Fires in the Fog
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
H. P. Lovecraft
Hello, my name is Simon and I come from a small European country. I live in a village high up in the east-central Alps (A gigantic mountain massive in middle Europe). It get’s really cold up here in winter and we used to always be snowed in till early summer, we still get snow thought, but it isn’t what it used to be. The climate has gone up almost 2 degrees in my region.
Some people blame it on global warming or some other shit. All I know is that something is fucking up the weather around these Mountains. I mean it’s not that bad but we just don’t really get many warm days in summer or much snow in the winter. But back to the Geometry. So you’d have to imagine a long thin valley surrounded by high mountains. Most times of the year, especially if it is raining or cloudy, these Mountains are covered in thick mist. Now don’t get me wrong there’s nothing unusual about it and for most of my life, I haven’t spent much thought about it.
My family is an old one and dates back up til 1423, I have a picture of the family crest with the exact date if someone is interested. But I’m not to keen on showing my whole name.
Ever since I had been a small boy, my parents have forbidden me from going out when it’s dark and even on some of the more cloudy or foggy days. As a child, I never paid this much mind.
The first time I ventured out alone into the Dark, was the Day after my 16 Birthday, my Father handed me a Machete, and told me to be “watch out” (Whatever he meant by that).
The first few Times nothing strange happened, but one rainy night, I was just driving home from my best bud’s home on my bicycle when I saw something strange. A small squirrel or ferret-like creature was running down the road right in front of me. The creature seemed unafraid and just kept running in front of me when it could have darted away into the woods at any time. The strange thing is that my eyes couldn’t seem to quite focus on the thing. I just seemed like a small furry blur, I had my eyes focused on this thing the entire time and only just got one look at it before it just vanished into thin air. I hurried to get home after that. Squirrels don’t have claws like that, neither do they have more than one tail. But I thought that my head had been playing tricks on me. It had been pretty late after all.
A few months later, I had almost completely forgotten about the “Squirrel” Incident. I have a habit of smoking a few Cigars now and then, I never liked Cigarettes, but a Cigar at least tastes like something.
So I was sitting behind our house. Were living at the edge of our town, and the next house is about half a mile away. I stood up to take a piss and spotted something big standing in the Darkness. It was almost as large as one of the Trees in our Backyard, so it had to be about 2 – 3m high. I took my handy out and switched the flashlight on. At first, I only saw 2 glowing red eyes. Like a deer’s eye reflecting the light of a Camera, only that they seemed far too big.
I don’t know why but I took a step towards the Thing, and as I did so, It emitted a high weird pitched scream, that also reminded me of a Deer, and ran off into the Forest. For a creature that large, you would expect it to make some sort of noise while moving, but It moved so soundlessly almost as if it was walking on far too many legs. I checked the Field the next morning for hoof prints, it looked as if an entire herd of Deer had been waltzing through the field behind our house.
After that, I grew weary of the Mountainsides. The Fog almost never leaves. Who knows what else is crawling around on these foggy Mountaintops?
I have not been sleeping well for the last few nights. Strange dreams keep harassing me. Of vague landscapes and of mountains that seem familiar but somehow far higher.
I hadn’t seen anything for a while then. Autumn was almost over and Winter was coming fast. But there was no Snow. For a Region such as ours, we are quite dependent on Snow, because of the Tourism, you see Winter Tourism is our main source of Economy.
So as Christmas rolled around, we were still waiting for snow, which is really strange for our region.
The twelve nights right after Christmas are something very special in our Country, there called the “Raunächte” or Raw Nights, if you translate it word to word. I myself am a Krampus or Percht as we are called, it’s a tradition in which we dress up in goat or sheep fursuits, and wear wood carven masks, that resemble Demons, Monsters and other Fiends of the Night. This Tradition is meant to scare the Ghosts of winter away, and to bring the New Year of course.
Now the first Night of these “Raw Nights” I noticed something very strange. I was enjoying a Cigar outside watching the foggy Mountains in the Dark when I noticed something. It was in the early hours of the morning. A ghastly time indeed. There were small spots of light going up on the mountaintops as if someone was kindling a small fire. The fog concealed them very well, but I could just make out a small shine of light.
This took me as something very strange, a there is only one Occasion were People meet at the Mountaintops to make fires, and this is the midsummer-celebration, where we track to the highest mountains to make large bonfires, It’s a tradition, and is said to come from the Romans.
But it was winter. No one would be insane enough to venture upon those Mountains, especially not at Night. I watched the fires the whole night. It was one fire on each mountaintop, and there were three one the largest Mountain in the Region. The Fires vanished about half an hour before the first light of the day.
For the next few nights, the Fires have been there. And there have been getting more. Almost the whole mountaintop was lighted up yesterday….and I could have sworn that there have even been some fires way up, higher than the mountains, burning somewhere up in the fog.
