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The Fog

 Ben Comer

          It was a year like any other, a day like all the rest. A group of young men were out in the mountains in Philmont, New Mexico. They all ranged from 23 to 27 years of age. There was Mikey, a tall, strong strength and conditioning coach for Coe College, John, a short pud who teaches at Cedar Rapids Washington, Ryan, a track athlete graduate from Iowa, and Jake, a biology major from UNI. They came out here for a couple weeks to get a break from everything going on back in Iowa. They wanted to be able to hike the mountains and just relax for a while before heading back home. What they encountered, though, was much more then what they had expected. A trip that was planned to be relaxing and enjoyable turned into a nightmare.

          On July 8th, the guys all arrived at Philmont, New Mexico. They rode up from Iowa on a long and boring 16 hour train ride. They were all excited to be there and couldn't wait to pack up and head out onto the trails through the mountains. After all the paper work and insurance forms were filled out, the guys were given a ranger to be with them for the first night, to give them a sense of how to live out in the back country of Philmont. The ranger was Rick and he was a very funny and enjoyable person to be with. All the guys were happy to have Rick with them.


Day One:

          Mikey, John, Ryan, Jake, and Rick all strapped up their packs and started to head out on the trails. It didn't take long for them to start to see the beauty of the wilderness, the mountains and the wildlife. They all took pictures of everything, and wrote in their journals of what they witnessed. 

          They passed by beautiful trees and saw wildlife that was close enough to touch. They walked the trails in amazement, passing over thin logs, cut out to get them over small cricks and rivers. 

          "Look at those mule deer right there," said Jake. "There so close I can almost touch them!"

          "I think its about time we stop and get some food. We have been walking for a few hours and we all need to get some energy in us," said Rick. "Just up ahead there is a camp where we can sit and have a quick snack and talk to some of the natives."

          All the guys agreed. They came up to a small log cabin shack with an outhouse and what seemed to be a little cattle barn. It is exactly what you would expect to have seen way back in the early days. As they got closer they noticed an old looking man who wore a ragged straw hat and tathered up clothes that look to have never been washed. 

          "Hello sir, we came up to this beautiful area from Iowa. How are you doing today?"

          The old man looked up at John. He opened his mouth a little bit, just enough for John to see that he only had three or four teeth that were brown and very worn down. The man just stared at John and finally said, "Go home, leave and never come back."

          "Excuse me?" said John.

          "Go home, leave and never come back."

          "Why should we go home? Are we bothering you and your people here?"

          "Go home, leave and never come back!" said the old man.

          "Is that all you can say?" said John.

          The old man said nothing. He just got up and walked back into the small cabin. John went back to the guys completely dumbfounded. 

          "That man is obviously crazy" said Rick. "Lets just sit here on these logs and have some lunch before we head back out."

          The guys all sat down and pulled out their meals. The meals included energy bars, lara bars, a small package of gorp (a mixed assortment of dried fruits and nuts), and a juice pouch. After they were all done they got up and headed back down the trail. 

          Hours passed and Rick made the decision to find another camp and call it a day. They came upon Camp Conestoga and set up their tents. The camp was wonderful. It had trees surrounding the area with small fire pits spread out everywhere. In the middle there was a shower house. Out here you don't see very many of those. Also there were two toilets set up about half a mile outside of the campsite. After they had the tents all up they made a fire, had dinner, and went to bed.

Day Two:

          The guys all woke up the next morning with excitement to head back out onto the trails. They packed up camp quickly, strapped up, and got back onto the trails. After walking two miles, they came upon a small camp. 

          "This is where I get off," said Rick. "Remember everything I taught you guys out here yesterday and you will do just fine."

          They all gave Rick there thank you's and said goodbye. They were on their own now.

          "So did anyone think that the old man at the camp yesterday was a little strange?" said John.

          They all agreed with him.

          "What do you guys think? I mean that dude kind of creeped me out. Ever since I talked to him, this place has been kind of freaking me out."

          "I don't think we have anything to worry about," said Ryan. "This place is too beautiful for anything to happen here. The only thing we need to worry about is getting attacked by a bear."

          "Yeah you guys are probably right. I just need to forget about the old man and enjoy what's here," says John.

          They finished up the day 8 miles later in a small campsite. They followed the same ritual from the night before and headed off to bed. They were all in their tents except for Mikey. Mikey couldn't sleep, so he sat around the fire. As he was sitting he started hearing noises out in the bushes. He didn't think anything of them, he just kept sitting their watching the fire blaze. The noises started getting more strange. He couldn't quite pick out what the noise was coming from. It sounded a little like a mix between a baby cry and a growl. He thought about just calling it a night and heading back to his tent, but instead he decided to investigate a bit. Mikey walked over to the bush where he thought he heard the noise. As he came up to the bush he pulled out his knife. His knife was huge, it was like the knife off of those Rambo movies. As he got closer he jumped behind the bush and yelled. "Where are you you little shit!" said Mikey. He didn't get a clear look at it, but he heard something about the size of a small bear run off into the woods. Mikey whispered to himself, "Thats right you little bitch, come back here and I'll slice your throat."


