Walked through the forest, the red light sliced through the pines, silhouettes were everywhere, standing around like shadows, shadows that come from the people from before. I found shelter in a small cave dumped my backpack and belongings on the floor and went to collect firewood. The forest is dry, the trees creak and moan for their roots to give way, begging the sky for water to fall, but no water will come.
I set my alarms surrounding the perimeter so that I have a chance to run when the ragged ones come. The thirst will be particularly strong these couple of months so I will not be taking any chances. I came across a deer that has only died very recently so it will be a feast tonight, its blood will hopefully slake my thirst for a little while longer until I make it to the river, back to my people.
I am but a few days away from the river now. In the midst of my sleep I was awoken by an alarm but thankfully it was just a fallen tree. You can never be too sure though, so, while it was still dark, I grabbed my backpack and pegged it, unfortunately leaving all my traps. I ran and ran until the sun came to greet me. I fear the thirst is coming for me, I do not want to join the ragged ones like the others did. Today I walked a total of twenty miles according to the stars. I have covered much length. I believe that in another 15 miles I shall come across the river and my thirst shall be slaked and God shall be thanked.
I can’t help but marvel at the wonders of this place. The forest I can feel is almost talking to me. Maybe it seeks my witness to its last dying words. I can almost hear its whispers. I feel sorry for the trees and the roots, there is not much that I can do for them but listen while they cry their leaves off in sorrow.
Tonight I sleep rough out in the open. I am nervous, I have no fire or smoke to ward off the ragged ones, they are always there, I can tell they’re following. I pray they do not find me, I am so close.
I barely slept the night from before. I kept hearing voices; it woke me again and again. I could have sworn I saw their eyes watching me in the night.
It seems I have made a miscalculation. I have followed the stars and God’s signs but I must have interpreted them wrong as I have not come across my river. Everything here is barren. There are no trees or roots, no animals, no wind. Just silence. Deafening silence. I don’t know what is worse, the noise of the forest, or the silence of the plain. I can hear my heart beat so clearly.
I was not able to write last night as I had fought strongly with my thirst. My tongue was leaping from my mouth and my belly enlarged. Luckily I was led by God to a small pool of water. The stars shone in it so I knew that it was clean to drink. Truly this was not by chance. I know that with more faith and endurance I will reach the river and be with my people once again. The river is our only chance to rebuild truly. Tonight I sleep in the trees away from the ground. I hear distorted voices again, surely it is them. Their howling and mourning is keeping me up.
Today was a rough day. My feet are bleeding from sores, my shoulders ache like I carry the weight of the world with me. What I carry will rejuvenate our people once again. My mission is almost complete, we will have fresh hope. I have found the path, I shall be back to the river, to my people, tomorrow evening.
My people have turned, the thirst took hold, and the river has run dry. They are nought but hollow shells of themselves. Their veins run dry and minds have forgotten God and themselves. The ones that refused, remaining faithful are strewn across this place. Our walls have crumbled by their fists, our house reduced to ruin. I do not know what to do. My weight is so heavy, my tongue hangs loose, I feel my limbs seize up. To write right now is such a pain I cannot describe. Whoever finds these journals, whatever finds these journals. Please preserve it as a testament to our struggle. It seems God did not find me worthy to slake our thirsts. In my backpack you will find hope, you will find salvation. You will find the answer to all your problems. Unfortunately, I was gone too long. I wish you luck traveller.
(Hey there, Jack here. Lately I’ve been attempting to write longer stories alongside the usual short strands of poetry. I’m trying to find the right flow to storytelling and writing fiction. Any criticism, comments or tips would be much appreciated! I definitely want to give all this more of a go, it’s great fun. Hope you enjoyed, if you made it this far, haha.)