Ralph Poucher, Jr.
It is hard for me to describe this fog! When I first looked out the window, there was just a hint of the color leaving the bright late afternoon sky. But later in the evening when I ventured outside to deposit the trash from the kitchen, I noticed something odd. The sky had completely disappeared from view. All that remained was a cloud-like substance that hid all color. It was so eerie. My white Chevy Suburban had vanished altogether. Only the maroon upper portion of my wife's Explorer remained. The gray bottom of the SUV had passed on to a seemingly different plane.
Concerned, I hurried through the gate to the rear of my house. Much to my amazement, my large white fishing boat was no longer there. This thing weighed over twenty tons and puff, like a smoke column blowing in the wind, it was gone. Then I noticed something even more alarming. All of the houses on the canal behind my home were gone too!
What was happening to my world?
The fog was creeping up the side of the two houses on either side of mine. For some unknown time I watched it moving at a rate of several inches per minute. As the fog climbed up the walls, it seemed to be devouring the homes of my friends and neighbors, quickly and silently.
What was happening to me?
Now afraid, I ran as fast as my short fat legs would take me, to the stairs ascending to my top deck.
Breathlessly I climbed the steps as fast as I could! The fog had now entered my yard and was beginning to creep toward the stairs to my deck. I rushed inside and called out to my wife, there was no answer! Then it struck me, earlier this afternoon she had gone down the street to paint with her friend Beth. Reaching for the phone I tried to remember Beth's phone number, I had to warn my wife! I could not remember Beth's phone number.
I have noticed my mind has started playing tricks on me. Many of my friends and my loved ones around me too, as I have aged. In a panic, I decided to call information to get Beth's phone number. As I lifted the receiver I was mortified, there was no familiar dial tone on the other end of the phone line.
Was my world coming to an end right before my eyes and ears? Why my ears? I now noticed there were no sounds anywhere in my house. For some reason the radio had stopped playing at some point and I hadn't noticed it. Now I was terrified!
I ran to the window and looked outside, nothing! There was nothing outside for me to see. Nothing. Not one thing remained. I started back for the door to the upper deck, then I noticed it. In my haste and panic I had left the door to the deck open. The fog was creeping across the floor. It was slowly, ever so quietly, slinking across the floor heading directly for me.
I turned, heading toward the front door, then I saw it. The fog was slowing sneaking in underneath the large, steel front door too! I somehow remembered, my wife had been nagging me to fill in the space under that door for months. I had tuned out her requests, she was always pestering me to fix something or other around the house.
The menacing fog had cut off both routes of my escape. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, it was trying to burst out of my body. I looked all around, What was I going to do now?
Then I noticed the stairs leading to the loft, I sprinted to them before the fog caught me. "Ha, Ha." I screamed as I climbed the steep stairs, "You missed me!" I had momentarily sidestepped the following grayness.
Upon reaching the top of the staircase I glanced below. Oh, No. It was now coming up the stairs to my last hiding place, the loft! I became fascinated with the fog. I watched as it slowly climbed each step, one at a time.
It was shimmying up the walls of my living room now. As it scaled the walls, sofas and chairs, they too were disappearing! My eyes flew to the stairs once more. The fog had now progressed up an uncountable number of individual steps. I couldn't count them because they were missing. I quickly searched the loft for a pencil and paper. Finally finding them in the small bedside table my granddaughter, Ashlea uses when she visits us during her summer visits.
At once I started scribbling what was happening to me and my world. I felt compelled, for some strange, to leave an account of this deadly fog, just in case someone found my remains later. Then I saw it. The fog had made the long steep climb and was now gliding across the floor of the loft. I jumped up on the bed, as I continued scribbling on the piece of paper what was happening to me.
Soon the fog was scurrying up the legs of the bed. The next thing I knew it was rolling over the edge of the bed and moving over the comforter that covered the bed and me. I pulled the comforter up around my neck. All of a sudden I could feel the cold, slick, pulsing aliveness of the fog as it flowed around my feet beneath the cover.
My heart seemed to explode at this exact moment. I collapsed on the bed, all signs of life disappeared from my body. I felt the fog enter my nostrils choking me to death... ever so slowly. The blackness engulfed my being.
Sometime later, I heard someone enter my front door. Was someone here to rescue me? If so, it was too late. I was dead. I heard a voice call out my name, but I couldn't respond. After all I was dead! After what seemed like hours I heard someone huffing and puffing. I couldn't see who it was, but it sounded much like my wife's heavy breathing. My eyes seemed to be open, I just couldn't see and no sound could I make. I heard her scream and then come to the side of the bed and I could feel her shake me, but I couldn't respond. I was dead. Didn't she realize the deadly fog had finally caught me?
That was a long time ago. I had no idea death was like being in a hospital. Yes, my friend, being dead is like being in a hospital for the mentally ill. Here I lie, not being able to see or speak. Only hearing what is going on around me. This has to be hell!
Ralph Poucher, Jr. has a column in the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association's journal titled "The Republic Period of Mexico and Her Capital Coins" plus several stories and articles submitted to the Boletin, the official publication of the Sociedad Numismatica de Mexico, A.C. with their headquarters in Mexico City.
After ten plus years of work, he is nearing the completion of a book about the Republic of Mexico Escudos, approximately five hundred pages, entitled The Golden Eagles of the Mexican Republic-The Last Gold Doubloons of Eight. Mr. Poucher also helped write, proof, provided research and coins for the book Resplandores about the Reales of the Mexican Republic that was published in 1997.
Ralph has also written articles and How-to-do-it for some outdoors publications and newsletters, but "The Fog" is his first fictional piece submitted and published, even though he has been writing fiction since 1991. He has spent the last several years trying to learn the basics of writing and has worn the "A, E, C, S, and T" keys off his second laptop. His writing started while still in business and because he couldn't type (no PCs at the time) his secretary (62 years old) typed all of his simple stories and she encouraged him to write more fiction. She was a reader of all things ... great and small. He says, "Thanks Dot ... wherever you now are!"
He lives in Texas and has been married to the same sweet and caring lady for thirty-nine years. His wife is an artist and writer, who now has time for both creative endeavors since their three children and four grandchildren are six hundred miles away.
Published by permission of the author.