the store, and the figures followed the chaotic frenzy created by the escaping shoppers.
They passed us and we slipped out of the door, avoiding the broken glass.
Outside the fog surrounded us. I couldn’t see Mia, and had I hadn’t been holding her hand, I wouldn’t have any idea she was there. I couldn’t see my own shoes.
I was totally and utterly lost in the fog. I was breathing it in, choking on it.
There just wasn’t anywhere to go.
We ran until my legs could no longer carry me.
I couldn’t breathe.
I couldn’t hear Mia anymore even though we were touching.
There was only the fog.
Then I felt it. The hand on my shoulder. The same grey hand.
It went quiet as I was whisked into the fog.