Erasmus: Part 24

Eventually, Erasmus, Ron, and Elena reached a small town sitting off the road, wrapped and divided in dirt streets and faded stop signs. The buildings were strange for Erasmus. He didn’t have much of a reference point in his Reanimated mind. There were no real structures when he woke up in that pit. Only the church where he was almost killed was the only echo back to civilization before the drum and Unnamed. In his broken memories he could see teeming, tall cities with rows of concrete and metal.  

They weren’t his though. He didn’t know where they came from.

This town was a rusty echo to those great, skyscraper accomplishments planted in Erasmus’s mind. They structures were a hodgepodge of found and scavenged materials. There was brick, metal, fabric, wood and even a bright foam of blue or pink fused among the rooftops, walls, and various other spots. The village looked sewn together, like the apocalypse had leveled everything, but instead of having the infrastructure to recreate it, there was only rubble to build back with. Nothing stood higher than three stories. Solar panels and windmills beamed and stirred amongst their bulging walls. There were dozens of tables and chairs outside each porch, front door, and entryway, where people smoked, drank coffee, and chatted. The air was hot and dusty. A sweet, but stinging smell of tobacco hovered over the crowds. The general hubbub of the city and ache of various vehicles pushing their ancient motors, drowned out Erasmus’s anxious thoughts.

He was happy not to be crushed by the silence of fear, or the constantly rustling forests and fields, which had followed him with since his awakening.

Ron wobbled through the masses to a table underneath a slight overhang in the shade. He waved at a few acquaintances, then motioned Erasmus to follow him. Elena stayed close behind, with her weapon drawn. The whole throng had guns draped over their shoulders, backs, and tucked into their belts. The sun reflected an endless gunpowder glint. Erasmus felt both safe and endangered. 

“Take a seat bud. I’m going to get us some coffee,” Ron said, pointing at the table. He wandered through the mass into the building. Elena sat down next to him. It was a round, wooden surface with a variety of scratches and dents. A half full ashtray sat in its center still smoking. Elena grabbed the butt and inspected it with one eye before taking a quick drag. 

“I thought you had glasses?” Erasmus said, watching her. 

“I did, but they broke long ago, and I haven’t been able to afford them since.” She said, pushing back in her chair. It wobbled at her, but she didn’t seem to care. The whole world didn’t seem like it was sitting right. Human existence itself had been thrown into inbalance.  

“So how did you find those Unnamed? Or me for all that matter?” Erasmus asked. 

Elena dropped the butt back into the center and looked around.

“Ron is taking forever with that coffee,” she said. She fidgeted a bit, then put her weapon on the table in a metal thud. She let her hair down then scooped it up quickly, retying it into a taunt ponytail. Her skin looked a little dirty, and sunburnt, but overall she looked healthy.

“We were out on a bounty for a few Unnamed. They  had been sighted just outside of town. Apparently they had been buried in the forest and sort of just woke up. We weren’t expecting to kill them, the bounty was just for reconnaissance. Like I said earlier, not all the Unnamed are out to kill us. If we can avoid a conflict, we do it. Takes too many bullets. Anyways, when we approached them they sort of walked up to us, and charged, but it was really half-hearted. We didn’t even want to kill them, but we couldn’t take that chance. We dropped one after a quick spray, but the second one fled and collapsed into the trees just below that ravine. It just sat there with its back to us and lets us kill it. I have never seen that before. Then, below it, there you were, a dazed and confused ghost from a decade ago,” she said. 

Elena had pulled off her backpack when she sat down. She rummaged through it suddenly looking for something. Ron reappeared with three cups of coffee. The steaming liquid were in three different mugs, of varying sizes and color. Erasmus had noticed how eclectic the world had become since his sleep. Life was sort of mashed together, no matter how small or large it was.

“Here, here it is.” Elena said, setting down a brown, leather-bound book in the center of the table. “This will have many of your answers for what happened.” 

Ron nodded and swung around a chair and sat down. 

“Ah yes, the Greenland Diaries,” he said with a nod.

That’s right. I just did that. I ended it like that. I’ll put in a note next week about it. 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 it here. Thank you for supporting my work.