Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Supernatural

Mist Over There ~ Chapter 0: Runaway Spirit [1st Draft]

by Coffeeism

Story Info: Each image you will come across in this story is a photograph of the land outside my house. I live on a 20-acre property (about 8 hectares) consisting mostly of forest, with a creek wrapping around the west and north side. When it rains here mist rises among the trees and raindrops decorate the leaves and branches.


Early that morning, as the rain nestled into the background of wake and dream, the spirit of a household dog chased the mist into the woods. The dog belonged to Esther, who lived in a small wooden house with light walls and gentle sounds. The mottled arms of the hinterland embraced the house’s outer structure, its leafy landscape as wild and expressive as flicked paint on water-soaked paper. Esther dreamed of strange creatures that sung and hissed and growled and sobbed and said absolutely nothing at all.

The dog spirit had left an old body behind on the living room rug named Sol, his fur golden like sunshine and other warm things. Yet his warmth had faded with a sleep that could not be unslept, his peaceful eyes far, far—very far—away.

Esther’s two parents watched the world through the steam of their mismatched coffee mugs, waiting for Esther to rise and greet them, waiting to sigh and speak of the body with sadness. However, one moment they could not wait for was that of their own understanding, because only Esther had understood the spirit of the dog that had chased the mist, and only the dog spirit had understood Esther. Together they were understood, and together they had lived until early that morning.

The scent of fresh rain drifted into Esther’s bedroom on a tide of simple memories, coaxing her awake as if there were all the time in the world. It felt different to how Sol usually woke her – distant instead of messy, cool instead of sweet, blank instead of vibrant.

The softs waves in her hair slipped off the pillow as she stirred. The rhythmic tapping of a thin tree branch against her window alerted her with some sense of urgency, lifting her upright. With sleepy eyes and heavy raindrops, she failed to grasp the news the branch tried to inform her of. Only later would she wonder, with quiet self-disapproval, whether she could have prevented what was to come by understanding the branch better.

Esther wrapped her bed blanket like a cape when she stood, the lowest edge dragging across the floorboards behind her bare feet. The house hallway smelt of dampness.

A tit bird bounced along the outer windowsill of the kitchen, perplexed by its reflection among the clouds and tangled impressions of the woods. The world was slow to wake.

Upon seeing the golden body on its side, Esther raced out of the house to the edge of the porch, blanket flapping in the momentum she imprinted on the air behind. Naked toes curled over the drop between the porch and the untamed grass, she searched over and between and through the trees for any traces of mist or dog spirits. Hair and blanket and nightgown danced around her figure.

Not a single spirit to be seen.

A terrifying monster stirred in the pit of her stomach, eerie and black like the deep sea. It was the monster of Grief and Loss, and it opened its wide mouth – an even darker void, about to suck out her insides until there was nothing left but a fragile shell. But wait, Esther thought, and the monster paused to listen, if I follow the direction of the mist, and if I follow it very soon, I can reunite with the spirit of Sol. The monster closed its mouth slowly, encouraging her to continue. And when I find Sol’s spirit, I will bring him back home, and it will be as if none of this happened.

The monster nodded its approval.

Esther dashed back inside the house, past her parents and the body of Sol, her bed blanket flailing. “Esther, what in the world are you in such a hurry for? Aren’t you going to mourn Sol’s passing with us?” asked the blur of Esther’s mother, as Esther swooped into her bedroom.

On came her warm coat and her lace-up boots. “I’m going to look for the mist,” Esther called out in response. “It took Sol away from me, and I’m going to get him back.” With one long, twirling movement she tossed a knitted scarf around her neck and turned from the room. The bed blanket lay crumpled on the floor.

“Don’t be silly, Esther,” said her mother from the living area, again visible to Esther. “Sol can’t come back. It wouldn’t be right.” The shapes her mother's face took were kind ones, but her voice sounded an awful lot like the black monster.

Esther felt more alone than she’d ever been before. The walls and the furniture had changed somehow, as if she were navigating another universe. The black monster in her gut crept towards her chest, wrapping its clawed fingers around her beating heart. Are you afraid? It asked in a purring voice.


Esther made a concerted effort not to look at the body on the rug as she made for the front door. Her parents watched her through the steam of their mugs. 

Outside the kitchen, the tit bird pecked at the windowpane.

“Esther, don’t leave." Her father's voice carried over to Esther. "We need to bury Sol’s body before it starts to smell.”

The monster chuckled.

Esther stepped outside.

Mist swirled on her breath on the other side of the door. Above the porch roof smoky clouds monopolized the sky, stretching into a vast canvas no one had bothered to illustrate. Esther wondered how far Sol had run to within the mighty wall of trees.

She could hear her father’s footsteps looming behind, wanting to reach out and pull her back to that body on the rug. They didn’t understand the spirit of the dog who chased the mist, or the spirit of the girl about to chase the dog. She would bring Sol back to the house.

