Chapter 3: Destination
Another person? Here in the middle of nowhere? Wait, Drake stiffened, suspecting the worst-case scenario, He can’t be the owner of the farm, can he? Good thing I didn’t light that fire, though the trail of trampled crops behind me looks pretty bad.
“I’m Drake,” he tried to explain, “I ran here from Beil, the nearby town. I’m not sure if you know about what's happening there, but…”
“You traveled all the way here on foot?!” The person interrupted. He had a slight British accent. Under the dim light of the moon, Drake could see that he had brown hair, brown eyes, a faint moustache, and was of average height. “Oh, right, I should introduce myself. I’m, uh… Steve,” he said awkwardly.
“Umm… Hello Steve. Like I was saying…” Drake wasn’t sure how to explain the situation without sounding crazy. Adding to the awkwardness of the situation was that he was here in the middle of the night, he came here by foot, destroyed some crops, and just threw up. “Umm… Have you seen those…things? The large animals” He tried to phrase it such that if Steve didn’t know about the situation, Drake would retain the impression of a somewhat sane person, and if Steve did know what was going on, he would understand what Drake was talking about immediately, and then Drake could proceed to make him understand what had led him to this awkward situation.
“Yes!” Steve replied immediately. “Those black things attacked me while I was on the road to the city.”
“So you don’t own this farm?”
Steve looked at him questionably. When he was sure Drake was serious, he shook his head no.
“Thank goodness.” Drake was somewhat relieved for two reasons: Steve knew what he was talking about (unless there was some terrible misinterpretation of his sentence) and also Steve wasn’t the owner of the farm. This didn’t stop Drake from creating a bad impression of himself just now, though. Thinking about it, Drake was bad at socializing at school also, primarily because he never cared about what others thought.
“Anyways, when I was on the road…the traffic suddenly increased, and everyone seemed to be driving away from something. When the traffic jammed, people started getting out of their cars and running. Then, a giant lizard came and started eating people! I managed to escape into these cornfields”.
Ah, so you were escaping those things too. It might be a bad thing that Drake was glad someone else had gone through the terrifying scenes he had been through himself.
“I’m actually from the place those monsters came from. A meteorite crashed in the woods nearby there, and these monsters started coming from around the crash site. Although I saw it happen, even I do not know what’s going on.”
Steve nodded in understanding. “We should stick together, and go somewhere safe.”
“I was actually headed to the city, Cyll, myself. I think there are army forces there that can help”. Drake was now glad that he didn’t take nor find the road, it being full of monsters and all.
Steve thought for a moment, and then agreed to go to Cyll with Drake. “I remember the general direction there. Let’s go.”
Steve remembering their position allowed them to continue their journey and Drake’s mission. The two navigated through the endless fields of corn, talking along the way. Once again, it was just two people moving inconspicuously under the night sky. The only sounds were that of corn stalks snapping and rubbing against each other, quiet footsteps on dirt, and the occasional sounds of nocturnal life. The most annoying part of the journey was being just too short to peer over the stalks and see where they were. They just had to have trust in Steve’s sense of direction.
Drake explained to Steve precisely what had happened over the past few hours from the crash to Billie dying. Steve listened through all of it, understandingly. At many times, it pained Drake’s heart to think of what had happened to his mother, Billie, and all the other victims, but he suppressed his sadness and rage. He would deal with them after he reached his goal.
Steve kept some distance between them in terms of friendliness, but it was for the best. Neither knew if or when the other could die. The mutants were fast and could surround them at any moment. They were ever-ready to run at the sound of crops snapping nearby, but he doubted they could both escape a mutant, realistically thinking. They couldn’t get too attached to each other.
An hour later, they reached the end of the farm. Beyond the dangerous fence before them was another deciduous, or leaf shedding, forest. Cyll would be an hour’s distance from here, by Drake’s estimate.
thought, who the heck would travel all
the way here to steal some corn? Why’s there such an expensive-looking fence?
