BEFORE YOU PROCEED
Please note that the story you are about to read contains discussions of cannibalism, body horror, violence, gore, self harm, suicide, and some other weird crap that I wouldn’t even know how to name. Please take care and take breaks while you’re reading if needed <3
I feel him there. Ever since I left, I feel this presence, this thing, this friend. I’m deciding to call him a friend, because otherwise, I might consider myself afraid.
I look and he’s not there. But I feel him there.
Sometimes, there’s this whistling in my ear. I thought it was him, but it doesn’t feel like him. It’s something different. I wish I knew what.
I ended up stuffing mud in my ears. It doesn’t stop the sound, but it comforts me.
When I woke today, I had hope. I thought, yes I can finally leave my bunker. I can finally meet with other people and rebuild humanity. Perhaps it was foolish to think I could do this on the first day. But I’ve seen no one and I only feel him and he feels empty.
I did see life, however. I saw a creature, what once may have been a deer or a wolf or a frog or all three and they mashed together in one big beast. As emancipated as I am, I should have lost. It should have killed me. But I’m very quiet, I’ve learned. Sneaky. Desperately hungry. I haven’t eaten since—
I wonder if he eats.
I wonder if he’s hungry.
I wonder how he would taste.
It is getting early now. I had tried to leave my bunker earlier, but the sun was Hell on my eyes. I swear it’s gotten bigger hungrier monstrous I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not something for humans to experience, even in death. I’d prefer not to see it again. I suppose I’ll sleep now.
Something has stolen from me.
Something that can move in the day, lucky monster. Something with teeth and claws. It ate my meat, my fresh meat that I had killed from the deer that was also a frog and also a wolf.
It wasn’t him. I don’t think it was him. He’s too human for something like this. I checked for him. He’s nowhere. But I feel him.
I attempted to pack what I could, to move to a spot that perhaps is a little quieter, with less things eating my meat and making a mess. But my body is weak and I am still so hungry. So tired. I had fallen asleep packing the knives and stabbed myself. I’m alright, but it hurts.
Do you think he felt it when I stabbed him?
Do you think he would be possible to stab?
I’m so tired. It shouldn’t just be me here. It should have been the both of us. And more. And also others. We were supposed to survive. Humans are resilient. They survive anything.
Why was I able to kill him?
I would have never been able to kill him before. Not in a million years. Yet I did and now I’m here and I killed that deer-frog-wolf monster when I shouldn’t have been able to and now there’s meat that was stolen and I’m stabbing myself with my knives and he’s watching me he’s watching me I can feel him watching me
What if he’s the human?
What if I’m the monster?
I can’t remember my name
The stab is gone.
No, I shouldn’t say that. It’s still there, but it’s different. Instead of this gaping open wound with blood, it has clotted and knotted and gnarled, like a tree. Like a knot in a tree.
Am I a tree?
I stabbed myself again. I wanted to see it happen. But nothing is happening. Perhaps it takes a day.
It’s funny. I had promised her that I would take care of him and I promised her I would live.
And then I ate him.
And now I am stabbing myself.
The end of the world breaks all promises.
When I was a child, I used to have this dream.
In the dream, I would be a cute beast. One of its kind. Sometimes, I’d be fluffy, other times colorful, other times elegant. Something that drew people to me. Something that made people curious. So curious that they would hunt me down and hurt me and see how much I could take before I die.
I told her about it once, and she told me that it’s human nature to be a little too curious that it hurts others. She said humans harm for the hell of it, because they are morbid and want to know what happens.
She made me promise then. Promise to never be too human. To never let curiosity overcome me. To protect me and my brother and to allow things to not be known.
I think I’ll stab myself again.
My mother died when I was very young. She left me and my sister and my brother all alone. For the most part, my sister is far more like a mother to me.
I wish I could remember her name
But there is one thing I remember about my mother. I remember how she would laugh, how she would snort. Often, she’d be eating at the same time and choke, then she’d cough it up and laugh again, because imagine dying by laughter. Imagine dying while being happy and enjoying life.
When I die, I want to make sure there’s a smile on my face.
I barely was able to walk today. My joints ache and for the most part, all I could do was sit on the cool ground and massage them. A foolish part of me wonders if all that stabbing is hurting the rest of my body, but this isn’t stabbing pain. It feels more like the growing pains I had when I was a child. But I’m not growing. Right?
