I had been stuck down at the waterfront for days. The weather turned cloudy early, and a thick fog rolled in from god-knows-where, prowling the lower half of the city, sitting in the trash-littered alley ways on thick haunches, peering in the windows of dilapidated houses down near the harbor and pressing its grimy nose against the crooked window panes, and streaking the glass with its curdling breath.
Spooked, I packed quickly and left the drafty, dingy inn I was staying at within the hour. On the muddy streets outside, I passed a sailor wearing a blue scarf and an old woman selling lilies for half a penny a piece. But night had fallen and with the fog, the harbor section of the city was becoming a ghost town. Landmarks had been reduced to shadows and any friendly lights in the night—candles and lanterns shining out from the windows of taverns and tinkers’ hovels—were few and far between. I made it down to the docks by feeling my way there blindly but when I reached the water’s edge, I found the fog even thicker in the harbor. The fog’s gray fingers were curled tightly and vice-like around the keel of the ship I had planned to sail out of this place. Continue reading