“You know I’m a human being, right? I mean, you’ve killed so many of us that by now this should be automatic, but you’ve made me feel like less of one since the drum started, and we’ve been playing our cat and mouse game for the last year.” Jacob spoke to the dark wall, or more specifically to the vines running between the bricks. An exit sign bloomed above his head like a red flower nestled in amongst the ceiling tiles. A bunch of the white squares were removed above his head, like an open wound that had never healed.
When the drum first started and the Unnamed would storm into the hospital repeatedly, like wolves on the scent of wounded deer, people took to hiding in the ceilings. The tiles could never hold them for long, just like that scene in Jurassic Park. People still tried, though, and their blood still stained the empty hallways in certain spots. This was all that was left of them.
“God, I mean really, an exit sign? Out of all of humankind’s inventions an exit sign is the only thing left still working, still giving light?” Jacob banged the wall with the butt of his assault rifle. It echoed through the hospital. There were barely any sounds anymore. There were just smells, like rot, flower, and dust.
“Did you hear that, Marvin? Did you? You can come look for me again. One more time maybe. I mean, now that the drum is gone I’ve heard you don’t know what to do. You’re aimless, listless, abandoned by the hordes to be an individual. Sorry, pal. I guess you’ll return to the forest and become another legend for our fairy tales,” Jacob said. He was tall, balding, with thin glasses which were missing a lens over his left eye. His voice was high and bold. He’d worked in the mail room at the hospital when the drum hit a year ago. He’d been trapped there ever since, dodging the Unnamed and hiding amongst the empty rooms. Everyone he knew was probably dead.
The only company he’d had to talk to for the last few months was Marvin, an Unnamed trapped in the mazelike hallways like a demonic rat. He’d picked the name Marvin after a bully Jacob grew up with. He used to make Jacob tie his shoes before gym class. Sometimes Marvin would pee on him as he did it. If Jacob stood up to him Marvin would twist his arms around his back until he couldn’t feel his shoulders. Jacob smiled now when thinking of that adolescent monster.
He was probably dead. The drum and its soldiers had peeled him off the face of the earth like gunge on a wedge of glass.
Jacob had been lucky to live an entire year in the same structure. North Memorial hospital had been full of survivors at first, but night after night of the dark lullaby summoning the Unnamed into the doorways quickly reduced them. Nobody had been willing to change their spot every night. Nobody had been willing to listen to Jacob about the intelligence of the Unnamed. Nobody had been willing to admit there was an Unnamed living in the walls with them, looking for clues during the day.
Jacob felt good to be right, but he was also lonely.
There were clues to hear Marvin approaching. A grinding along the linoleum or sheetrock. A crashing echo of debris or unused medical instruments sitting in the corridors like skeletons in a museum. When Jacob would see Marvin, he would block out the hallway like a wall of dark. There were golden horns, claws, shoulders, ribs, and nothing else. The pieces of the monster’s body Jacob could see looked too obscene and unwieldy, like it should tip over from the weight.
“If you know how to write a letter, since email and texting will probably be down for a while, like forever, you could send me one if you wanted. I wouldn’t read it, but I’d appreciate the gesture.”
Jacob stood and walked along the hallway. Sweat was dripping down the nape of his neck. He pawed the barrel of his gun like it would tell him something. It was silent and solemn, like the nose of a general. It had been a while since Jacob had heard the abomination bustle about. The silence was worse than the demon’s rattles. Even if it did want to kill Jacob at least he wasn’t one living thing in a massive building of empty rooms. At least he wasn’t alone.
“Are you still there?”
This is a story from the universe of The Greenland Diaries. If you enjoyed it and would like to learn more, the books are for sale. It is my most popular series. You can order the first two books from The Greenland Diaries for just $20 from my store with free shipping. You can also pre-order the third book. To visit my store click HERE. The first book is also available on Kindle HERE. Thank you for reading.