Something good did happen today! I was searching a building and found a picture of this family. Two husbands, two daughters. I’m choosing to believe that they’re dead now. I think it’d be cruel, for me and them, to hang on to the hope of them still being alive. But it’s nice to have something human to look at. It’s nice to see people smiling for once.
By the way, he saved me last night.
I was sleepwalking, I suppose. I had suddenly woke to a harsh tug and open my eyes to see a gaping hole in front of me. I would have died in my sleep.
There was nothing behind me, but I could feel him, so I’ve come to the conclusion that he saved me. Actually, maybe that’s why I’m so achy today. Maybe he’s more physical than I thought.
I think I’d like to try to talk to him one day. I had wanted to avoid it at first, as that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it? Talking to things that you feel are there, but aren’t actually there? But if there’s no other people to set the idea of “normal”, then technically, insanity doesn’t exist. Technically, I can talk to who I want, even if they’re not really there.
I’m going to try. Maybe he’ll talk back one day.
Wait..what is that? I think I see smoke.
It was a forest fire. Started during the day, I think. The sun is so hot, even nature can’t take it anymore. I wonder how I haven’t combusted into flames yet.
I ate poisonous berries today. I thought it would be my chance to die happy. I know it’s breaking my promise to her, but I already broke the first half, so what’s breaking the second?
They had looked so good and I knew eating them would cause me to gag and foam at the mouth and drop dead and I thought, At least my last memory will be a good berry. At least I’ll die happy.
I’m not dead.
I don’t think I like that.
It’s a good thing I had eaten the berries, however. It kept me happy enough that when I found a nest with three large eggs, I had no desire to crack them open and eat them. Those precious babies are safe from my human? curiosity for now.
I wonder what laid them.
I tried talking to him today. He didn’t talk back, which is good, because me talking kept me from going insane. It distracted me.
What happened was that I came across a newspaper stand. I grabbed one to look at it—the date was that day, when my sister shoved me and my brother into a bunker for safety. She saved our my life that day. I can’t remember why she didn’t come with us. Maybe she had something important to do. Or more people to save.
Maybe she knew I was a monster
The newspaper itself didn’t talk about the disaster, though. It just mentioned inflation and scandals and obituaries and nothing for the doom that was coming, even though I knew it and he knew it and she knew it and we told them constantly. But we were the weird ones, I suppose.
How did we know? I couldn’t remember. I still can’t remember. I think she told us, but how did she know? What did she do? Where did she go? What was her name?
That’s when I started babbling to him, about my sister, whom I loved because she was so cool and took care of us and taught us that love is most important and my brother who trusted me and was my best friend and didn’t even have the strength to cry when I sliced into his skin and ate him piece by piece.
I told him about my mother, whom I barely remember, and my father, whom I wish I had forgotten.
I asked him about his life and his family
And I think
I was going to look for new shoes today—my old ones were terribly worn—but I don’t think I need them anymore. I don’t know what happened to my feet, but they’re so hard, callused, I can’t even poke them with a needle.
I’ve developed hooves.
They’re afraid of me.
It’s the only explanation.
The birds, the bugs, the animals, even the wind.
They run when I’m near, they grow silent, they don’t want me to find them.
They’re afraid of what I’ve become.
I wish I could tell them that I am too.
I had a feast today. I found an old grocery store with so much canned food. Beans and canned pineapples and corn and tomato soup. I heated it all up and I made two plates, one for me and one for him. I told him “Happy Thanksgiving!” I doubt it’s Thanksgiving, but the world has ended, so it’s time for a new one I suppose. I enjoyed my meal. His is still sitting there. I think he’s shy. I hope he’s shy. I don’t know what I would do if he’s afraid too.
Really, I only grew a set of horns. I suppose it is frightening, having bone grow from my head when this is not supposed to be normal. Added with the hooves and the knots and my arms and legs that are getting longer and longer
I’m so afraid
Another day of great food! I had passed a restaurant, an old Mom and Pop shop, and most of the food is far past rotten, but there was a large container of syrup and I drank it in it’s entirety. I don’t even feel sick. I wonder if I’ll ever be sick again.
I miss pancakes and waffles and French toast. Breakfast foods were my favorite foods from when things were normal. She always made them so well, but the days she took us to places like iHop were special.
I want more syrup, but I couldn’t find anymore. My teeth are already falling out, I suppose. I only have a few left. I think more are growing in, though. I felt along the gums and there was something underneath. Something sharp.
Every day, there’s something new. I’m getting used to it, I think, but I have to wonder when does it end? When do I become who I am becoming?
