Into The Mist

The air is cold, still and moist. The palm branches are dark with moisture.  Every fanlike branch I brush against deposits a swatch of wetness onto my arm. There is a layer of mist on the top of every surface in the jungle-like forest.  A cloudy mist hangs in the air— chilling me down to the lungs with each inhale, producing a fine vapor with each exhale.  Slowly, quietly, each step carefully placed, I make my way through vines, palm branches and shaggy moss tendrils hanging from the sparse trees.  As I look up, the moss seems to overpower the foliage above me, creating a canopy of dangling light green-grey fluffiness, blocking any hope to see the sky above. The smell of earth and wood is overpowering. The mist, the moss and the moist, become a place of  magical adventure.

And I, the stealth hunter, am dialed in to pick up on slightest of movement or sounds.  Poised, alert, adrenaline rushing down to my fingertips and toes, anticipating the slightest sign of life,  I hold my breath, thinking I’ll be able to see better, hear better.  Instead, it causes me to suddenly gasp for more air, in turn, causing awkward movement, unwanted sounds and heavier vapor exhales.   

“CRACK!”

A branch snaps behind me.   I freeze in place, my heart pounding, certain whatever it was can hear it beating.  I stand motionless, wishing for eyes in the back of my head.  Straining to hear something from behind, I try to turn around in slow motion.  I cannot seem to move.  I cannot move.

“Shuffle… shuffle…”

Imagination launches full throttle to conjure up a guess of what might be moving across the ground behind me. Towards me. Heading towards me.  Sounding rather large.  Sounding rather tall.  And large.  Towards me.

Panther?

 

Bear?

 

Snake?

 

Pig? 

 

Dear God, what is it?  My ears are now pounding, fingers tingling, and I cannot get a big enough breath…

Yes, I, the stealth hunter, armed with…with …well shit armed with nothing, as I am just scouting around to see what kind of animal sign I can find……

 

ARGHHHH!  I spin around to see what is about to eat me…… and…..

And….. as I turn and prepare to face the demon and scream out for my very life…..

 

There is nothing there!

 

Huge exhale.

Huge exhale again.  I wipe my brow.  Blink.

Um, oh, ok.  Ok.  It’s ok.  I quickly glance around to make sure no one saw any of that…

All-righty then.  It’s all good.

I turn back around and, continue on into the magical mist.

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