The sound blasts through the sky. It makes the birds stop and blocks out the sound of any semblance of sense. Those in the immediate area lose it, while those far enough away run for their lives. Uncertainty fills the air.
It’s a command.
It doesn’t come from above, nor does it come from below. It’s a call. A demand. Something that can’t be ignored because it isn’t a phone ringing, and it isn’t a dog singing. It’s not loud, and it’s not soft. It is what it is.
It comes from within.
So I do.
I take my cues from myself, and I turn, and I run.
I don’t think it’s the apocalypse.
If it were, there’d be even less of us. Even more of them.
The gray things.
I hear people call them crawlers, and I hear people call them mad-mouths, and I hear people call them sons-of-bitches. They have a lot of names, and they have no name. They are what they are, and even that is a mystery.
That’s what I know for sure.
They slink along the ground, like shadows. Only, they’re not black or dark.
With yellow eyes.
And teeth that are glowing green.
And trails behind them made of pooling blood.
And they’re not nice.
Shooting them does nothing. Hitting them with light does nothing. Drowning them does nothing. We don’t know where they came from, and we don’t know how to stop them. We just know that they’re here now, and they certainly like the taste of us.
In every sense of the word.
There are a few tricks though. A few tells. Ways to help you survive.
They can’t attack if they’re slinking.
If they’re crawling like shadows, their teeth disappear. They can grab you, sure, but you have time to get away. Have a few moments to think. To escape.
To find a way to endure.
They’re easily visible at night.
You don’t need a flashlight to see them. They’re clear as day when it’s night out. Or in a dark room. It’s why the smart people only travel at night. Why they hole up in dark places. Sure, the dark is terrifying. There are still other things out there that might look for humans to kill. But still. Hiding in the dark is a good way to get the drop on them. A good way to know.
There’s a theme going here, if you can’t tell.
I want to endure.
Not because I’m selfish. I don’t think that’s the case. I simply don’t fancy the idea of dying. Of giving up all my life because some creatures decided they wanted it. Sure, I’m not free to do as I please when I please, that could get me killed. But I’m free enough to be considered alive, and I’m free enough that I think it matters.
I want to endure.
I want to move forward.
I want to find you.
You’re as slippery as the gray shadows. As hard to find as a needle in a haystack. The world has gone haywire, completely taken back by these things. They’ve taken our means of communication, taken away our means to travel. They’ve taken lives, in more ways than a few.
But I still can find you.
These gray beasts won’t stop me.
I’ll find you.
I’ll endure anything and everything—whatever I have to—in order to make it. In order to reach you.
I’ll endure, and I’ll do it for me.
And I’ll do it for you.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, to think that you need me. And I don’t mean that in the same way I mean that you need air, or food, or hydration.
I can stand.
I can be solid.
I can endure.
I can be a shelter for me.
So, logically, I might be able to be a shelter for you.
The world is scary. It always was.
It’s even worse.
But if I’m there, I won’t let that get to you.
I’ll stand between you and the fear. Between you and the gray things. Between you and everything that would ever dare hold you back. Between you and every thought about giving up, about giving in. About thinking that maybe this life filled with gray beasts isn’t worth it. I will build my walls to be strong, to be a castle. I will endure all manner of attack, all sorts of affronts. I’ll do what I have to do to in order to endure.
Endure for me.
So I can show you that you can also endure, for you.
…and a little for me, too.
I’m not selfish.
Running from these creatures, surviving, enduring.
It’s not all selfish.
I don’t just endure for me.
Honestly, if I thought I had to endure all this and come out alone…
I wouldn’t endure any of it at all.
What’s the point of living in the dark if there isn’t some kind of light?
What’s the point of surviving if you’re not going to live?
What’s the point of standing alone?
I’m sure you’re thinking about it too.
As dawn breaks.
As the gray things start to move.
As you figure out how to endure, too.
You won’t be alone for long. I’m searching. I’m looking. Soon, I won’t be standing alone. One pillar will become two. I won’t stop. I won’t.
I’ll endure with you.
Written: May 28, 2018
Work has been killer lately.