Erasmus was covered by something. His body couldn’t really feel or understand what it was or how it was attached to him. It was damp, stringy, and tough. It hung on his limbs as he stirred. His body felt numb, achy, as if he had been stuck sleeping in the same position for years. It took minutes for him to break his head free of what was strangling him. He writhed and tore against himself, feeling parts of the botanical bonds around him start giving way.
“Is that someone down there?” A young, feminine voice chimed from the darkness. Erasmus couldn’t really see anything except for a tangled mass of what appeared to be vines webbed across his face. He bit into it with his teeth in panic, tasting soil and blood from his gums. Strangely, the plants scattered away from him quickly as he gestured towards them. Erasmus fell forward and onto the ground in a tumble. His shoulders and back cracked and snapped. His body wanted to send out sensations of pain. The human parts of it cried out in agony and panic, but the supernatural vines from the drum which held his DNA together made those sensations die before the neurons of his remade brain could absorb them.
Erasmus looked upwards from the point of his thrashing descent. There was a knot of vines above his head, tangled and weaved into some sort of corded sun. A gust of wind shook it, and it seemed to pulse like some sort of tethered heart. It fell apart in a collapse of brown dust, sprinkling across Erasmus in a brackish rain. Beyond the vanished conflux of vines was a standard forest canopy with a sunny blue sky.
“What? Where am I?” He said. It had been the question bullying him, torturing him, and stalking him since he woke up in the pit beneath Ralph’s rifle.
“Did you hear that? Someone’s down here. Is the area clear? I thought it was,” the voice said. Erasmus started to stagger through the trees towards where they thinned out and the daylight was glaring through in white chunks. Bits of pollen and dust dangled on the beams. A few flies buzzed by angry and disoriented.
Two people approached Erasmus. One was male, older, and curled into a question mark. He was covered in gray body armor, which had a whole map of abuse scratched and torn throughout it. Chest, shoulders, forearms, all showed signs of slashes and cuts. The man had the same abrasions on his sunken face, with non-existent teeth, and a wispy smear of sable hair. He was holding some sort of gun, but Erasmus couldn’t tell what it was. Next to him was a tall strawberry blond woman, with soft blue eyes and flat nose, light skin, and tight lips that signaled a constant state of consternation. She was dressed in similar fatigues. There was something about her presence that made Erasmus feel both scared and familiar. He had seen her before, but he didn’t know when. His body could barely work. His mind needed time to catch up with reality. For Erasmus it was a chase with no ending mark.
“Oh my god. It can’t be? It can’t,” the woman suddenly said.
Erasmus looked at her again. He suddenly became self-conscious and felt the material of his flannel shirt and his khaki shorts nervously with his fingertips. This was a new mannerism in the hall of weirdness that was his unknown identity. The clothing felt different. It was extra thin, weathered, as if it had been exposed to the unchecked elements. The woman stood motionless. The breeze buckled the trees around them. The old man looked at her quizzically with a crooked chin and scrunched face.
“Um, do I know you?” Erasmus finally said.
She took a deep breath.
“You don’t recognize me, Erasmus?”
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.