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First Page of Fog is a Shroud
THE little cabin-cruiser inched along through a fog that was as wet, as white, and as opaque as skim milk. The fog-light on the forward deck, immediately in front of the broad cabin, pushed its beam against the whiteness only to have it bounce back a few feet beyond the bow. It revealed nothing but a foot or two of glassy black water. It was nine-fifteen, post meridiem, and could have been three in the morning for all the sign of human life that was evident.
Paul Vayle's big back slit the beam. He was straddling the bow as if it were a pony and straining to see what lay ahead of them, and he cast a shadow on the solid mist that was as huge and uncertain as a djinn newly escaped from a bottle.
At sixty-second intervals the fog-horn on the lighthouse to the north of them boomed its long sad note; and between its solemn warnings they could hear a bell-buoy somewhere to the west; but these sounds only seemed to accent the smothering silence in which they were wrapped. The fog seeped in through the open windshield in wisps like ectoplasm and left a beading of moisture on Jeff Galleon's face and hair, a wet, rather pleasant taste on his tongue. Paul's voice floated back to him with a hollow, booming sound. Its normality seemed out of place, as if he should have whispered rather than break the hushed and shrouded silence of the night.
"It's getting worse," he said. "D'you know where we are?"
"I know too well," Jeff told him. "Listen."