The Season of Fog
By Arianna Ostroski

12 March 2001

Dear Diary,

I live in Colima State, Mexico, my name is Adela Perez, and I’m fifteen years old. So tonight, I was out on a late night walk. I walked peacefully on the streets of my hometown. I had simply needed to escape the pressures of the world for a minute, and the only way I could avoid the eyes of the people around was to go out while they were sleeping. My mom understands the worries I hold and had allowed me to leave for a short walk. It was about eleven at night and I had been walking quietly, in solitude until I looked up at the sky, which was unusually cloudy for this hour.

“Huh.” I muttered to myself. I was about to dismiss any thought of it but of course I lowered my head and checked behind me out of instinct. I turned around to find fog so thick it looked like you could cut it. Like any smart kid would, I decided to turn around and go home before it got any worse.

“I’ll be lucky if I even manage to find my way home through all of this.” I thought aloud, knowing all well that my house was only down the street.

As I stepped into the haze, my eyes watered and the air felt like it was drowning me, the stink of the violet haar invaded and burned my nostrils, my breath hitched and I quickly stepped back, gasping for clean air. The mist moved towards me, and as it did, I remembered that my neighbors’ grandparents had been in previous world wars.

Maybe the neighbors have gas masks stored away? I thought. Now, this situation can’t be that bad that I need to break into my sixty year old neighbor’s house, can it? I approached the old man’s home and crouched by the door. I just glanced to the side of me and noticed that the fog was creeping closer, I brushed it off and went back to what I was doing.

Quickly and stealthily, I removed a bobby pin from my hair and got the lock open. Like a shadow, I stepped quietly in the house. Being the skinny, lightweight girl I am, I found it easy to avoid waking anyone up. I made my way to the basement door and went down the stairs.

I felt along the dusty, gray brick walls of the basement for a light switch, as I did, I felt a string graze my forehead. I pulled on the string and on turned the basement light. I tool in my surroundings, struggling to keep my cool. I suddenly realized the situation and the panic set in. Lord, I hoped it was all a dream.

“These should be useful.”

I smelled something funny, so I tilted my head up to the basement windows to find the gas sneaking in through the slightly ajar window. That was when I really started to panic, right until I discovered a decent sized box labeled “war utilities.” I opened the box and desperately searched for a gas mask.

If I don’t find one of those visors right now I could die.

I felt something circular and pulled it up. I was holding onto the air filter of an oxygen mask, of course, the rest was attached to it, thank heavens. Thankfully there were two there, I grabbed both just to be safe. There happened to be a crossbody bad so I took that and placed the extra mask and the flashlights in it. I pulled my long, dark coffee colored hair into a ponytail before fastening the mask to my head, and just in the nick of time because the mist that was infiltrating the room was about to reach my face.

I made my way out of the house and the fog was already way past the door, it had invaded the entirety of the house as well, which only made me worry for the safety of my mamá. My mother is the most amazing person in the world, she cares so much for me and brings out the best in me. She is always there whether I’m laughing or I’m crying. If anything happened to her, I don’t know what I’d do.

As I walked down the empty street, straining my eyes to try and see more than three feet away from me, I grabbed a flashlight and switched it on. It didn’t help as tall, the only difference was it made the film in front of me appear white.

“Damn it” I sighed and put the flashlight away, but I was silenced from my groaning and complaining by the groans of someone else. It sounded almost as if they were dying.

“Hello?” I spoke loudly, in order to be heard from a decent distance.

I soon discovered that I should not have yelled that because I then heard footsteps rapidly approaching, whatever it was was charging at me. I screamed as I saw close to me the decaying face of my kind neighbor Héctor. I was being attacked by some sort of zombie, he had a tight grip on my arm and was trying to eat my flesh. I was struggling to get the undead man off of me before I thought to grab the big metal flashlight from my bag and bash him with it.

He dropped, weak, twitching, foaming at the mouth.

“Disgusting.” I proceeded with caution After a few feet I came across a long metal pipe on the ground.

“Oh lucky me” I said unenthusiastically, even though I meant it wholeheartedly.

I picked up the pipe and carried it with both of my hands, holding it tightly, preparing to defend myself. As I made my way down the street, I looked out for more neighbors affected by the undeath that came with the fog. A little ways down the line, three of the zombies leaped at me, one I knocked down as it was charging toward me, I had hit it in the head with the pipe. The other two, I whacked ’em both in the head in one swift move of my two handed self defense item. I beat them around a little just to be sure.

“These poor people…they don’t deserve this.”

I moved from the road to the sidewalk just to read the house numbers easier.

“One sixty six…one sixty four…” I counted down all the way to my address and kicked in my door.

“Mamá!” I shouted for her, muffled yet loud.

“Adela! Is that you, mija?” My mother questioned loudly from behind the basement door.

“Yes, mamá, I’m home!” I exclaimed.

“Mamá, do not open the door, the gas is all in the house, let me come to you.” I opened the basement door. She was waiting at the top of the stairs and closed myself in with her. There were no windows in the basement, and prior to my entry, she had covered the cracks above and below the door, and the vents. So the air quality in my basement was better than the air quality outside, even with no ventilation.

“I have a dust mask for you, in case we leave, but be warned, it’s dangerous outside” I told her. Before responding she hugged me tight.

“I’m just glad you’re safe, my love. I tried to get outside and call for you but I couldn’t get through that smoke, I’m so sorry.” She apologized, but I understood.

“It’s okay, I’m glad you didn’t go into it. It’s like an apocalypse out there, if you had become one of those zombies, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.”

19 March 2002

Dear Diary,

It’s been a week since the fog rolled in, and it hasn’t cleared up. Mama and I have been living off of the preserved vegetables and jellies in the basement, hydrating with the water jugs that we had in case of an emergency. Today, we decided to travel outside of town to find clean air.

“It would only be logical to find out of there’s some place better, even if it is risky to go out” I suggested to my mother.

“Sí,mija, as much as I don’t want to agree with you, hiding won’t help us anymore.”

We left with what little fuel there was in our tiny car. After a short drive, we discovered our town was the only place where there was a haze like that, so we moved somewhere else, not even turning back to collect our things.

24 November 2018

Dear Diary,

I live in Jalisco State, Mexico, my name is Adela Perez, and I am thirty-two years old. After two decades of research, I’ve discovered that the fog comes once every two hundred years, and it stays for twenty.

I remember telling my mother one day, “I feel for the next kid who in two hundred years has to go through exactly what I di, unless of course, they find some way to stop it or lessen it.”

“Well, we won’t find out in our lifetime” she sort of joked.

I’ve read fiction with concepts similar to the reality I lived in my hometown, but I never thought it could be based on real events. Who knows, maybe I’ll publish these entries and attain fame just for living through tragedy, a mass death…the season of fog.