Published on 2011/06/19

A Light in the Fog

Brittany Henneberry

“…reports seeing a large dark animal, possibly a bear, actually flipping over a car and dragging off a young woman into a fogbank. We have here John MacKannecker, head of the Sons of Zeus, who claims this is actually a werewolf. Why don’t you tell us more about that, Mr. MacKannecker?”

“Well, werewolves are very common these days, and we have been hunting them for years. We believe this may be the king of werewolves on the loose, foretold by Zeus himself-”

Serena turned off the radio in disgust.

“It’s a bad night to be out,” said Grandma.

“Oh, Grandma, you don’t really believe in a cult that says they’re descendants of Zeus, do you?”

Grandma snorted. “Don’t be ridiculous, Serena. The only thing those people hunt is donuts at the 7-11. But this fog isn’t natural. It’s too thick. If you didn’t know this road, we’d be off in a ditch by now.”

“Mommy, the werewolves aren’t going to eat us, are they?” This came from Jason, strapped in his car seat next to her.

“Of course not sweetie, they’re not real.”

“Oh.” Jason still looked a little scared.

The fog seemed to be thicker than ever. Serena could barely even see the hood of her car. She slowed down even more, to a ten-mile-per-hour crawl.

Suddenly something large and black flickered through the headlights right in front of them, and the engine died.

“What was that?” asked Jason, his eyes going wide.

“It was just a deer, honey,” said Serena, though she wasn’t so sure herself. She tried turning the key and pressing the gas pedal a couple of times, but the car was unresponsive.

“Did you check the gas?” asked Grandma.

“It’s half full. Maybe there’s something wrong with the engine.” She reached for her cell phone. The battery was dead, though she could’ve sworn it was fully charged when they’d left. Serena peered out at the fog, hoping whatever it was would be gone by now. She got out, trying to remember her auto mechanics class from high school, and put her hand on the hood. It was cold, like the engine hadn’t even been running.

Then there came the sound of someone humming, and a yellow light, swinging back and forth, appeared in the fog, coming nearer. A dark silhouette appeared, resolving itself into the shape of a girl, swinging of all things an old-fashioned lantern.

“Oh, hello. Are you having car trouble?”

Serena nodded, feeling enormously relieved for some reason. “It just stopped dead. Do you have a cell phone I can borrow?”

“Who is it, Serena?” called Grandma.

“Just a girl with a lantern, Grandma.” The girl waved.

“Can I see the engine?” said the girl. “I’m good with that sort of thing.”

Serena doubted it, but it couldn’t hurt, so she said “Sure”, and walked back over to the hood. As Serena lifted it, Jason, watching from the front seat, saw the girl glare ferociously at a large dark shape, which retreated further, melting into the fog.

“That’s odd,” frowned Serena. “Everything looks fine.”

“Hmm. Maybe one of those tube thingies is clogged up. It’s a good thing I came along, you know. It’s awfully dangerous to stop at a deserted place like this at night. Especially in a fog.”

Serena found this lecture ironic, considering it was coming from a thirteen year old girl.

The girl unscrewed a lid and peered into the depths, then blew on it.

“There you go,” she said cheerfully, screwing it back on. “Sometimes this stuff gets crud caught in it. It stops up the whole works.

Serena gave her a suspicious look. “Radiator fluid doesn’t usually do that. And the cap isn’t essential to the engine’s working except for keeping the fluid from coming out.”

“Just try starting the car. If it doesn’t work I’ll find you a cell phone.”

Serena sighed and closed the hood, then got in the car and tried the ignition. No one was more surprised than she when it started up as if nothing was wrong.

“Thanks,” said Serena. “Do you need a ride? Like you said, it’s dangerous to be out here alone.”

“No,” said the girl. “I’ll be fine. Try not to stop anymore in this fog, OK?”

Serena waved and drove on, assuming she must live near there. She noticed with relief the fog was already thinning out. Soon it was completely gone, revealing a beautiful full moon.

“Mommy!” said Jason excitedly. “Did you see her halo?”

“What, Hon?” asked Serena absentmindedly, wondering how blowing on the radiator cap could fix the engine.

“It was glowing!” said Jason. “It was really pretty. She scared away the monster.”

“Don’t be silly, Hon. That was just the lantern. And that deer was already gone.”

They pulled into the driveway, and Serena got out to get Jason out of his car seat. As she came around the car, Grandma leaned forward and said quietly to Jason. “I saw it too.”

* * *

Meanwhile, the girl drew a wicked-looking silver sword out of thin air and turned to where the shape had disappeared.

“All right, you sucker,” she growled. “You’ve killed too many people already. The last thing this dimension needs is a rogue werewolf running around.”

There were no more reports of people being attacked by strange animals after that.

Brittany Hennebery is a student at the University of Michigan-Flint, studying Engish and Art, and she has always loved reading and writing stories. She has been previously published in the June issue of Moon Drenched Fables.