Thursday, 15 March 2012
The first time for me was summer a few years back. The days had been hot and endless until the fog rolled in, thick and yellow, I watched it from the lounge window with my dad.
“I’ve never seen fog like it,” he said.
“Pollution,” Mum said from the sofa.
The fog enclosed our house so I could no longer see the end of the garden. It brought silence, no more birds singing or the shouts from kids down the road.
“Time for bed,” Dad said placing a hand around my shoulder. Summer days felt strange, going to bed while the sun still blazed. But the fog brought a yellowy twilight with it.
My room was stuffy, the air felt like swallowing socks as I breathed. I cracked the window open hoping for a cool breeze and climbed into bed. Despite the heat I pulled the duvet over my head, making it dark enough to need a torch to read. Sometimes tradition is important.
I’ve forgotten the book; I just remember that it gripped me. I was so lost in it that it was a while before I noticed a noise. I lifted my head but there was silence.
I turned the page. I heard it again and shivered, like I do now just thinking about it. A baby wailing out in the fog.
I pushed the duvet off and climbed out of bed.
The wailing continued.
I pulled the curtain aside and looked down onto the garden. The fog hung thick and yellow, darkening as the sun dipped. At the far end of the garden stood a figure, a girl I think, though it was hard to tell. In her arms she held the baby. I couldn’t see it clearly but I knew it was the wailing baby and I knew the girl was looking up at me.
She placed the baby on to the grass and stepped back, disappearing into the fog.
The baby wailed. I needed to go to it. I wondered why Mum and Dad hadn’t fetched it, I could hear the murmur of the TV below. Maybe they couldn’t hear the baby over it.
It’s screeching cut through me and I turned, pushed my feet into my shoes and headed for the door.
The wailing stopped. I turned back to the window. The fog swirled and lifted. I could see the garden.
I stood, confused, wondering then climbed back into bed.
The following day I heard Josh from next door had gone missing. His younger sister said he’d gone to get the wailing baby.
His parents had heard nothing.