Castor was now wet, slimy, sticky and covered in mud. The fabric of his clothes clung to his body and the algae drip all over. The hot humid atmosphere of the swamp was making him sweat which made everything worse.
“I can’t wait to get out of this swamp,” groaned Castor as he tried to whip the muck off without much success.
“I’m taking a bath the first chance I get.”
As they walked further away from the flooded part of the swamp a thick fog gradually rolled in. The trees around them began to whisper.
“It is easy to get lost in the fog,” said Anneli. “So it would be better if we…”
“If we what?”
Anneli raised his hand a bit. Looked at Castor, looked back at his own hand. Feeling shy he hid his hand behind his back.
“I see,” said Castor with a chuckle. Castor held Anneli’s hand in his. Anneli looked away quickly. “Are you feeling shy?” asked Castor. Anneli still did not look back at him.
How sweet thought Castor.
“I hope you don’t mind. My hand is still covered in mud.”
Anneli shook his head. “I don’t mind.” He still could not look Castor in the eyes. The fog grew thicker around them. The path they were following vanished in the fog.
“There are things that come with the fog.”
The whispers of the trees enveloped them like the fog. Anneli hear fragments of words and sentences.
That… soon….it will…. lich…. when it…. human….
Anneli did not understand what they were talking about.
“Anneli, what comes with the fog?” asked Castor. He had already been attacked by a ghoul he did not want any more surprises.
“I think…” said Anneli, “I think when people get lost in the forest…. they wander around and around…they wander and wander around so much looking for a way out so even…. even when they die…. their body still wanders around…lost in the fog.”
“How often do you see them?” sake Castor. It began to feel r as the fog grew thicker.
“Only once. The time I got lost. I ran away from them and away from the path and got lost a walked for so long I lost track of time.”
Castor held Anneli’s hand tightly. He was scared. He was so scared. Compared to when he was attacked by the ghoul this was different. It was a mounting sense of dread that had no face and no name to direct at.
He was so afraid of what was to come. So afraid he could not even comprehend it.