Day Three:

          The next morning, everyone slept in. They all got out of their tents to notice that it was still pitch black out. 

          "What is the deal with the sun? It is 10 in the morning and its still pitch black out," says John. 

          "Maybe the sun is being blocked by the moon or a cloud or something," says Jake.

          Not only was the sun gone, but there was fog that started creeping up around the guys. The fog was very thick and waist high.

          "Guys I'm not liking this. What are we supposed to do?" said John.

          The guys were all quiet just looking around. Mikey spoke up, "Well we didn't bring lights that are bright enough to walk us through this thick fog so the only thing we can do is stay here and wait out the fog". 

          They all decided to do as Mikey said and they stayed. They sat their for what felt like hours. 

          "Anyone hungry? I think we should eat something while we think about this," said Mikey.

          "WHOA! What was that?!" screamed John.

          "What What John? What happened?" yelled Jake.

          "Something just rubbed up against my leg! It felt cold and rough!" screamed John.

          John screamed at the top of his lungs and fell below the fog line. All the guys came running over trying to find him, but couldn't for the lives of them tell where he was.

          "John! John where are you?! Say something if your alive!" yelled Mikey.

          John screamed but it didn't last long. The scream became silent and then there was nothing. The guys all walked around frantically trying to think of what to do. 

          "Guys we need to get anything we can that we can use as a weapon. I don't know what the hell that was that took John, but we need to protect ourselves somehow", said Mikey.

          They all searched through their things. They found pocket knives, sticks, and hatchets. 

          "We need to stay together. We should just stand right here by the fire pit and attempt to kill anything that tries to take us. We need to work together!" said Mikey.

          Just as Mikey said that, Jake gets grabbed. He screams and starts thrashing at his leg with the stick.

          "Stand still Jake!" yelled Mikey. Mikey comes over and starts stabbing around Jakes leg with the knife. "I can't find it!" said Mikey as Jake was screaming saying, "It's constricting my legs! Get it off!"

          Just as Jake said that he got swept underneath the fog and disappeared. 

          "What the hell is going on!" screamed Mikey.

          "What should we do Mikey? All that is left is you and I" said Ryan.

          "We need to stay here and hold our ground! This thing is going to die by my knife!"

          Ryan didn't listen. He freaked out and started to run. Mikey couldn't see him anymore as he was engulfed into the fog. Mikey couldn't hear anything for a little bit except the sound of Ryan's footsteps. He heard a loud scream and knew that Ryan had died.

          Mikey was all alone now because all of his friends were taken away by this thing. Mikey was getting really upset and angry. He took out his knife and stood there. He waited and waited, holding his knife in a clenched hand. After a long moment he started hearing the noise which he heard the other night, the sound of a growling baby lurking in the dark. "Come here you little shit! I'll kill you!" The noise was getting louder and closer to him. Mikey crouched lower to the ground, held his knife out, waiting for the thing to get closer. "That's right, keep coming." The noise got louder and closer, until it was nearly in his ear. Mikey started to grin slightly in excitement. Mikey then heard a loud screech. 

          "Holy..." started Mikey.

          The thing lurched out at Mikey's legs. He started freaking out. His heart started pounding and his palms became sweaty.

          "You're going to die!" he yelled. Even through his panic, Mikey knew that he needed to calm down or he would die. He didn't want to go out without a fight. Mikey gripped the knife and slashed down towards his leg.The blade pierced the monster. He slashed again, but missed. As he brought his guard up, the thing latched onto his arm with sharp teeth. He dropped his knife and released a deafening yell. He reached down to grab the thing, attempting to wrestle it off his leg. Its grip seemed to be getting weaker from the stab, so Mikey wrapped his hands around the things neck. Mikey felt great, strong. He was going to be able to see what this monster was that killed all his friends. He was going to kill what killed his friends. A grin grew on Mikey's face as he started to raise the thing up to eye level, but it lashed out with claws and teeth. His screams could have been heard four miles away, "Aaaaaah Noooo!" He fell to the ground below the fog and bled out.

            No one from the group of guys was ever to be seen again. The families back home had sent out search parties two weeks after their disappearance. The search parties found no bodies, no fog, and no trace of any monsters. There was nothing to be found.