The morning had turned to fog. It had been clear when Merrion had left home, then there had been a few tendrils of mist over the paddocks as she drove past. Nothing odd about that but it had kept getting thicker. By the time she had passed the sports oval at Peters Farm the mist had been continuous but thin enough to see through and there had still been other traffic on the road. The last car she’d seen had been at the roundabout that led off to the high school in one direction and the hospital in the other. It had flashed its lights at her, honked its horn and the passengers had waved frantically at her. She’d ignored them because with the heavy fog she was in by then she’d had to concentrate to keep on the road and the fog kept getting thicker.
It was when she reached where her office stood, should have stood, that Merrion realised that something was wrong. The shaped dip in the curb was there for the car park driveway but there was no car park beyond that. The three storey office building beside the driveway, the building where she worked, wasn’t there. Just fog, white where her headlights hit it and grey where they didn’t. It was quiet. No other cars in the distance, no birds in the landscaping bushes, no people.
Obligation, habit and the concerned seed of fear warred in her and just as she was rationalising that if there wasn’t any building she couldn’t go to work anyway, she heard the sound of running feet. Three figures pounded out of the mist towards her, all of them carrying something and the front one with a rifle too.
Merrion would have driven off but she realised that the lead figure was carrying a child under the arm that didn’t have the rifle.
“Thank god!” That lead figure was a soldier in body armour plus helmet and he spoke as he reached through her open window to press the central locking button. “You have to get us out of here.” He opened the back door and slung in the five or six year old boy he’d been carrying, adding, “Move over, kid, so everyone else can fit.” He went around the front of the car to get in the passenger seat, while the other two adults piled into the back seat. The young man with long, black hair held a toddler and the blonde haired girl was carrying a baby.
“Come on, lady,” that was the soldier, sitting beside her now. “Drive back the way you came. We have to get out of here before the fog gets us too.”