The Form In The Fog

The Form in The Fog

It called.

Twenty years ago, I was but a lone meager child playing amidst the castles of sand that I had meticulously crafted with a simple spade and bucket. It was a pleasant day on that golden, sandy beach. My only remaining family, my older brother, had taken me out with the bit of money he had gotten by less-than-ethical means. It was a hard life for me, but I didn't realize it at the time; All that I could think of was the castles in front of me. I watched as they repeatedly stood against the blue tide crashing against their sturdy sand walls. A bone-chilling breeze grabbed hold of me as a heavy fog crept its way onto the shoreline. As the fog engulfed me, I heard a voice unlike any other calling to me. Figuring it must have been my brother, I left my sandy creations to fend off the blue waves without me. However, the castles were not defending against blue tides anymore… rather, an onslaught of viscous crimson liquid now scratched at their sandy bases.

I looked into the encroaching grey veil of fog and saw a menacing mountain-like form. The sea breeze and my brother’s calls began to grow duller each second I looked upon the mystery. It allured me, it beckoned me, and it demanded my attention. Hypnotized, I made my way into the scarlet water. I could feel my skin bubbling, as if, infested with wasps but I continued. Right when I was on the cusp of the drop, I was yanked out of the water by my terrified brother. As we passed my crumbled kingdom of sand, I witnessed the form slowly dissipate as the fog drew back to the sea.

The water was blue again. Shivering and wet, I sat being scolded by my brother for not answering his calls. All he said went in one ear and out the other; All I could think about was the form in the fog. My legs were covered in scrapes and cuts that my brother thought to have been caused by shells that were brought with the tide. We left the beach soon after.

Throughout my rough childhood, I dreamed frequently of the form in the fog. I told my brother incessantly but, each time he told me I simply imagined it. Slowly, I started to believe him. When we were taken in by an elderly couple as farmhands, we weren't close to the coast anymore. I forgot about the form in the fog. For seven years, my brother and I worked on the farm. The elderly couple hired a personal teacher for us so that we wouldn’t have to leave the farm to go to school.

Because of my homeschooling, I rarely got to interact with kids my age. However, I did learn a plethora of subjects. Of these subjects, the ocean caught my interest. It captivated me but my brother refused to let me learn more. He told me there would be no point in learning about the ocean. I felt a headache each day I didn’t study the ocean. I didn’t know the cause but, my brother thought I was just giving an excuse to learn more about the ocean. Over several days of migraines, I slowly stopped telling them. The headaches didn’t stop.

For my 15th birthday, we went to the city to watch a movie in a theater. It was going to be my first time watching a movie since my parents were alive eight years ago. My brother and I got to pick a movie while our caretakers went to see an old film. I saw a glowing movie poster that showed a vibrant blue ocean with a shadowy presence near the bottom. It captivated me and I wanted to see the movie. The colors eased my headache—a feeling I had forgotten. However, my brother told me it was too graphic for me and took us to an action movie. I fought him fervently but he overpowered me with his towering stature and strength. I couldn’t see the screen through my tears but that didn’t matter to me. I felt absolutely humiliated and upset. It was my birthday and I wanted to see the movie that I wanted to.

Our relationship grew tense over the next few years. The elderly couple both died within months of each other and left the farm and home to one of their descendants. This left us without a home or job. I was seventeen and my brother was twenty-three when we were kicked out. I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I was fed up with how he treated me for the past seven years. So, I left. I went off and got a job selling tickets to an amusement park. I didn’t know or care to know where my brother went.

I lived from pay to pay, hopping from benches to couches and back to benches for five years. I had nothing to my name beside the clothes on my back. No one would take me in or even get to know me. I had no idea how to interact with others. I quickly lost the ticket job… and then many more after that. My life was miserable. When I found drugs, I lost track of the years. They helped ease the pain of my headaches. I got in lots of trouble and was sent to prison.

I lived in prison for seven years. It was in those grey brick confines that I made friends who were broken like me. I was eased back into normal life. I was given an education and a chance to restart. When I was released, I had been reborn. However, I had no place to go back to. So, I resorted to finding my brother to start over. I needed to apologize. I realized that he was just trying to protect me from the world.

It took several months but I eventually found him… buried. While I was homeless, shivering under the influence of drugs and cold, and in prison, he made a life for himself. He started a family and purchased a home. He never told his family about me. So, it was quite a shock for them when I showed up.

At first, they didn’t believe me. However, my stories and knowledge of him quickly proved that I was indeed his younger brother. They gave me a letter that they were told to give me if I ever showed up. Apparently, it was the last thing he ever wrote. I took the letter and left for the solitude of a park to read.

Hello Grayson,
If you are reading this, then I am dead. Because, if I were alive, I would tell you in person. Regardless, I just want to say how sorry I am. I am sorry about all that I did to you. I am sorry about all I deprived you of. I should have let you stay with uncle but I was selfish and wanted to leave that city where mom and dad died. You wouldn’t remember all that we did in that city as a family. But, after they died, the city was tainted to me. So, I took you away. Those years were rough but I was happy to have you there. I did many things that I am not proud of but, what I did to you was much worse.
I am sure you remember the day I took you to the beach. I thought that it would help you smile but it only made things worse for you. When the fog came, I saw the form. I saw the red water that you trudged through and I feared I would lose you. So, I ran to you and stole you back from the water. As I tore you out of the water, I felt a pang of horrible guilt. It hurt greatly but I still took you out. When you told me about the form in the fog, I shut you down. It made me feel awful but I wanted to keep you.
Whenever you showed interest in the ocean, I was absolutely awful toward you. I stopped you from regaining interest. I wanted to keep you. That movie you wanted to see was not actually graphic but still, I wasn’t ready to lose you. I know how mad you must be at me. I understand. When we were kicked out of the farmhouse, I wanted to take you along with me up north but you left without me. I searched everywhere for you but could not find you anywhere. It took years but I finally gave up on you. To me, you were lost just like our parents. Later on, after I had started a new family, I saw you in a prison documentary. You looked like you were happy. So, I lived my life without you. You must have gone through hardships but now you were happy. Happier than when you were with me.
As of writing this, I am suffering from a serious illness that the doctors can’t figure out. It hurts to write much with this awful headache. If I could, I would write down so much more of my feelings and apologize hundreds of more times. But, I feel my strength fading. I am sorry.
Sincerely, your brother Vilem

With my late brother's final message to me reverberating in my mind, I set off for where it all began. Without rest, I walked to the coast of the golden sands of my past. All alone on the pale blue sandbar, I awaited the fog in still silence. As day broke on the water, the fog quickly smudged the light with its immense weight. The fog sat as an emissary of what lay beyond staring without any eyes.

I adjusted my cap and dusted off the sand that accumulated on my coat. The form in the fog stood just as it did all those years ago as if it waited for me all this time to return… to answer. I made my way into the familiar stinging scarlet sea and was engulfed by the welcoming arms of grey. My headache dissolved into nothing as I saw what lay on the other side of the fog.

I answered.

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