Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Fog by Anna Harris - February Femmes Fatales


Over the next twenty-nine days the wonderful work of sixteen writers will be published on The Feardom in this year's February Femmes Fatales dark fiction and poetry showcase.

Visit us every day of the month to read the most wickedly gorgeous writing by some amazingly talented women.

February 01

This showcase opener this year is The Fog by Anna Harris. Anna and I have been rubbing virtual shoulders since I first got 'out there' in early 2009 - having met on Talkback, the UK's Writing Magazine online forum and then through Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers.

She is not only a very talented writer, she is also a most supportive listener and reader.

Anna has a unique voice; she manages to touch your trembling skin in whispers to leave you chilled far further than the bone.

Please welcome Anna to February Femmes Fatales...


Bleak, ashen mist licks at my pasty skin like a snuff-dazed whore still mellow from her last hit. Cold, unearthly hands paw at this clammy skin drawn tightly across the hollows of my sunken jowls. I tug a woollen scarf closer over my clenched jaw and avoid the dim glow of gaslight in Buck’s Row, turning instead into the cover of a dank alleyway on Whitechapel.

A dripping sewer pipe under the bluestone arch rhythmically taps out a chilling monotone note that fails to keep time with my thudding heartbeat, its haunting echo disrupted only by a distant foghorn and a PC’s whistle.

The fog languidly strokes me, salivates. She swills her tongue seductively around my cloak, muffling cautious movement and deadening my deliberate footfall over the cobblestones. Then indolent, gluttonous, she whispers in my ear, “Paint her red, Jack, paint her red.”

She’s eager for me. Ravenous. Breathless.

A bony hand slides deeper into my pocket to encircle the cold shaft of steel. Steady now. It must be slow, measured; an intimate, unhurried tango of lust.

Fog’s wispy fingers beckon me deeper into the folds of her ethereal embrace and I take up her invitation, move further into the cloying, drab vapour.

Then she’s blowing again slowly, gently, “Paint her red, Jack, paint her red,” softly in my ear and stoking a long extinguished fire in my belly until I lose all reason.

She has me at her mercy. I allow her to seduce me, envelope me, engulf me.

I take up my blade, my artisan’s brush, poised to do my misty wraith’s bidding. I am her creator of colour, a master craftsman of design, daubing graphic slashes in vivid vermillion and sensual scarlet. Bloodied red streaks to paint the wan grey canvas of my lover’s kiss.

My portrait cries out a brief overture, a signal the opus has begun but then gurgles and bubbles and becomes as silent as the tempestuous haze lapping at my easel.

Ecstasy consumes me and I paint and I paint until my frenzied creation is complete.

Silence. I step back to capture the artwork, to etch the masterpiece into an indelible vision to savour later.

I breathe again. The smell of the mist, my mist, damp and thick caresses my nostrils. Sooths . I’m replete.

Far away voices intrude on our reverie. The tinkle of broken glass. A cat’s mewl. A foghorn.

Sated, my spectral mistress secretes me once more in the pallor of her comforting womb, sheaths me in her swirling, cosseting blanket to see me safely home until the moment she will entice me out again with the promise of another erotic dalliance in her voracious arms.

_________ The End _________

Bio: Anna Harris can be read in numerous e-zines and publications such as Pill Hill Press and Static Movement.

She has no problem writing about murderers, ghouls or headless horsemen but if you really want to hear her scream drop her into a field full of cows.


  1. Oh, that was scary and creepy and kinda luscious, all at the same time.
    Then I read the "field of cows" bio bit and laughed out loud.
    Well done, Anna. Nice to meetcha.

    And Lily, I'm thrilled that February Femme Fatales is back. What a terrific series!

  2. Dark and delicious... dripping with horror and bloodlust... I am sated... for the moment.

    I love the idea of the Ripper as this 'spectral' entity... a fog insinuating its misty tendrils into a human body, to do its bidding.

    I'm not going to be able to walk in the fog again without thinking of this little tale... scary... *shivers... and not from the cold...*

    Very nicely done, Anna... great voice!