I have claws now. My skin has flayed off from the knots I stabbed to my fingers and large talons grew in its place. I stab myself and gain new weapons. What a trade.
I’m so hungry. I want syrup and candy and meat and food food food
It’s so hard to keep me full
It’s so hard to find prey big enough to satisfy me
I wish I could eat him
Well! I suppose I shouldn’t write while I’m walking. I stepped on something, a live wire I think. I didn’t know there was any electricity left in this place. The shock was painful, but pleasant. Made me feel alive, feel human
I better cross out what I was saying before. I already think he’s afraid of me, I don’t want him to see me thinking harm of him. The fact that he’s stayed with me for so long is touching, especially since while walking through the city I passed a window and was able to see my reflection. I’ve changed so much, I don’t look even a little human anymore. I was so worried that I’ve forgotten my name, but now, I’ve forgotten what I’ve originally looked like. A beast has taken my place.
But that’s not what scared me.
What scared me was him.
I could see him. Only in the window. He was watching me, carefully, with caution, like I was a wild animal (and perhaps I am). But also with sadness and love in his eyes. I can’t believe I never made the connection. Perhaps with my sanity and humanity, my intelligence has also gone away.
The one who I feel all the time is my brother.
He’s been following me.
He watched me drink water today and spat it out because of how it burned my throat. He listens to me sing to fill the silence because nothing bothers to sing around me anymore, so I can only do it for myself. He saw me pick up a truck and weep for the nieces and nephews I would never get to have—the nieces and nephews that he had planned. The children that he had wanted. That the world had taken away from him. That I had taken away from him.
I wish he would tell me his name again.
I want to remember his name.
Churches are bittersweet things to pass, nowadays. I was always agnostic, but now I hope there is no god. Confirmation of a god means confirmation of them allowing this to happen. And I can’t imagine a being worse than a human.
GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT
WHATEVER IT IS GET IT OUT
GET IT OUT OF ME
MAKE IT STOP ITCHING
I CAN’T TAKE IT
I CAN’T SCRATCH AND IT’S KILLING ME. RUBBLE COLLAPSED AND I FELL AND MY LEGS AND ARMS ARE IN PAIN AND I CAN’T SCRATCH AND SOMETHING IS IN ME AND IT’S ITCHING AND I WANT IT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT
I found a campfire
I found a campfire
And it isn’t mine
There’s someone here!
There’s someone here!
I’ll find them and they’ll get the itch out and I won’t be alone and I’ll have a name!
My smell has gotten much better recently, so I’m using it now to track them. They can’t be far, surely. I’ll find them. I’ll find them. I’ll find them and I’ll have a name.
It’s coming out of me now and I almost wish it had stayed in. Bugs. I don’t know how, but bugs are in there and they’re under my skin and they were moving around and now they’re eating their way out.
I saw something today. I don’t know what it was. It was dead and it smelled and it was huge. I think it was hairy once, but it rotted so much that it barely had any.
It was cut open. By claws. Something ripped into it and tore it’s intestines out for the world to see and it’s bigger and it’s out there and I’m right here and I don’t always know where I am because I’m still sleepwalking. I’ve killed things in my sleep. I’ve woken with hair and blood and meat in my mouth. What if something eats me while I sleep? I don’t want to die asleep, I want to die happy. Please let me die happy.
This will be my last diary entry.
I’ve found it.
I found her.
I know it’s her. I feel her. Just like I felt him.
I was so scared, but I’m grateful now. I’m keeping her alive. Just like he kept me alive.
I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t stand the way he looks at me, out of love and fear. I can’t stand not hearing anything. I can’t stand the fact that I can’t remember anyone’s name.
Even if I find those who lit the fire, who’s to say they haven’t become like me or worse? Who’s to say happiness lies with them?
I’d rather feed my sister.
She’s found me. It’s time to go now.
It’s time to die happy.
Hoo boy, this one was intense! But it was a lot of fun to write. This is made using the solo journaling game called Darling Among the Dust. The game has many triggers for GOOD reasons. By the time I had finished, I had high amounts of anxiety, tee hee.
But! It was a lot of fun and I especially loved the body horror aspects and how the story developed. The ending was a bit abrupt, but such is what happens when you play games like this. I wanted to know about the narrator’s brother more, but c’est la vie. I have full intention to play it again, and I highly recommend it too, to get in touch with your darker side. But, of course, mind the trigger warnings and don’t play this if you’re already in a bad place.