For Your Reading Pleasure

Gregory could barely see his hand held out in front of him whose touch told him of trees or other obstacles in the way. Normally he would have relied on the other men he was with, but tonight the fog was so thick, he doubted any one of them could see each other. Every now and then he’d hear a faint rustle to his left or perhaps someone muttering on his right, which kept him alert and let him know where his companions were, but aside from those sounds the forest was dead silent, which put him on edge. There weren’t crickets chirping or the scampering of tiny feet on tree trunks. Nothing was stirring in this forest. The eery silence raised the hair on the back of their necks and a tight clenching began in the men’s stomachs. After a few minutes of walking, Gregory noticed a faint outline in the distance — and outline that looked oddly like a large tree. He finally saw his companions’ faces, since the last time there had been visibility which had been somewhere towards the middle of the lake, as everyone began emerging from the fog and gathering at the base of the large tree. Some of the eyes that looked at him were large and wild, others were squinted and glancing around. Gregory was sure his eyes were a bit narrow at the edges. One could never be too careful in unfamiliar territory.

“Men, I know the visibility is well below what is necessary, but we need to make do with what we have,” rose the voice of the man who had led them on this mission, Lord Ergomer. “It looks as if from beyond this point the fog has gotten a bit better, so perhaps from now on we can see a bit more than what we’ve been seeing, or not seeing as the case may be. Be on the lookout. And please keep the noise down. I highly doubt there’s a need to complain like ladies.” Then he lifted his hand and signaled some of the men towards the right and another third towards the left. He pointed to the men in the middle and then pointed to his chest, then turned around and began walking in a low crouch. Every man spread out in the same low crouch in the direction they had been shown and followed their leader into the disappearing fog.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

It was quiet. Incredibly quiet. And dark. Dark and quiet. And foggy. Dark, quiet and foggy. Great, Henry thought to himself, everything I hate all together in one night and here I am, stuck alone by myself on a boat. Wonderful. Life could not be better.

The lantern lay by Henry’s side resting contently as if mocking Henry’s predicament. Henry turned his head and gave it a stare, or as much of a stare as he could do in the dense fog. Seriously, I would prefer rain over this fog. At least then I’d be able to see something. And then it began to rain. Henry felt the first few drops on his nose, which was a rather long distance from the rest of his face. Then he heard in the distance a few more drops landing on the boat. How far, he could not tell. The fog distorted sight, smell, and hearing. And he felt it was beginning to distort his mind, too. Suddenly the rain poured down in sheets accompanied by cold and more fog. Henry sat in his seat, not even moving a muscle as he became soaked to through in seconds. This is ridiculous. Why did I ever sign up for this job?


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