As the mist swirled around the forest, I shivered; it gave me a spooked feeling, an omen threatening and foreboding. It had developed as soon as the sky darkened, appearing out of nowhere. The fog moved in from across the lake, descending from the lofty tree tops low to the water and drew treacherously near, its movement strange and dancing as if possessed by evil spirits. I called to Beth who was gathering rocks at the lake’s edge.
“Bethy honey, we should get back to the cottage. It looks like it’s going to rain.”
“OK”, she said, as she scurried over to my side. But she stopped short, also noticing the mysterious vapour, dropping her treasures and grabbing tightly to my leg.
“What’s the white stuff,” she asked. “It scares me.”
I looked down at her and smiled tentatively as I bent to scoop her up to my chest. We held each other so closely that we walked as one entity when we entered the wooded path that led back to the cottage.
Was it my own repressed childhood fears that made the darkened path feel like the forest was watching us? I felt that we weren’t alone. My heart thumped loudly. The feeling of lurking danger gripped me. I hoped that Bethy couldn’t detect my alarm. I hastened my step when I saw the glow of the cottage lights at the end of the path.
As we mounted the porch steps, the eyes of the forest still prickled on my back, pulling us back as if trying to draw us into its ghostly realm. I reached for the latch on the door which seemed to stick not allowing it to open and let us in. I jiggled franticly at the handle when suddenly the door opened, my husband standing in the doorway looking confused as to why I was seemingly panicked and having a problem. We burst through the porthole to the safety of the interior. Once inside, our relief was palpable as the warmth and light embraced us.
“Daddy,” Bethy cried. “There were monsters in the forest.”
He gave me an accusatory glance.
“Silly girl,” he laughed. “Don’t you know? I don’t allow monsters anywhere near my two favorite ladies? Now go and wash up. Hotdogs are ready.” He had a gentle smile on his face but his head cocked to one side and his eyes narrowed at me and I knew that I was about to be lectured.
“Come on scaredy-cat,” he said, pulling my hand and coaxing me to join him in the kitchen.
I followed, but not before looking out of the window where the mist had caught up to us and still now twirled ominously outside of the cottage. My adult reasoning told me that there was no such thing as the boogeyman, none the less, my inner child wasn’t so sure.