S C E N E S E V E N
Blind, no meaningful measure of orientation, the first house slipped into view, then one after another between loose herring bone fingers of fog, an endless parade of shambles.
Homes vacant, windows broken, fractured eyes staring, lawns un-mowed, unbalanced uneven, gardens untended, weeds wilting, paint peeling, scared and blistered, roofs collapsing, beams sagging, sections of siding stripped away exposing whale bones cracked and bleached. Boats scuttled with gaping holes, impromptu dry-docks where no one was working, registration numbers missing or sanded away. Cars, campers, trucks, no doors no wheels, no engines, dormant on cinder block chocks. The ‘Res’, abandoned except for the dogs.
Dragging a six-foot length of heavy gauge iron chain, the first of five thick-necked canines lay in the street directly in front of the car. Blood orange, blood brown and blood black with the soulless eyes of an empty shark. Two more born of the fog threw themselves at the passenger and driver’s side doors, clawing and biting at the glass, a fourth now on the roof unleashing a thunderous assault on the roof rails. The fifth launched itself on the hood focused menacingly on the two occupants, slobbering and spraying an iron colored viscosity across the windshield.
In the throes of escalating hyena-like laughter, jerking the car back and forth, slamming, grinding the stick-shift between gears to escape what seemed an inevitable breach in the security of the automobile, the car lurched to a grinding halt. Engine revving, wheels spinning freely, rotating and then not. Stalled, trapped and out of gas in the grip of dead silence. And now no dogs. Several minutes passed as the couple balanced precariously on the razor’s edge of terror.
A thickness of trees to the right parted suggestively providing a glimpse of filtered light as the fog thinned, a momentary weakness in the armor. With caution and relief the couple slipped cautiously from the vehicle ready to retreat at the first sign of danger. Feet planted as firmly as nerves would allow the sounds and smells of human activity graced their senses.
Straining their sight as the moisture laden air began to gather once again they caught sight of an archway, a portal through the fog in the direction of light and sound.