Being a true and accurate account of the events relating to Peri Blomquist’s knee, on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018.
It’s January 23rd. 7:10 a.m.
A high, horrible keening begins in my home. A wordless, inhuman scream that reaches past the dimension of the living and pulls me from my sleep. I roll over, ready to bludgeon the alarm clock, but the sound isn’t mechanical. It’s bestial.
I rise and yank open the bedroom door.
“Shut up.” I tell the cat.
“MMEEOOOOOOUUUUAAAIIIEEE” the cat screams back.
“Right,” I say, and slog into the kitchen to feed her.
My eyes lift to the window as I straighten from appeasing the beast, and I see a world of swirling white on the other side of the glass. Thick fog clogs the streets, obstructing my view of the sidewalk and neighboring buildings.
Neat-o, I think, and stomp back to bed.
Except, once I’m lying down, the fog is all I can think about. It reaches into my mind, with curling tendril fingers and it pokes. It prods.
Get the fuck up, it says, and take a picture.
I curse at the ceiling and get up. Now I’m in a frenzy for no reason. The fog is calling, singing it’s siren song, pulling me towards the door. I yank on pants and start the coffee maker while I find my shoes. I grab a belt and jam a toothbrush in my mouth. The coffee finishes right as I pull my coat over my shoulders. I take a quick, scalding gulp and leave it on the counter.
“Back in five,” I tell the cat.
Then I grab my camera and my phone and my keys, and woosh out the door. My wallet sits on the same counter as my coffee, forgotten.
On the street the fog is like wet wool. It hangs heavy, draped over every rooftop and lamppost. I wander through it, snapping pictures of the crawling street and the early traffic.
I think idly about my coffee, but I’m nearly at the reservoir, so I keep walking. I find the water low and frozen, blending in with the white mist and erasing the horizon from view. The fog is swirling and blowing and eating morning joggers one by one. I follow them more slowly, ambling at my own pace into the milky oblivion.
I take more pictures but they look like nothing. They look like a plaster wall, or the heat death of the universe.
I’m halfway around the reservoir now. And I know that, up the little path and across the little back road, is a cemetery. I shift my direction, half unconsciously, the fog pushing at my back, and climb the muddy path. Then I stand on a sidewalk, looking across the little twenty foot wilderness to the iron fence and the shrouded headstones beyond.
Jump the fucking fence, says the fog, and take a picture.
What a good idea, I think.
I jump the fence.
I wander happily through the graves, taking pictures, following the whispered directions of those whipsy, tendriled fingers buried in my brain. Five minutes later, as I crest a little hill, I see a pickup truck winding down the cemetery path in my direction.
Uhoh, says the fog, and I backpedal quickly until I’m no longer standing in the open.
I check my phone, which reads 8:05. The cemetery opens at 8:00, so I’m okay. But the gate (which was not my route in) is more than a five minute walk from where I’m standing. If I’m found, I might be asked how I got all the way to the back of the graveyard so quickly without being seen. At which point I might have to explain that I jumped the fence.
It’s not illegal, says the fog, but it’s sketchy as fuck.
I am dressed in all black, entirely by coincidence. I don’t have my wallet or a picture ID.
Jump the fucking fence, says the fog.
I turn and start quickly back the way I came, glancing over my shoulder, listening for the pickup. I don’t run exactly, because that would look even more suspicious, but I am definitely no longer ambling.
I reach the fence and take two steps faster than the rest. I put my hands at the top of the fence and push up and jump, swinging my legs over. I swing gracefully down on the other side.
My left foot hits something slick and uneven beneath the leaves. My knee twists and gives out right as I hear a crunch sound and I slam into the ground.
Nice, says the fog.
I’m sitting in the leaves, camera cradled against my chest, both hands clamped down around my knee, which is throbbing. Beneath me I can feel a broken branch. I wonder if the sound I heard was my knee or the wood?
“This adventure is over,” I tell the fog. “I’m going home.”
I get up carefully, prepared to shuffle the mile and a half home, but my first step lands me back on the ground.
I can’t walk.
Alright, I think. I’ll just call a Lyft.
I crawl through the mud to the sidewalk and situate myself as well as I can. Then I pull out my phone and open the app.
“Update your payment information,” the app tells me.
“I can’t, I don’t have my wallet” I tell the app.
This is a very good day for taking pictures, says the fog.
I call my dad, who is alarmed to hear I can’t walk, but happy to help. He lends me his credit card information, and I plug it in and call a ride.
“Seven minutes,” says the app.
I wait seven minutes. My phone vibrates and a message appears letting me know my ride has arrived.
I raise my eyebrows at it, and look up at the very empty road, nothing but the fog caressing the bends on either side.
When I check the map, I discover that Lyft has sent my driver to the nearest address. Which is several hundred feet and on the other side of the graveyard from where I am sitting. With my useless knee. That I can’t walk on.
“I’ll just call them,” I say. And another message pops up on my phone.
“Your Lyft driver is hard of hearing,” says Lyft. “Please communicate with them only through text.”
I look around me, but there are no street signs. No landmarks. I have nothing I can text this poor driver to let them know where I am, because I’ve been wandering around in the fog all morning, and I don’t know where I am.
I close the app.
It begins to rain.
Ha ha, says the fog.
I start to call my boyfriend, then remember he’s in South Carolina for work. So I call my best friend instead, who answers the phone, just as she’s stepping out of the shower, thinking someone has died. I explain that no, everyone is alive, but that I have just busted my knee escaping from a graveyard I technically didn’t need to be escaping from, and am currently sitting on the sidewalk in the rain.
Rachel laughs at me. Then pulls up google maps and pinpoints my general location based on my description of how I arrived where I am. She drops a pin on the map and sends another Lyft driver.
“When he gets close, just wave your arms a lot,” she tells me.
“I love you. You’re a superhero,” I say.
Take a picture, says the fog.
I hang up and wait. The rain is starting to chase the fog away. Eventually, a red car appears around the bend.
I stumble up onto one leg and wave my arms like a maniac. The driver slows and pulls up cautiously.
“I’m your Lyft?” he asks.
“Yes!” I hop across the road on one leg and clamber into the back seat. Mud covered. Sticks in my clothes and in my hair. Soaked to the skin.
“What the fuck happened to you?” the driver asks.
“I got up early to take a picture of the fog.”
I spend three hours in the ER. I am x-rayed and gently mocked. Chided for not having my wallet. The registration clerk clearly thinks I’m a nutcase. The nurse seems to think I’m a photography hero. The doctor who treats me doesn’t even ask what happened, he just blows right in the door of my room and says “I heard the story! It’s all over the floor. Show me the pictures.”
I am diagnosed with a bad knee sprain and told to stop hopping fences. Rachel turns up to take me home.
“Hope those pictures turn out!” The doctor shouts after me as I hobble out the door on my new crutches.
Yeah me and you both, doc.