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  • Writer's pictureSofia Sawyer

Writing Prompt: Fog

Write about something that was found in the fog.

By the third day, they started seeing shapes in the fog.

It wasn’t uncommon for thick fog to roll into Blue Hills, Maine. Between the shoreline and the mountains, the fog was a lifelong resident returning to its small town once the warm summer days gave way to the fall. It was a predictable cue, telling vacationers it was time to pack up and head home, and preparing townies for the long winter months ahead.

They could always count on the fog.

In all the years that Ally lived in Blue Hills, she couldn’t remember a bout of fog like this. By midday, its gloominess would burn off, fading as if it were never there. But this time, it was different. After three full days of the lingering haze–which only seemed to get denser as the hours passed–she wondered if something was wonky with the atmosphere.

Stepping onto the back deck of her beach cottage, she looked out to the nearby rocky shoreline, barely able to see a few feet in front of her. The only hint that the ocean was there was a rhythmic crashing of the water against the sand. Her golden retriever, Lucy, followed her outside and whimpered before laying down.

“I know, girl. You’ve got the gloomies.” Lucy always got a little when depressed the day was particularly gray. Ally felt bad for the poor pup and hoped the sun would break through endless nothingness soon.

She sipped her coffee as her neighbor, Ben, approached and stopped at the base of her stairs. “Hey. This is nuts, isn’t it? I’m losing business because of this weather. Can’t see more than a few feet ahead of us.”

Ben owned a charter fishing boat and made most of his money through the spring, summer, and fall. He was in the last leg of his busy season before he closed up shop for the winter. Although he had a great stream of business thanks to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and good ol’ referrals, every day counted. Three days without business was tough, especially after the rainy fall they’d had.

Lucy groaned and flopped on her side. “I know. We’re getting a little stir crazy over here,” Ally said while nudging her head toward her dog.

“I figured. I haven’t seen you two doing your normal routine on the beach. Then again, who could see anything in this?”

Ally shrugged and gazed at the shoreline again. She squinted, trying to make sense of what was in front of her. “Do you see that?”

Ben turned in that direction and shook his head. He made his way up the stairs and stood near her to get a better view. “Is that…a ship?” he finally said.

“I think so. But it doesn’t look like just any ship, Ben. It looks like—”

“An old pirate ship,” he finished for her.

“What the hell is going here? It looks like there are four more behind it.” Lucy sprung to her feet and let out a deep, menacing growl. Ally pet the dog, trying to calm her down.

Faint commands called out from people on the ships reached them, followed by loud metallic noises. Ben pushed Ally behind him. “Something isn’t right.”

No sooner had he said the words when several cannon balls flew at them. They dove to the side and landed hard on the deck, narrowly being missed by one of the balls as it slammed through the deck, splintering the boards.

Old Mrs. Greenwood’s house next door took three hits. Thankfully, she was staying with her sister in Florida for the colder months, but the damage would be expensive to repair.

They scrambled to their knees. Several deep, manly voices shouted, “Row! Row! Row!” from a distance. At least a dozen row boats headed for the shore emerged through the fog. The leading boat had the outline of a man standing at the helm.

Neither Ally nor Ben could move, even though every instinct in her screamed to run. Moments later, the boats landed on shore and the leader of the pack stepped foot onto the sand. He stalked toward them with his posse following close behind, hands on the handle of the swords slung on their hips.

Ally assessed the man in front of her, reminiscent of Captain Hook from Peter Pan sans the wig. “Who… who are you?” she choked out.

“Bring me Captain Joseph Wood,” the man demanded in a rough voice.

Ally racked her brain for the name, suddenly remembering that she’d learned about him in elementary school. He was one of Blue Hills’ founders and had established the town in the mid-1700s. But it couldn’t be who this man was talking about. Joseph Wood was a common enough name. The clothes and weapons looked to be from that time, but it couldn’t be authentic. This was all an act. Right?

The posse surrounded her and Ben. The stench from their poor hygiene and rotted teeth made her want to gag. Alarm coursed through her. That smell couldn’t have been faked.

“Wood, the deceitful bilge rat, took our land,” the pirate continued. “We want what is rightfully ours!” The men cheered.

“Wood died over 200 years ago,” Ally said. This man and his crew couldn’t be telling the truth.

“Excellent.” He signaled the men surrounding Ally and Ben with a flick of his hand. The crew lit torches and ran toward the houses along the beach, setting them aflame. “Then we’re taking back our land and will kill anyone who gets in our way.”


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