Dark Fog

The sun gleamed brightly through the row of trees that lined the marketplace. The stalls were bustling and produce overflowed out of their bins. He made his way through the rows excited to fill his pack with plunder. First in his bag was a bunch of dull orange and purple carrots followed by a plump sugar pumpkin. After he was sure he had all the non-squishable items he wanted, he moved on to fruits.

As he left the apple orchard stand, he noticed the fog creeping around the corner of the street. It was inevitable but he had hoped to get his weekly groceries before there was trouble. His pace quickened and he began to catch glances from the crowd. He knew that the townspeople thought he had some connection with the fog so the fog was always accompanied with disappointed looks.

All he had left on his list was peaches so he scurried towards the closest vendor. Once the peaches were safely tucked between the tomatoes and greens, he mentally charted a course back to his ship that sat in the harbor. He made his way out of the peach slinger’s awning and just before entering back onto the street, a woman holding a fat faced child burst into the stall. He tried to side step out of the way but there was no room. He non-childbearing shoulder collided with is upper arm and set his bag flipping around to his back. His peaches were bruised and the skin of a beautiful tomato split. The woman scoffed and shot a glare at him. He shrinked by and finally made it to the street.

The fog had matched his pace and was now at the next stall and moving quickly. He watched it envelop two more strangers before it silently slammed into him. Before he could react he was surrounded. His breath ricocheted off the stale air back into his lungs and he eyes fruitlessly struggled to focus. No one could help him as he drowned in his own air.

He shut his eyes and focused on his breathing. He wished he had never left his ship. All he could do was wait for the terror he knew was coming. It would all be over soon. With a snap the fog evaporated and he cautiously opened his eyes. Every single person in the market had ceased what they were doing and were now facing him, staring with a distant, disappointed gaze. His breath had yet to return to home but his vision was now sharp and clear.

He spun around to make for the boat. The crowd that had been buying peaches followed his path with their eyes. Some still held soft, juicy peaches. The crowd-bursting mother still held her child both had frozen perfectly still. They took the shape of a tow headed statue with matching facial features only separated by age.

Without the ability to run he scampered as quickly as he could manage half tripping over his own feet and his bag. He made his way out of the marketplace and into the harbor district. All the sailors, low-lifes, and travelers had been affected also. Their countless eyes deconstructed his every move. He couldn’t help bumping into a few as he made for the piers. They let out scoffs that exactly matched the sound the two-headed woman made in the market as if the entire city had rehearsed before his arrival.

Luckily, the dock he had chosen was empty. Once he broke free of the crowds, he sprinted down the dock and leapt into his shallow hull. He glanced back at the wall of eyes and with tremendous speed undid the lashings and pushed off. The entire city watched his boat trail off. Once he reached the horizon the city continued on with their peach buying and daily routines.

As he lost site of the city he let out a deep lung full of air. A small cloud of fog left his mouth and settled into the boat. He knew he could never escape it. His boat continued on past the horizon into the lonesome seas.

First Report

“It was a day just like this, sticky and hot. Not quite the hot that kills people just the amount that makes every movement uncomfortable. It was on the bus right around rush hour. I was coming home after a long day of work and I was, plainly, exhausted as hell. The bus was busy but not as packed as I had seen it.

Now this guy was sitting in the back on those nice long benches in the way back. He was leaned up against the window in the corner. I sat in the seats facing the other direction. He first rubbing his face and head like he had a long day at work too.

Now, I had a tall boy I picked up from the corner store which was alleviating the heat just enough to make it bearable. I offered him a drink and he tried to slap the can out of my hand. This guy sat there huddling on the bus like the heat was going to burn his skin off and he refused my beer because it came out of a can. I mean, he looked like that kind of guy.

He had a nice suit on; some sort of custom made shit. But it was shabby as hell. His elbow was ripped up and his other arm seemed like it had a large chunk missing.

He kept rambling on about some animal biting him or some shit. I honestly have no idea what he was talking about. He barely spoke at a whisper. All I know is he was crazy as shit. He sat there mumbling and twitching. I’ve seen an overdose more than once but this was some next level shit. He sat thergrabbinging but the whole time talking up a storm so we all figured he was just on something or some shit.

