miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015

Secret in the mist

   Mist covered most of the terrain. People could barely see what they were stepping on, so the group that was going through the area had to put a rope around their bodies so they would avoid getting lost. They walked very slowly and they all secretly prayed for the situation to improve. But it had been raining for almost a week, always at sunrise, so the possibility of less mist was far from reality. The group of five people, all botanists, were running out of food and knew very well that if they got lost in that region, they could really endanger themselves as there was only one way out that was easy to follow. There might have been others but no one knew them well and with rain, they may have been cut off.

 One morning, they stopped on top of a mountain that had a very smooth surface and decided to drink some water and look around. Again, they couldn’t see much but they had some high-tech equipment that could tell them where it was they were, at least approximately.  But all the devices that they had brought weren’t going to live forever as batteries ran out and they were not of the kind that you can replace. The group leader, Gregorio, was the one that announced that their GPS system had run put of battery and that the last portion of their journey had to be done with other equipment, more inexact, and by a typical map which was not nearly as good as a GPS. But none in the group had lost hope of getting home soon. But they were tired and hungry.

That day, again, they walked into the mist trying to find the path that would lead them to a military post in the high mountains. From there, they could easily ask for help to get them into the city and far away from that marvelous but mysterious world. They had discovered many plants, some new insects and even a mammal that no human had seen before. They were pretty happy with their discoveries but all specimens could get ruined if they did not get to their lab fast. And in only a couple of days that would start to happen and it was their major concern. So they just walked and walked, nonstop every day, trying to get out of the moorland. But everyday the mist seemed thicker, more dangerous.

 By the fourth day of their expedition to get out of the area, they found some ruins. At first, they thought they were ancient but when they got closer they realized the building that once stood there had to be from the twentieth century and no earlier. They even found the remains of a phone and lots of metal. What was weirder was when Rebecca, one of the two women in the party, discovered many boxes containing medical supplies. They had dates so they could pinpoint that the facility had been in operation eighty years ago. But what did they do there? That facility had never been mentioned in any maps or reports by explorers. And the area were the remains were scattered was all but small.

 The group decided to stay in that area for the night. It was getting colder each passing day and they had to keep the walking controlled because if they got tired, water would run out faster. Only one person, the young Mathias, stayed awake in order to watch out for wild life. Some snakes and even bears were known to inhabit the place and they had to leave someone awake to alert the other if something went on. But when everyone woke up, Mathias was gone. They screamed and walk around looking for him but he would only appear an hour later, with all the bottles and canteens filled with fresh water. He told the group that at night he had heard something and went to fin out what it was and then he discovered a small fall of fresh water.

 Gregorio asked him to show them and they all walked by the edge of a cliff until they saw a tiny stream of water going down the rocks and moss into the cliff. It was like a small waterfall and they all drank from it. Water was fresh, as always in these altitudes. They were so happy for the discovery, they all praised Mathias and laughed at jokes and so on. That was until they heard a sound, a sound that traveled up their spines and to their brain. It was an animal but a horrible animal that made a sound, which was a mixture between a wolf’s growl, a bat’s squeal and a human’s scream. It was the most awful thing they had heard and it was close. The group decided to go up again and just continue through the mist, beyond the ruins.

 But the mist got thicker and the sound seemed to be following them. They were all nervous, not happy anymore. There was something chasing them or at least following them and maybe that had been going on for several days. Something or someone was doing that noise and they only knew they had to get away from that fast and without looking back. But Richard, who was a very curious older man, had to know what it was that they were scared off. He was the last in the line and he was walking slower until he decided to cut off the rope and stay still. The group soon realized he wasn’t there but they couldn’t find him. They yelled his name but he couldn’t hear them. The mist acted like a wall.

 He stood still where had cut off the rope, which he still held in his hand, and tried to open his eyes, all he could. He tried to hear more, to acute his senses but the sound had vanished. He could only hear the wind that had started blowing a bit. He then turn around to catch up with the group but he soon realized that wasn’t going to be easy. He walked around for at least thirty minutes until he gave up and was starting to imagine how he could go back to the waterfall and have some more fresh water. But then something launched itself on Richard and even the group, which was not that far, could hear his screams and the sound that had followed them again. Now, everything seemed amplified and they started running.

 They just ran and covered their ears. They just knew that the voice they had heard was Richard but they preferred to think it was their imagination at work. Which was true was that, if he were ok, he wouldn’t be able to find them anymore. The group suddenly stopped and realized they had finally reached the point in the national park that hey had intended to reach since the beginning. It was the military base. Gregorio rushed inside and the rest of the group stayed outside, still hoping that Richard could find his way to them. They drank some water and then Gregorio came out of the base and just vomited profusely. Everyone was confused. Consuelo, the other woman in the group, ran to him and asked him what happened.

 Gregorio couldn’t speak at first. They gave him water to wash his mouth and drink. When he finally spoke, he was livid, white as the mist hat still covered every part of their surroundings. He told them that inside the base, there was no one. Instead, their bodies were everywhere, pieces and remains all over. And they were relatively fresh, possibly preserved by the cold temperatures of the mountain. Something, he said, had attacked them. No human had done it because they were no weapon marking in the walls or the floor. Besides, and everyone thought he was going to vomit again, it seemed that their bodies had been ripped apart, as if a gigantic beast had attacked them.

 And just then, the noise was heard again, closer than before. They all concluded, without even speaking, that the sound and the beast that had attacked the base where one and the same. Consuelo checked her bad fast and pulled out a flare gun. Mathis did the same and soon they had three flare guns in their hands. As they were botanists and explorers, it made no sense to have a gun. But flare guns were used for rescue. They also had a machete to cut off samples and a few knives. They gathered on one side of the military base and decided to study the map fast. They knew that from there, there was a trail that would lead them to a road that ended in a small town. The journey was many kilometers long, but it was worth the try.

 Soon, they were walking through the trail but they didn’t get very far. The mist got thicker and the moon had come out, announcing night. And then, without any warning, the beast jumped on Mathias and cut off his head. The women screamed and Gregorio shot a flare at him. And then they saw the creature in all its might and realized, horrified that it had a human face and it seemed insane and in pain. The shot more flares, which seemed to confuse the creature. They then ran the opposite direction and just ran, without seeing behind. They thought they would die very soon but the creature didn’t follow them. Hours after, they found the road and, eventually, they reached the small town.

 Military personnel picked them up and the fait of their base was revealed. But it was to late. All the revelations and the truth had come too late and now there was something out and about, a creature beyond anyone’s imagination whose only desire was to kill.

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