They continued walking. Occasionally Virgil would stop and lightly place his hand on Erasmus’s chest. There would be silence, followed by a few twigs and branches cracking. They would duck down to the pavement and sneak behind whatever broken vehicle or miscellaneous rubble was strewn across the road. Each time the echoes grew louder, bolder, and a mysterious crescendo of impending violence. It caused Erasmus to constantly scan the dark woods to their left and right.
Whatever was moving, he couldn’t see.
“We need to be careful. The Unnamed may not want to harm us, but other Reanimated certainly do. They’re jealous, envious, and angry about the more normal looking of the brood. At the onset of all this, well the Unnamed made mistakes. Things went awry, and now this poor world is left with multiple monsters,” He said.
A few raindrops plopped solidly along the leaves and vines beneath their feet. A curl of lighting thrashed across the dark clouds, followed by a groan of thunder. It shook the ground and bounced off the eerie emptiness ahead and behind them. The street lights suddenly dimmed. Just one stood illuminated above their weary forms.
“The Puppeteer had to move. It doesn’t like the weather. Only the hardened ones can make illusions in the rain,” He said. He grabbed Erasmus by the hand and pulled him towards the woods along the highway. In seconds they were jumping across the all too familiar ditch and into the trees.
“When it rains, the Unnamed are less confrontational because it ruins their camouflage. We can’t assume there will be any protection from them in a storm.” He said, between bits of thunder and uneven rattles of rain.
“What are these things you’re even talking about? I don’t understand what is happening. One moment I was sleeping, and the next thing I was awake and being chased, whether it was monsters or men.” Erasmus said.
“If I tried to completely explain it to you, it would be beyond overwhelming. Best to give you small doses of this living nightmare. I know that’s not what you want, but it’s what you need.” Virgil said.
“How would you know what I need?” Erasmus quickly replied, blowing some raindrops away from his mouth like a horse.
Virgil laughed and rested his back against a tree.
“Fair enough,” he said, rubbing his forehead.
“I guess I can start at the beginning, the night of the-.”
Across the road a series of trees suddenly buckled. A large shape, bubbled and unbalanced hobbled through the branches. It was giant, at least ten feet tall, with a wide, muscular build. In the shadows it was difficult to discern any details, but Erasmus could make out what looked like a giant person surrounded by some sort of fleshy padding. Something about them made Erasmus’s skin ache. A distant voice started to speak to him from the forest. It almost sounded like a child.
“I’ll draw it off. You need to run. Follow the lights when they come back on. Trust them. You have friends in high places. Don’t trust anyone. Humans. Reanimated. They’ll all kill you if they can.” He said. Wordlessly, Virgil slipped between the trees, jumped over the ditch and approached the road. He let out a loud yell, which barely rose against the weather and its roar. The monstrous shape sprinted towards him, making the earth shake and bounce like it was hollow.
All Erasmus could do was watch, then run.
More coming every week. You can learn more about The Greenland Diaries book series and also read some of the days from it. To catch up on previous entries of Erasmus, hit here. Thank you for supporting my work.