It’s too loud down here, but not the kind of loud we had at home. At home, there were cars honking and people shouting, and their cacophony would lull me into sleep. Here, there is only the hum of the generator. Really, it shouldn’t bother me. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. Evangeline doesn’t seem to mind it. She’s sleeping next to me, and I’m afraid to move too much in case I wake her up.
I found this notebook when Marcus was out, and he doesn’t know I have it, though I’m sure he’ll find out soon. He always finds out. I’m hiding it between the mattress and the wall.
There is barely any light in here. We used to have windows, but then Marcus said the bears might see us through them, so he blocked them up from the outside. He took a gun with him, in case the bears attacked him.
Evangeline doesn’t believe in the bears. She told me, in the beginning, when we were both confused and unused to the loneliness of this place, that she had seen bears before, and didn’t think they could really turn evil like Marcus said. I laughed at her, but I’m not really sure either.
Marcus says I need to practice sewing. He says that in case he doesn’t come back, we should know how to take care of ourselves. He still won’t tell us how to get out though. He won’t even let us in the room when he’s leaving. If he didn’t come back, we would be stuck here. We’d starve. I think Evangeline would last longer. She doesn’t need to practice her sewing.
When Marcus got mad at me because I didn’t understand the backstitch, she stuck her tongue out at me behind his back and held up her square of fabric, which had lines of perfect stitches marching across it.
Evangeline has taken all the covers. I’m too cold to sleep because my pants are too short, but I can’t mend them because I don’t know how. If I tell Marcus, he will only smirk and tell me to keep doing my stitches.
My grandmother was an amazing seamstress. Whenever I visited her, she was working on a quilt. She made so many that her walls were covered in them. Everyone wanted one of her quilts. She never taught me to sew though. I guess I never wanted to learn, but now I wish I had. It would make everything easier.
Today, Marcus taught us how to cook a duck. He showed us how to pluck the feathers and clean the pale, bumpy flesh. We rubbed it with seasoning and put it over the firepit on a spit. The whole room got smokey, but he didn’t let us leave. He said he wanted us to watch it cook.
I had to turn the spit for hours. Marcus yelled at me in the beginning because I was turning it too fast, and then because I was turning it too slowly. He said if I kept it up, I would have to eat the burned part. I got the hang of it though. While the duck was roasting, he gave Evangeline two big pieces of fabric and all the feathers and told her to make a pillow. She already knew how. Marcus said if I would just learn how to sew, I could have made a pillow too.
Now, Evangeline has a down pillow with a blue pillowcase, and I still have the horrible, stiff pillow that Marcus gave me when I first got here. Just thinking about how comfortable she must be, I can’t sleep. She’s wearing a little smile. Her hair is all spread out on her new pillow, and it shines in the little bit of light coming from Marcus’s room.
Day 155, I guess? I haven’t been counting
Dear Marigold’s Diary,
Hello, I’m Evangeline. I know Marigold has been writing about me. She’s right that my hair is very pretty. And my new pillow is very comfy. Marigold woke me up when she tried to put this journal away tonight, but she didn’t realize. I think she’s been exaggerating her sleeping problems, because she fell right asleep once her head hit her (very uncomfortable) pillow.
I don’t really know what to write in here. I don’t know why she doesn’t just ask for help on her stitches. I’d be happy to help. Anyway, I don’t really get the journalling thing.
I didn’t know Evangeline wrote in here last night. I only just saw her entry. I think she’s awake right now. She’s lying completely still.
Today, we worked on our sewing while Marcus went out. I didn’t ask Evangeline to help me, but maybe I will tomorrow.
Evangeline just opened her eyes. She’s acting like she wants to write something.
Hello again! It’s Evangeline. We’re writing to each other in here so that we don’t wake Marcus next door. As you heard, Marigold went without my help in her sewing today, and let me tell you, her poor piece of fabric suffered for it. Haha she’s reading this over my shoulder, and I heard her huff at that.
Seriously though M, why are you writing in here? You know all that’s going to happen is that Marcus is going to find this journal and get mad at you.
I don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep. Shh. Marcus is going to come in here. You know he doesn’t like it when we stay up late. And as you said, he can’t find out about this
Fine, fine. Goodnight then.
-Marigold & Evangeline
Evangeline has been helping me with my sewing. I think I’m improving. She’s finally asleep. It’s real sleep this time. She’s not very good at faking.