I asked my father tonight if he knew what was up with those strange fires. I have never seen my father go so pale. Then he stood up and looked me straight in the eyes, then told me in a voice that left no argument “Leave it be, son. Nothing good comes from up there”. After that, he left the room and refused to ever talk about that subject again, and I don’t want to get on his bad side…
The Last Day of the Raw Nights is approaching and I have decided to get to the bottom of this, if no-one wants to talk to me, then I will just take this in my own hands. The fires have been increasing in number and I think that something is happening today. I don’t know if this is some kind of Cult or a natural occurrence. There must be some kind of scientific explanation for everything. There always is.
So, I’ve been preparing. I got something warm to wear, a flashlight and reserve Batteries. Water and Food for 2 – 3 Days, A one-person low-temperature tent, and an Altimeter (To measure the Hight Meters). I am a bit of a Sword collector so I also took my Ninjato (Similar to a Samurai-Sword but with a straight blade), and a Spyderco with a fixed knife. I also got a small O2 bottle and my diving face mask. If I have to go so high. I doubt it.
I told my family that I was sleeping over at a friends home. They don’t need to worry.
I decided to start a few hours before sunset so I could make the climb before it got too dark. I made good progress and reached the climb just in time. The sun went down just as I heaved myself over the last ledge. Climbing in Darkness is fuking shit. I switched on my flashlight and made my way towards the mountaintop.
I decided to put my camp almost at the top of the mountain well hidden behind a ledge. And then I waited. I had a bite to eat and went into the tent checking the outside every few minutes. It was just too cold. This was the first time I checked my Hight Meter or Altimeter, it stood at 2200 m, one of the higher mountains in this Region.
A few hours passed without incident. What was different today? The fires had always shown up without fail.
It was getting colder and colder, and the wind was not helping. But I was determined to find the source of these lights. I was almost ready to give up when I spotted a small light far away in the fog. I could have sworn that that fire was higher than the mountaintop. But I still started to make my way towards it.
Now if you’ve ever been high in the Mountains at Night, you know that this is something completely surreal. The wind blows so strong that you can barely hear yourself think, the cold bites through however many layers you wear, and as for the scenery, It’s one of the most beautiful things I could imagen but It still hunts down a cold shower over my back, it’s as I’ve something is always watching you. Even if I tell myself that nothing would live up here.
The wind blows the fog into different forms and shapes as I make my way over the plateau. The light cone of my flashlight barely makes 2 m sight now. Stupid Fog. I have to be really careful where I step, there quite a few chasms here.
I don’t know how long I walked through that frozen wasteland, but the small point of light in the distance never seemed to get any closer. I kept on walking through the high snow, for quite some time, I didn’t seem all too strange to me at first, but when I was walking for almost an hour, I decided to check the Altimeter again.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, the Altimeter showed 3780 m. There was no way in hell that I could make so many Highmeters in so little time, let alone is the mountain I’m on only about 2500 m high. The Highmeter must be malfunctioning or something, I couldn’t possibly be so high up in the mountains.
So I keep going on, and on, and on, and well the scenery starts to change, the snow is not so deep anymore, probably because then wind has gotten stronger, there are patches of bare rock here and there, I must be starting to hallucinate because of the cold, but it almost looks as if there is a plastered path under the snow leading up towards the fire.
The Feeling of something watching me got stronger and stronger then, the further I climbed up, I kept turning around but only kept catching a shadow moving just outside my line of sight.
I was stopping to take another look at the Altimeter when I heard a sort of growl from behind me. I drew the Ninjato from its sheath on my back and turned around.
Sitting on a rocky ledge and watching me with bleary of-withe Eyes, was a thing that looked like it belonged in a Fantasy Game. A large white cat with strange upwards pointing horns, like an antelopes, the body of a cat and wings of an eagle on its back, It looked like some form of mystical creature but something was off about it, it was as if you had taken a normal Lynx and given it growth hormones, and mixed in an eagle and an antelope.
The thing eyed me with hungry eyes, It was quite large, a good bit larger than a normal Lynx, it surely was the apex predator of these mountains. I have some experience with large Predators, running away would just mark me as possible prey. So I stand my ground and scream at the thing.
Sadly It doesn’t seem very impressed and jumps towards me. It uses it’s wings for gliding like those flying lizards do. I barely manage to dodge it and ram my sword down into the thing’s neck. I don’t know why I can hear the things screams over the howling of the wind.
At closer inspection, it seems even stranger. I think it was a Lynx at some point, but what made it change like that? It really seems like some sort of chimera, jeez its tail even has scales, and seemed far longer than that of a normal Lynx. I took its head with me, so maybe someone would believe this story, you can find the picture here:
So with that done, I take my Height Meter out again, that thing must really be broken, but on the other hand, it’s getting hard to breath for me, and I’m used to heights up to 3000 m.
