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Fog Across The Still Bay

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There was a fog across the still bay. In the distance, the boy noticed the boat tip over.  Two men struggled to clutch onto any firm hold. One of the men shouted with a gut wrenching  cry — his voice echoing across the bay. He had banged his head on the side of the  boat as it capsized. The boy rushed toward the shoreline. He dropped the dead horseshoe crab  that was in his hand as he tried to make sense of the commotion in the distance. Waves rolled in,  crashing against the boy’s snow boots. A winter frost had covered the sand. The boy was the  only person on the beach.  

He peered out across the murky bay and witnessed two bobbing heads floating like  buoys. There were no passing boats. No other witnesses. The younger man had tucked his head  under the unconscious man’s arm to elevate him from submerging beneath the water. The fog  was thicker than oil. The boy saw two bodies and an upside down boat roughly twenty yards  away from each other. The two men were overboard and there was not a single boat in the bay to  rescue them. The boy’s nose turned red from the cold. He knew that the two men were in grave  danger. The younger man paddled with his free arm. Every so often, his head dunked  underneath the water and upon rising, he would spit out green algae.  

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The boy’s short legs flickered back and forth as he ran for help. He ran as fast as his legs  could handle. The nearest house was a grandiose mansion with steel gates that stretched towards  the clouds. A sign on the front yard read: TRESPASSERS WILL BE FINED BY THE  OWNER’S DISCRETION. The boy dashed up the concrete steps and pounded on the front door  with all of the kinetic energy his small body could muster. No answer. Only throaty cries from a  howling dog. The boy’s closed fist was as tight as a knot. He proceeded to bang on the door. A  silhouette of a woman approached the doorway. She opened the door and noticed the boy’s  wraithlike face. “What in the world, child? Don’t you have anything better to do than solicit my  home?” The boy tugged on the woman’s fur jacket. He muffled muted sounds. “Speak up,  won’t ya?” The woman had zero patience. The boy began to make gestures with his hands. She  knew immediately who she was dealing with, “You’re Pete Wellington’s deaf child, aren’t you?”  The boy pointed towards the private beach. His eyes lit up with a fear that could translate across  several languages. He tugged on the woman’s fur jacket one last time before rushing down the  steps. She followed the boy, shutting the door behind her.  

The sand on the beach was white and the dead horseshoe crab had been washed out to  sea. There was a slight wind pushing in from the north. The fog moved across the bay like a  white shadow. By the time the boy and the woman reached the shoreline, the capsized boat was  far off in the distance, barely noticeable through the fog, and to  the woman, the boat appeared to be just a dot. The boy’s eyes searched the bay. Where were the  bodies? They’d vanished like a fleeting daydream. The boy pointed at the bay. The woman  sighed, “All this fuss about some fog? I’m going to warn your father to stay off my beach.” The  boy could only read her lips. He signed with his hands, puzzled about the whereabouts of the  two men. He stared long and hard out across the bay. Fire Island looked desolate in the distance. 

Dead in its loneliness, the boy returned his eyes to the woman, but she had already turned away and walked down the beach, back to her mansion. The boy looked on. The boat was adrift  somewhere in the deep fog. The bay was as still as a mountain range. A gleam of light bounced  off the surface of the water. Not a soul to be found. Not a breath to be held. Whatever happened  to the two men? It was beyond the boy’s imagination. He spotted the dead horseshoe crab back  on the shoreline amongst washed up eelgrass and seashells.

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Written by: Tommy DeJosia

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