The Wanderers

March 16, 1998

My name is John Benson and it has been a year since it happened. A year since those things came and took everything I held dear away from me. I have decided to start writing in this journal periodically to help me keep sane through all of this and I know that pouring my thoughts into a journal will somewhat work in doing that. Now, I don’t know what they are and I don’t know what they want, but I do know that they are dangerous.

I’ve decided to call them Wanderers due to the fact that they don’t do much but wander around and stare at each other. They look so strange. They’re the same size as a human and they have figures that resemble that of a human. But, they wear black robes and cloaks with hoods over their head, they have varying animal skulls for heads, and they have glowing white eyes in their sockets.

Now, I haven’t seen them kill anything, but when I encountered one for the first time, I could sense a dangerous aura radiating off of it and it let out a terrible noise that sounded like bones grinding against each other and snapping, which is the noise that they usually make when aggravated. It doesn’t help that they let off a low humming noise when they’re idle and that the world seemed to be covered by thick fog, where most of the time I can only see the Wanderers’ glowing eyes through the fog.

The voice that appeared in my head shortly afterwards also tells me how dangerous they are. I don’t know if I’m going insane or if the voice in my head is real and it hasn’t even told me its name. If it is even human, that is. If it’s even real at all or a figment of my imagination as a way for my mind to attempt to keep me sane. It never gets upset with me and seems more rational than me most of the time. It tells me that it is the only thing that I can trust and I would like to say that it’s wrong, but… it isn’t. It is the only thing I can trust because it’s the only thing I have been able to talk to. I hope this isn’t a sign of insanity.

March 19, 1998

Holy s**t, I can’t believe that happened! That damn voice in my head is real! It isn’t just a figment of my imagination! Just today I decided to scavenge for food during the night because the Wanderers are less frequent during that time and the voice told me that there was going to be some food in this abandoned building. I don’t know why I listened to it at the time, I was probably too hungry to even care. But, I did and I actually found food! I thought it was just a coincidence at the time, but then it told me that a couple of Wanderers were coming over to where I was. I didn’t believe it at first of course, but I was still cautious.

I looked around a little bit longer while the voice kept telling me that there’s nothing left to take there and that the “soulless ones are coming”. I continued to ignore the voice, until I heard the low humming of the Wanderers. The voice told me that I should have listened to it and that I should continue to or “great misfortune would befall’ me. I decided that I could try to hide from them, but the voice told me that they would find me. I asked it what I should do then. The voice told me to kill them. I was shocked because I thought that they couldn’t be killed, then again I never tried. Before that, I was and still am terrified of them. But after everything that happened, I decided that it would be wise to listen to it and took a nearby rusty pipe.

I listened for the humming and waited by the entrance that was close to it. Two of them walked through the door and I struck one on the back of its head. It let out a deep growl as it stumbled forward and the other one let out that noise that they usually do when they get aggravated, it had the skull of some sort of feline. As did the other one after it recovered, it had a kind of beaver skull. It was a difficult fight, but I was able to kill the one with a beaver skull. Only one and that is the only one I want to kill. I killed it by knocking it to the ground and striking it in the head multiple times. The light in its eyes vanished after a few swings and with it came the sounds of screaming. Screaming that filled my head and sounded human. Even as I cuffed my ears, it was still as loud.

I fled as the sound pounded in my head and dazed me. It felt horrible and when I looked back for a moment, I saw some sort shadowy figure followed me. It looked exactly like the Wanderer that I killed, even had the glowing white eyes and beaver skull. That all happened a few hours ago and the figure is just watching me from far away, making a soft creaking noise as it does. Hopefully it’ll go away. The voice tells me that the figure is the true form of the Wanderers and that it can’t hurt me and I can’t hurt it. The voice says that it won’t go away and to just ignore it. I don’t exactly trust this voice, but… it hasn’t exactly lead me into harm’s way yet and it said that if I don’t listen to it, that I’ll be in some deep s**t.

March 20, 1998

So the figure still hasn’t gone away yet, even when it’s day time. It still is just standing and watching me from the distance as I’m writing this. I want to get rid of it, but I can’t. It scares me when there’s a probably that I can’t get rid of or resolve. Animal skulls frighten me as well because it just disturbs me to see an animal reduced to such a state. An animal that was full of life reduced to an empty and soulless object. To the state of nothingness, of death. I’ve been seeing some with human skulls recently. It just looks like they’re taunting me with imagery of death and the death of all who I loved and cared dear for… I’m thinking too much, I need to stop thinking about the past world and think only of survival. The voice told me where I can find some shelter, so I’ll start heading out over there. I’ll do what it says for now to see if it’s trustworthy or not. It also keeps speaking of “The Final Day” so again, I’m a little hesitant to listen to it.

