#2918 – The Walk
Petworth, January 2020.
The mist was descending, softening and smothering everything around them.
“Don’t walk off,” he said. “Let’s stay together.”
She wandered ahead a few paces, but he repeated his warning again, “Don’t walk off!”
Suddenly, she realised that this was more for his benefit than hers. He’d never liked the dark, and the way that this mist was slowly surrounding them had obviously started to panic him, even if only slightly.
They edged their way around the lake, the silence surrounding them, closing in on them with a deafening roar.
She was sure they had been other people in the park, strangers, maybe, but other connections, safety in numbers and all. The water looked cold, icily cold, and she really had to watch where she was walking to avoid slipping, sliding into the lake, disappearing under the surface for all eternity.
The trees around them were looking out of the fog one at a time. Their naked branches looked right in this weather, no longer sad, skeletal remains of a summer long since past. Now their woody protrusions were more like hands and arms, ready to scratch the unwary traveller, catch on their clothing, pulling them into a cold, silent embrace, and she shuddered at the thought of which would be the nicer way to go. The chilling hug of an elm or oak, or the silent suffocation of the lake…
Darkness almost surrounded them now, visibility down to a few paces. The lake edges had disappeared and the cold was closing in around the two of them. He was still a few footsteps behind her, but his breath was more muffled than before, the world around silenced by the fog in the same way as the silence of a falling snow. Thank god it hadn’t been snowing! There’d be no way to measure the distance they’d travelled – what seemed like miles already – and they would see tree roots, the lake or rabbit holes.
They had to keep going, that was for sure. Keeping on heading to the building they’s seen when the mists first came swirling. It couldn’t be that far ahead, although, with the fog now thick enough to cover the lights, who knows whether they were heading in the right direction or not.
She stopped for a moment. She thought she had heard something behind her. It was probably only his footsteps, his size elevens failing to miss the puddle she’d just passed. She listened intently. It was so quiet. Not a sound. Even the birds had fallen silent. His breath was completely muffled now, so muffled that she couldn’t even hear it. She turned, slowly, so as not to frighten him. But she was alone…
Don’t forget to get involved in the new January Blues Mass Observation Project! It’s really simple to take part. If you’re interested, just:
- Take a photo that represents the January Blues to you
- Email the image to email@example.com by Wednesday 29th January
- Include your name and location and a short note about the photograph
- Visit CKPonderingsToo.photo.blog on Saturday 1st February to see the Mass Observation Results!