Something crawls out from the realm of possibility. The fog lies deep, solid over the sea. There is nothing to see except the still water with muted waves lying below the greyness of the heavy cloud. It is as though the clouds have real weight, pressing down on the sea, ironing out the waves to nothing more than a suggestion of movement.
Hella has her hands raised towards the thick bank of fog. Whether she is warding it off or entreating it to come closer is hard to tell. Her eyes are closed in concentration. Her arms, stiff with tension, make the gestures that will make the fog come closer, or disperse altogether.
Hella is not sure how she created the fog, or even – for that matter – if she did create it. All she knows is that the dream came.
A dream where she saw what lay within the fog, lost deeper that any shadow inside it. That darker mass within the dense cloud had a malevolence that shot her from her dream like a bad barrel bursting and filling the scullery with ale.
She left the dream behind in her warm bed and rushed here down to the beach, to the sea. Seeing the fog out there, rolling closer to the land. The sea was quiet; its familiar sounds of wave and motion muted to little more than a hiss. A susurration in what little breeze there was. Even the gulls were not flying or crying.
It was as though the fog had stopped everything, even time. She could not see the sun or clouds out there, just the dense fog. Here on the land, the sky was a uniform grey, lighter than the fog, but still without feature.
If it wasn’t for the feel of the sand under her bare feet, and the rough pebbles she had stumbled over as she rushed down to the shore’s edge, Hella would think she still dreamt. Even that her waking was as much a part of the dream as the fog that was creeping closer.
There were times when Hella wished for some creature to rise up and devour her world, especially after her man, Kench, went off to sea and never returned. She wanted revenge on the world then. She wanted some creature to come out of the fog and destroy this world. A world that had lost all its colour and faded to grey for her.
She trudged through each day waiting for him to return and knowing he never would. There had been nights too when she’d stood staring out into the darkness with the waves lapping sibilant around her ankles. Always wondering what it would be like to swim out there until she could swim no more. Would she meet him there, waiting for her down in the untold depths? Or was the sea too wide, too deep, too unknown for even drowned lovers to find each other?
But as time passed, colour had slowly returned to her world. Now she wanted to live again, which was why she wondered if she had drawn this creature here to rip this world apart. But then, if it were not her, then who else in this small kingdom by the sea would have the power to call such a dark creature from the depths?