April 3, 1998

It’s been a few weeks since I arrived in this place. I’ve been feeling horrible ever since I was forced to kill a group of Wanderers that was in here. It took a few days for me and the voice to plan out the attack, so I wasn’t able to write in my journal during that time.

I’m slowly trusting the voice more and more after these few weeks with it. I know that I shouldn’t be trusting it, every bone in my body aches and is telling me to not, but it’s the only thing that I can trust! Everyone I love is gone or dead or worse and the only thing that I’ve been able to talk to is some physic voice that I don’t even know is inside my head or not! Jesus, I don’t know what came over me… I use this journal to keep my sanity and now look at me, yelling at a goddamned journal. I don’t know what came over me. I need to stop lashing out about s**t like this and keep being rational. Rational…. rational… I need to be rational because I’m all that’s left of humanity. I’m all that’s left…. all that’s left.

Anyway, I killed all of them one by one. The weird thing was that they seemed to actually mourn for the fallen Wanderer. Now the mourning was just fine, but how they seemed to mourn was strange. They set up a little effigy of the killed Wanderer in their likeness and put the body of the fallen under it. They then set it on fire and started making this awful wailing sound that sounded like dying animals mixed with human crying. I asked the voice why they make these human like noises and it said that they’re the “shadows of humanity’s sin” come to life or something like that. I do trust the voice, but why does it know so much about these abominations? That is very suspicious, but it’s not like I can ignore it with it being a voice that I hear within my own brain and everything.

Horrible pains in my body have been getting bad lately as well and I can’t tell what is even happening to me. I’ve check all the places where the pain is occurring, only to find nothing out of the sort. So I guess it might not be a big deal, but still. Anyway, I need to finish getting some stuff set up before I can really think about what to do next, though I bet the voice will probably have a plan cooked up for me anyway.

April 12, 1998

Damn, haven’t written in this in a long time. I didn’t really feel the need to write in this because I haven’t been going through an existential crisis, don’t think I am having one right now either. But, that damn voice has been a little… strange lately. Just the other day, it said that “all the pieces are falling into place” and “the great day is upon us”. I have asked it multiple times what the hell it is talking about and all it would say is to “not worry about it”, that I’m going to be “the herald of great things to come”. That’s it, this has gone on long enough! The only reason I’ve been trusting this damn thing is because it’s been helping me survive! I’ve tolerated this creepy s**t from it because I wasn’t bothered by it at first! But now that it has and still is talking about this “Final Day” crap happening soon, I want some goddamned answers! Hopefully if I ignore it, then the voice will start to give me some answers.

April 18, 1998

Holy s**t… f**k… what the f**k was that thing!? What is this voice that is inside my head!? I decided to ignore the voice and make my own decisions. Of course it asked me why I was ignoring it and I answered. That was a big mistake, I shouldn’t have ignored it. An argument ensued between me and the voice, I wanted answers. It was getting pretty heated and that was when the voice revealed to me a secret it was keeping from me. It forced my body to silence itself and its voice grew deep. It told me that I will regret defying it and that “this could have been a lot more simple”.

I was paralyzed and couldn’t move my limbs at all. I was then, surrounded by dark fog and I could see six glowing white eyes in front of me. From the fog came a floating creature whose body was cut off at the waist with a tail made of some sort of dark gaseous matter instead of legs. The rest of the body was akin to that of the Wanderers. The same robes and cloak, the same dark hood over its head, and it also had the skull of an animal. Instead, its hands were clawed and the skull was an amalgamation of different animal skulls. The top jaw was that of a canine and the bottom was that of a bird’s beak. It had two large fangs that folded and unfolded like that of a snake and the rest of the teeth were those of a carnivore’s. It had two tusks like an elephant at the base of the jaw and two horns like a bull’s on the top of its head. There was three eyes on each side of its head coming from the base of the jaw to above the holes where its ears could have been, all glowing a bright white. There was some dark fabric coming from the eye sockets to deeper inside the hood. The rest of the skull was that of a horse, all of these bits of skulls are just pieced together into another one and it the skull was cracked and chipped in some places. It still made that humming noise like all of the Wanderers.

I tried to scream, but something was keeping me from doing so. The creature told me to “stop struggling” and that “it’s no use”, with the smell of decay coming from its breath. It told me that this is its true form and that it has been living inside my mind the whole time. I asked it why and it refused to elaborate on the topic. It said that its name is Alcrid and that it is an entity that feeds on the souls of humans. It says that it isn’t particularly evil, but that this is just its nature. I asked why it seemed to be enjoying all this and it told me that it needs to have some reason to continue to do this, that it to be incentivized to do this besides sustenance. It said that I should continue to do what it says from now on or there will be consequences, all the while using one its claws to inflict a large scratch into my check. The scratch hasn’t fully healed and has turned into a scar. It then told me that I shouldn’t be so afraid because it doesn’t want to hurt me, but also that it won’t be afraid to discard me if need be. With that, it disappeared with a deep laugh and it told me within my mind to continue on with my day.

