Race the sunset

9 min read

June 14th 2019
Here we go then, my first attempt at writing a journal, at 26 years old. If anyone is reading this, hopefully I’m there with you. If I’m not and you found this, well then we didn’t make it, but at least someone will know what happened to us. There’s five of us here, sitting in the middle of Monterrey Cathedral, or to give it it’s official name, “the Metropolitan Cathedral of our Lady of Monterrey”. There’s the doctor, Hector Alemán, black hair, beard, glasses, standard doctor type. Looks tired all the time, probably overworked before all of the shit hit the fan. I think he’s a local, definitely Mexican, seems to know a lot about the area. Nice enough guy so far. Then there’s a married couple, 40’s or 50’s, didn’t think it polite to ask, Julian and Salomé Obregón. Now they’re definitely locals, Julian owns an auto repair shop a street or two over apparently. He’s a nice guy, trying to keep our spirits up, always joking. Got a hell of a moustache too, like a giant caterpillar on his top lip, I’m surprised he can breathe through all that hair. Puts my pathetic attempt at facial hair to shame. Survivor number four is Isadora Sarmiento. She’s a student, in her twenties, probably close to my 26 years. She’s dark skinned, dark eyes, dark hair and by far the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. And she is never reading this journal. Then there’s me, Mathias Dubois.

I’m French if the name didn’t give it away, been in Mexico backpacking for two months, ended up in Monterrey when all of this went down, and now I’m stuck here with the others. I’m assuming if you’re reading this that you know what happened on the first of June, but for my own sake I’ll write it down, it seems only right to document it. In short, rapture, Armageddon, judgement day, whatever you want to call it. The heavens opened up and spewed forth biblical vengeance on humanity. At least that’s how it seemed. They came at night, in the darkness. Fucking up everyone they came across. I was getting a late night coffee when it started, saw them coming down the street, killing everyone. I panicked, I’m not ashamed to say that, ran for it and ended up in here. The other four followed me in and we slammed the door, blocked it up with pews and hoped for the best. The screams kept us awake for the first night, every night since has been silent. Now I didn’t actually see who or what they were, they were just shapes in the dark, gone as soon as I tried to focus on them, but Hector swears he saw them and that they were demons.

Whatever they were we picked the right place to hide from them. They won’t come near the cathedral, hence why I say this is biblical. We went out on the second day, they disappear when the sun comes up, and everywhere is destroyed out there. Doors broken, windows smashed. Clearly buildings didn’t protect people, but the cathedral is untouched. Thank God. I was never religious but I sure as hell am now. We talked a bit, Hector, Julian, Isadora and I all speak English, at varying skill levels. Salomé doesn’t so Julian translates for her. We agreed to sit tight and see what came in the next few days. The answer was nothing. No one appeared, no military came to save us, no nothing. We’re on our own. A week in I had the great idea of checking the internet, see how the rest of the world was. This thing is global. Can’t get any contact with my family or friends back home. None of the others can contact anyone either. After a day of surfing the net I found a forum, set up two days earlier. There are survivors out there, all holed up in cathedrals around the world. Looks like they’re the only safe places. Between us all we’ve learned some things. Whatever these creatures are, they come out as soon as the sun sets and are gone when it rises.

They hide inside, I learned that from a guy in Berlin, so we were damn lucky when we searched buildings on that first day, if any had been in them I would not be writing this now. A British guy gave us all the tip that electric lights keep them away, but only as far as the light extends, not like the sunlight. So we gathered torches and searched some buildings nearby. Sure enough the light pushes them back. They lurk in the dark, just out of reach of the light. I don’t understand how but they don’t seem to have a physical form. You can see them in the dark but you can’t focus on them. Hector still swears they’re demons but if he can see them then his eyes are a hell of a lot better than mine. Buildings with light switches work too but you have to be careful of the power going out. Hector nearly got caught out by that, luckily I was there with my torch aimed at him and we got out into the sun. So now we get onto the reason for this journal. Yesterday we got a post on the forum, from a cathedral in Chilpancingo, the “St Mary of the Assumption Cathedral”.

