Brandon wasn’t equipped to deal with an apocalypse, but who was?
He couldn’t believe it was actually happening. It had been weeks since it all started. There was the haunting thunder, the shapes, and the echo of their living blades against the walls. His parents were killed on the first night. Brandon was lucky enough to be buried inside the bathroom under a pile of ceramic rubble as they attacked. Afterwards, the world collapsed in mere days and the road through Key Largo was a sideways skeleton of civilization. Vacation had been switched for survival like a trivia category on some sort of game show. The walls of the condo smelled like blood. The air outside had a stench of oil to it, like fires were burning with no one to put them out. Worse yet, the entire world was eerily silent if you wandered away from the bending waves of the beach.
Brandon was large for eighth grade. He was nearly six feet tall, with pale skin that dodged the sunlight, but embraced the pixilated glow of a HDMI cord. He had long black hair, a round face, and permanent frown, which was there before the monsters appeared. His forehead had a small galaxy of acne, a superficial concern that was lost against the lack of running water, power, heat, and living shadows. He wore the same clothes from that night in the bathroom. A black shirt with a faded Ren and Stimpy image, gray shorts, and a pair of red sandals with white socks, which were now black from debris and dirt. He had other clothes that his mom packed for their vacation, but he didn’t want to change.
Being in the same outfit of that night reminded him of his family.
There was nothing left to bury when the creatures came through those doors. All he could do was cry and talk to memories of his family next to the emerald beach. The water was still beautiful against all the devastation. It reminded him of a heaven he hoped his parents were in.
After a while, Brandon had started to wander out of the general proximity of the condo his parents had rented for their vacation. The building was nothing more than a solitary tower glued to the white sand next to the lagoon. That is how most of the area appeared; pockets of tropical forest mixed between sunset-hungry structures with obligatory pools, balconies, and patios. The exploration of the surrounding area was partially due to food. Brandon had burned through all the provisions his parents had brought along. He was also bored, having exhausted the batteries for his Nintendo DS and laptop. He’d tried exploring a few units in the building, but he heard weight shifting around and a hissing sound behind the doors. A form even appeared in a window as he snuck along the side of the building. He couldn’t look at it, but he knew it wasn’t human. His skin felt like it was loose when he noticed it.
Instinct was telling him he was treading along the edge of a living abyss.
When Brandon finally wandered further out, he was at least comforted to see that no one was immune from the rips of the shadow’s claws. Gas stations, restaurants, offices, all buildings were shattered, scratched, and smeared over with thick ivy, which was illuminated in small dots of bright blue flowers. Brandon didn’t like exploring too much, because the silence of the crushed world would make him breathe quickly and his feet shake. When he first started walking down the gravel driveway of the condo towards Highway One, he would have to constantly stop and pee into the clusters of nearby palm trees. He’d never had a nervous bladder before, but the monsters had changed that too.
It was about a week ago, outside a now shattered Waffle House, that fortune decided to smile a little bit at Brandon, only considering the circumstances it was more of a grimace. In front of the building, mixed in with some gnarly grass, concrete-sharp rubble, and blood-stained shoes and pants, was a long rifle with a scope. Brandon didn’t know what type it was or anything. He just knew what it could do. He picked it up delicately, like it was a living thing. His dad had been a big Dungeons and Dragons player, and in one of the campaigns he’d played with Brandon his father was a marksman character. Brandon blinked a few tears apart with his eyes and shook his head.
“Wish you we here dad,” he said, lifting the weapon gently with his hands. A few vines snapped free of the stock and barrel.
The apocalypse didn’t want to let it go.
Brandon tested placing the gun in his armpit, then shoulder, as more images flooded back of pizza, Sprite, paper plates, and dice with smears of cheesy-oil.
“Initiative, roll for initiative,” he said to himself, and a hundred memories.
Finally a new story in the world of the Greenland Diaries. You can also read Largo to get more of this setting, as all stories will be connected through my planned arc. If you want, you can read the first ten days of the Greenland Diaries to learn more about the universe. You can also get the book via Kindle or through my Square Store. Thank you for reading. More stories to follow.