Prompt: The mist is clearing, but time has already run out for you
You held the phone to your ear, though the call ended what seemed like hours ago. You stared out the backdoor window at the lake beyond the stretch of yard and the small incline to the bank. You thought the news you were given was the worst of it. It was the Big C. It was the illness of the end. Terminal. Final. A conclusion. Fog rolled out from the evergreen woods bordering the opposite side of the lake, drifting over the tranquil surface, thickening as it reached the bank, your yard.
You hadn’t seen the outside in years. Every window was opaque, gray. The fog was silky, somehow. You tried to get through it to your truck, from your truck to somewhere, anywhere, but it was like pushing through syrup. It smelled like morning dew yet underneath, like an aftertaste, there was decay, rot. It was more difficult to breath outside than inside, and you decided it was safer, better to stay where you could at least manage to pull air into the lungs that already had an inkling of tumors. Wait it out, you thought. There’s been fog before.
Food wasn’t an issue. Plenty of canned things in the cellar, a habit you picked up from your mother growing up. Water still worked, too, so that solved that problem. But the problem of endlessly hacking, the agonizing coughing, the splattering of blood on your arms and hands and tissues wasn’t something that could be solved. Like the fog, you would wait it out.
You tried the phone again but nothing but there was only silence, but the lights and fridge still worked. Oven, too. It was like camping, you supposed. Just with a house as a tent, and the fog, the miles of forest surrounding it.
It would pass, you thought.
Now you lie on the couch that you managed to move against the window in the living room, and stare aimlessly out the window. Your bleary eyes never seem to dry, and your chest rattles with every breath. Although you had and still have plenty to eat, you have lost a lot of weight. Too much. Your arms are skeletal thin and flesh hangs from it. Your joints burn, your bowels the same. You can’t focus, can’t think, hardly can stand or sit, so you lay and wait, stare until you’re too tired to and when you wake up, you do the same.
A cough explodes from your lips and blood splashes the window, the wall, dribbles down your lower lip onto your chin. You don’t bother to wipe it away because what’s the point, now? You can’t move and, even if you could, you couldn’t leave the house with the permanent fog that you sometimes wonder if it’s still there or if your eyes had gone, too.
But, no, wait. You inhale, cough, blink away tears. There’s a tear in the world. A seam undone. A unsown patch. There’s color: green and brown and light gray, blue… Another seam undone, another rip in the fabric. A tree. The giant oak tree in the yard. The yard! The grass and the dew and oh God the bordering woods in the distance and the rutted driveway out to the country roads. Red, red; not blood but your truck parked off to the side. The paint faded but still looking as good as it did years ago.
When the fog clears, the world is the same as it was. Time passed internally, but didn’t externally, and now all that remains is to wait for it to be over, for what else could you do now, like then?
Read my previous prompt, “The Reverse Vampire”
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