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.