They crossed it into the woods and continued their journey, this time having more space around them to move and look around, and fewer stalks slapping at their face in reaction to being pushed back. Drake was thankful for this change, but still wished he could lay down on a bed, or even the ground, just for an hour. He was tired and sleepy, but he couldn’t risk the mutants catching up to them, and causing more unnecessary deaths at Beil before the military arrived. His wounds had crusted by now.
An hour more passed, and now, Drake could notice some light in the sky. It was either dawn approaching, or the lights of Cyll nearby; hopefully, the latter, as it would signal that he and Steve were on the right path. The light gave them some renewed hope. They were desperate to reach there, and so quickened their pace.
From the corner of his eye, Drake saw movement, a result of his heightened senses. He immediately turned to look. A giant ant was crawling quickly towards them.
“All the way here?! Seriously?!” The two started running away from it. We need to think of a way to escape or kill it. We can’t think while running. Both of us running is inefficient.
“Hey, Steve!” Drake called. Steve was screaming gibberish loudly and running with his eyes closed. Drake hit Steve’s arm. He turned to Drake. “We should split up. It can then only chase one of us”.
“Good idea,” Steve agreed, “I’ll go right”.
“Eh? But I’m already on the right side…”
“It doesn’t matter,” Steve cut him off, and then went right. Drake shrugged and went left. The ant chose to chase after Steve. “Dang it! I should have gone left!” He immediately regretted his decision. Drake stopped and caught his breath. “Hey! Why’d you stop? Don’t leave me behind!” Steve exclaimed.
“Don’t worry,” Drake shouted back, “I’m not going to abandon you. I’m just going to think of a plan”. But before Drake could think, a mutant Grasshopper jumped out of a dark thicket of trees. It started chasing Drake. “Oh, come on! Not me too!”. He had no choice but to think under pressure while simultaneously watching the ground before him for obstructions. The monsters didn’t have the same problem. One had six legs, useful for navigating terrain, and the other could hop from place to place, and really high, Drake could add. Up close and of magnified size, he could see that they were ugly and creepy creatures, those insects.
Drake couldn’t see any hiding places for him and Steve, not that they would leave them if they hid for any amount of time. They were the type of monsters to camp their prey until they came out or died of starvation. Drake also couldn’t see any immediate weapons he could grab or ways to overpower their opponents.
Drake ran towards Steve and eventually caught up. They were side by side now, with the two mutants side-by-side behind them.
“Hey! What are you doing!” Steve exclaimed, “Don’t bring that thing near me also!”
“I have a plan,” Drake said.
“It better not involve having both of them chase after me,” he warned.
Drake bent low while maintaining his pace, and picked up a rock.
“It better not involve feeding me to them either.”
Drake smiled and shook his head no.
The final idea Drake had thought up was one that had been used in war since the beginning of human civilization: Get your enemies to fight each other. Drake wasn’t sure if his plan would work, but he had to try it, seeing as it was his only choice. He threw the rock at the ant that was chasing Steve. Upon getting hit by the projectile, it turned its attention toward Drake, irritated. Steve ran away from Drake and noticed that neither creature was following him. Both were aiming for Drake.
The Ant caught up to Drake. Drake, noticing that it was almost on him, turned behind him to see for a moment. In that split second, he tripped on a rock and fell down. The ant stopped on top of him. This is the end, Drake thought I’m really going to get killed by an ant! But just as he was about to get eaten, the Grasshopper landed on the Ant. It pushed the ant aside as Drake crawled backward frantically on his back. The grasshopper then turned to eat Drake. The Ant came back and pushed back at the grasshopper. Pushes led to stabs. Stabs led to bites. They began fighting over Drake. His plan was working, although not as he had imagined.
While the two ugly monsters were brawling, Drake quietly made his way away from the scene. By the time the two monsters noticed, he was gone. Drake ran a mile and met up with Steve. The two continued running until they were sure the monsters couldn’t even pick up their scent from that far away. Finally, they stopped to catch their breath.