Esther dropped from the porch and hurried towards the trees. Leaves and branches wrap layers around her, swallowing her up in emerald. The calls of her two parents drowned into bird calls the further she ventured into the woodland.

(ambient forest sounds)

Occasionally a glimpse of surrounding hills revealed the direction of the nomadic mist, slinking its way across the lofty terrain. On and on she trekked, her scarf pulled high around her neck. It wasn't until she'd stopped by an uprooted tree that the extent of her aloneness appeared. Her home was a long way away; she was in the mist's territory now.

Esther scanned the area around the fallen tree. The day was still young, yet she had travelled quite a distance already.

It was then she came across her first unusual spirit of the forest.

Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.

Is this a review?



User avatar
51 Reviews

Points: 5523
Reviews: 51

Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:40 pm
Nobunaga wrote a review...


Immediately, this is very calming to read. I feel like I'm being read a bedtime story or something. I love the added pictures, too! It adds even more to that sleepy, calm vibe that you have going here, even though the dog dying in the first part is super depressing. Never kill the dog! I did have a hard time with this particular part though.

However, one moment they could not wait for was that of their own understanding,

The wording is just a bit awkward and it took me reading it a few times over - and then just deciding to move on - before I could really grasp what it was trying to convey.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed reading this. Something about your writing style just made me feel very warm inside, even though the plot itself is quite depressing. I can't wait to see where Esther goes next. Something tells me she's not returning home for quite some time.

I can already see this as a cartoon movie in my head. Originally, I was going to make a note about the dialogue, but I see now that sort of whimsical, flowy way of speaking is important to this story. I won't gush on more, but please release another part soon!

User avatar
349 Reviews

Points: 42829
Reviews: 349

Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:14 pm
View Likes
PrincessInk wrote a review...

Hey CoffeeCat!

I can't believe that nobody's reviewed this work yet--I really enjoyed it! It seems pretty awesome to live near a forest, is it? Anyway, I'd like to remind you that my comments are just my opinions and that they might not necessarily be the best advice for your story.


As much as I liked the intrigue of the mist and spirit, I thought that I would have liked to see a stronger sense of worry from Esther. Unless it wasn't really a big deal anyway. I don't know. Perhaps it's not a huge deal because Esther knows what to do? Still, I did see that monster of Grief inside of her feeding her some fear and loneliness. I'd just like to see more worry from her, more of the possibility that this could all fail. And maybe the pacing was smooth and a little too slow to fit what Esther is thinking as she ran around searching? The prose seems to 'breathe' slowly while faster, snappier sentences can convey a more breathless feeling.


I noticed that her parents seem not to make a big effort to stop her from going into the forest. Do they think it's safe? Because I'd imagine that if I were in the parents' shoes, I'd believe it was unwise for Esther to go charging into the forest. Unless, that is, they know it's safe. I thought they might argue about her and try to make Esther 'see reason', because, after all, they don't know what Esther knows.

For Esther, I feel a little distant from her. I feel like I've been held an arm's length away from her. Perhaps this explains why, despite the occasional times when her thoughts break through, I'm wondering about the slight lack of urgency and worry I mentioned before. I also want to see how no Sol affects Esther. Yes, she's definitely in a hurry and all, but I think that if the dog was such an integral part of her life, maybe whenever she pauses and all or something, I'd like to see more of the emptiness. The monster, I suppose, may be one of them. The other is that maybe when she's going out and shutting the door behind her, she could look back and wait for Sol to come along (if they're going around together often) and then realize, Oh. I'm looking for Sol.. Like it's a built-in habit for Esther to open the door, let Sol and herself out, and shut it behind her.

Writing Style:

I thought your style had some very lovely phrases in it, like:

as the rain nestled into the background of wake and dream

And while I did enjoy the slow style, with the intrigue slowly creeping up, I also thought it pushed me to a more distant side. I'd like to get a little closer to Esther, though. I thought you did very well about the part of the loneliness because it did get as close as I liked. It doesn't mean that you need to describe the thoughts all the time. Rather, I think the omniscience of the beginning kind of pulled me away. I also thought that the way you sometimes described things (e. g. "Hair and blanket and nightgown danced around her figure") made me think that the narrator was watching overhead and wasn't very close to Esther. But, then again, perhaps it's your intention to have a slightly more distant narrator. And it's possible that I'm not used to it. I know, from my own reading experience, that some writing styles are harder to get into than others, but once you get used to it, you really enjoy it.

Anyway, hope this review helped! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.


Coffeeism says...

Thank you so much for the review! I knew the writing wasn't as perfect as I wanted, so your advice is very helpful to me. Yeah, I was trying to go for a more "artsy, indie" style of writing, yet I also felt that created a lot of distance from the characters. It's harder to place these things on your own, so again, thank you!

You can't blame the writer for what the characters say.
— Truman Capote