Mist of the Past
Mark slammed the screen door and stormed out onto the porch, his mother's nagging voice trailing behind him. The nerve of that woman! She threw out all of his notes, all of his hard work. It was apparent to Mark that she had no respect for him or his hobbies. Mark sat on the bottom step of the porch, set his elbows on his knees and rested his head in his hands. He let out a heavy, exasperated sigh as he stared off into the morning mist, lost in his thoughts. Rays of golden light were cutting through the fog that drifted down from the mountains in the spring. The faint silhouette of the barn and trees could be made out through the fog and wisps of gray ghosts drifted to and fro with a carefree motion.
Damned his parents! Why did they have to be so stereotypical. They expected him to be athletic and to win at sports in school. Mark wasn't about to do all of that, not with his scrawny build. Instead he enjoyed writing and reading. He worked on the school paper and expected to move to the city when he was older to become a writer or a journalist. Instead his parents wanted him to take over the farm, but Mark wasn't going to waste his life here in the middle of nowhere. He wanted to see the world!
His father called him next, quite angrily and mark shuddered. If his mother had high expectations, his father's were somewhere in space. His father wanted to have another of his 'talks' which typically included a lot of yelling and head shaking before he would threaten to kick Mark out and storm off. Well, Mark was sick of it. He stood up slowly, his hands balled up tightly into fist. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, the air smelled of rain and wet grass. Mark opened his eyes, peered deep into the mists and then began to run. He ran passed the barn and the trees out into the open plains. He didn't stop running until he had left his parents' nagging, the farm, and his breath behind.
Mark stopped and doubled over. He rested his hands on his knees and squeezed his eyes shut tight. His breathing was heavy as he tried to catch his long gone breath. When Mark could finally breath without gasping he stood upright and stretched. All about him swirled gray ghosts in the golden light. Mark could see nothing beyond the mist. All around danced golden-clad gray ghosts moving to unheard music. There was utter silence.
That silence was shattered by a faint, distant cry for help. Mark turned towards the cry. He thought he could see a shape move in the mist and he squinted in a vane attempt to clear his vision. He called out in the direction of the cry but received no answer. With curiosity boiling over Mark took a step forward and then another. He walked through the mist, the crunch of grass and gravel beneath his shoes the only audible sound. He continued to call out, for almost an hour he called with no idea what force drove him onward until he heard the cry again, louder this time. He turned towards the source of the cry to see a faint figure in a skirt and blouse turn and disappear into the fog once more. A girl then, but Mark hadn't a clue as to where she might have come from. There were no farms anywhere near here.
Mark ran after her. He called out to her and asked her to wait, but her distant voice only urged him onward; asking that he not stop. So he ran on, tripping every now and again on a stone or fallen log. He ran on, the now distinctly feminine voice frantically calling to him to continue. He ran and he ran; the mist swirled about him and seemed to urge him onward as well. Her ran and he ran with no idea as to where he was going.
Mark slid to a stop just before tumbling into a deep ravine. Below him he could see the figure of the girl shouting to him, but he couldn't make out what she was saying. He couldn't fathom how she had even gotten down there. He felt as if he was chasing after a ghost. A low rumble began to break the silence that had once again fallen on the mist. A low thunderous sound that began to grow louder and louder behind him. The girl gestured and yelled frantically down in the ravine. Mark turned around and peered into the fog, but only the growing thunder warned him that something was approaching. Soon Mark could see banners rising out of the fog and coming closer, the thunderous roar was now accompanied by the creak of leather and clack of metal. Before him appeared a column of knights riding hard with lances bared. Mark's eyes shot wide and he took a step back only to find the ravine behind him. He felt a tug on his arm and found the girl pulling on his shirt; she was telling him to jump. Mark didn't know what to do, everything was happening so quickly. He moved to take another step back and the girl pushed him. He tumbled backward and fell just as the knights reached the crest of the ravine.
A loud cheer rose up from the edge of the ravine as Mark rolled down. He rolled over rocks and chunks of rusted metal before splashing into a small stream at the bottom. He shook himself off and looked up. Everything was silent in the mist. The knights were gone and so was the girl. Mark was alone and lost in the fog. He stood up and looked both ways along the ravine, but nothing could be seen. He shivered and wrapped his arms around himself. The air was cold and now he was wet. With a sigh, Mark took a step forward. He walked along for some time with no idea what to do. A while later he heard the girls voice ahead of him; she was telling him to follow her.
Mark stopped short. He slammed his foot into the ground and demanded to know who she was. The girl laughed, a rich and lighthearted laugh and told him all would be explained shortly. With another resigning sigh Mark followed. The girl hummed softly as they walked and seemed completely oblivious to the situation. They walked for what must have been an hour before the girl stopped and pointed. She didn't say a word, she just looked at Mark and smiled. He followed her finger to what she was pointing at and his heart skipped a beat. Lying on the edge of the stream was a skeleton in a tattered and faded blouse and skirt with a cracked leather bag draped over its shoulder. Mark wanted to ask the girl what this was all about, but she was gone. Silence had fallen on the world, not even the sound of the flowing stream could be heard. He stepped forward, his heartbeat picking up with every silent step.
With curiosity filling every fiber of his being and overcoming his fear and anticipation, Mark reached into the bag and produced a worn and faded journal. He had no idea how he knew it would be there, he just knew. He opened it and carefully turned the yellow, faded pages. He flipped to the last page and began to read:
This is going to be my last entry, I just know it. My name is Sarah. My last name isn't important for I have left that world behind. I came out here looking for a lost tribe, but all I seem to have found is death. My only comfrot is the mists, where I will wat for you. Whoever you are that have found this journal, I just want you to know that I love you.
Mark closed the journal and stared at the back cover for a very long time. This was all very strange. The girl, the knights, the silence and this journal. Mark didn't know what to think or what to do.
"I've been waiting for you, my love," the girls voice whispered in his ear. She kissed him softly on the cheek and helped him to stand up. Mark looked at her in bewilderment, but she only smiled back at him. She told him to run home and then to meet her back at this spot and offered no further explanations. As much as Mark asked her what was going on and what she meant, the girl, Sarah, would only shrug and smile. Mark couldn't stop staring at her. Partly it was do to complete bewilderment, but it was also do to her stunning beauty. She motioned him to go impatiently and gave him a gentle shove towards his home.
Without realizing it Mark was running back to his home full speed. Above his head roared a plane. He looked up and saw an old plane from the Great War tearing past, it's guns roaring fire. He spread his arms wide and laughed. He didn't know what was happening and he didn't care. He just kept laughing. Suddenly Mark was running amongst a herd of brown cattle-like creatures that he had never seen before. As suddenly as they had appeared they vanished and Mark's farm came into view. He ran passed the trees and the barn. He burst through the screen door of his house and ran into his room. He hastily changed into some better cloths. He grabbed his camping gear and rifle and headed back out into the yard. His mother was calling after him to come back. Her desperate pleas made him pause only a moment, but with one last wave goodbye and a tear in his eye he turned back to the mist. He really was going to miss them, but their life wasn't his.
As Mark began to run back to Sarah he noticed a beautiful couple standing a short distance in front of him. The girl, it was Sarah, smiled brightly at him and the man, Mark realized that it was himself, laughed and gestured him to come along. So he ran as fast as he could into the fog, leaving his world behind. He was never seen again. His body was never found. Eventually his memory passed on and he faded into the mist of the past.