I'd given up on Sadie by the time she shoved me out the front door of her apartment and into the apocalypse. Yes, I thought she could help me make a tribe and survive whatever was happening to our worlds, but I didn't know she was so good at make believe. She'd acted like I could just run into Rampart Rock, slay all the monsters coming out of the Seams, and save everyone.
I picked up my backpack at my camp across the street from Sadie's place. I figured I could bring along my spears, bolas, and knives too. Gunshots were popping for miles around. No one was worried about weapons laws anymore. Alien beasts had probably eaten most cops anyway.
Downtown Rampart Rock stood between me and my cave. I ran into the ruins of the smoking suburb. Surprisingly, many people were still alive. Cars had crashed into buildings. Chunks of brick, concrete, and stone lay, blood spattered, in the street. Half-chewed bodies and torn limbs lay scattered across the landscape. Survivors fled in every direction, but there were less and less of them every minute.
Flying creatures I'd never seen, with turtle mouths and bulbous eyes, perched like gargoyles on the tops of government buildings. Later on, we called them "fliers." Their knowing eyes watched the chaos as they squawked and clicked at each other. I thought I saw something tall walking beside me. I looked toward it, but nothing was there. Nearby, someone whispered my name: "Jaaaakkkeee."
I got the chills. Nothing like that had ever happened in the Other Place. Trying not to run, I moved on.
I'd been stuck in the Other Place for several months. During that time, I'd learned to live among the bathorses, apebadgers, and pigdogs without becoming their dinner. I hid from those animals at first. When night came, I'd stayed awake, my eyes searching the alien forests for predators. The apebadgers could smell my fear. When they caught that scent, they'd chase me through the giant ferns and vines for miles. I found refuge in caves. Apebadgers stayed away from them.
I might've died of thirst or hunger if I would've kept running. Instead, I remembered the advice of my friend and primal-living teacher Dylan:
In turn, I remembered the lessons I'd learned in the Other Place as I walked through the gore and wreckage of Rampart Rock's end. I wondered what had happened to Dylan and River Runner during the invasion. Chances were, they just kept on living in their little log cabin near Pikes Peak. They'd opted for a simple life, living off the land and hunting for their food. They used plants, animals, and rocks to make everything they needed.
"Stop running," I shouted at the suburbanites screaming and fleeing around me. "Stand your ground. When they attack, you have a better chance of surviving if you fight back." Horror had plunged its dark claws into these people. The Other Place predators' instincts told them to catch scared things that fled.
My voice grew hoarse after yelling so much. The fliers were eying me, as if to say, "move along and get eaten." I shrugged and began to walk southwest, watching people die as I went. A brave fireman took down a matriarch apebadger, only to be torn apart by the smaller members of her pack. Backed against a wall, a woman in a skirt-suit fired a handgun wildly. She managed to hit a couple bathorses, which became food for the fliers. The gigantic plant thing got the woman as she ran down the road.
Whenever a victim seemed to have control of their self or their situation, those fliers would swoop down and carry them off. I was sure they'd come for me too. Clutching my spear and a machete I'd taken from my pack, I readied myself for attack as I walked southwest through town. These fliers, like many other creatures ravaging the town, were not from the Other Place I knew.
I passed through the heart of downtown and into the southern part of old Rampart Rock. I came upon an empty parking lot, its exits clogged with battered vehicles. An untouched white gazebo sat in one corner of the lot. It seemed out of place among the new ruins. The beasts hadn't bothered much with this part of town. Silence and calm surrounded the place. Here, the scent of crispy autumn leaves and browning grass won-out over the smoke fumes blanketing the rest of Rampart Rock. Something whispered my name again. "Jaaaakeee."
I turned toward the raspy voice. Instead of a person, I saw a library lined with huge windows. White brick siding and angled, two-story architecture made this building look more modern than the old town shops and restaurants I'd passed along the way. Orange emergency lights shone from inside the library. A human silhouette darted among the shelves. An arm appeared in the window and wiggled a curtain rod. The white shades lurched down, blocking my view. Curious, I walked toward the sliding glass doors, which someone had barricaded with boards.
A car engine hummed in the distance. The sound was out of place among the roars and screams downtown. Gunshots followed the vehicle as it came closer. How can anyone drive through all that wreckage? I asked myself as I took a few steps in the direction of Main Street, toward where the car was headed.
Then it appeared in the distance: a black Mercedes dodging dead vehicles and zooming southward. As the car came closer, the driver stuck his head out the window and fired a couple shots at a four-legged flying creature, which, again, I didn't recognize, circling above him. The monster shrieked a sound like shattering glass and went down. One hell of a shot, I thought.
The shooter hadn't watched the road well enough. A hunk of twisted gas pumps and the remains of a concrete island barricaded the street. The Mercedes hit the pumps going fast. Its entire front crumpled. By this time, the car was about fifty yards from the gazebo. The Mercedes' air bags deflated, and the apebadgers closed-in on the vehicle.
A woman inside the car screamed. I'd been listening to people hollering since I left Sadie's place, but this particular yelp got to me. I recognized it. Dropping my pack, I ran towards the Mercedes with my spear, bola, and machete. The apebadgers reached the car about the same time I did. Sadie was stumbling out of the vehicle. "What the...?" I asked.
The kid said, "He was a monster. Soon as we're out of danger, I can explain it to you. Let's move out."
The Librarian and all other materials on Tim's Blog are copyrighted by me, Tim Miller. Please contact me via email regarding publishing or redistribution of stories or blogs. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I apologize for any formatting errors. I'm a writer, not a code monkey.
This story can be read as a stand-alone narrative, but it's also a chapter in a blog novel. If you'd like to read the other stories in this growing book, please click on the links below. To leave a comment, please go to the story's page by clicking on the title. Scroll down and type your comment in the Disqus box.Chapter Six: The Cop
Chapter Seven: The Hunted
Chapter Eight: The Escapee
Chapter Nine: The Mercedes Man
Chapter Ten: The Shooter
Chapter Eleven: The Monster
Chapter Twelve: The Yehasuri
Chapter Thirteen: The General
Chapter Fourteen: The Wendigo
Chapter Fifteen: The Librarian
Chapter Seventeen: The Paralibrarian
Chapter Eighteen: The Blighted
Chapter Nineteen: The Captive
Tags: apocalypse death monsters creatures horror end other place otherworld apebadger bathorse pigdog dragon caveman sadie jake
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