Glowing From Inside
I realized then that I had regained my hearing. The moon lighted the dunes from a clear and starry sky. The fog creature stood on the sea grape leaves, a glowing from inside her lighting the scene, rivulets of water running over the leaves, bringing out the dark greens and the reds and oranges of the winter coloration, the Florida turning of the leaves. Spellbound I watched, my hands and feet numb now from the cold, the shivers running down my spine not only from the low temperatures, but from this fantastic happening.
“My children, I love to have you back in my womb. You must all quiet down, it goes against my nature to have noise within me. And stop moving please. You have been out in the world, attaching yourselves to people for too long to recognize your own behavior. I know, I know—it is the way you have to live, but you are home now for a little rest. No human knows about you and non ever should.
— Masks inside fog mother —
“When you are attached to a person to absorb the character that oozes out of them, you almost turn into one of them. And if you do your job right, it is just so. But you should never get into the state of your total self abandonment. That is why I have called you back to me, to remind you of your own self, the self that you have been raised to be by me. I also question if this is the only way for you to be. Often, when I swirl about, encounter humans and their ways, I am so discouraged, I do not know if it is a good thing to take away from them the reward they should get, the ugliness or beauty they should show but you absorb. The character that should be worn in their faces to reflect the thoughts they have.
“Of course, some of you turned into a beautiful mask, the reflection of the owner of those thoughts, but it is never the less a burden to only carry the face of a human that you not even had a choice to be with. I think we should start to turn your wings into fins. Then you can swim with the mermaids, roam in the depths of the caves, wash clean of all the burdens humans have put onto you. When they start to change into the beings they have the potential to be, then you can return to them, until then, I do think I should rebirth you for a life in the water. Our master does not know about my actions, and he should never, do you hear me, never.”
Swelling and Ebbing
With that, the fog mother started to expand, her translucence turning more solid, milky. The mask's mewing rose into one big sound, swelling and ebbing in the rhythm of breathing, then stillness. Fog mother turned herself into a tight ball, rolling over the grape leaves towards the edge of the water. There she flattened herself into the shape of a wave, floating with the movement of the sea.
— Fog Mother rebirthing her children into the sea —
I could hear little splashes now, one after the other. The moonlight highlighted the rippling water, but I was not able to see the masks, except two of them, darting away, skimming the surface of the water. I do not know how long I watched, but the faint light of the new day crawled over the edge of the trees behind me. Fog mother dissolved, the sea looked as calm and leaden as she does almost every winter morning.
When I stepped out of my house later in the day, I saw my neighbor across the street. His face had turned into the ugliest distorted expression. As my other neighbor walked by, a lady in her seventies, the most beautiful inner glow emanated from her. I greeted both and went back into my house.
I went to my dresser in my bedroom, there I looked into the mirror and I saw no change at all.