While I was sewing today, I thought about her question from the last time we wrote. I think I’m writing this so that if anyone ever finds us, or finds this place, once we are long dead, because though I do not want to think about it, that really is a possibility, they will know what was happening.
Perhaps, as a service to any readers in the future, I should explain.
Marcus brought us here, together, but not really, to escape the bears. He is keeping us in a bunker underground. He says that the bears are running wild outside, and that it would be dangerous for us to be up there. He says that we are going to outlive everyone aboveground, and then we will create a new, stronger race of humanity down here that he will be the father of. He says he saved us. I don’t think what he says is the truth, but he himself believes it, and I guess in his mind, that makes it true. I think he’s just a madman, but he doesn’t starve us, or hit us, so I guess it could be much worse.
Marcus is trying to teach us survival skills. That’s why we had to cook the duck and why we have to know how to sew. He won’t let us out though.
I’ve been sleeping better lately.
I think it’s late, and I’m tired. Marcus doesn’t like it when we stay up late, and he doesn’t like it when we’re tired in the morning.
I don’t know what day it is
Dear Marigold and her diary and whoever is reading this in the future,
I get it now. I want to be remembered too. Seeing it all written out made it seem much more real that we might get stuck down here. I hope someone is reading this. Actually, I hope we were able to tell you everything ourselves, and you are only using this as evidence.
For the record, the thing about the bears is complete BS. Marcus is just a madman. We are not down here because we want to be.
Also, yes, M, your sewing is improving.
Dear Diary and whoever is reading from the future,
We are both here now. Today, Marcus left again, but he didn’t know we were watching. We hid, and we saw how to leave. We saw the outside world. The sky was perfectly blue, from what we could tell. The only sounds were the constant humming of the generator and the faint chirping of birds. There were no bears roaring or growling. The apocalypse story that he told us is completely made up. There are no rabid bears roaming the city streets. Everyone is fine. Marcus is just raving mad.
But now, we have a way to get out. Kinda. We have a general idea of how to do it.
It’s Evangeline. We shouldn’t write our plan here. Marcus could find it.
Okay. Should we leave this here when we escape? Because we will escape.
I know we will, M. No. We should bring it with us.
Okay. We have a plan. Goodnight.
-Marigold & Evangeline
Dear Diary and whoever is reading this from the future,
It’s been a while since Marcus has gone out. Evangeline and I have been on our best behavior. She is watching me write this. We’re going to go to bed soon, because he says he is going out again tomorrow. Then we will get out. I hope I will be able to sleep.
It’s Evangeline. You’ll be fine, M. Or if you’re awake, we’ll be awake together.
Goodnight. Hopefully you’re reading this soon.
-Marigold & Evangeline
September 8th, 2019
Dear Diary and whoever is reading this,
I asked the woman at the police office’s reception desk for the date. I am giddy with excitement. We’re out. There are no bears. The police officers believe us. It’s so wonderfully sunny out. Our plan went without any problems.
Marcus left, and we waited 10 carefully counted minutes. We didn’t sew. It was our first real, conscious act of rebellion.
Hi. It’s Evangeline. No, M, the first act of rebellion was having this journal in the first place. And yes it is very sunny out. Once the police release us, I’m going to sit in the park and get a sunburn. It’s going to be fun.
It’s Marigold again. I mean, it was the first rebellion of the day. Okay. Back to the story. After 10 minutes, we gathered our stuff into Evangeline’s blue pillowcase and went up to the hatch. When we watched Marcus leave the first time, we saw the combination he used. We didn’t say that before because we were afraid of him reading this and changing the code.
But we unlocked the hatch, and climbed out, and it was that easy. We were in a little patch of woods, close to the city. The whole way, we were afraid we were going to run into Marcus.
It’s Evangeline taking over. The walk was the most terrifying part of the whole thing. But there was no Marcus, and there were no bears (well, duh, we never really believed in those anyway). We got to the city and asked to use some woman’s phone to call the police. She looked at us like we were crazy, but let us.
The police picked us up and took us to the station, and the woman looked proud to have helped. Her name was Barbara. Anyway, we’re here now. We’re safe.
And I have an idea: we should title this journal.
You title something when you’re finished with it, E.
But isn’t this finished? We aren’t going to go back and keep writing about it, now that we’re out.
I know. But before we title it, we have to really finish it, and to really finish it, we have to sign it and write “the end.”
-Marigold & Evangeline