The Tanker Journal

This journal was recovered from a tanker whose entire crew had been killed by The Unwanted. It has a tough, waterproof cover with a tanker logo and the words "Janst Diesel Company."

Day 1.
My name is Robert Aven. I was born and raised in California. My wife is named Emiliana, and my daughter is named Rachel. They live in San Jose. Please, if you can find them, give them this journal. If someone besides me is reading it, I can only assume that I'm dead and gone.
I'm writing this because I want my family to know what happened to me. We've been drifting for weeks since leaving Petropavlosk, with no sign of a place to land. Two of the islands we've passed have been completely turned to glass, and another looked like it was growing giant rib bones from the ocean around it.
We have fuel, and have been able to catch a fair amount of fish, but this can't go on forever. I tried to convince Yakov, the captain, that we should turn around and try to cross the pacific to the north, but he is determined to continue south.
Emiliana, please forgive me for not coming home. I couldn't.

Day 2.
Yakov almost killed someone today. One of the Russian workers was becoming agitated, and when he began to shout at Yakov, the captain shot him in the shoulder. I was told later that the man wanted to go to the mainland and threatened to kill Yakov if he did not agree. I did not ask why he needed to get there.
I suppose I should record how this all started, weeks ago. We were doing our routine transport along the Bering coast when it happened. It was a beautiful night, and there was a brilliant green and purple aurora in the northern sky. I was standing on deck to watch.
Then, it came towards us. And through us. The aurora expanded to cover the sky as far as I could see, and sunk down until it touched the water itself. It felt cold when it passed through our ship, like an arctic wind. I took shelter in the bridge, not knowing what it might do, but it did no harm anyone. Unfortunately, it was the sign that the world had changed, and we did not know.
After an hour or so, the aurora vanished. Our radios had ceased to function, though, giving only static. Yakov decided to head for the coast for repairs.
The coast was gone.
Well, not gone, exactly. Everything withing sixty miles had been scoured clean. Just rocks, sand, and dirt. Not even a blade of grass was left. Buildings had fallen apart, leaving rubble behind.
There was panic, of course, from all of us. I do not wish to speak of what happened. Not yet, at least, and maybe never. But Yakov took command in the end, and we continued south, looking for life.
After a day of travel, we found it again. Grass, trees, houses, people. There was a clear line between life and death, like the forest had been cleanly severed. We docked outside of a coastal town near the zone of lifelessness, and went ashore to ask what had happened.
Yakov talked, but I could not understand much of it. He told me that the villagers did not know what had happened. The aurora had passed over the land, and everything living that it had touched had dissolved. When they learned we had been touched, they demanded that we leave, not trusting that we had truly been unharmed. So we left, continuing south.

Day 3.
I have not slept in over a day. It would be sad to die of exhaustion now, with so many more interesting dangers available. Not that I want to die, but if Rachel must one day tell how her father died, "He died from not sleeping" is less exciting than "He was eaten by a sea serpent," or "He was turned to sand by an aurora."
I apologize if you are reading this, Rachel. This has not been an easy time, and I have become more pessimistic than I would like. I would do anything to see you again, but this world seems bent on killing us.
There was a sea serpent today, like a giant moray eel, its belly covered with what looked like the legs of shrimp. It circled the boat for hours, but even when it leaped from the water it was unable to reach us.

To continue from what I wrote last night - after leaving the town, we did not see other people for days. The world seemed almost normal again. The coast has never been overrun with people. It is far too cold here for anyone sane to stay.
We docked near the Beringovsky settlement to hopefully find people and some explanation of what had happened, but the settlement was deserted. We took what supplies we could find, and continued along the coast.
The world seemed terrifyingly empty, but I can only look back on it as a welcome time of peace.
We were unable to repair our radios - indeed, they did not seem to be broken - and were left with only each other for company. I spent most of my time alone, or too busy to stop and talk.
By the time we reached Meynypilgyno, I was afraid that some of the ship's crew were going insane. That feeling of helplessness could easily do it. Meynypilgyno was just a small town, but those who needed to leave the ship were able to stay. The town seemed to have escaped any great disasters, and was willing to harbor us for a few days while we planned what to do next.
Their radios also gave only static, and they no longer received electricity or telephone service. We provided them with fuel for their generators, enough to last for several months. Yakov decided we should continue south, and try to reach a more populated area
We passed by another settlement soon after, Khatyrka, which seemed to be in the same situation as the last. We provided them with some fuel as well before continuing onward. They were the last inhabited settlement we saw for two weeks.
We had been moving slowly, watching for signs of life, but after Tymlat we traded caution for speed. Everyone who had lived their had walked naked into the streets, and frozen to death.
We kept farther from the coast, and moved as quickly as we could to escape the Bering sea.

