dontravis.com blog post #601
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I hope you enjoyed last week’s dose of The Cutie-Pie Murders. This week, there’s a dose of recently created flash fiction. It’s quite a contrast from our last offering. Read on.
WHAT LIES BEYOND THE FOG?
By Don Travis
Beau had seen many ocean fogs in his thirty years. Thick pea soup making landfall in heavy, gray curtains to overcome everything. A hand in front of the eyes became invisible. The viscoid brume filled nostrils with a briny dankness and clung to the body, wetting the skin and weighing clothing with a damp that seemed somehow soiled.
As he watched from the porch of his rented mountain cabin, the approaching white mist seemed lighter—gayer in a strange sort of way, evoking the delightful tinkling of silver bells, not the dire warning of hoarse horns. It floated, not roiled, rendering the trees anemic rather than consuming them. The branches and boles faded gradually as the drifting cloud drew near. Once past the forest, the dancing white wall cavorted across the small meadow, reaching for the cabin.
The feathery soup of suspended particles took Beau as it had the trees, with a touch of coolness on his face before enveloping him in its rimy grip. Unlike at the ocean, he was only semi-blind, enveloped in a nimbus of a near impenetrable light. Light that promised images of things yet to come. He drew a breath and experienced a coolness deep in his lungs. Delightful, in a momentarily painful way.
Having enough of a pleasurable new experience, Beau turned and fumbled his way to the door. The fine mist that escaped with him inside the A-frame quickly became heavy drops that fell to the carpet, rendering it damp beneath his boots.
He took comfort in the dancing flames of the fireplace, luxuriating in their warmth. Cup of hot coffee in hand, he pushed up the sleeves of his knitted cable sweater and stood at the massive front window, noting how the fog condensed on the glass, creating dewy droplets that traveled downward in halting, graceful trails, sometimes joining others to become heavier and outrace smaller beads to the bottom sill. A delightful fog, a pleasurable mist so unlike the smothering spindrift of the seaside.
Calming, he decided, as his eyelids drooped despite standing upright before the window. He hoped every morning of his one-week vacation started this way. What lay beyond the enveloping fog? Perhaps more snow. A fresh layer of pure, gleaming, unmarred white soon to be mysteriously crisscrossed by tracks of mostly unseen creatures. He’d glimpsed deer in the meadow once. And a family of coyotes. How did the creatures handle the fog? Did they frolic in it or hunker down until it passed?
Beau glanced at the window and noticed a change. Something pellet-like rat-tat-tatted against the glass, as if knocking to get in, seeking asylum. He smiled at his own imagination. The smile died as his ear caught a disturbance. A distant sound. A constant sound. A sound that grew until it rumbled against his ear.
Panicked, he recalled a morning radio newscast warning of avalanches in these snow filled mountain valleys. Nothing to worry about. He wasn’t skiing or hiking the trails. And nobody would build a cabin in an avalanche area. Of course, the locals he’d talked to said they’d already had more snow than any winter in over twenty years. That was a good thing, wasn’t it? Even so, his back puckered as the distant growling grew into a closer roaring.
His blood turned icy, warning him there was cause for worry. The approaching noise grew from roaring into thunder. The massive plate glass window vibrated, sang, whined, and then cracked. He watched, disbelieving his eyes, as snow crashed against the window, shattering it. The cabin floor tipped, throwing him to the carpet. Something white, no longer a pleasant fog, rushed into the cabin, tossing everything aside. The heavy couch flew through the air like a child’s toy. The white wall caught him before he could get to his knees, covering him, smothering him, crushing him.
Everything went quiet again as he lay buried in the snow. Inanely, he wondered how the animals had fared. Then he stopped wondering, thinking, breathing. Now, he was simply buried.
Perhaps it was the mood I was in as I penned the story, but there you have it. Bliss followed by Disaster. Till next week… and I have no idea of what that will bring.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
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See you next Thursday.
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