29 December – Kossouka, 5:57pm
I'm sitting in my chair outside, reading my latest book. It's good, and I've been so caught up that when I suddenly look up I realize that it's misty. I stand on the small ledge around my patio for a better look over my courtyard walls. The mountains in the distance are gone, and even the Zain cell tower is a bit fuzzy. The sun should be almost set now, dropping us into the long shadows and growing duskiness of twilight, but this mistiness diffuses the light, making it somehow brighter than it should be but in a slightly ominous way. This isn't the friendly mist of Scotland afternoons, with the watery sun breaking through every now and again to smile on your face. This is a gray, darkening mist, the perfect background to the beginning of a tale of monsters or armies or deadly diseases. The air is cool, tempting me to put my button-down back on over my camisole, but I resist on principle. At least the wind that scoured us this morning has died down, although I'm sure that my face, neck, wrists, and feet are covered in a fine layer of dust that won't be revealed until I shower.