Erasmus: Part 23

Things had both changed and stayed the same since Eramus had been asleep in the chest of that Unnamed. 

The landscape they walked through was similar to when he was asleep. There were long country roads with unending curves and hills. The sky was a blue slab that pushed onto the earth with uncensored heat and dryness. The green of nature was lush and extreme everywhere you looked. Trees were overburdened, grasses were long and bristled, and wildflowers billowed amongst the prairie glass in lace jewels. Bumblebees constantly brushed and bumped into their emblazoned discs in an awkward, yet charming feeding frenzy.

The roads no longer had the mechanical skeletons of burnt out automobiles. They had been dragged to the side and dropped into the ditch. They were nothing more than rusty memories, craned and bowing to a world they used to belong to. The pavement they walked on had weeds in every crack and blemish. They were borderline unusable, but still vehicles would pass them by, preceded by engine grumbles and the honks of their horns. In their wake would be a dirt-colored cloud of stinging exhaust that Erasmus couldn’t really smell, but made his eyes water.

“Not a whole lot has changed since your nap, eh old boy,” Ron said, ambling along. 

“Yeah, I suppose after 11 years you might expect things to be a little different. Well, when about 82 percent of humanity is wiped out in the course of about a year, reestablishing anything vaguely civilized is pretty hard.” Elena said, walking ahead of him. 

“We just started to get fed regularly in the last few years. Food was scarce for survivors, especially with the Unnamed destroying it at the end. Took five years to get the power grid working again too, even now it’s still pretty fragmented.” 

“Took more like 4 and half years,” Ron interjected.

“Sorry, my mistake Ronald.” Elena said with an eye roll. She stared at Erasmus and rolled her eyes. “He’s all protective of it. He worked on it after all.”

“So how do we get around? How do we make it to this place if it’s half a country away?” Erasmus asked. He was feeling a little bit calmer about everything knowing he wasn’t being hunted or attacked like he was for that first night of reality. Still, when they passed by other survivors, all of whom were dressed in body armor and armed similar to Ron and Elena, he couldn’t help but feel out of place. Elena noticed his long stares and awkward eyes into the dirt as they passed a cluster of people on the opposite side of the road. 

“Don’t worry about being recognized or attacked. You’re one of those human looking Reanimated. You’re realistic, not some bloody green mannequin. Most people won’t bat a second eye at you. Just try and look normal, and act normal too. We’re okay around here. Ron and I are well known in this area. The closer we get to the west though, the smarter you’ll have to be,” she said.

They stopped underneath a bulbous tree for some shade and water. Erasmus forced some down his throat in the effort to appear human. Elena nodded her head in approval, and wiped the sweat from her brow with a red handkerchief. The heat was oppressive, it hung over the road like an apparition. Elena drained the rest of the green canteen she’d just shared and coughed. 

“To answer your earlier question about travel, well, most of it will be walking once we get close to the Jade. You can’t drive any cars, planes, or anything within a few hundred or so miles of the Jade, unless you want the Unnamed breathing down your neck. We’ll be taking a train to one of the outpost cities, then walking in from there.”

“It’ll be a long trip, you’ll need a book,” Ron said.

Erasmus looked at him with a mixture of both astonishment and embarrassment. 

“I don’t know how to read.” He whispered.

One more post! 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.