by Ben Best
Mildred was feeling restless. Her situation had become far too complicated and stressful. A brisk walk would help her work off some of her nervous energy, and she wanted to get outside while it was still daylight. It took her only an instant to put on her heavy sweater and be out the door.
The cold fog surrounded & embraced her. She walked briskly, warming her body to the cold sauna. The fog was thick. Buildings, cars, people, and trees were obscured. There were no distracting objects in her world. It was as though she was looking at a whiteboard on which she could sketch out her strategy for making the decisions that were troubling her. Her attention was completely focused on her problems. Her thoughts were clear.
Freezing rain began to fall from the sky. Mildred felt stimulated, as if pricked into alertness by each droplet of cold water. She felt as if she were racing through a cloud, removed from the wrenching entanglements far below, and able to keep them in perspective.
Mildred had strayed from the path. The ground beneath her feet was increasingly marshy, but Mildred remained absorbed in her thoughts. It mattered little where she was in the world when she was finally finding her way in life.
Soon, however, she found herself sinking into the marsh. She had
walked into quicksand. She could no longer move her feet. Darkness fell.
The freezing rain turned to hailstones the size of golfballs. The
hail pounded on her like a sledgehammer, driving her deeper into the
quicksand. She smiled blissfully, feeling uplifted by the knowledge
that the alligators snapping at her were going down with her.