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A Light in the Fog

by Lauren Triola 7 months ago in Horror
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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge: Story #17

A Light in the Fog
Photo by Taylor Leopold on Unsplash

The dinghy bobs on the water. I don’t know which way to paddle, the fog is too thick. It’s everywhere. I can barely see the ends of the boat. It is quiet except for the gentle lapping of water.

I am alone. I do not know where I am.

When the ship went down in the storm, I jumped into the water. It was cold, so cold. My head went under, and I didn’t know if I would ever breach the surface again. But someone fished me out and put me on this dinghy. I don’t know who. I woke up and whoever it was had left. Why did they leave? Why did they save me and no one else?

I can’t hear any other lifeboats. No voices. Nothing. I wish this fog would lift so I could see how far I’ve drifted. But the fog is endless. It envelops my entire world.

I have no provisions, no safe water. I can’t last long out here. But I can’t risk rowing the wrong direction—or worse, into something. All I can do is wait.

But I feel something out there watching me.

Perhaps it’s just my imagination. Perhaps it’s a fellow survivor of the shipwreck. Perhaps it’s the person who saved me. Maybe they thought it best we have two boats.

Maybe they feared what would happen if two people with no food stayed too long together.

Thankfully I am not yet hungry. Or thirsty. But it’s only a matter of time. I may have survived the ship sinking, but I may not survive this.

If only the fog would lift.

Suddenly, there’s a light. A brief flash cutting through the dense grayness around me. There, then gone.

I sit up straighter, searching for it.

There it is again. There, then gone.

And again.

A lighthouse.

I can’t see it, but I know that’s the beam from a lighthouse. I put the oars back into the water, preparing to row toward it.

A sound drifts over from the water. A watery hiss. I can’t tell from what direction, but it is something more than the water splashing against the sides of the dinghy.

There’s something in the water, something moving.

I can’t see what, I can’t see where. The fog is still too thick, like a gauze over my eyes. The light is still flashing, circling up ahead, but that is all I can see besides the fog and the boat.

The sound grows louder, closer. The fog becomes thicker as I start to row. Now I can’t see more than a foot in front of me. I can’t see the ends of the boat.

I can still see the light. I head toward the light.

The boat jolts. Did something hit it? I keep rowing, but the boat is slower. It drags.

That sound is closer than ever. The hissing makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I can feel it vibrate within me.

It is behind me.

I don’t look. I can’t look. The fog is still too thick. I keep rowing toward the light.

There’s a crack behind me, like wood crushed by a claw. I don’t look back. I don’t look back.

The light is getting closer.

The fog is getting thicker.

The hissing is just behind my ear.

I feel again like my head has plunged beneath the water. I remember the cold sinking into my bones. I remember the world going dark.

I remember…

There were no boats like this on the ship. And the storm that sank us was so terrible, no one could have spotted me in those choppy waters.

I never breached the surface. I never took another breath.

That is not a lighthouse in front of me.

The hissing is at my back now. I can feel something hovering there, inches from me. I row faster, faster toward the light.

Something sharp pierces my shoulder, like a fishhook caught in my skin. It is pulling me back. It will drag me down, down into the water, down into the abyss.

I keep rowing. The light is brighter, closer.

The fog is thicker, darker.

I am almost there.

The hook in my skin pulls, and I go under.

Horror

About the author

Lauren Triola

I'm mostly a fiction author who loves Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but I also love history and archaeology. I'm especially obsessed with the Franklin Expedition. Occasionally I write poetry too. You can find me at my blog or on Twitter.

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