Fog

Fog has cloaked the city for the last two days, shrouding us in muted, icy wool.

It was never like this back in the old country.

Sure, there was fog, occasionally, but most often you could see its beginning and end, or at least observe the cloudy layer it formed in the air.  There is nothing like seeing it lie low in a valley or, even more interesting, form a strata within the valley but leave the bottom clear.  The vagaries of air currents and humidity created a distinct environment.

But here?  The fog, or should I say the haar, is an all-encompassing thing.  When it comes, it is unrelenting.  Luckily, I do not drive here, so I do not share their worry, but I have ridden in cars and buses through the thick mist.  I would not want to be behind the wheel.

Still, despite the cold and the inconvenience, there is something magical about it.  This city is old and the architecture already inspires with crumbling facades and narrow, cobblestone alleys.  The centre of town cannot be thought of in two-dimensions, but rather you must account for the height of your destination as well as the names of the roads that cross it most closely. Stand high enough (an easy thing to do) and you can see the sea stretch into the horizon.

And then the fog.  It crawls from the sea, tendrils slipping into the streets and alleys.  It works it way from the docks, past the rough parts of town, ever stretching towards the heart.  Then those tall views are lost behind mist and the cobble alleys become something from a penny dreadful.  The city quiets, holding its breath beneath the blanket, anticipating something terrible, or wonderful.

From my window, nestled safely beneath my duvet, a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I see all this and more.  The vacant church across the street seems ripe for some dark figure to crouch there, in the mist, searching for prey.  Or maybe it will be a winged savior instead.

I watch the mist and hold my breath.

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3 thoughts on “Fog

  1. This is an incredibly beautiful piece of writing. Thanks for doing it and thanks for sharing it. Xx

  2. Aaron White says:

    From The Bureau of Constructive Criticism; Who Asked Me And What Do I Know Anyway Dep’t:

    I like that you’ve reversed the Old Country/New Country polarities. Clever!

    Your description of your city’s structure is really intriguing and makes me curious for more. My only quibble would be that “rough parts of town” is a bit nonspecific in the context of the more descriptive passages you employ here.

    Does the sentence beginning “Nothing like…” mean “There is/was nothing like…” or “It is nothing like…”? I think it’s the former but I’m not sure.

    What, exactly, does “that” refer to in “I do not have that worry?” Something to do with the dangers of driving in thick mist, I suppose, but it’s not quite clear what that “that” is pointing towards.

    The theoretical figure in the church reminds me of the story The Yellow Sign from The King in Yellow; check it out if you haven’t! But absent a fuller narrative, I think any theoretical figures emerging from the church might be more fraught and less florid if they don’t come wearing an announced remarkable status. Consider suggesting rather than stating what it is that makes them fantastic. Of course I’ve been reading a lot of Shirley Jackson and M. John Harrison, who are all about keeping the fantastic specifics buried, so if those influences are counter to your interests you can take these thoughts accordingly.

    • Thanks for the commentary Aaron! Any feedback is appreciated, positive or negative, because at least you read what I wrote!

      I’ve made a few tweaks based on your comments, though somethings I prefer as is of course. Either way, thanks for sharing!

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