It wasn’t the morning sun, wind, or dew clinging to his body that woke Erasmus up. Instead, it was the cold, metal nozzle of a gun being jammed into his shoulder blade.
“Wake up. Wake up you monster,” a small voice said. Pieces of vines had wrapped around him overnight while he slept. He wrenched at them and panicked. They entangled him just enough to be tight, but not to restrain him. It was a seemingly gentle gesture, like they wanted Erasmus to know he was not a prisoner nor a target. It felt kind to him. He didn’t know why.
“Get up you, you goddamn piece of shit,” the voice said. Erasmus felt the cold front of the weapon jab into his arm, knocking him back onto his knees. The person speaking sounded wavering, scared, like they weren’t sure of the threats they were supposed to be invoking.
“I-I’m trying to, if you let me stand I’ll get up,” Erasmus said, raising his hands.
“I’ll shoot you right here!” They screamed.
Erasmus finally stood up and blocked out the sun with a shaking hand to stare at the figure. It was a little girl, about 10 years old, with red hair, powdery skin, and black glasses, which were missing one lens and had patches of duct tape wrapped around them in uneven coils. She was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, with some sort of utility belt wrapped around her shoulder. Various bullets, a flashlight, and a small knife were attached to it. She was wearing jeans, pink tennis shoes, and had her hair tied back in a ponytail. Her entire appearance seemed dusty, like every fleck and speck of this apocalypse had stuck to her sweaty body at some point.
“Who are you?” Erasmus said with a surprisingly low snarl. He was getting tired of asking these questions. Would he ever not be someone’s prey in this new reality?
“My name is Elena. And you killed Ralph. I’m here to make it right.” She said, pointing her rifle at him.
“I didn’t kill anyone. I just woke up. This entire time things have been trying to kill me. This. Entire. Time. I can’t find any peace. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Erasmus said. He was tired of constantly being chased, hunted, and accused. He walked away from Elena’s shaking form. He rubbed his small forehead, disinterested in whatever gripe or animosity she had. He headed through the clearing he’d just slept in, navigating the long grass brushing against his knees.
“Where are you going? I’m, I’m talking to you!” She yelled. Her uneven voice echoed on the heavy breeze and bounced off the hot sunlight like an out of tune instrument.
Erasmus didn’t respond. He plodded ahead. In front of him was a strip of trees with a road running parallel to it. He would go through the forest and follow the road wherever it would lead him, regardless of monsters or people.
“It is not my fault. I just woke up. I don’t even know my real name. It’s not my fault,” Erasmus mumbled to himself.
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.