Friday, January 2, 2015
He paused. Benches sat empty beneath trees, barren branches resembling the bony fingers of old ladies struggling to reach the faded gray linen of the sky as though it was a hanky they'd dropped. The path was clean, with no indication that the trees provided a canopy of green to shade passers-by who read or slept on the benches at their feet. Because, if they ever had, they no longer did. He wondered when it was that spring and summer had last touched the park outside the gate, when the parks imitation of death had become a warning for what lay beyond.
The fog did not travel here, although it pressed at the other side of the opened gate, hovering, rising above the gate's height but not passing over or through, as though some invisible force had forbidden it. Another warning.
He ground his teeth. He had been offered plenty of warnings, which he had summarily ignored. But he couldn't ignore the way someone had suffered each time. Especially the last. Especially the child. The message was clear: obey or inflict pain.
He ignored the message and stepped through the gate. The fog swallowed him whole.