Apparently they’ve had contact with the military, yeah they’re still out there, and they’re being evacuated in two days. Anyone who can get there needs to be there ASAP or we’re getting left behind. Thank God for the internet. A quick search showed us that our cathedral is exactly 12 hours and 28 minutes away from the cathedral at Chilpancingo. Another search showed us that sunrise to sunset at this time of the year here in Mexico is 13 hours and 20 minutes or near enough. Sounds simple right? As long as we don’t have any car trouble we’ve got an hour to spare. Here’s where everything gets fucked. An hour later, after we’ve made our plans, another message pops up from a cathedral in Mexico City. Apparently the military have contacted them too, saying the same thing.

Now call me suspicious but it seems a little convenient, after the first message. To me it seems like someone looking for a lift to Chilpancingo. I say this to the others and – to be blunt – they ignore me. An internet search shows that from here to the Mexico City cathedral (the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the most blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, catchy name) is 9 hours and 53 minutes. Much shorter I admit. But if my instincts are right and something isn’t right about that cathedral, it’s another 3 hours and 34 minutes (thank you internet) to Chilpancingo. Quick maths and you’ll see that all in all that’s 13 hours and 27 minutes, when we have at best 13 hours and 20 minutes of sunlight. Put bluntly, if the Mexico City cathedral is a bust, we are fucked. But democracy reared its ugly head, we voted and I lost, four to one. So we’re going to Mexico City, and we’re leaving as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon. Dear God wish us luck.

June 15th 2019 – Sunrise
Here we go then.
20 minutes into journey

I’ve decided to do updates on our journey when I can, with time stamps of how we’re getting on. God I miss vlogging. So we’ve just stopped at the University of Monterrey. We decided that we’ll make strategic stops for supplies, so long as we’re gone within ten minutes to keep good time. I’m watching the car this time while the others look for supplies in the university. The car belongs to Julian, I don’t know what it is, some sort of pickup truck, they all look the same to me. We’re going to take it in turns to drive, Julian is taking the first stretch. The Uni is an impressive building, big and square, lots of glass. Although most of the glass is gone now, smashed by the creatures. I can see electric lights on inside, so hopefully no danger. Ten minutes is almost up, I can see the others coming back. Hector looks like he’s got a gun.

1 hour 35 minutes
I tried writing in the back of the truck and almost fell out, from now on I’m only writing when we stop. We’re making good time, no holdups so far. Most of the roads have been clear, not too many people must have been out when this all went down. We’ve stopped at a vineyard, the “Bodega les Cedros”. Isadora is staying by the car this time, I’m going in. We found wine, unsurprisingly at a vineyard, and collected a few bottles before we ran out of time. Hopefully we can celebrate with them when we get to the cathedral. It’s my turn to drive.

2 hours 45 minutes
Driving the pickup is way more fun than being in the back. And even better, Isadora sat with me in the cab, while the others sat in the back. The first actual privacy I’ve had with her and it was good, we laughed a lot, she taught me some Spanish and I taught her some French. Things are good. We’ve stopped at a hospital, Hector thinks he can find some medical supplies, just in case. He seems to be the unofficial leader of our group, making the decisions, especially since he found the gun at the university. It’s a handgun of some sort, a six chambered revolver, guns aren’t my forte. I don’t know if he found any ammunition but the way he waves it around makes me uncomfortable. Might be worth keeping an eye on him. Anyway, we’re going into the hospital. Nothing. We could barely get inside, the electric lights were out so we only had our torches. We decided it was too risky. Hector said there are more hospitals between us and the cathedral, we’ll try one of those. Isadora volunteered to drive the next section, I’m going to try and get in the cab with her.

