Monday May 19th, 2014

The exercise:

We're revisiting the First Line Prompt because I'm too tired to come up with something else. We all get the same opening line and then each of us goes with it wherever inspiration urges us to go.

And our first line shall be: Through the thick veil of fog a figure slowly emerged.

Did a little bit of weeding in the strawberries this morning, but a good chunk of the start of the day was spent getting ready for the potluck BBQ we hosted this evening. It went really well, with a total of ten parents and five children squeezing onto our deck. And spilling into our yard. And the surrounding orchard.

At the end of the night we were chatting with the last couple when their son went around the side of the house to go play in the dirt some more. Max, obviously, soon followed. They were playing together (so friggin' cute) while the parents continued to chat, when all of a sudden the boys apparently decided they needed to go see the tractor.

So that extended the evening by at least twenty minutes.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I did up some smokies on the BBQ, Kat made a salad (with our own greens and radishes!), and our guests brought potato salad, pasta salad, rhubarb pie, and peach crisp to share.

Tomorrow morning I get to harvest for our first local orders of the year. Which would be a lot more exciting if I didn't have so much work left to do in the strawberries.


Through the thick veil of fog a figure slowly emerged. I couldn't stop myself from taking a step (or five) back, but at least I managed to swallow my scream.

The person shuffled slowly toward me, head down and threadbare coat wrapped tightly around himself. At least, I was beginning to suspect that this newcomer was male. The general outline seemed right, as did the location and timing.

You know, middle of nowhere, on the wrong side of midnight.

Don't ask me what I was doing there, all right? Just... it's a long story, and not the one I wish to tell you right now. Another time, perhaps.

As he came closer his stench grew steadily stronger. I hadn't noticed it at first, what with my preoccupation with keeping my pants unsoiled, but once I detected it I began to wonder if this man was the source of the unnatural haze we found ourselves in.

You think I exaggerate this odor, yes? I wonder how you would describe it, had you been in my shoes. Would you say he smelled unpleasant? Like a garbage bag left out in the sun all day? Worse than rotting, bug infested food scraps? Something like that, I imagine.

What I can say for sure is simply this: to me, he smelled like death.


Greg said...

Ah, I thought with a potluck barbecue you'd fire up the grill and then cook whatever the guests brought! I figured that at least one guest would just bring a shotgun and bag a few squirrels and random birds from the orchard :)
Rhubarb pie and Peach Crisp sound delicious though!
Heh, I really liked your third paragraph; perfectly put and in just the right tone of voice too. The smell is rather nicely rendered, and the whole scene is just this side of scary. I'm sure it's only going to get worse!

Through the thick veil of fog a figure slowly emerged. Fog veils had come into fashion about four years ago when the technology was perfected and made lightweight enough to be wearable, and had never really dropped out of fashion since. Why bother with sunglasses when you could wrap your head in a soft veil of fog that kept you cool at the same time as protecting your identity? Why worry about sun-induced wrinkles when you could just wrap your head is a soft, moist and soothing veil of fog? They were just too attractive, and as such had become ubiquitous.
As the fog gently dissipated, letting the woman encased in it emerge, the man at the counter flinched, an atavistic shiver of terror running through him. Too late he discovered that that fear was all too real, and moments later he was as still as a statue.
In fact, he was a statue. The real reason for the intense research and development that had been done on the fog veils was the intense research and development that had previously been done on Gorgons. Why alert criminals to your brand new weapon, capable of turning them to stone with a single, petrifying gaze, when you wrap a fog-veil around its head and they'd never know it was coming?

The man behind the counter? Oh, he'd not paid his parking tickets.

Marc said...

Greg - hmm, BBQ quail might have been a nice addition to the party...

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Heh, I should have figured you'd go with that definition of veil. Well played, sir. Well played.