Earlier tonight I went out to get a Chinese take-away for our dinner. It was bitterly cold and I was glad to be in my car. I set the heater to molten lava and drove off towards Mr Ying's. As I turned west onto the seafront road I was met with a wall of fog like I'd never seen before. Visibility was down to barely a few yards. I could just make out the dim orange glow of the street lamps hovering above me. I dropped down to third (well, I let the car drop down to third; I'm a lazy, automatic-owning, gas guzzler) and slowly made my way.
The Wah Ying Chinese Take Away was probably less than a mile away and I was hoping the mist was just a product of some onshore phenomenon. I was wrong. As I made the final left turn into Cliff Road the atmosphere around me thickened even more. It was no good, I couldn't even make out the glow of my own headlights. I may as well have been driving with my eyes closed. I stopped the engine and stepped out of the car.
My feet met gravel, which was wrong. I should have been walking on tarmac. I took a few tentative steps forward, unable to even see the ground crunching beneath my feet. Roadworks, perhaps? I thought. Then suddenly the mist started to clear. Within a few seconds it was gone, except for a few wispy tendrils around my ankles. Where was I? The houses I had expected to see were not there. In their place a forest of bare, twisted trees. I spun around swiftly. My car! Where was it? I had taken no more than half a dozen steps; it couldn't be out of sight already. As I stood frozen, trying to fathom its disappearance and, more importantly, trying to work out where I was, I realised I was not alone.
A faint crunch of someone (or something) shifting its weight on the stony ground. Then, almost inaudible at first, but definitely getting louder, a deep, breathy growl. Behind me, slightly to the left. No, the right. All around me? I was gripped by fear and without even turning to see what unearthly creatures were stalking me I bolted, stumbling with my first few steps. I saved myself from falling, but shredded my palms in the jagged ground. Up again and running. Running faster than I had ever ran before, into the twisted, dead forest. I kept on running, fleeing, for my life.
The creatures pounded the forest floor behind me as they chased me back into the mist. Surely they would bring me down; devour me in this alien place. But the mist, which I thought had brought me here to die, had returned to save me. As quick as it had gone it reappeared, wrapping its grey arms around me, swallowing me into its soul. I kept running but me feet no longer met the ground. The mist was lifting me, carrying me to safety. Below, the beasts were howling and snarling and leaping pointlessly into the air in anger. I drifted up and on, enveloped in the mist. I was saved. My exhausted frame slumped into the cushion of air; my blood soaked hands fell lifelessly by my side. I must have drifted into unconsciousness, for the next thing I remember was being back in the warmth of my car, arriving at my destination. For a moment I doubted my senses. Had I been day dreaming? Hallucinating? But then I felt the slippery warmth of my blood on the steering wheel...
Actually, I made most of that up, but it was flipping misty!