Joshua looked around, brushing absently at his arms as though to dislodge the fog clinging to them. "I can't tell what time it is," he said, trying to sound nonchalant, "This stuff is so thick you can't see the sun. It feels later, though, doesn't it?"
Alice considered their surroundings, trying to allow logic to penetrate through the darkness being created by their collective confusion. "But it can't be later. How long were we walking? I suppose it does feel like a long time..." she trailed off, matching the buildings to the map within her mind. "This looks like the old part of town. Maybe you'll see your church after all."
"Then we're near the lake? That explains the fog," Alex said, scanning the penlight back and forth as far as it would reach, "There has to be someone around...we really ought to report our crash and the collapsed tunnel."
"It's about 3 in the afternoon, nothing explains the fog," snapped Derek. He couldn't stand the limited line of vision, and the fact that Alex had taken over the leadership position hurt him, though he was unsure why. "Let's just start seeing if any of these places are open. That'll be the fastest way to a phone."
She frowned at him for a moment, but relinquished quickly with a sigh. "You're right. Surely something's open." She wasn't sure herself why she'd suddenly taken the lead - she supposed that it was just easier for her to keep her own thoughts in line that way. By being strictly analytical, her imagination couldn't run away with her.
Joshua, however, had made the first move toward one of the the many buildings that lined the street, trying the front door, to no avail. "What the hell?" he asked, shaking his head, "This place looks like it hasn't been open in years. Not good for tourism, is it?"
"What?" Alice walked over to Joshua, "Every building in this part of town is occupied by some pseudo-quaint shop or other." Nonetheless, she found it hard to really disagree with him. The door was closed solid, with a rust-covered chain holding it against any intrusion. A glance down the street saw windows boarded shut, and dust obscuring what she'd swear were shining picture windows just last week.
"Maybe...it's a holiday or something...?" Somehow, Alex's voice had lost all confidence. Something was definitely wrong. Where was everyone? Everything looked as decrepit and crumbling as the tunnel that they'd come through. The light trembled a bit as her hand shook slightly.
"If it was a holiday, *I* wouldn't be working, trust me." Alice attempted to keep the comment to herself, but in the situation, it didn't seem worth the effort. "Something is seriously wrong here. This just isn't right."
After rattling on the doors a few times, Joshua reluctantly came back to the group. "What...what should we do, then...?"
Noticing that all attention seemed to have been turned to her at the question, Alex swallowed the lump in her throat and turned her back. She'd bitten off more than she could chew and she knew it, but...didn't seem like there was a lot she could do about that now. "There's only one thing we can do. We have to keep looking for people. There must be an explanation for all this."
"I've... I've got a cellphone!" Derek felt like an idiot. Why hadn't he thought of it before? He fumbled the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open, "Just a sec. I always leave it off." The phone went through all its motions of starting up, the cheerful fanfare and welcome screen and the few moments of scanning for a signal. Suddenly, it burst into static.
For a moment, it had felt to Alex as though her heart had leapt out of her chest and was simply gone, until the sudden fierce pulsing in her chest replaced the feeling. "Wh-what the hell...! What's...wrong with that thing?"
Joshua's attention, however, was pulled further down the road. "There's..." he started to say, but it trailed off with a confused sound.
Derek shook his phone in frustration, "The stupid thing won't turn off! And listen, it's getting louder!" He looked up, and noticed Joshua staring into the fog, "What? Do you see something?"
Joshua moved forward a bit to stand next to his sister, squinting into the fog. "It looks like...there's a dog over there, or something. Do you see it, Alex?"
Still trying to calm her heart, she adjusted her glasses and squinted similarly to her brother, crouching down and leaning her arms on her knees. For a moment, she saw nothing, but then, there it was...moving slowly, and aimlessly, across the street. "Big dog," she said quietly, the ever-growing static making her more and more nervous, "It's so big. What kind of dog is that?"
Alice walked to the front of the group, and squinted at the figure, "It looks hurt or something? Why does it keep meandering like that?"
"Here, give me the flashlight," Joshua said, holding his hand out to Alex. Reluctantly, she released her hold on it and passed it to him, and he walked forward a few steps toward the dog, whistling a bit. "Here, puppy..."