Volume 1 Chapter 1
Fifty years ago, a continent moved towards our land at a visible pace. Strangely, it did not crash directly into us, but instead stopped in front of us. Afterwards, mankind put together a twenty-man expedition team to explore the unknown land, and I was one of the twenty. As the sea separated us from the new continent, we had no choice but to ride a boat. Honestly, I did not like travelling on boats as I was weak to motion sickness. Although it had only been a twenty minute ride, I still ended up in a big mess and threw up throughout the entire ride.
“Are you alright?” Mauss patted me on the back and asked out of concern.
“Ugh… I’m fine, just give me a moment.”
For an expedition team, every member was very important, thus we waited till everyone was fine before proceeding. After everyone’s nauseousness faded, we packed up our stuff and prepared to venture into the unknown.
“Let’s go,” I said after taking a sip of water. That marked the start of our expedition without any concrete goals apart from learning as much about this new land as we could.
The land looked similar to our world, at least in terms of terrain and vegetation. However, it is quite deserted, almost if it had experienced the apocalypse. We had been walking for an hour when the land suddenly started to tremble. Mauss staggered and almost fell to the ground, but managed to steady himself.
“What the hell, is this an earthquake?”
“Perhaps. I mean, the continent almost crashed into us. It wouldn’t be strange for it to shake a bit, no? Go check out the others and see if we lost anyone,” I replied.
Five minutes later, Mauss ran back with a flustered look on his face.
“The guys… Everyone’s gone!”
“Huh? How is that possible, weren’t they following our backs the entire time?”
“I don’t know! But everyone’s gone for real, like vanished. There’s not even a single footprint.”
“Bullcrap, I’ll go have a look.”
I turned to leave, and Mauss followed me. At first, I honestly thought he was making a bad joke, but after walking for a while, I felt that something was off. Even if some of the members walked especially slow, we should be able to find them within a minute or two. However, it’s been past that and I have not even seen a single trace of the members.
“What the hell, are those people really that slow…”
I started to run, uneasiness sprouting within me. As we ran, we found only our own footprints, all the way until we reached the shore.
I took in deep breaths, and Mauss looked like he was about to faint.
“What… What the hell? Mauss! How long have we been running?”
Mauss checked his watch and replied, “About… about twen… twenty minutes.”
We had been walking for over an hour inland, but it only took twenty minutes to reach the shore. I checked the footprints near the boat, and much to my surprise, only mine and Mauss remained. It was as if only the two of us came to the mysterious continent.
“Witsen, look,” Mauss pointed towards the sea. “Our land, it’s gone.”
I looked at the direction he was pointing at. The continent which we have been living our entire lives on was now gone. Only a vast ocean remained, as though our continent had never existed.
As I was suffering from motion sickness back on the boat, I did not observe my surroundings during the ride. However, I am quite sure we could see the continent on land. This sudden turn of events is giving me a headache. I guess bad things happen regardless of what you think.
After some thought, the two of us came to terms with what happened; there is no point in denying reality. We sat at the seashore, and Mauss tossed stones into the sea.
“So, what should we do now?”
“How much food and water do we have?”
Mauss checked the contents of his backpack and answered, “We have enough for five days.”
I stood up and patted the dust off my pants, and Mauss quickly followed suit.
“Where’re you going? We have no idea what this place is.”
“Inland. Let’s go, we’ll learn more about this land as we go, no?”
It is now noon, but thankfully the weather isn’t that hot. We ate a bit, then started to tread our way inland. As we walked further away from the shore, the scenery started to change. The sparse vegetation turned into a dense forest, but fortunately it wasn’t difficult to travel through. There was what seemed to be a mud road, and that gave us hope that there could possibly be people living nearby.
“Shit!” Mauss swore as he checked his watch.
“The watch’s dead,” Mauss shrugged. “We can only rely on the sun now.”
Mauss was looking frustrated. It was an expensive watch he bought in Switzerland, and he was probably pondering if he had been tricked by some fraud. Just as he was grumbling about his watch, I heard some rustling nearby.
“Stop whining, Mauss.”
“This watch’s a bitch! This thing…”
“Mauss! Shut up!”
“Eh? What’s wrong?”
“Quiet. I heard something ahead, behind that bush.”
Just as I finished my sentence, we both heard the rustling sounds. After confirming it was not my hallucination, we immediately became alert.
“Grab something. I have a bad feeling about this,” I said as I searched for something to defend myself with on the ground. Mauss quickly snapped a long branch off a tree and used it as a spear. As he did so, a lion leapt from within the bush at Mauss.
“Mauss! On your left!”
Mauss quickly turned to face the lion, but was still pushed to the ground by the beast. He stuck the branch into the lion’s jaws in defence.
“Fuck! Go fuck yourself bitch!”
I picked up a stone and hurled it at the lion. This lion was nothing like the lions we knew of; it was was too large. The fist-sized rock struck the beast’s head, but the rock simply bounced off without dealing any damage. However, I had achieved my aim. The lion turned its focus to me and let go of Mauss, looking at me in rage.
The ‘lion’ howled all of a sudden.
“This thing, it’s a wolf?”
I was startled; what seemed to be a lion was howling like a wolf.
Suddenly, I realised something.
“Mauss! Run! It’s calling the others over!”
While the ‘lion’ howled, we took the opportunity to escape. It was said that people could do extraordinary things when in critical danger, but I was skeptical of the saying. Now I completely believe it. The rush of adrenaline struck my entire body as I sprinted as quick as Olympic athletes, the scenery passing by rapidly in my vision. However, we were humans after all. Compared to the beasts that live and hunt in the forest, we were a tad bit slower. The ‘lion’ arrived along with its companions and surrounded us.
“Mauss! Watch out!”