13. M3U1. Reading—Fog
When Polly left home that morning, the city was already covered in a grey mist. At lunch, the radio forecast that the mist would become a thick fog in the afternoon. At four o’clock, Polly left work and stepped out into the fog. She wondered if the buses would still be running.
No buses to King Street
Once out in the street, she walked quickly towards her usual bus stop.
‘How far are you going?’ the bus conductor asked her before he took her fare.
‘King Street,’ said Polly.
‘Sorry, Miss,’ replied the man, ‘the truth is that it is too foggy for the bus to run that far. Take the Underground to Green Park. The weather might be better there and you might be able to get a taxi.’
A tall man
As Polly observed the passengers on the train, she had a feeling that she was being watched by a tall man in a dark overcoat. At last the train arrived at Green Park station. While the rest of the passengers were getting out, she glanced at the faces around her. The tall man was nowhere to be seen.
When Polly got to the station entrance, it was empty. Outside, wherever she looked the fog lay like a thick, grey cloud. There was no one in sight. Polly set off towards Park Street. As she walked along the narrow street, she heard the sound of footsteps approaching, but by the time she reached the corner of the street, the footsteps were gone. Suddenly Polly felt a rough hand brush her cheek, and she heard a man’s voice in her ear saying ‘Sorry.’ The man moved away. She could feel her heart beating with fear.
The helpful stranger
Then she heard the sound again - soft footsteps behind her. A minute before, she had wished for someone to come along. Now she wanted to run, but fear held her still. The footsteps seemed close now. Then a man’s voice came out of the darkness. ‘Is anybody there?’
Polly hesitated. At last she answered, ‘Hello, I think I’m lost.’
A few seconds later, a hand reached out and grasped her arm. Polly found herself staring up at the face of an old man with a beard.
‘Maybe I can help you. Which road do you want?’ He asked.