By the time she took her leave, darkness had fallen, and the fog with it. Together these obscured the path so thoroughly as to make her memory doubtful – even memory built up over years of taking this road, thousands of times.
This route should never feel anything but friendly – and yet, cloaked in obscurity as it was, every mile turned foe. Nothing promised that the curves would remain as she had always encountered them; nothing could assure her that the trees and ponds and buildings by the way did not lay under some enchantment of their own, shifting thither and yon. Whole minutes had gone by since she passed the last traffic signal, had they not? Surely she should have reached the next red-light-turned-green by now. But in between the road stretched on and on, with only fresh darkness on the horizon.
Ghostly eyes of lamps passed intermittently in the dimness, floating in the mist, whatever car or carriage they might be attached to invisible. She shuddered at the thought of a deer, or a man, wandering out into the road, standing frozen while her car barreled into it. Him. Worse was the thought of a driver approaching without any lights, colliding twice as fast, with pulverizing force.
Pondering this, she eased off the gas and played idly with the headlights. The regular lamps were dimmer, and thus of limited use – but the high beams fell on the cloud of water droplets, illuminating no further. However slow she went, it couldn’t be helped – she couldn’t see.
No wonder fog stood in for fear. Not only would it veil the unknown twice over, but it sent even the familiar into oblivion: dementia come sixty years early.