I wake up in my bed and hear the curtains being drawn. Another grey, rainy day. The wind whistles around our house trying to break in. It hasn't been sunny for what feels like years and I can't remember the warm feeling of sunshine on my skin. No, all we have is day after day of rain.
And the dreaded mist...
Is today going to be one of those days? A mist day? With a sense of dread, we peer out the window. The sight that greets us on the horizon is the thing we fear the most. Clearly dad has seen it too because at that moment he comes rushing in with Bonnie barking behind him. They are trying to stay calm for me, but I can sense the urgency in their voices, and see the fear in their eyes.
"Hold your breath!" dad says, trying to seem calm.
"Don't breathe it, beat it!" mum adds, also trying to hide her shaking.
And then it comes, seeping through all the cracks in our house...cracks which aren't even there. It begins to fill the room like bonfire smoke: thick and life-threatening. Quickly the walls of my room disappear behind the swelling wall of mist. The all too familiar silence descends and I can no longer see my hands in front of me. Don't breathe it, beat it! Don't breathe it, beat it!...
Long before my time, this island was just a lovely place to be. At least that's what my parents tell me.
Then the storms started attacking us.
Then the crops started failing.
Then the only other reliable source of food stopped coming in when our only fishing boat disappeared...strangely, at the same time as the old widow from the north woods went missing. Many of the villagers still believe she stole that boat to save herself from what our once beautiful homeland had become. And no-one has forgiven her for this selfish act. Since then what little our crops produce is enabling us to survive... just.
Finally, the mist begins to clear. At last. We've been lucky so far, the three of us. The mist is yet to get its claws into us and wrench us apart. I wonder who has been taken this time. Then I hear my dad sobbing. I go to comfort him, surely something mum must be doing already. "Dad?" I cant see mum. "Dad?" I ask again.
Through his tears he mumbles "She's gone." Bonnie rests her head on his lap. She knows.
For generations, our island had a few hundred people living happily together. Now there are only a few broken families left. When the mist started it was just strange. Almost once a week this blue fog descended getting thicker and thicker each time. Straight away it could be seen that this was no ordinary sea mist; it was different. People started disappearing and it didn't take everyone long to realize the two were linked. That's when the fear started, and rumours were spread around of it being some kind of evil magic... something to be feared. We started to jump to conclusions about how it was happening and, in the panic, people thought it must be when you breathe it in. Posters were plastered on every available wall and tree: "Don't breathe it, beat it!" - the slogan with which we are all way too familiar. For all the good it does. People keep vanishing, swallowed up by the harrowing blue mist.
A couple of weeks passed and we had begun to accept that now it was just my dad, Bonnie and me. It's tragic we had to come to terms with mum's disappearance so quickly. But we need to feed ourselves, try to grow crops in this hostile environment. Life's so hard we haven't had time to grieve.
Have we beaten it? It's been fifty one days since the last mist: the one that took my mum. Could it be over now that it's ripped our family apart? Still, our crops are being stubborn and not growing and the fish just not biting. But is it finally over? At that exact moment, the walls start shaking and I feel a sense of dread swelling inside me. Once again the panic rushes through my veins as lava-like mist seems to crash through our house and engulf the rest of the village. We've had no time to prepare for this! Is this it? Is this my time to go? I call out for dad but can't even hear my own voice. Where is he? Where is Bonnie? In the stress of trying to hold my breath, I hear something. A voice. I must be imagining it! It sounds like my mum! It can't be... Am I hallucinating?... This is going on for too long!
I can't breathe.
I have to breathe.
Instantly I see twisting turning spirals of colour drawing me in, filling my head, forming the shape of a hand reaching out to me.
I wake up in my bed. Its comfier than normal. I look around. Is this home? It looks like home! I can hear the curtains being drawn and for the first time I discover the warm feeling of the sunshine on my skin
"How are you, my love?" Mum's voice. That can't be true?! Am I dead like everyone else who has been a victim of the mist?
We had always been taught "Don't breathe it, beat it!" We had always been wrong. When we finally breathed in the mist we all learned the truth. Turns out the mist had been created to save us from the wretched version of our island. Now, when I look out my bedroom window I don't see sad crops and a dead ocean, I see fields of corn swaying in the breeze and a sea abundant with life. The old widow came to see me to explain it all. She had stolen the fishing boat not to save herself, but to make our grand escape from that place possible. There is a small bluey purple flower growing on the north side of both islands called motus caligo that she used to create the mist which brought us to this beautiful place. Who knew she had the power to conjure that magical mist? Grey rainy days are now long forgotten and life with mum, dad, Bonnie and our entire village is looking good again.