5 hours 40 minutes
My back is killing me. Hector made it to the cab first so I’ve spent three hours in the back of the pickup truck, feeling every bounce, every bump in the road. There’s been nowhere to stop, just gas stations and restaurants. We filled the car once, swapped drivers to Julian and carried on. At least Isadora has been in the back with me for an hour. Hector directed Julian to another hospital, we’re leaving Isadora and Salomé at the car. Julian, Hector and I are splitting up for this one, Hector says we really need some supplies this time. I’m writing this on the move at the risk of falling out. Things have gone gone bad, very fucking bad. Julian and Salomé are dead. We checked the hospital, lights worked, all good. When we were inside the fucking power failed. I barely made it out, I swear I could feel the creatures coming for me. Luckily I had my torch with me and got through. Hector did the same. Julian left his torch at the car. When I got back Salomé was screaming, she’d seen the lights go out. Hector and I left her with Isadora and ran for the door Julian had gone through. I shone my torch in but it barely made a difference, there were no windows in the corridor. All I could make out was a bloody lump of flesh on the floor, with a very familiar moustache. We went back to the car, I threw up, I’m not ashamed of that. Salomé was still screaming, all I could make out was “Julian”. She started grabbing things from the car, pulling out our food, water, everything. Isadora tried to calm her down in Spanish but she was beyond reason. Hector shot her in the fucking head. He said we didn’t have time for it, we needed to move on and anyway he was doing her a favor, better that than being left behind and being outside at sunset. When we got into the back of the pickup Isadora held my hand, tight. I know what she meant. We need to be very careful of Hector.

7 hours 19 minutes
We’re close to the cathedral now, only a few hours away. My stomach is in knots. I hope my instincts are wrong. We’ve stopped at a combination of church and museum, the Iglesia de Ojo de Agua. Good for kids apparently, that’s what it’s reviews say. It would be pretty under any other circumstances. Isadora is terrified of Hector, she told me when he went to search for supplies. I can’t say I blame her. Whether he found any more ammunition or not, he still has five bullets in that gun. I don’t think it would take a lot for him to use them on us if he thought we were slowing him down. I’m driving the rest of the way, wish us luck.

10 hours
We’re here, the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. Please God let me be wrong, let us be safe. We’re fucked. But i can’t find it in me to be angry about it. We went into the cathedral to find two kids, can’t be much more than six and nine years old. They’re British, tourists apparently. Their parents went out to look for supplies and never came back. They’d been monitoring the forums so the kids did the same, saw the Chilpancingo post, saw our response and decided to go for it, try and get a lift. Clever little buggers. But we’re 3 and a half hours from safety, with less than 3 and a half hours of sunlight left. No more stops, we need to move fast.

13 hours 19 minutes
It’s over. We gave it our best. All that’s left is to document the end of our story.Hector drove, didn’t trust Isadora or I to be fast enough. We sat in the back with the kids, tried to keep their spirits up. We made good time, the pace we were setting might actually have got us there. Until we hit one pothole too many and the whole fucking wheel crumpled. That was ten, maybe twenty minutes ago. We’re about twenty minutes drive from safety. What a mistake. We all got out, decided we might as well try and run it. Who knows, maybe the sun would set a little later, give us enough time. But Hectors mind snapped. He turned the gun on us, said he could make it on his own, not with us. We tried to tell him to go then, just leave us, he didn’t have to shoot us, what would be the point? But fear messes people up. He was going to shoot. I saw his finger tightening on the trigger, and he was aiming at Isadora. So I charged him. And the fucker shot me, right in the side, straight through. Never felt pain like it, sorry for the blood on the page, I’m leaking a bit. Isadora messed Hector up, fair play to her. Clubbed him down with a gas can. Smashed his skull I’m pretty sure. Then she grabbed the gun and put two bullets into his chest, just to be on the safe side. She’s gone now, with the kids. I sent them off, I hope they make it. I’m done anyway, no way I’d be able to run twenty minutes to safety. If you see them around, tell Isadora I’m sorry.
We raced the sunset, and we almost won.
Night is falling. They’re coming.

Written by Gareth-Rees

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