The Greenland Diaries Day Ten

By Patrick W. Marsh

The following collections of journals were recovered from a caravan outside of Duluth, Minnesota. The exact date of recovery is not known nor is the origin of the speaker. The Bureau for the Restoration of History (BFRH) would like help in identifying the man who kept these records. This unedited record of events is still considered the most accurate history of the apocalypse that occurred on April 15th, 2011.

“It began with a drum. Then the monsters came. I’ve been hiding ever since.”

Day Ten

The drum sounded from 9:02 pm – 5:07 am. Nothing was near my house. Nothing shook the dust free from my ceiling. Nothing scratched the roof. The moment the drum stopped I was outside. It took me about an hour to get all the vines off the shed to get my bike.

I swear the ivy and the flowers didn’t want me to take it.

It took me three hours to bike to my parent’s house. The freeway was clogged with broken and smashed cars. Most of them were covered with this weird ivy and blue flowers. There were bloody stains too, but grass had eaten up the highway’s surface, so they were barely visible. There were people walking the opposite direction to the west, to Saint Cloud and further. There were families, senior citizens, and groups of children. Most walked, other’s had bikes or motorcycles. None bothered me. They nearly blocked out the cars and the pavement. They saw I was carrying a gun. My dog use to bark at strangers, but she kept quiet the entire time.

I think she enjoyed the ride. She seemed content in her little basket.

My heart sunk when I saw my parent’s house. It was covered in ivy. The windows were smashed in the front and the door was ripped off the hinges. They thought there was something here, they kept trying. I checked each room. No blood, no scraps of skin. My parents weren’t here when they first attacked. They were probably out eating dinner or something. The house is covered in mirrors. They couldn’t have stayed here very long if they survived the first onslaught. My parents had a cat, Sassy. She must have left. The food and water bowl are empty. I hope she is okay.

I was able to grab some canned goods from the pantry even though most of them were gone. My parents said that in the event of an emergency, we could retreat to my grandparent’s farm in Long Prairie. Hopefully, they’re up there since my parent’s little black Corolla is gone.

Snowy and I are sleeping in the crawl space along the side of the house. I brought a candle to light. This is where my dad used to store the Christmas tree and the ladder. Things are scrapping against the house. I’m almost positive it’s those things that hunted me earlier.

I hear screaming. I need to stop writing and blow out the candle.

Review of Javenny

Review By Ty Black

Javenny Pink, a former model, left her former life behind and became spokesman for The Church of His Message after being rescued from the chaos which engulfed Boulder, Colorado in the aftermath of a mega-earthquake. Now intrusive dreams have begun to effect large portions of Earth’s population, and Javenny feels a new purpose for her life. Elder Reide, her savior in Boulder, has other plans, however, and the fate of the human race could be at stake as the source of the dreams approaches Earth.

Javenny is Canadian author Al Onia’s debut novel, but his short fiction been featured in such online venues as Ares Magazine, and Perihelion Science Fiction, and earned two Aurora Award nominations for it. Onia’s first novel, published by well-respected Canadian small press Bundoran, has now garnered high praises from Hugo Award winner Robert Sawyer, who called it “One of the best first novels I’ve read in years.”

Onia is a geophysicist in Western Canada’s oil and gas industry, and his background shows throughout the book. The future state of western North American water resources plays in one of the book’s plot points, as do the intricacies of diamond exploration and mining rights. Even though Onia explores religious and social themes in Javenny, the world builds for those themes to play out in is one which is mostly within the realm of the possible from the standpoint of contemporary physics. Thus, Javenny is a hard sci-fi novel with a soft sci-fi feel.

In the beginning chapters, Javenny has a proliferation of characters which I found hard to keep track of, and that was exacerbated by the way none of the characters have noticeably distinct voices. (I found the dialogue throughout the work stilted, probably because few of the characters use contractions.) Also, the tension sagged for a while in the third quarter, and there was a moment where one of the main characters, Coye Archeron, had a sudden and poorly-explored change in character, from mercenary capitalist to self-sacrificing disciple.

