Her daughter had offered to pick her up, but Helen said it wouldn’t be necessary. It wasn’t that long of a walk and Helen knew the path through the woods very well. But the sun started setting earlier these days and then fog set in, and Helen got confused.
As the fog thickened around her, enveloping her in a cold mist, she realized that she was lost and she started to panic, wondering if she’d see her daughter and grandchildren ever again. She started to sob.
She was startled when she heard the voice. “May I be of assistance?” the deep voice asked. Helen turned around to see a very old, hunched over man. He was rather creepy looking once he got close enough for her to see his features through the fog, and his breath was rancid.
“No thank you,” Helen said, “I’m on my way to visit my daughter and her husband and I must have gotten turned around in the fog, but I think I’ve got my bearings now.” She lied, but she was frightened by this strange man who emerged from the thick fog out of nowhere.
Suddenly Helen felt his gnarly fingers grab her hand and squeeze hard enough that she couldn’t get out of his grip. “Come with me,” he said, “I will take you where you need to be.” Then he pulled her hand.
“No!” Helen screamed, standing her ground. “Let go of me.” But the man’s grip further tightened around her hand.
The sound of a barking dog could be heard coming closer to where Helen and the man were standing. Then a woman’s voice. “Mom? Mom?”
Then a man’s voice. “Helen, is that you? Are you all right?”
The man holding Helen’s hand loosened his grip, turned around, and vanished into the fog right before Max, her daughter’s German Shepherd reached Helen, followed momentarily by her daughter and son-in-law. “Mom, we got worried when you didn’t arrive when we expected you. You seem a little shaken. What happened?”
“Nothing, sweetheart,” Helen lied. “It’s the fog. It came in so quickly and so thick. I became a little disoriented, but I’m fine. But I think next time, I’ll accept your offer to come get me and give me a lift.”
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Shahzin Shajid @ Unsplash.