„That’s strange…“ the woman by the window mumbled. She had been standing there for a long time now, watching as the storm winds gathered.
Storms were the only time for peace. They were so violent that even the enemy hid somewhere under the rocks. They handled it just as badly as people did. We were just lucky we found this old mansion earlier. It seemed warm inside at first, but now the old fireplaces were lit. Only till the storm calmed.
„What’s odd?“ she asked, playing with the thing that looked between porridge and soup. It was tasteless.
The children and women were sleeping apart from soldiers tonight.
„The storm is rather strong tonight,“ she said thoughtfully and the younger woman snorted.
„Yeah, I can hear the branches!“
She frowned at her, but then turned her eyes back outside and her next sentence was full of worry.
„There is fog approaching the house from the open field, from the south side.“
The younger women exchanged looks and ran by her side to see for themselves. There was indeed fog – thick, milky fog in the middle of an autumn storm.
A plate ran from Abrian’s fingers and hit the floor and that woke them up. Suddenly they were in hurry.
The older woman ran to the soldiers in the other room and yelled over the threshold. „There is fog coming!“
More plates fell and men stormed to the windows and to arms. MMC was running too. Meanwhile women killed the fireplaces, forced everything thinkable against the wooden shutters in front of the windows, leaving only tiny cracks to look out from and gathered everybody unable to fight in the cupboard under the main hall’s stairs.
Fog in the middle of a storm. Whatever it was, it wasn’t natural.
Soon the men followed and the place was crowded. But years on run had taught even the tiniest to keep quiet and still, without any sound.
Abrian felt his presence not far from her. She forced herself not to reach out her hand and touch him, though his mind begged to be delighted.Everybody had somebody they relied on, whom they protected.
„I don’t think it’s a fog.“ Somebody suggested almost unheard. „We should fill any crack we can find in this cupboard.“
He looked at her at that moment and they both knew she was right. Without a moment to spare they dragged everything possible off and forced the cracks closed except few they could use and watch. An then they prayed. There were nearly 40 of them in here, sitting close to each other. If the thing didn’t pass fast, they would suffocate.
The fog sneaked in from the cracks, filling the rooms. Like lurking. A plant growing in the corner of the hall suddenly showed marks of burning and the long staying in the fog turned it into ashes.
„They’ve released the burner!“ one of the soldiers gasped.
Abrian didn’t know it, but she had heard talks about it. It burned every living thing it touched. There was no cure for the pain it caused if you were lucky. Usually they used it in the nights, when people slept. Most of them didn’t even wake up, just burned through cloud of acid. Things were usually untouched, even hot coffee and surprisingly you could still drink it. If it passed, you could live there. A super weapon every garrison in the world would be after.
They waited till storm was over and things got quiet and hot. Lurking out few times confirmed that the cloud had disappeared. We didn’t hurry with getting out. Most of us didn’t want to go outside. If the burner was released, it only meant the enemy was only few miles from here.
But we couldn’t suffocate here either.