The prompt this week from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction was ‘Foggy’.
Jacob sat at his window, watching the fog rolling in across the Sussex downs, and remembered a time, long ago, when the great London smog had lingered over the capital for days, closing schools, disrupting transport, endangering health.
Those were the days when coal was the primary source of power for industry and heating for homes, its thick, sulphurous fumes creeping along streets, under doorways, and into lungs, constricting airways, killing thousands.
In those days, schools sent their pupils home at the first sign of the black fog descending, closing their doors with no pre-warning to parents, who struggled home from work on foot, to find their children either sitting on the doorstep or taking shelter with kindly neighbours.
That had been a time, Jacob recollected, when people trusted each other to rally round because it was second nature to offer help where you could, and so when a car had crawled out of the swirling fog and slowed to a halt, its amber headlights glowing like the eyes of the devil, a child had climbed in beside a driver, expecting nothing more than a lift home.
As the fog rolled ever closer blotting out the countryside but not the past, Jacob grieved, remembering a time, and reflecting that a child had a right to expect more from the people in his world.