It took us three days before we started seeing shapes in the fog. Through the trees, Jamie and I saw a looming figure standing at the edge of the lake. But in the brief time it took for us to look at each other to confirm we had both seen it, the figure was gone. I raised a mist-covered hand and tapped Jamie’s shoulder, the camo of his uniform making its own shapes even without the fog. I shook my head and pointed at a shadow about 60 yards in front of us. He ducked behind a bush with the light rustling of leaves lingering in the dense air.

We spoke not a word. It was as if our tongues were lead and our throats were silenced. Sleep evaded us as much as verbal communication did. The black markings on our cheeks faded to grey the closer they got to our eyes. As fast as the shadow came, it went. The inky grey in the clouds swirled the image away from our very eyes. From where we crouched, we saw a man stalk through the trees, passing us as if to hunt the shadow from moments before. I opened my mouth to speak for the first time in three days, attempting to call out to what I thought was one of our missing squad members. Jamie’s hand covered it before I could utter a sound. I looked to him, watched as he took his hand back and placed a finger over his lips, and turned back to silently watch the man. But when I did, the man’s eyes were just inches away from mine.


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