(In the following story, Kat Tovslosky, protagonist of the Iconoclast series, shares one of her childhood fears.)
“Some days I am painfully aware of being a little kid in an adult body. Take today, for example. I was going about my grown-up life. I grabbed my list, focused on heading to town to snatch my weekly mocha and a few staples from the general store.
I threw open my door and stopped dead. An inky fog inched across the Inlet, eating up the blue sky which recently graced my morning, and was still visible from my kitchen window. I stared at the approaching gloom and took a step backwards.
What I did next surprised even me. I shut the door, took off my coat and hunkered down into my overstuffed couch.
First, I thought my reaction was in response to the disturbing Stephen King novella, The Mist, which I had read a few days back. I shook my head. That doesn’t feel right. I thought.
I purposefully sifted through my emotions until a memory bubbled into my consciousness.
To my people, the fog heralds the coming of ‘the one who steals us.’ In times long past, when the fog descended, children went missing from the villages. As a young girl, I was warned of ‘the one who steals’ by my grandmother and commanded to run ahead of the fog and get home.
I remember thinking, “Yeah, sure, another way to scare me into doing what I’m told.”
I went about my childhood and forgot about the warning. Until . . .
One day when I was ten, a heavy, black fog moved into Ravens Cove. Jonathan Richard, a young resident of our town, went missing. Hushed whispers about ‘those that take us’ followed. I remember the fear that tore through my stomach when I heard about Jonathan. Scarier yet, Jonathan was never found.
Today, my adult mind says, “How silly. He was lost in the woods or fell into the icy waters and was swept away.”
Just as quickly, the little kid in me whispers, “They will take me, too.”
I heard the little one in me asking, “How can I be sure that boy wasn’t taken by a mystical group of people who travel in the fog?”
I considered the question. I tried to answer the silly question logically. I sighed.
My adult logic, in which I pride myself, chose this moment to go missing in action. So, I did what any child in a grown-up body would do—I decided I could be an adult tomorrow.”
Until next time,