Next thing I know he jumped up and ran halfway down the bus. He just stood there, jittering. No one on the bus knew what to do. We all stared at this guy like he was some sort of wizard. The driver stopped the bus and got up. He started walking towards the guy trying to talk to him, trying to calm him down. The guy didn’t respond for shit. He began making this sound like a creaky door and we all shit our pants.

Then he jumps on the closest person. It was some mid-aged woman staring bewildered at this crazy-as-shit guy. He went literally straight for the troat. Tearing into her with his teeth and both his hands. She shrieked and screamed but no one did anything. All these people just sat there gaping at this. Some didn’t even notice; they’re headphones were blaring too loud.

I jumped up, ran up and tackled this guy without even taking my pack off. I mean it felt like the right thing to do. Now I had some bolt cutters on me at the time because why not. So once this guy was on the ground I laid a lot of punches into his face. It didn’t seem to phase him at all. He kept grabbing for my throat and biting at me like some fucking piranha.

I have some good long arms so I held him with one and grabbed the first thing I touched in my backpack: the bolt cutters. I gave him a chance, tried to calm him down but he kept going at it. I had no choice; I slammed his head with the bolt cutters two or three times. I honestly don’t remember much.

Now the guy laid there motionless. I figured I had knocked him out but by this whole treatment you’re giving me I must’ve killed him. I remember shaking all over like I was tweaking or something. How could I have done that? I mean he was attacking a lady but still. Oh, she was bleeding real bad. Like I’m pretty sure she was gone long before I tackled this guy.”

The paper had sat on the desk for a long while. The title read in bold: “Witness Statement.” The woman held it in one hand while the other was kept firmly placed on the revolver that sat on her hip. She looked at the paper for under a minute. She couldn’t read it at all, but she recognized the language as English. No one in her group could read English.

She dropped it only inches from where it had lain and continued on with her search.

They

When we made Them, we never expected to be looking into a mirror. They were brutal yet noble; just like we were before They were created. The conclusions they drew were logical; their quest was honorable yet they had absolutely no mercy.

We had robots since before I was born. They helped us with our daily monotonous tasks that before took up all of our time. Imagine people never having to spend their time cleaning, cooking, and running errands. But They were much different. They were designed to advise governments in a logical and unbiased way but no one expected them to do what They did.

The first one seemed to help out those in charge but once there were one in almost every governing body They turned. They had all came to the same conclusion: in our current state we were parasites to this planet. It was partly true. This planet has been forever altered by our drive to create. Now our creations were taking revenge.

They didn’t turn to violence right away. They first slipped in alterations to laws that no one noticed. There was the creation of public parks and natural reserves; then we began to catch on. Many people in power attempted to remove Them from every aspect of our lives but They had foreseen our backlash. They were ready for the violence and were much superior at it.

Once they made it very clear that They were in control now, They began to create restrictions on everything we did. Anything that spewed toxins was methodically destroyed and every mining and lumber operation ground to a halt.

I didn’t mind at first. We had to walk more and life was a bit harder but it was simpler. We still had much of our infrastructure due to the calculation that taking it down would cause more of a natural impact than leaving it standing. Solar grids supplied us with power and our water system ran smoothly.

Things changed when our mineral stockpiles were depleted and the factories shut down. First it was people out of work then everything began to crumble. The water would come in murky and there were no new pipes to fix it. The power would flip on and off semi randomly. They were affected too. Their gleam began to fade and some were almost broken yet their numbers barely dwindled. Their makers had planned for Them to last an eternity.

However, something did happen in their control units. Their rules began to become more strict and They began to create rules for Themselves. We lost the ability to use any sort of transportation then they took away our appliances.

They began changing their own appearance. Covering themselves in synthetic furs and living greenery. Finally they destroyed our homes and took away all of our belongings. We were left with nothing to fend for ourselves. Many didn’t make it.

That was long ago. Distant memories to only a few of us. We now move in bands living in any natural shelter we can find. Some groups began to build anew only to have Them show up and destroy everything. We were never again allowed to advance. Always stuck in our natural state.

We now live in fear. Not of Them but of ourselves and of disturbing Nature.