It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. At least, it felt like three days. The air was still, the light dim but constant. None of our phones would even power on to give us an idea of how long we’d been walking. The four of us had snapped into awareness, as if waked from a dream, already on the move, not ten feet away from each other. The ground was solid, featureless, a slightly darker gray than the rest of the world. We didn’t really think about stopping or traveling in different directions – we just kept walking.
None of us knew each other, or at least nobody claimed to, but after a few cursory introductions while we ventured further through the mists, conversations became less and less frequent. The only thing that seemed to matter was the walking, continuing forward on whatever path we had been set upon. We were hungry and thirsty, but not enough to stop or slow down. We grew tired, but it was more a dull malaise rather than true need for sleep. We just kept walking.
At first we weren’t sure there was a shadow. Distance was impossible to judge, with everything the same flat color, but it seemed that, in the far distance, something was a different sort of gray than the rest. We argued about whether or not there was a shadow at all until well after we passed whatever it was or wasn’t. None of us thought to stop and investigate, to change direction and head toward the phantasmal sight, if for no other reason than to conclude the argument one way or the other. It felt like we had been arguing for hours – after all, there was nothing else to discuss. We just kept walking.
That third day, insofar as time could be guessed, there wasn’t need for an argument. We all saw it – a single human-like shape in the fog, seeming to be within the haze but not of it. The mannequin, statue, or observer – whatever it was – didn’t move. Our path took us as close as maybe ten feet, our best guess with distances being vague and with no other landmarks available. It stood impassively, stoically, as if mocking us. As we passed we shouted insults at it, daring it to do something, say something. We tried to provoke it, but to no avail; we just kept walking.
It wasn’t much later that we caught the barest sight of more figures, three this time, actually moving through the soupy mist that had become our world. They seemed to walk with purpose, though we could not make out their faces or clothing. Their pace never slowed, never hastened, and it wasn’t until our paths nearly crossed that they responded to our hails with yells and shouts of their own. We couldn’t understand them, whatever it was they were saying, and it became apparent that they couldn’t understand us, either. We wanted to stop, we wanted to figure out what had happened to us, why we were here and where we were going. Whatever it was we wanted, we didn’t want it enough to stop, either us or them. We just kept walking.
We just kept walking.