The Fog

The+Fog

Victoria Oliveira, Editor-in-Chief

The Demon Anne creaked as she glided through the calm sea. Clutching the ship’s splintered rail, Esmira felt a pit deep in her stomach. The fog hanging in the air was thicker than porridge, and every breath made her feel like she was almost drowning. The Cap’n had warned the crew about this fog. 

“It makes you see things,” he had said, his eyes looking far off into the distance, “but only things that aren’t real anymore.” 

That ‘anymore’ had stuck in the back of his throat, and a hint of sadness lurking in the depths of his wise amber eyes. The whole crew was still and quiet. A contemplative quiet, the same as when someone spoke of a lost loved one that no one was quite ready to let go. By then, Esmira couldn’t see across the ship. Even Ben, the Cap’n’s son, who was by her side, whose eyes were wide and was shaking ever so slightly, was fading from view.  

Esmira inhaled sharply as the grey cloud engulfed everything, leaving a sharp ringing in her ears. She gripped the rail even harder, to remind her that she wasn’t floating away. Then she heard it. 

Esmira.”  

Something so familiar and so warm, though it shook her to her very core. She felt a warm, solid hand on her shoulder. Whipping around, she saw him. She let go of the rail and clapped both hands over her gaping mouth, sliding to the deck. It was Elliot. 

He was just as she remembered him, with his disheveled ginger hair and soft brown eye. He still wore a patch over his left eye, from when she had ruined it out when they were fencing with sticks. His freckled face was almost a perfect mirror of her own, if not for that eye. 

“Elliot.” She whispered, tears bubbling up in her eyes. “But I thought you-” 

“Died?” He chuckled, sliding down next to her. “I did.” They were both silent for a moment, sitting side by side on the deck. Esmira’s mind was racing with so many questions: What was it like? What about mama, papa, and Katrina? How are you here right now? 

“I’m here because you called me here.” 

Their eyes met, and she held his gaze, “I called you here?”  

“Of course,” he offered, “so you could apologize.”  

“Apologize for what?” she demanded, suddenly defensive. Had she called him subconsciously for some petty thing she couldn’t let go of? 

“For my eye.” he stated, pulling off his eye patch and displaying the empty socket from where his eye had been removed. Esmira held her breath. The Elliot she had known was insecure and never removed his patch, especially after Esmira had apologized and said how it made her feel guilty every time she looked at the empty hole in his face. 

“For stealing my identity,” he continued. Indignation flared up in her stomach, filling up that pit that had never quite gone away. Esmira didn’t have a choice. If the Cap’n and the rest of the crew of the Demon Anne had known she was a girl, they would have never let her join. The Elliot she knew would have been glad that his death had, at the very least, saved his twin sister’s life. 

“And for getting me killed, of course. And all those times you went waking snakes and got me involved.” 

This wasn’t Elliot. Her brother was shy and kind. Maybe short on nerves, but big on heart. This was not her Elliot. 

She glared at the thing in front of her, slowly rising to her feet. “You are not my brother.” 

“Hah!” it cried, “Maybe you’re just too dense to accept the truth, Esmira!” As it spoke, its form began to fade into the fog. 

“You are not my brother!” she screamed, unsheathing the dagger strapped to her hip. She slashed at the form as it dissipated into the fog. Hot tears welled up in her eyes and she slid down to the deck again, shaking with sobs that caught in her throat. 

That wasn’t my brother. That wasn’t my brother, and it wasn’t my fault. That wasn’t my brother. That wasn’t my brother, and it wasn’t my fault,” she repeated, taking deep breaths as the fog finally began to clear. 

She looked around at the rest of the crew, all of whom were just as badly shaken as her. Most were on the floor and a few others clung desperately to the rails, as she had. The gunner clung to the main mast, looking too afraid to touch the ground. 

The sight of Ben startled her, as he was out cold on the deck, but she was quickly assured by the slow rise and fall of his chest that he was only asleep. How he had managed to fall asleep during that, she didn’t know. 

She rose one last time and made her way over to the Cap’n on shaky legs. He still had that same far off look in his eyes, though his breaths now rattled out of him. Esmira wiped the salty tears from her cheeks, barely able to imagine the effort he was exerting to keep his composure. 

“W-what was that?” She finally choked out. He reached out with his calloused hand and patted the top of the young girl’s head. He managed to force a slight smile onto his lips and looked at her through his distant eyes. 

“That was The Fog.” 

 

Victoria Oliveira, Class of 2021