The girls could hear him from a mile away it seemed like. He was panting, nearly screaming, as the rocks scattered beneath his sprinting feet and branches snapped. They were hiding alongside the hotel when the drum started. The night was in full effect. The stars and moon were reflecting off the saltwater everglades. They threw a dull, white light over the landscape, making every bit of symmetry ghostly and abstract. The world certainly didn’t need that since the monsters appeared. The apocalypse had turned every safe spot into a shadow for the abominations to grow.
The boy was getting closer to their hiding spot. The noise from his desperation was getting louder. Whatever was chasing him would soon be lurking right over their shoulders.
“We need to either help him or hide. We got to make the decision quickly.” Freya said. She was the younger sister of the two. In the gloom, she looked like nothing more than a pale silhouette of a young woman suffering from malnutrition.
“Of course we need to help him. That’s without a question. But how?” Her older sister Hilda said. She was cuddled up against Freya, between a streak of palms and the crumbled hotel wall, which sat opposite of the lobby. She looked identical to Freya, only she was fully clothed. The constant heat and the bite of mosquitoes had made her more modest.
There were a few gunshots in the deep. Their metallic thunder seemed to get stuck on the moments of silence between each drum beat. This painfully human sound made it feel like someone had thrown a searchlight on the entirety of the shattered Hilton Resort that was their home. Every monster in the area would be heading their direction.
They didn’t have much time, if any at all.
They were just beyond the main parking lot for the hotel. They could see everything coming thanks to the flattened pavement and streaks of paths and roads leading to the turnaround, where the former guests would drop their luggage off. They sprinted towards the entrance, running alongside the building, which was an empty catacomb of bloody rooms with slash marks and overgrown plants. Before they reached the main parking area, the screaming boy saw them. He was charging down a path that runners would use when they stayed there. He was pale, filthy, and carrying some sort of gun in his right hand. His chest was panting, begging for a few seconds between each breath. He hunched over when he saw them.
“She’s coming. She’s coming this way. Do you have a spot to hide? I need to hide.” He blurted out, as he walked towards them with his hands outward.
“Yeah, yeah we do, is it the one living in the water following you?” Hilda asked.
“Um, well, yeah. It is.” Brandon replied.
“You sure? Because if it is we have to hide in a more serious spot?” Freya said.
A hiss from the nearby woods made them jump, as a few trees crashed down in a diabolical reply.
“I’m sure,” Brandon said.
Freya sighed and threw her hands up in the air and started to meander through the lobby towards the back of the building, which faced the ivory beach.
“I guess it is the dumpster tonight.” Hilda said, tugging Brandon by the arm. He followed her through the crushed chairs, shattered windows, and crumbled walls, where people had once waited while they checked-in. Something heavy and metal tumbled in the parking lot, a random bit of devastation to let the darkness know there was a real monster about.
It only took a few moments to find the green dumpster just the lobby. It was sitting in an alley between two walls of green rubble to the left of the beach. Freya threw the top open with a grimace and jumped inside. Hilda followed with a reluctant Brandon. The sour stench of old food, stained putrid by the sun for weeks on end made the nervous vomit always present in Brandon’s stomach creep up his esophagus. It didn’t matter. This was his only chance to survive the demon he’d enraged. In just a short jump he was sitting atop piles of garbage in the darkness with two strangers. Outside the metal box the world was full of snarls and the random slashes of claws on every conceivable surface. Brandon wanted to stick his fingers in his ears like he would do when hiding by himself, but the girls were looking at him like they wanted to start a conversation.
“Why would you shoot it? Did you really think you’d be able to kill it with that thing?” Freya said, nodding at the gun on Brandon’s lap.
“Yeah, I mean really, have you seen it? The military failed against all these things and you think you’d have a chance against them?” Hilda said.
Brandon sunk back into the bags of trash slightly.
“I don’t know. I just wanted to try.” He said.
“Don’t know you what is happening out here? I mean, the way to outlive this is to hide and wait till it’s over.” She said.
The drum echoed a little louder, its vibrations shook the top of the dumpster like a child’s rattle.
“How do you know?” Brandon said, holding the gun tighter.
“What?” Freya said.
“How do you know it’ll ever end?”
Well, that is the final piece of this story from the universe of the Greenland Diaries. To read all the other parts to it, well, here is a list of them in sequential order: Largo, the Marksman, the Lagoon, Awake, Flare, and Twilights Fire. I hope you enjoyed these stories, there are plenty more like them in the actual series. Thank you for reading. Feel free to visit my bookstore. Have a great day.