The Endless Walk
Published by Andrew on Feb 01, 2022
We'd been traveling through the desert for months now and our supplies were dwindling fast. Edith had a nervous breakdown; Matthew suffered worse. I was on edge, but hanging in there — for now.
As we set up camp for the night, I looked longingly toward the north. Surely, somewhere, soon, we'd find… something, anything! I refused to believe we were the last ones; that we, alone, survived the blasts. Surely there were others out there — others searching for us, too.
Setting up camp was quick. We'd gotten used to it, become efficient at every aspect of building our makeshift tents, stocking our secure storage, and lighting the torches that would not only keep us warm throughout the cold night but also serve as a beacon for others to see.
The beacons worked, of course, but so far only to attract the natural wildlife. Surely it'd attract others like us someday, but until then we were stuck with emeirds and the rare wandering vruntyk. While the latter was a potent disaster waiting to happen if we didn't act quickly, the former dealt a much larger blow to our morale and psyche over time than any wandering subterranean dinosaur did.
The emeird songs were cute at first: a reminder that we weren't alone in this endless desert — and that not every other living thing we encountered was as hungry for meat as we were.
The song from one attracted others who invariably joined in, as if reciting age-old Christmas carols they all knew, as if singing to us was the only thing that mattered in their stupid bird lives. I never saw them eat, nor drink, nor mate, nor play in the occasional oasis remnants we stumbled upon. All the emeirds ever did was follow us and sing their damn songs, flocking behind us like a chorus that called out to every hungry vruntyk: "Food, food, here's food!"
And they came, of course, because why wouldn't they? They knew what a singing emeird meant; they knew they'd find food if they followed their song.
Our complex lives had devolved from having hobbies and jobs and friends and parties into ceaselessly marching through a hot desert, defending what little food we had from tiny roaming dinosaurs, wandering and wondering just how long we could go on like this.