Outside the church, the world’s color snapped back to normal. Erasmus stumbled and panted as he navigated lumps of moss-stained debris. There were lengths of vine spawning across every conceivable path and walkway. He even jumped over spikes of rubble mixed-in with the long grass. His strangely shoed feet were still hard to maneuver, but fear was a tremendous motivator.
He did not turn back to look inside the building. There was a crashing sound followed by more gunfire. It echoed out into the silent world, making the empty roads, buildings, forests, and fields around him seem much more infinite, and much more threatening.
Erasmus veered to his right down a roadside ditch, over a creek, and into a patch of woods that was so thick and brambly, he could barely move between the trunks and branches. Behind him the air was quiet, relaxed, like the violence from before had turned into memories in a simple second. He stopped and tried to smell the gunpowder, taking in deep and trembling sniffs. There was something about his senses that told him to be weary about it, or to look for it. He didn’t know what instinct knew about this danger. Something didn’t feel right about it. The worry was somewhere faraway.
“What do I do now?” Erasmus said to himself. A few birds chirped nearby, like they heard his angst.
He wandered around the woods until the sunlight no longer broke through the branches and leaves. He kicked stumps and tree roots, and sobbed to himself. At one point, he thought he heard yells and screams, but they were distant and almost imaginary. It was hard to trust any of his senses currently, despite his urge to survive. The only one he felt confident about was taste, which consisted of pollen, soil, and the cool sting of moss with each breath.
“What was that back there? Why was Ralph trying to kill me? I don’t understand any of it,” he said. He started to walk in the direction of the road that sat next to the forest. As he did, lights started to flicker outside the gloom of the woods. Amber rays melted in through the underbrush in uneven slices. They looked warm, inviting, but made the blackness more melancholy and deep.
“Are those streetlights?” Erasmus said, pushing through the brush towards them. How did he know that name? How did he know what they were? He couldn’t remember anything about himself, but here he was walking towards something that seemed familiar.
Something darted across the road, throwing a scuttling silhouette towards Erasmus. A voice sounded somewhere in the back of his mind.
“H-Hello?” He said, approaching the street.
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.