I can’t help but find fog both eerie and mystical—you can never be sure of what’s hidden behind that vast wall of white. Downtown there’d barely been any, but out here it rolled in steadily from the river on one side to the shallow lake on the other. The road I was cycling on was illuminated by streetlights, but the thickening fog reduced my line of sight significantly. I began to cycle a little slower. I knew the route home well, and that was honestly the only reason why I still dared stay on my bike at all. While the road was mostly straight, there were several bends up ahead with only a few metres of grass and a single row of trees between the asphalt and the river.
Several years back, a car had slipped in one of those bends during a cold winter and had gone straight into the ice-covered water. At the leisurely speed I was moving, I would at most stumble into the ditch if I were to lose sight of the road—not something to worry about.
What I did worry about, though, was the fact that this road was also used by cars. Sure, it was like two at night, but if I was out and about, chances were other people were too. With the fog being as thick as it was, I assumed anyone driving in a car would be driving carefully. The thought put me on edge, however, and I made sure to listen well for any potential approaching vehicles.
Hearing only the wind and the sounds of my bike, I stared out through the white haze. The glow of my headlight combined with that of the streetlights made the dancing wisps of mist seem alive. For a while, my thoughts drifted to horror stories and movies, even horror games, where thick fog played a role. With a huff and a stupid smile on my lips, I raised my gaze to the sky, imaging how it would feel to suddenly see something appear at the edge of what was visible. Perhaps some eldritch tentacle, pitch black and as thick as a tree…
I laughed to myself, internally shaking my head as I focused again on the road—which was a good thing because I had drifted uncomfortably close to the ditch. Something on the other side of the road caught my attention, and I did my best to see, but the haze of fog obscured it. I contemplated if I should stop or pedal faster—especially after where my mind had just wandered.
Feeling bold, I halted. A part of me wanted to see something supernatural, something weird. But this was the Netherlands, and I rather doubted I would ever encounter anything odd—let alone in the quiet, rural place where I lived. Maybe it was a cow or a sheep? There was a pasture around the shallow lake area, and I could make out the vague outline of a fence… But the mist was disorientating. Besides, at this time surely all animals were fast asleep.
A pang of fear shot through my insides. Maybe—
The figure moved, and I could now tell it was in front of the fenced area. Was it a human silhouette? My grip on the bar of my bike intensified and I considered fleeing.
Don’t be a wuss, I chided myself. You wanted to encounter something supernatural? Well, here you go. Throwing caution to the wind, I called out. “Hello?”