“So I was made by monsters?” Erasmus said, unclenching and clenching his small fists while staring at the leaf-marbled forest floor. He was still fighting the panic coursing through his body. He had not felt much pain and want in his Reanimated shell, but the fear of his origin outweighed any supernatural boundaries to discomfort.
“Yes,” Elena said quickly and emphatically, standing and testing the gun by pushing it into her small shoulder. The morning was getting hot. Sweat was forming on her forehead. She wiped it casually. Erasmus felt his own curiously. Still no sweat. No anything.
“Maybe we can find a few around to show you. Sometimes in the woods, the ones that don’t hide when the drum starts just sort of stand around. They become almost like statues. They won’t harm you unless they notice you. Like, really notice you. It’s weird, but everything’s weird. I mean it’s the end of the world,” she said. She started to walk briskly. Erasmus let out a groan and followed immediately.
How many more tours through this hell was he going to get?
Elena cut through the trees, stepping and ducking between branches, leaves, and limbs expertly, like she intimately knew every inch of the terrain. Birds and insects cawed and buzzed on the wind, which barely broke the green walls of the underbrush. Sunlight looked painted in the thick air, like yellow pillars were dangling from the sky on strings with bits of dust twinkling on their edges. As Erasmus followed her he could feel parts of the earth rising behind him. The fin from before was following them, tracking his footsteps. It was there to help him, but ready to kill her. Why was he in-between? Why was his life coming at the potential expense of others?
“Ha! I knew they’d be here. They always come back to the same spot during the day. I see a few up ahead,” Elena suddenly said. Her voice pierced the soft, glowing-jade serenity of the forest.
“W-what?” Erasmus said, trying to convince his brain to get back to reality.
“The Unnamed, remember. You wanted to see a few. I said during the day they are docile, or that’s what Ralph said. I don’t even know what the word means. Anyways, there are a few up ahead.”
Elena stopped and stared at Erasmus.
“God, look at that? Not a single mosquito cares about you. It’s true what they say about you people, or things, whatever. The bugs don’t bother you,” She said, swatting away a few of the insects buzzing around his face.
Erasmus didn’t say anything.
“Do I have to teach him what bugs are too?” She said, raising her voice at the end of her sentence, like she was asking the woods the question and not him.
“So I don’t have to worry about them?” Erasmus said, nodding ahead. Through the spaces between the many trunks he could see two shapes up ahead. They were tall, unmoving, and wide.
“No, not right now unless you shoot them with a gun or something. During the day they’re so disgustingly peaceful. At night when the drum sounds they hunt us nonstop. Also, I think these ones are wounded, or messed up, or something. The ones that get shot at and survive usually don’t hide at night,” She said.
Elena shook her head and whispered.
“They’re damaged goods, just like the rest of us.”
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.