Doing something a little bit different this week. Instead of my traditional musings format, which I’ll be going back to next week, I decided to share the next five days in my popular series The Greenland Diaries. The first ten days are pretty much everywhere online, but I thought I would make an individual post sharing the last half of these apocalyptic gems. Sometimes my brain needs a little break when it comes to describing my latest foray into popular media. If you need to catch up on old musings find them here. Until then, enjoy the next five days of wild plants and faceless fiends.
Last night, I saw them.
They got him, my neighbor across the alley. He was the one who boarded up his house. They knew someone was in there; they knew it. I watched them from my basement window. He had a gun too; I heard it firing through the drum. I only saw them for a second. They were shadowy, long, and not completely there. They were surrounded by something. Not clothing, but a dark cloud. Some of them walked up to his house, while others crawled. A few were even on the roof. None of them looked the same shape or size. They dragged him outside. He shot a few of them with his handgun. I saw the flashes. They just looked stunned and didn’t go down. They had skeletons underneath their clouds. I could see their golden outline. The big ones had claws that stretched out and stabbed him. Others had blades on their arms that smashed him over and over. He screamed for help. They tore him to pieces. It was over fast.
What are they? Are they here simply to kill us?
They knew he was in there because of the boards.
I didn’t sleep last night or this morning. I couldn’t. I moved more stuff to the basement, but left a few things out. If they can notice the boards on the house, what else can they notice? I thought I saw something in the door handle today. It reminded me of that shadow from yesterday. It vanished when I stared at it. There has to be a connection, you know, like in the movies.
There were more plants outside today. There are bright blue flowers growing on the ivy everywhere. I had no idea ivy even bloomed flowers. I don’t want to leave my house for very long. I just need to see other people around. There is nobody though. They’re all too afraid to leave. At the very end of my block, there is a big oak tree with pictures stapled to it. I assume it’s for missing people.
I put a blanket over the bloody stain just behind my neighbor’s house. It was on the concrete. I didn’t even know his name.
I’m the only one who knows he’s gone.
Last night started quiet. There was just the drum and nothing else. I wanted to listen to a little music. It would be worth the battery power to drown out that endless thudding. How is there any dust left on the ceiling? The trickle seems endless. I can’t stop thinking about my family and my girlfriend. Did they survive? Where were they when it started? How would they have gotten away if they’d been in the open? I’m not special, they could be living. I’m going to have to go look for them eventually. I’ll give my phone a few more days.
I noticed the roof creaking heavily right before dawn. They must’ve walked across it right before they vanished. The floor groaned too, my dog whined at the sound. I know they were upstairs. I know it.
In the morning, I checked my house. The door wasn’t open and none of the windows were smashed. I don’t know where they would have gotten in? I didn’t move anything more to the basement. If they had been inside, I wouldn’t want them to notice anything different. Just like my neighbor’s boards. They knew about them.
I decided to walk a little bit further today. I brought my gun and dog with me. The 22 was for hunting and you were only able to keep three shots in for ducks. I took out the stopper so I could have five. If the DNR suddenly appeared to fine me for it, well, it’d just be nice to see them. Halfway down the block I ran into an old man named Gerald. He lived two blocks away. He was frail, withered, and covered in a thin layer of dirt. He carried a long rifle with a red scope. He seemed happy to see me. He said the monsters tried to get him a few nights ago. One smashed through his door when the drum started. He shot it eight times in the doorway, before it collapsed outside. He ran and hid. He said they came and got the body. Then they looked for him. He sobbed a little when he talked. He didn’t even know how they found him. He had a radio too, and said the army was making a strategy to fight back.
The monsters could be killed. Everyone was hiding and waiting to come out.
This isn’t the end yet. I have some hope.
Besides the drumming last night, it was quiet all the way through the night. It’s almost more unsettling when it’s just the drum. There were no scraps or bangs against the house. No screams, explosions, or strange hissing. I kept the safety off on my shotgun.
It felt good to wake up to silence.
I stacked some boxes of junk my dad had in my basement. The house used to be my grandmother’s. I made a wall with his stuff. Even if they came down into the basement, the wall would look somewhat natural. My mom would be happy that his pack-ratting came in handy.
I’m impressed that the cold water is still working. The water heater isn’t working; there must be something electrical with that. I’ve been storing water in as many containers as I can find. I figure that’s practical of me. Luckily, I had just bought a whole bag of dog food before everything happened. So, at least I don’t have to worry about that for a while. Food for me is going to be another story. Hopefully, when the army gets a handle on things, they’ll make some sort of supply system.
It’s been a week since the first night of the drum. April 17, 2011.
I should start using the date in this memo book, but that just depresses me.
I went down the street again and talked to Gerald. He gave me a cup of coffee. It tasted fantastic. He even had some cream for it. He talked about his son and daughter in Ohio and how he wanted to leave to see if they were okay. The radio was saying to stay off the roads because of debris. The army didn’t have the time or people to move everything aside. They were supposed to be mounting a counter attack to lure the monsters out and bomb them. Gerald said it wouldn’t work and that when the drums started, planes fell out of the sky. Since then, nobody had been flying. Gerald thought they might have something in the air, something that took all those planes down. Frightening things like people with legs and arms, but surrounded by some sort of fog. He said they had no faces and they made no sounds. Even when he shot that one in his doorway, it was silent. I talked to him all day.
The house seems a little bit lonelier tonight.
