That had been on Thursday.  She had no idea why, but she felt compelled to go on Saturday.  She couldn't miss school over a mere tourist trip, no matter what she'd promised Tal Natha.  So Saturday it was.  If the "timing" was wrong, well...she most certainly couldn't be blamed!

"Whoa," Drake said again.  "Charm, really, I mean, look!"

"It's a bridge, Drake!"

"Yeah, but--"

"Oh, come on, dear, take a look," her mother, driving, interrupted.  "Maybe you can get a nice picture of it.  Did you leave the camera out so you can take a picture?  Oh--never mind, then, that's too bad...I knew this would be a lousy time of the year to take a trip to the Island!"

"Wha--?" Charmian muttered, opening her eyes.  She glanced out the window to see if it was raining, snowing, or what.  Well, it had snowed in June before, why not in September?--

Her eyes widened and she leaned over Drake to gape out the window.  The lake was still there, but not all of it, and where the bridge should have been, she couldn't see anything at all.

Fog.  As far as she could see, fog.  Only the first twenty or so feet of the water could be seen, gray and rippling at the shore.  Beyond that, nothing.  Only a dead gray-white, as if the world ended just offshore.

"Your father really has no knowledge of weather systems," her mother said from the front seat.

"Isn't that creepy?" Drake commented.

Charmian couldn't reply.  The chill, which had started in her bones, spread like an infection through her blood.  She hadn't forgotten a bit of her dream but one part in particular came back to her now.

You will have to wait for the next great fog.

And what Miss Anne had said:

You must set out at the time of the next big fog.

Both in reality, and in her dream...the same thing had been said.  She didn't know why, but she'd "felt" the time was right to go today.  And now, here was the fog, almost as if it had been...waiting for her.

"Isn't this just cool?" Drake interrupted her thoughts.  "He said to wait until the big fog, and now here it is!"

"'He'?"  Charmian's mother glanced over her shoulder briefly.  "Who are you talking about back there, dear?"

"The wolf--" Drake started, only to feel Charmian's elbow in his ribs.

"Our history teacher," she filled in.  "He said Mackinac Island would be a cool place to visit.  He said it would be even more interesting if we went when it's foggy."

"When it's foggy?  What a weird thing to...well, if he's your history teacher, I suppose he knows what he's talking about...but it won't make for good photographs..."

She broke off muttering to herself, and Charmian sat back while Drake rubbed his aching side, relieved that she didn't have to explain further.  She knew her mother would never believe any of this.  Well, she thought, glancing out the window again, who can blame her!

They drove on in silence.  Charmian hoped her mother thought they were merely sulky about the weather, rather than tense about...whatever might lie ahead.

What did lie ahead?  Miss Anne and Tal Natha had not been very clear in what was expected to happen.  The most she could determine, this "Red Bird" was some kind of savior or hero for the Island, and she was in danger.  Ocryana had something to do with it.  She and Drake had apparently been enlisted as Red Bird's..."bodyguards."  The term made her want to laugh but anxiety kept it in.  So far everything else had led her to believe none of this was made up, why should she start finding it funny now?

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