“I don’t understand,” Liz said, scratching her head.
“What’s not to understand?” The old man looked at her with a look that was somewhere between condescension and amusement. “There’s simply nothing there.”
“You mean like, no one lives there right? Behind your house? Or is it just a steep cliff that I’d fall off if I tried to walk into whatever that mist is?”
The old man shook his head, “No, no. No cliff. A cliff is something after all. There’s nothing there.”
“I don’t understand,” Liz repeated, looking even more confused.
“Tell you what, why don’t you go out back, pick up a stick, and poke it through the “mist”, see what happens,” the old man turned his back to her and started fussing around with the oven again, “After all, this pie will be a few more minutes.”
Liz didn’t really have anything to do but wait, so she decided to satisfy her curiosity. She still wasn’t sure if she could fully trust the old man (although he didn’t look he was in any condition to assault anyone), so she picked up her backpack before heading out the door at the back of the kitchen.
She stepped out into a small, grassy back yard (not very well-maintained) surrounded by a number of trees of varying age. Beyond the yard and beyond the trees, a swirling black and grey and white shrouded her view, and she could not see anything more than a few dozen meters from the house. The black and grey and white extended in both directions, as far as her eyes could see, interspersing with the trees that dotted the landscape.
Slowly, Liz walked towards the mysterious black and grey and white. She glanced back at the house as she did so, the aging red-bricked walls no different from the facade she had sighted from the distance. The house looked a lot smaller up close, even though it was two stories. It must have been some trick of perspective that made it look like a mansion when she first spotted it not thirty minutes ago. Or perhaps a trick of her mind, deliriously happy to see smoke coming from t