Day 4.
Today was beautifully uneventful. Emiliana, remember what I said about needing a job like this for the excitement it provided? I was lying, and I've never regretted it so much as I do now. I wanted to believe that I was someone with wanderlust, someone adventurous who looked for danger. And, if I hadn't been that convinced of what I should be, I could be back in San Jose with you instead of trapped on this ship with nothing outside but cold weather and a world going mad.
If I ever make it back I'm never leaving again.

After Tymlat, we went directly to Petropavlosk, passing by any settlements we saw along the way.
Petropavlosk was the first city we had seen since we began our journey, and our best hope for finding information on what had gone wrong.
Instead of finding answers, we lost two people and what remained of our hope.
The city looked alive from the outside. We saw people walking the streets, and when we docked we were welcomed. Yakov, me, and three other members of the crew went ashore first, to talk.
As one of the crew members - I am told that his name was Kirill - opened his mouth, an elderly man spat at him. It was a yellowish-white substance that smelled like rotting meat. When the old man spat, it traveled like pressurized water from a hose, too much and moving too fast. It got inside Kirill's mouth, and ate through him like acid.
We ran for the boats, and a woman tackled one of the other crew members, whose name I do not know. We did not save him. I do not think we could have, but… we did not try. Yakov shot those who tried to follow us into the boats, and we were able to escape back to the ship.
As we left, I could see further into the city. The streets were deserted but for the skeletons. The city had looked alive from our ship, but I think everything that had been alive was there at the coast, luring us in.
We have drifted since then. We are not in so much of a hurry, now. Getting somewhere seems too dangerous. But still, we are going south. Perhaps somewhere is still as it should be.

Day 5.
I saw a group of birds in the distance this morning, just after dawn. They formed a cloud big and thick enough to look like a mountain. I've seen starlings form clouds like this before, though smaller, but this cloud had seagulls, herons, smaller birds of every kind… at least, I think so. I say this because there were so many, not because we were close enough to pick out many individual birds.
Remember that Hitchcock film, Emiliana? It was like that. I think they may have been fighting, though I don't know why, because sometimes birds would fall to the water and not rise back up. We kept moving, and did not approach. The cloud was at least three miles across.
Beyond that, today has not been eventful. We continue south, nearing Simushir. The captain has decided that we will go inland once we reach Japan, and aim for the island of Sakhalin. Some of the crew has family there, including the captain. I can understand his decision. But every mile towards his family is a mile away from mine. He knows this.

Day 6.
We passed by another cloud of birds today, early in the afternoon. This one was much smaller. The reason was clear. The water was filled with their corpses. We neared the beach of the island of Raseva, but could see no people. Just bird corpses filling the water like a bloodied island of their own, so thick that in many places I could not see the water through them.
Many of these islands were uninhabited to begin with, but I do not know which ones. I hope this was one of them.

Day 7.
It was a clear day, and we could see Japan in the distance. We will reach there tomorrow. We could also see a strange, metallic column smoke rising from what the captain believes to be Nemuro.
We will reach it tomorrow. I wanted to say we should simply avoid it, but the desire to find living people has become almost an obsession for all of us.
The entry ends with two lines that have been scribbled out. It's impossible to say what they were.

Day 8.
Nemuro is mostly dissolved. All the metal in the city is slowly decaying and rising into the air like smoke. We did not see a cloud of smoke, but a cloud composed of particles of metal. The city is a crumbled wreck, with plastic and wood filling the streets and most buildings either fallen or damaged beyond repair.
I saw bodies in the streets when I looked through my binoculars, their skin ruptured. I do not know if it took iron from their bodies, or the rising cloud passes through them, or if it was something else entirely. We kept our distance, so I do not know if there were any survivors.
We are moving inland now, towards Sakhalin. Going towards anywhere feels like a risk, now. But we can't drift forever.

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