The Fog

A short story from the point of view of an albatross.

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1. The Fog

It had been a very long time since I had seen a storm of this magnitude, a very long time.

The wind was screaming, letting out its furious cry as it raced through the skies and the ocean below me only reflected its anger, rising up in huge waves before crashing down again mercilessly. A harsh cold filtered through the air, sneaking under my feathers maliciously to chill my skin as the spray of the sea repeatedly tickled my wings, a constant reminder that if I dipped any lower, it would swallow me up and take my life for its own.

I flew high above the tempest, the wind holding me in the air almost reluctantly as I danced on it, careful not to lose my balance and be swept away by an alien current.

I stared down at the murky blue waters which were currently taking on an almost black shade and grumbled; it would take me a good few hours to get out of this storm and my last meal had been hours earlier.

As if in response to my concerns, my stomach grumbled, just audible over the violent roar of the threatening waves and I dipped a bit to receive a large splash of brine in my feathers.

I let out a loud cry, spiralling upwards to settle in a slower wind current as I searched for any other birds. It was always nicer to fly with a companion and safer too but there was no one in sight. Having no time to dither, I continued, sweeping lower to catch a faster current and began surfing on that one instead.

The black skies pressed down on top of me and there were no stars in sight. Only large clouds, their outlines barely visible, were stitched into the sky and not even the moon decided to share her white and pure brilliance tonight.

Settling more comfortably into the flow of the wind, I spread my wings out as far as I could, briefly enjoying the feeling of the cool air seeping through my feathers before allowing sleep and rest to fall upon me.

***

When I woke, probably an hour or two later, the day had awoken but the storm raged still.

An eerie fog had settled over the sea, almost hiding it from my sight and the wind had resumed a stronger push, driving my forwards at an almost alarming pace.

Dropping quickly out of the current, I found a new and slower one to fly on before beginning to observe the sea below. Its waters were an inky black, only showing a faint trace of blue when the sun shone through the cloud to glitter on it and empty of any life. The wind was still relentless, occasionally blowing me up or down to greet the sea and sky and its temperature had dropped again so that it felt like I was swimming through iced water. The fog was thick and was probably one of the only light things in sight. Its white entrails stretched across the dark blanket of black and rose to caress my wings in a tantalizing fashion.

I found myself dropping another couple of metres and had to swoop back up to avoid being crashed by a black giant, cascading its way through the ocean. Glaring at the wave, I began to concentrate more on my flying as I found the currents of air breaking often. I flew straight for a few minutes before suddenly I was flung backwards, summersaulting through the wind to fly in the opposite direction. Swinging around again, I jumped into another current angrily and began to beat my wings harder to avoid a similar accident happening again.

Suddenly, the wind seemed to cease for a second, sending me plummeting down towards the ocean. Taken by surprise, I did not succeed in rising in time before a huge wave came to tower above me, standing there with a malicious intent. I aimed upwards like an arrow but before I could slip above the dark waters, they crashed down over me with force.

I was flung deep into the icy water, cold rushing through my feathers and sliding over my skin as little bubbles of oxygen scattered away from me in alarm, dancing away to the surface to join their companions. I flapped my wings desperately in the water but the sheer weight of the blue prevented me from making hardly any movement at all. I pushed against the water, managing to slam my wings down against my sides before I paddled with all my might, looking up towards the surface.

I broke through the surface, the black liquid sliding away from me as if I was something nasty and leapt up into the fog, its silver-coloured hands stroking me soothingly as I struggled to regain my breath as I flapped my extra limbs frantically.

Too tired to keep the flying up, I found myself falling again and I began to squawk frantically, screaming out an alarm call loudly.

Then I landed.

I did not find myself been swallowed up by water again, instead, my body had hit something hard and flat with not a bump in it.

I let out a defeated sigh, shifting uncomfortably on the hard surface.

Then a lot of noise hit my ears, noise that didn’t belong to the complaining tempest all around me.

Something hit my stomach, sending me flying a couple of metres away to land on the hard surface again. I flapped around; yelling loudly as a huge creature came running my way. Before it could hit me or grab me or whatever it planned to do to me, we were both sent flying the other way. I smashed into a wall and slid down it to fall amongst many small and large boxes.

A small defeated crow left my beak and I seemed to shrink in size as I cowered away from all of it.

I opened my eyes and the fog was thick around me, no longer a comfort to my weak and battered body. It crept over me, treading on me painfully and jeering at me as it made me shiver.

Something grabbed me and I struggled again, my body working under instinct’s command as my wings flapped determinedly though my mind cried other things. The grip remained hard and firm, refusing to release me and I screamed loudly. The scream was joined by others as shrieks which were not mine filled the air.

I struggled, the screams terrifying me, and suddenly I was free! I bolted into the sky, leaping up with all the energy of a young fledgling.

I left the cries behind, leaping out of the storm and dancing away with the wind. I spiralled along its currents, rejoicing in the freedom I had been begging for.

Finally, I came skidding to a halt in the sky, staring up at the sun which was now lighting up the blue ocean.

I slid out of the clouds, creeping closer to the danger, only daring fate now. I floated on a slow current, dipping down so that the fog swirled around me. I went further till it broke away slightly and then I saw some very strange things.

The ocean below was full of debris, bits of broken wood, weird items and trinkets and large boxes like stepping stones on the dark sea. The storm now eased, allowing me to hover above the waters. At last, I landed on the ocean, it’s now calm waters accepting me and allowing me to perch there at ease.

Tucking my wings away, I just sat on the water, the fog wriggling around me, almost seeming irritated at my escape from death.

A loud voice brought my attention and I turned to see a strange creature, similar to the one I had seen earlier. It was ugly, thin but muscled and was clinging to a piece of drift wood as if it was the only thing keeping him from dying.

I approached, still keeping my distance and listened to his yells as the creature glared at me.

“Damn you you blooming birds! Damn you! They say albatrosses bring bad luck, now here’s proof! Be gone you barstard! You have damned my whole crew, they’re gone and so will I be soon! If only that storm could have swallowed you up devil-creature!” It yelled its voice raspy and like its appearance, ugly.

I cocked my head at it and it cursed at me fluently, waving his fist.

I remained seated, watching the scene. Stretching upwards with the grace of one of my cousins, the swan, I leapt into the sky, abandoning the creature and its curses. The fog swallowed up its ugly form and soon, as I swept over the thick white fog, I sighted many of the strange creatures, their bodies lining the ocean roof.

I watched them till the fog swallowed them too and soon; the fog swallowed me as well.

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