That said, the book’s climax makes up for for the soft spots. Once the pieces are in place, Javenny explodes into a tense reckoning as the threads Onia’s laid out collide. There was a feeling of inevitability about Javenny herself going up against the approaching threat to humanity, but when things started to collide I honestly didn’t know how the author was going to get her there. I give Javenny three of five stars.

Javenny
248 pp. Bundoran Press. $16.95

Writing Challenge: Last Words

For this challenge, our guest judge will be Jason Kucharik, author of V.O.K. As always, the theme and prompt for this challenge was chosen by our judge and he describes it like this:

We see a lot of sci-fi centered around first contact, so I thought I would be cool to see some stories centered around pretty much the opposite. A captain’s last words before leading his men into an unwinnable but necessary battle against aliens attacking earth, a scientist’s last words before testing interdimesional travel only to not make it back, stuff like that. Maybe it’ll inspire people a little as well, because I feel like personally, that’s a pretty big hurdle to get over as a writer, killing a character you’ve spent so much time creating.

The winner of this writing challenge will receive $10 (paid via PayPal) and their story will be published in the January issue of Phase 2 magazine, as well as on the Dark Futures website.

You may notice this will not be appearing in the next issue. This decision was made to give people more time as we enter what seems to be a busier part of the year. Some of it may be from schools getting back in session, some from holidays, but our experience in the past is we have fewer entries to writing challenges held in the latter half of the year.

The deadline for the challenge is Saturday, December 12th. Stories under 3,000 words are preferred but longer entries will be considered. Entries should be sent to Submissions(at)DarkFuturesFiction.net and include LAST WORDS in the subject line. Entries failing to do so may not be noticed before the deadline. If you have any questions, just e-mail them to Editor(at)DarkFuturesFiction.net and we will respond as soon as we can.

The Greenland Diaries Day Nine

By Patrick W. Marsh

The following collections of journals were recovered from a caravan outside of Duluth, Minnesota. The exact date of recovery is not known nor is the origin of the speaker. The Bureau for the Restoration of History (BFRH) would like help in identifying the man who kept these records. This unedited record of events is still considered the most accurate history of the apocalypse that occurred on April 15th, 2011.

“It began with a drum. Then the monsters came. I’ve been hiding ever since.”

Day Nine

Last night, while the drum was beating, a shadow was standing outside one of my basement windows. The moon was full, which allowed me to notice the hulking shape. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was a person or one of those things. It stood there all night. I peeked at it through a pair of uneven boxes.

My gun never left my hands. My arms are heavy from holding it all night.

In the morning when I took Snowy out, I looked at the ground next to the window. The green grass looked normal and elevated. There had been nobody there. It had to be one of those things. It felt like it was waiting for me to appear, like it was baiting me or something. When I told Gerald about it, he asked if I noticed anything about my mirrors at home. He said the night he was attacked he’d been standing in the mirror for a while. He said there was a shadow with him. He thought it was just his glaucoma and stress. He said it spread around his back. Since then he’s had his mirror covered with a sheet, just like mine. Could they really be spying on us through the mirrors?

I told Gerald I had to look for my parents and girlfriend. He wished me luck.

I spent the rest of the morning getting things ready for tomorrow. I’m going to bike to my parent’s house first, spend the night and then move onto my girlfriend’s apartment. The air has been hot and the sky cloudless. It’s been like this for nine days. I’ll bring water, food, my gun, and, of course, Snowy. I can’t leave her. Luckily, she is a semi-small dog. Her hotdog body is a little long, so that might be tricky, but I’m going to rig up a basket of sorts on the back of my bike. I found an old white plastic crate in the basement.

What if I’m marooned and she starves to death?

I’ll leave the moment the drum stops tomorrow morning. I’ve decided to stick to the highways that I would normally take there. My bike is narrow enough to pedal through all the debris. Later, I’ll go in the shed behind my house and modify the bike.

The ivy and flowers have started to wrap up the shed as if they don’t want me to open the doors.