When we grow up, we often think that we have left behind the fears and fantasies of our childhood. We pride ourselves on our rational minds and adult responsibilities. But sometimes, it takes just a moment, a sudden change in the environment, to bring all those long-forgotten fears rushing back to the surface. That is exactly what happened to me today, Kat Tovslosky, as I share with you a chilling childhood memory that resurfaced with a vengeance.
This morning started like any other day. I had my to-do list ready, and I was all set to head into town to enjoy my weekly treat—a delicious mocha—and to pick up some essentials from the general store. Life was good, and I was in control. Or so I thought.
As I threw open my door, ready to take on the day, I froze. There it was—an inky, sinister fog, crawling across the Inlet, devouring the clear blue sky that had blessed my morning just moments ago. The sight of it made my heart race, and without even realizing it, I stepped back, retreating into the safety of my home.
I was surprised at my own reaction. Why did this fog unnerve me so? Was it because of "The Mist," the Stephen King novella I had read a few days ago? No, that wasn’t it. I knew there was something more, something deeper. I closed the door, took off my coat, and sank into my overstuffed couch, determined to understand my own fear.
As I sat there, I allowed my mind to wander, to sift through my emotions and memories. And that’s when it hit me. The fog. To my people, the fog was not just a weather phenomenon. It was a harbinger, a warning of, ‘the one who steals us.’ I remembered my grandmother’s words, the urgency in her voice as she told me to run home if I ever saw the fog rolling in.
As a child, I thought it was just another tale, a ploy to make me obedient. I shrugged it off and went about my life, until that fateful day when I was ten. The day Jonathan Richard, a young boy from my town, disappeared without a trace. The fog had come, and Jonathan had vanished.
The adults talked in hushed tones about ‘those that take us,’ and I could feel the fear gnawing at my insides. What if the tales were true? What if Jonathan had been taken by ‘the one who steals’? As an adult, I tried to rationalize it away. He must have gotten lost, or perhaps he fell into the icy waters and was swept away. Logical explanations for a tragic event.
But the little kid inside me was not convinced. “They will take me, too,” she whispered, her voice laced with fear. “How can you be sure that boy wasn’t taken by a mystical group of people who travel in the fog?”
I pondered the question, tried to answer it logically. But in that moment, my adult logic failed me. I was a child again, scared and unsure. And so, I made a decision—a decision that any child in an adult’s body would make. I decided that I could afford to be an adult tomorrow. Today, I would listen to the child within, embrace my fears, and let the fog be a reminder of the mysteries and unknowns that still exist in our world.
This moment of vulnerability, of acknowledging and embracing my childhood fears, reminded me of the importance of never fully letting go of the child within us. Sometimes, we need to listen to that little voice, let it remind us of the wonders and mysteries of life, and allow ourselves to believe, if just for a moment, in the supernatural.
So, as I sat on my couch, watching the fog roll by, I allowed myself to be a little girl again, scared of ‘the one who steals.’ And in doing so, I discovered that sometimes, the most grown-up thing we can do is acknowledge our fears, embrace our inner child, and allow ourselves to be swept away by the mysteries of life.
And who knows? Maybe there is a group of mystical beings out there, traveling in the fog, waiting to tell their stories. And maybe, just maybe, we need to listen.