Sunday, June 24, 2012
Out of the mist
I peer down from the kitchen to the front door at the sound of tapping at the window. Morgan stands outside, his head slightly bowed, holding Murdoch’s line. His empty collar swings from the end like a pendulum.
Murdoch bolted the second he realized he was free. Morgan had tugged his line, encouraging him off the deck into the wet grass and Murds resisted, jerked backwards and shucked his collar.
My boots crunch over wet gravel as I walk down the driveway and onto the road with a leash now attached to the empty collar. I call Murdoch’s name into the incongruous brightness of the silent evening draped in a heavy mist.
It is almost 10 o’clock at night but it is still light enough to pass for two in the afternoon of a gray overcast day. There should be people around, sounds of life buzzing away in the distance, emerging from the woods, but there is nothing. It is as if the mist has swept it all away and suddenly I feel as though I have fallen out of time.
I stand in the middle of the road, the only person in the entire world, engulfed by the eerie silence and watch the mist float and hover amongst the trees, muffling the forest. My voice seems extra loud to my ears, it has no where to go but just bounces around in the mist and I wonder if Murdoch can even hear me.
I can just make out the end of our road where the trail begins. The trees are dark shapes that melt away into gray nothingness. I think I see something moving in the mist at the trailhead. I stare at it for a moment and think perhaps it could be Murdoch, but I do not want to go down there. I do not want to walk any further along the road and be swallowed up by the mist.
I turn my head to the side to try and define the shape out of the corner of my eye. It could be a bear lumbering about at the edge of the woods. It is just a shape, a black shape changing and morphing into other shapes like a shadow set free.
I am considering returning to the house when I hear the distant sound of hooves galloping over wet earth. I can almost feel the ground vibrating beneath my feet and I imagine a great white horse thundering out of the mist like a mythical creature in a fairy tale.
I turn in the direction of the sound and watch as it gets closer, coming through my neighbours’ woods, across their lawn towards the road where I wait behind a stand of trees. I can feel the sound in my chest, I can hear claws tearing at grass, his breath panting heavily in and out of his mouth and then I see a flash of his legs behind tree trunks.
“Murdoch,” I say. And it is silent again. I can’t see him but I know he is there, trying to figure out where my voice came from. “Murds,” I say again and the thundering resumes and he is weaving around tree trunks and leaping across the gaping ditch and scrabbling to a halt beside me on the gravel road.
His panting crashes around me, a sudden surge of life in this deserted world, and I breathe a sigh of relief at finding him, at no longer being displaced in time. I clip his collar around his neck and we walk briskly back to the house, our feet crunching together over gravel through the shifting mist.