That happened four days ago and the voice has been telling me to kill more Wanderers. That is all it’s been telling me to do, nothing else. The group of shadowy Wanderers has turned into a horde by this point. The pain has gotten even worse since then and I think it’s linked to my killing of the Wanderers. Speaking of which, the Wanderers have been acting very strange lately. They’ve been a lot more aggressive when I encounter them and they just twitch and spasm when idle. The noise they make when they see me has changed to add a loud screeching sound that echoes within my mind. When I kill them, I actually hear them speak! They actually speak! After the usual screaming that comes from their death, they speak within my mind saying stuff like “why” and call me a monster. How am I the monster? They’re the ones that wiped humanity off the Earth! Right? Right? Wait… what if it wasn’t the Wanderers, but Alcrid? Alcrid looks exactly like one of those things and it seems pretty happy with the extinction of mankind! That b*****d! but… I can’t do anything…. anything! Dammit! All I can do is just listen to it’s every order right now! Wait, I can’t get upset. If I do, then I’ll start thinking of irrational ideas and plans. So I need to calm down… calm down… alright, I’m calm… I’m calm. Getting upset will get me nowhere… alright, I need to move on and stop writing for now. Probably won’t for awhile, but I’ll be fine.

May 10, 1998

I don’t know how to start this. I’m in deep s**t, deeper than I ever was before… f**k, what do I do? Now I know that I have to write at least one last entry in case anyone finds and reads this. Look, Alcrid? It finally told me everything that I needed to know.

Two days ago, it appeared to me while I was sitting in an abandoned building and thinking about my purpose in this world now that everyone is dead. Ever since it appeared to me that first time, it has been doing that more and more. Anyway, it told me that I have “completed my job” and that the “Final Day” is next week. I asked again what it was talking about and it just looked at me for a few minutes before sighing. It told me that it was some sort of demon and that it linked itself to humans with weak minds so that they can feed it souls. It told me that the “Final Day” was the day that it would be able to possess the linked human after it has consumed enough souls through its vessel. I asked it what that has to do with me and it said that I was one of those people. I told it that I was useless because there are no humans left. What it said afterwards made my body go cold and numb. It laughed and told me that humanity never died off, that they were still very much alive. It told me that there was never any Wanderers, that it was all an illusion that it created so it could control me easier. In fact, all the Wanderers are humans made to look like the Wanderers by Alcrid so I would want to kill them and Alcrid could consume those souls.

I started to breath heavily in response to this revelation. I still don’t believe it, I’ve been murdering other humans. My sins are still weighing me down as I write this… I’ve killed so many… dozens upon dozens of them. It told me that the shadowy figures are the souls that it has consumed. It told me that on the “Final Day”, it will possess me and kill many more people to fulfil its hunger and sick pleasures. But, it told me that it can’t possess dead humans. I was told that the pain that I was feeling was just my real body changing into a more demonic form that reflected Alcrid. It showed me a mirror and I had a horn growing out of my head, claws were starting to grow out of my fingertip, and my head was changing into Alcrid’s skull head. Alcrid told me that if I were to die, then all these deformities would disappear. I asked it why he needed a vessel. It told me that it couldn’t interact with humans that have even decent willpower, it could only interact with weak-willed humans. I asked it about its motives to why it would tell me any of this. It laughed and asked me a simple question, “How do you even know that I am real, John?” and I just thought for a moment. The answer is, I don’t. I really don’t know if it’s real or if all this is my mind rationalizing my need for an escape from the real world. I told Alcrid that it doesn’t matter either way because I’ll just kill myself before he could possess me. I said that even if he isn’t real, that I’ll do it to stop myself from hurting anyone ever again. Alcrid laughed once more and asked, “What makes you think that I don’t want you to die, what if that’s all I need to be free?” all the while the shadowy Wanderers start to close in, making a circle around me and Alcrid. Again, I don’t know.

After it told me all this, it said goodbye and disappeared into the fog, taking the shadowy Wanderers with it. Alcrid hasn’t spoken to me since that happened and I haven’t seen any of the shadowy Wanderers either. Though I enjoyed the silence at first, it quickly became hard to bear. The only “natural” sounds I hear are of the humming of the “Wanderers” in the distance. So now, here I am at the top of the abandoned building that I’ve been staying at. I honestly think that death would be the best option here. There’s a two in three chance that a good ending will occur from my death. It won’t be painful, but I fear what is beyond the veil. But, I can’t let petty fear get in the way. I can see some “Wanderers” in front of the building watching me. This is the last entry that I’ll ever create and I hope that these entries will help whoever finds them. I’m sorry to the families of those I have murdered in this maddening conundrum… I’m so sorry.