    We are a bit a like I see... I can write, read, watch tales of murder and things that go bump in the night... I will in fact go out my way to scare myself with a good story... but, put a tiny little spider in my path... I'm told my shriek has shattered glass in the next county! Haha!

  3. I liked the pov being from the Ripper, how it made him feel, how driven he was how sated the act made him —" I step back to capture the artwork, to etch the masterpiece into an indelible vision to savour later.

    I breathe again. The smell of the mist, my mist, damp and thick caresses my nostrils. Sooths . I’m replete. "

    Nice writing!

  4. Sublime, Anna. "...pasty skin like a snuff-dazed whore still mellow from her last hit." Great line. I like the way you bring the symbolism of the colour red into it, and the overtones of an artist's palette, set against the greying mist.

    It's descriptive, atmospheric and full of imagery. Great start to FFF.

  5. The symbiotic relationship you created between your Jack and his mistress the fog is a luscious idea.The Fog is finely crafted and seductive storytelling. A pleasure to read.

  6. Rich with stratified symbolism and deliciously dark prose. Like biting into a layer cake only to find a spider baked inside.

    The atmosphere built around the foggy East End streets threaded beautifully with the internal cold madness of the killer.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  7. Wow, I felt chilled from the first sentence. I especially liked the image of the "misty wraith".


    The comments here actually sensate, as if they too slipped into the fog, came out and wished to resonate right along with this fearful beauty to breathe in. No higher tribute to a FEMME FATALE who swirled a swathed mood into tone and texture. Echo Cathy on luscious and cow-grin. In sync with Veronica and AJ on dark, delicious, sublime, SK and Anthony on symbiotic, seductive and indeed stratified. Caliber to paintbrush phrases drew me in at once with the snuff-dazed whore simile, then splashed me smack dab into the magnificence of word selection on the refine:

    Indolent - ravenous - holy vivid vermillion, what a tempestuous ravage! Bravissima Anna for all so stirred within this reader, who respects your adept setting of 'place' instantly.

    Gosh, I'm all fogged up.
    ~ Absolutely*Kate

    1. what can one say about such a superbly dark start to what is the high point of the year, the FFF. Anna, this is so moody, so seductive as others say you can almost be the hand of the Ripper. Brilliant!

  9. A wonderfully atmospheric piece, which transports the reader into the depths of the scene. Certainly hooked with that first line.
    Read at 10am this morning on a gloriously sunny (but cold) day, I was 'there' with the fog, the victim and the artist.
    Great stuff, Anna, congratulations !

  10. Dark and atmospheric, Anna. I can't really add any more than what has already been said apart from thanks for sharing a great story. A fantastic start to a month of madness!

    Great pick to kick off the FFF, Lily!!

  11. Such a gorgeous example of writing. Thank you for opening this special event with such a cool and suggestive story. Really lovely.

  12. A superb start to the series. I love the fog, and the personification in this was a nice twist. Nicely done, Anna.

  13. Thanks so much for the truly lovely comments, everyone. I can't wait to read the contributions for the rest of the month. Bring 'em on, I say!

  14. Stunning take on the old Whitechapel story, Anna.

    What I liked best was the constant interplay with his "Mist"ress. You really personified the demon's demon!

    Great kick-off Lily!

  15. Anna - This piece is steeped in a luscious use of the English language! The tone poem it created has conjured up scents and smells to add to the monochromatic background, highlighted as it is with Jack the Ripper's trademark 'calling card'!

    Lily - a worthy start to this year's FFF!

  16. A magnificent start to FFF! What a ravishing, yet delicate read this was, Anna. Every sentence is so carefully crafted and poised to entice the reader, I was disappointed to finish. Really good stuff, from perspective to execution.

    Cheers to you Lily and Anna! This February is going to intoxicate my muse.

  17. Wow, love the delicious description in this Anna, and for once my music seemed to compliment it as well.

    A great start to FFF!

  18. Well done, Anna. A great start to FFF and a fantastic opening line! Loved the tone and pace.

  19. Superb Anna - one of the best visually and sensatorial opening paragraphs I've ever read - didn't want the story to end! Tanred

  20. Thank you one and all. I sincerely appreciate your kind support.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.