6400 m. This is completely unbelievable. Where the hell am I even? There is not even one Mountain this high in the entire Mountain Massiv. I couldn’t be teleported to Everest? Or could I?
I cannot explain this, but the Air is getting thinner, so I will use my 02 Bottle, am I glad that I brought it now, but it’s only about half an hour of air…I hope the fire is not too far away.
There is only fog now, I looked at the clock about an hour ago, the sun has already been up for a few hours. But there is only fog here.
The Fire is coming closer, slowly ever so slowly, but I am reaching it. I will not give up now.
02 ran out, no Problem thought. Can breath fog without a problem now.
7800 m. Approaching Everest Height. WTF.
The Altimeter totally stopped working at about 9800 m, Everest is out of the Business, too bad nobody is gonna believe this.
I think I am almost up there. But I have lost all sight of perspective. I don’t know if I am walking toward the fire or away from it…but I will reach it. Even if it means the End of me.
I have had more encounters with the fog-dwellers as I now call them. They want my LIGHT! But they will have to fight for it. Damned half-creatures.
I am almost there, just one more step.
It feels as if I am breaking through a wall of ice. Floods of feelings and thoughts wash over me as if I was walking through a never-ending Snow Storm. My body still feels frozen numb.
I find myself on a mountaintop, FINALLY. My first instinct is to look up. I have never seen the Sky so close not even from an Airplane. It felt as if I was standing at the top of the world. Finally, I could breathe again. The fog didn’t seem so bad up here. A large pagoda was located at the other end of the plateau. This pagoda was the Source of the Light.
I heard a small noise then, like someone whispering, I couldn’t exactly make out what it said but it was coming from the pagoda. I had to shield my eyes from the blinding light. It was some sort of temple or ruin, the stoneworks looked ancient. Maybe this was the goal of the pieces of “road” I had seen. As I came closer I could almost make out what the babbling was. There is some sort of large throne or stool with it’s back turned towards me. A vaguely humanoid Figure seems to be cowering on it. The Figure also seems to be the source of that Light.
As I walk around the throne I get a good look a the creature. It sits cross-legged on its own throne. The legs look almost human, if it weren’t for the feet that looked like neither hoofs nor claws. From the torso upwards the similarities end. It has a very slim waist that grows into some form of grey fleshy lump, with countless pink-purple colored trunks hanging off its side. These trunks seem to be of different sizes and lengths but alls of them seemed to be babbling with different tounges and voices. I could make out English, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, French, Latin, Old German, and some seemed to just make noises, screaming, barfing, crying, laughing, hell some sounded like animals. And a few of them even seemed to make entirely alien noises. Metallic clicking, summing, and noises I can’t and won’t recall.
But the strangest thing is all of these trunks and mouths, they all spew copious amount of smoke or fog as if they were continuously smoking. The fog was thick and white and seeped down the mountain. Some of the trunks were even hanging over the Ledge, pumping their putrid fumes down the mountain. The light seemed to be coming of the creature like some sort of bioluminescent aura, There was no definite source of the light as if it was its own small sun or something.
Soundly one of the trunks seems to have noticed me, as it turns toward me like a deepsea tube worm. A small faceted eye appears in the trunk. We just look at each other for a moment.
Then with a creaking noise, as if you were moving hinges that had been rusted for ages. The thing slowly starts to get on its feet. More trunks start tasting the air around me, some of them have round tubular maws others beaks like an octopus and others fangs like a vampire bat and some just end in an open gasping hole.
I don’t really know why I started running then, Because normally I’d rather stay and duke it out, but something, some ur-instinct told me to run there. And run I did, for what felt like days, but every time I turned around the thing would still be there, following me on its thin legs, always tasting the air. Even when I couldn’t see it the dreadfull light still seemed to follow me. It was as if I was running from the rising sun.
I don’t know how, but somehow I made it back to my basecamp. I was exhausted to the bone. But I didn’t want to stay one more second on these mountains. So I packed my camp up and hurried down as fast I could. Nothing strange happened on my way back home.
My parents were worried sick, I had been gone for almost 4 days, and no-one had known where I had gone. I assured them that I was all right, and when my father asked me where I had been, I decided that it was better to lie and face punishment.
No one should ever venture up those mountains as I did. The fog has changed me. I realize it now. And not just in a psychological sense. It started slow, but the fog changes you like it changes the Fogdwellers. I realize now that I belong on the mountain, that I belong in the Fog.
I will write down all I know about these accursed Mountains, before I leave, to warn those who will not hear, and to give knowledge to those who do still dare. The one who talks knows nothing. The one who knows doesn’t talk.
I warn all of you of those things that live on lonely foggy mountaintops, and in caverns ever so deep. Humans do not belong there.
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