Last night, something happened somewhere in the neighborhood. The drum sounded at 8:14 p.m. There is no rhyme or reason to its starting time. You just know that when the sun starts to wane it could start at any moment. Around midnight, between the hollow thumps, there was a horrible crashing sound. It sounded like metal being torn. There was a terrible howling, followed by metallic pop. I don’t know what it could have been. The sound was so loud that it made my teeth hurt.
It couldn’t have been very far away.
In the morning, I started to look for some old maps around the house. I had to find the most efficient way to travel. I couldn’t be caught in the open when the drum started, so I plotted out a path to my parent’s house and my girlfriend’s apartment. My parents live in the suburbs just north of Minneapolis. My girlfriend lives in Little Canada. I left my car in that roadblock on 94. I could go back to look at it. If all the highways were blocked, it wouldn’t matter anyways. My dad had a spare old Jaguar. He’d had it since I was kid sitting in the backyard. It was one of many things he had difficulty parting with.
Once the army launches their counter attack, I’ll start thinking about getting my car back. Until then, I’ll just wait. I wish I knew when that was going to happen. Maybe they need help? I have a gun after all.
I walked down to see Gerald again today. He was waiting for me with a cup of coffee. He said a group of people had come through earlier with about a hundred wounded. They were setting up refugee camps outside the cities. I immediately went to pack, but Gerald stopped me. Gerald said he didn’t trust the government to take care of him. If they didn’t see these monsters coming, then why should he trust them for protection? He calmed me down and told me to stay someplace familiar until things became more stable. It’s hard fighting the urge to move, but I’m doing it.
I’m worried for my dog. There are a lot of strays wandering around. How long until they get hungry? There are so many of them.
Why don’t the monsters have any interest in them?
Last night, while the drum was beating, a shadow was standing outside one of my basement windows. The moon was full, which allowed me to notice the hulking shape. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was a person or one of those things. It stood there all night. I peeked at it through a pair of uneven boxes.
My gun never left my hands. My arms are heavy from holding it all night.
In the morning when I took Snowy out, I looked at the ground next to the window. The green grass looked normal and elevated. There had been nobody there. It had to be one of those things. It felt like it was waiting for me to appear, like it was baiting me or something. When I told Gerald about it, he asked if I noticed anything about my mirrors at home. He said the night he was attacked he’d been standing in the mirror for a while. He said there was a shadow with him. He thought it was just his glaucoma and stress. He said it spread around his back. Since then he’s had his mirror covered with a sheet, just like mine. Could they really be spying on us through the mirrors?
I told Gerald I had to look for my parents and girlfriend. He wished me luck.
I spent the rest of the morning getting things ready for tomorrow. I’m going to bike to my parent’s house first, spend the night and then move onto my girlfriend’s apartment. The air has been hot and the sky cloudless. It’s been like this for nine days. I’ll bring water, food, my gun, and, of course, Snowy. I can’t leave her. Luckily, she is a semi-small dog. Her hotdog body is a little long, so that might be tricky, but I’m going to rig up a basket of sorts on the back of my bike. I found an old white plastic crate in the basement.
What if I’m marooned and she starves to death?
I’ll leave the moment the drum stops tomorrow morning. I’ve decided to stick to the highways that I would normally take there. My bike is narrow enough to pedal through all the debris. Later, I’ll go in the shed behind my house and modify the bike.
The ivy and flowers have started to wrap up the shed as if they don’t want me to open the doors.
The drum sounded from 9:02 pm – 5:07 am. Nothing was near my house. Nothing shook the dust free from my ceiling. Nothing scratched the roof. The moment the drum stopped I was outside. It took me about an hour to get all the vines off the shed to get my bike.
I swear the ivy and the flowers didn’t want me to take it.
It took me three hours to bike to my parent’s house. The freeway was clogged with broken and smashed cars. Most of them were covered with this weird ivy and blue flowers. There were bloody stains too, but grass had eaten up the highway’s surface, so they were barely visible. There were people walking the opposite direction to the west, to Saint Cloud and further. There were families, senior citizens, and groups of children. Most walked, other’s had bikes or motorcycles. None bothered me. They nearly blocked out the cars and the pavement. They saw I was carrying a gun. My dog use to bark at strangers, but she kept quiet the entire time.
I think she enjoyed the ride. She seemed content in her little basket.
My heart sunk when I saw my parent’s house. It was covered in ivy. The windows were smashed in the front and the door was ripped off the hinges. They thought there was something here, they kept trying. I checked each room. No blood, no scraps of skin. My parents weren’t here when they first attacked. They were probably out eating dinner or something. The house is covered in mirrors. They couldn’t have stayed here very long if they survived the first onslaught. My parents had a cat, Sassy. She must have left. The food and water bowl are empty. I hope she is okay.
I was able to grab some canned goods from the pantry even though most of them were gone. My parents said that in the event of an emergency, we could retreat to my grandparent’s farm in Long Prairie. Hopefully, they’re up there since my parent’s little black Corolla is gone.
Snowy and I are sleeping in the crawl space along the side of the house. I brought a candle to light. This is where my dad used to store the Christmas tree and the ladder. Things are scrapping against the house. I’m almost positive it’s those things that hunted me earlier.
I hear screaming. I need to stop writing and blow out the candle.
If you want to buy this book on Kindle, it is just a buck for you to download through Amazon. If you want to get the first two paperbacks in the series, or a collection of short stories from the same universe, you can find it at my store, where there is a deal right now 2 for $25 with free shipping for my books.