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The Man in the Fog (1 Viewer)

Jeff Degginger

Senior Member
Hey guys, this is a short piece I wrote. I did this in a one shot and I was going for a mildly creepy metaphorical tale at the time. Anyways I've read it from time to time and just looking for anything really. Just what do you think? Anyways, enough bellyaching.


The Man in the Fog


I was standing at my normal bus stop in the middle of the city, waiting to go to work. There was an incredible amount of fog outside. It blanketed buildings and streets and I could hear plenty of cars sliding and people gasping. It was a holiday and I felt lonely at a bus stop usually filled with people. Uneasily, I glanced at my watch, feeling constrained by the fog.

I thought I saw a man in the fog. Nothing more than a silhouette superimposed against the smokescreen of clouds. He was further down the road, I could make out his entire figure, but none of the fog seemed to open around him, it just seemed to stay glued to him. The fog never retracted from him, even as he stepped beside me.

Another person waiting for the bus stop, something I normally responded to with a friendly greeting. But the fog had made the whole city seem eerie and empty. Not to mention, standing at the bus stop beside a man completely covered in fog, as if he were making it out of the pores on his skin, was beginning to feel creepy.

It was just a shadow, standing there, barely moving, and looking as if a statue. He seemed to move his head as if looking down the street, but surely not, the fog was far too thick to see the road in front of my feet. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him if he were really there, but I was afraid of the answer. What if he wasn’t real?

I glanced at my watch again, the bus was very late now, growing later by the minute. I realized that the man might still be here when the bus arrived, and the bus would tell me whether he was real or not, so avoiding asking him a question was simply avoiding the inevitable.

I thought briefly about making the mile long trek to the next bus stop. But what if he followed me? I didn’t want to think about it any further, and decided to remain here paralyzed by an overactive paranoia until the bus decided to come along. The man in the fog never looked at his watch, he didn’t seem to care what time it was.

I felt silly waiting there not saying anything. The sound of the city around me became an earthquake. I found myself unable to hold myself any longer, the possible identity of the man as incorporeal must be the only explanation. I couldn’t hold myself any longer and I said, “Hello.”
The man never answered me. I understood why a normal city person would not. If I’d been standing at a bus stop for next to ten minutes without anyone saying anything to me, and then suddenly they want to jump into conversation I wouldn’t be the open person right away.

I started to notice more and more, that no matter what the man did, he never made a sound. He stood there a constant silhouette waiting silently with me. I grew dreadful of him, a silent shadow on the street in the middle of a city, no luggage with him. He seemed like the grim reaper himself, come, waiting for me to go crazy and run into the road to my death just to get away from him.

I laughed at my own imagination, but not out loud. My mind never let go of the personification of the Grim Reaper. If the fog fell from his body then all that would be left was a cloaked skeletal figure, it would look at me with hellfire in its eyes and drag me down to rest in the underworld. Hades would greet me into his realm and Cerberus would chew me for the rest of eternity.

I felt my skin rise in goose bumps. The bus was far overdue. The red light of a cigarette from the shadowy man nearly made me jump. I didn’t even see him light the cigarette or produce it from his pocket. Had he been smoking it the entire time? Wouldn’t it have gone out by now?

Nervous I went for my own pack. Shakily I lit the cigarette and dragged on it. It was by far the best cigarette I had ever had. But none of the dread had gone when the cigarette fell to the earth and was stamped under my foot. The man beside me continued to drag on his endless cigarette, forever to be stamped red in the air, as mine was stamped gray upon the earth.

I thought I heard a bus turn the corner and sighed almost out loud. The silhouette stalked off down the road and disappeared behind what may have been a corner. It seemed, as he walked off into the distance, that something was waving around his feet.

As the bus pulled beside me, I knew I would be forever fearful of the experience. I clambered aboard the bus quickly, dropping the quarter into the slot of the toll, and took my seat. As we turned the corner that I presumed the shadowy man had gone down I kept my eye out for a sight of him. But all I saw was fog, and perhaps within it, a skulking figure holding a scythe and rose.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
"There was an incredible amount of fog outside"
First off, this seemed strange, the "outside" made me check back to the first sentence to make sure he was not indoors, and "incredible amount" seemed a strange way to describe fog, amount usually relates to something quantifiable, "very foggy" seems more normal. then I wondered if his going to work in the middle of the day was significant? Those first few sentences are so important.

"I started to notice more and more, that no matter what the man did, he never made a sound"
I don't think you can notice "more and more", once you had noticed it you could become more and more aware of it though.

Moving on, I think you missed the "mildly creepy" by being too specific with the "Grim reaper" image, you want the reader's imagination to run riot but telling them the exact direction yours took is restricting for them, (He became dreadful, you became afraid of him by the way).
Try something less specific like, "If the fog fell away from him what strange figure would be left standing there? How would he greet me? What awful fate would await me? I could imagine the un-nameable possibilities only too well." Where it works is in the last few words "and perhaps within it, a skulking figure holding a scythe and rose", though I might go an extra comma "and perhaps, within it, a skulking figure holding a scythe and rose".

Good, clean English, an excellent start.
 

ROORD

Member
"But all I saw was fog, and perhaps within it, a skulking figure holding a scythe and rose" fantastic way to finish, I don't want you to think it wasn't good before then but really liked this part, especially the perhaps, I agree with Olly, I think maybe more questioning uncertainty would boost the atmosphere throughout the piece. I liked the part about the cigarette too, perhaps you could describe how the red of it was just floating adrift like a burning ship at sea if you can't see the cigarette between the fire and the man but obviously its your piece. A bit of repetition took away from it, perhaps synonym it up but I enjoyed it, hope my comments were helpful =)
 
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