My second story to be posted, but the first to be written. again, unfinished and hopefully more to come. suggestions for improvements appreciated
p.s it's kinda minecraft related :3
I still haven't gotten used to this strange world yet. There isn't really much to explain about it. Very open and natural with lots of wide plains, deserts and oceans. Maybe this is because there is no-one else around. From first looks, I seem to be the only person here for miles around. I mean, there are animals, like pigs, sheep and cows, but their only use is as a food source. All they seem to do is stand around so there is no real point in trying to get one as a sort of pet. I remember always looking out for people and one day hoping i would be able to enjoy my own life. I didn't expect this to be the way of me being on my own. It is day four of my arrival here and I have noticed that my watch seems to correspond with the day cycle here which is always useful and most of the time it is sunny, allowing me to explore the land without getting wet in the rain. Today, however, the rain has come and there seems to be no stop to it. For now I'll have to stay in my small, shifty, wooden house. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring new wonders and maybe if I'm lucky, a speck of sunshine.
God damn it! You've got to be kidding me! More sheep. I hate the way they look at you with their stupid cross-eyes. I have to find some civilisation somewhere around here. What are the chances of just me ending up in this place? Bored, I began sharpening my stone sword i had fashioned from a few sticks and a rustic, craggy chunk of cold, hard stone. I had realised that a weapon may be useful, as going into the unknown can bring all sorts of possibilities and dangers. I started to ponder over the one thing that still loomed like a raincloud in my mind; how did i get here? It saddened me to think of it. I had already thought of the possibility of this being a "second life", but any sane person would know that talk about an afterlife is all just fiction. I must be here for a reason. I didn't even hear it approach. It was so very silent, the thought of it chills me to the bone. I hear a slight hissing noise, like when you let the air out of a pump. then the light disappeared.
It can't be possible. How can i be in another life? I wake up, my lips chapped, my throat dry and my whole body, utterly sore. The sunlight almost burns my eyes, which are still trying to get accustomed to the searing brightness. Through slits, i can make out a small wooden structure and without a second thought i sprint towards it. Daggers were stabbing my joints and razor sharp pins pricked my legs, but i managed to get there, only to finally realise it was my own crappy, musty, wooden house.
Since the first enlightenment of this new world, i had become used to the fact that when i die, i wake up again in the place i first came into consciousness. Luckily, i hadn't had one of these experiences since the first one, so i hadn't felt the agonising pain again. My survival skills had increased dramatically. Finding fuel was a walk in the park in this world. Imagine if there was this much coal left on Earth. From there, i could easily craft a torch, like the one you would put in a sconce. These proved very useful in lighting up dark places, including my house. Just as i was lighting up the area around my shack, night quickly fell. The moon shone a radiant pale blue, its light casting faint shimmers on the sea's surface. A ripple originated and expanded across the still surface. I started to feel uneasy, even in the comfort of the light surrounding my house. And there it was. The pump started hissing again. I rapidly jolted my head around and start to shuffle backwards, as i take in the features of the monstrosity that stood before me. It was about one and a half meters tall, with indented eyes that reflected the very essence of hell. Short stubby legs hauled the lump of a body towards me. There looked like there was no way it was going to stop approaching me and even after all my contemplation of "respawing", i was still scared stiff. My body jarred and my mind blanked. Nothing had ever made me this worried. Clumsily, i grab my sword and hurl it at the beast's face. A grey powder seeps from the wound engulfing its legs in a sea of darkness. The monster slowly stops moving and topples to the ground with a hard thud. I look from side to side as i stumble back home and i agonisingly collapse onto the hard, wooden floor. Never had wood felt so comforting. This night had been a mixture of emotions for me and nothing could describe the feeling i had whilst looking into that thing's eyes. Deep, dark, angry, yet full of sorrow and remorse.
I gazed at the still water. There was nothing else to do. My life was boring and would never end. When i get killed, the pain drives itself deep into me and then I reappear somewhere else. The people don't realise that we do feel pain. Foreign beings are considered dangerous to them, but our kind see other people as chances and possibilities of friendships and kindness. The humans will never understand this though. We will forever be opposites.
Breakfast was the same as usual. Bread, scrambled eggs, a slice of bacon and some water. Quite tasty, but getting old, fast. As i fastened my rucksack, i said goodbye to my old 'house'. Hopefully, today would be the day that i would find some sort of civilization and if i never did, i would become a nomad traveller, never staying in one spot for too long. I passed deserts, jungles, oceans and vast, vast plains, but still nothing. Beginning to lose all hope, i sit down on a nearby rock. The wooden path underneath my feet was cold and worn. Wooden path. Wooden path. Wooden...path. The excitement hit me like a train at full speed. Although it didn't seem to lead anywhere at first, i certainly didn't make it. It must lead somewhere. Past the leaves and vines, a slightly square-shaped object poked out from behind a thick wall of underbrush. Suddenly, there was a high pitched twang. My senses kicked in almost instantaneously, my body moving like a jaguar. The arrow thudded into a nearby tree. I rushed over to the bushes and clambered inside. It was wet, muddy and full of flies, but outside it was a death-trap. As i crawled my way through the dense foliage, i heard the faint sound of voices. I was relieved, but in actual fact, more worried. These people may be other humans, but who knows if they are friendly. I stumble out of the leaves and twigs. The wall in front of me is huge and covered in moss, indicating that this structure must have been here hundreds of years ago. The gate was not too far away from where i was positioned, so i quickly advanced over to it. Peeking around the corner, i could see that there were a few tents in the middle of the grounds and approximately five people on the walls. Moments later i hear voices getting closer to me. These must be the ones who tried to shoot me earlier. A creak starts to sound, as the gates open. My back is still against the wall, when the people rush out. A tall, stocky bloke in leather armour skids in front of the gate, beside him, a young looking girl carrying a finely crafted bow and a quiver of arrows. Without a sound, i creep backwards into the fort, only to be stopped by a hand on my shoulder.
"Is this the one you were lookin' for?"
Both the male and female turn their heads, their faces confused and slightly bewildered.
"How did he get there? There's no way he could have gotten to the gates without us noticing" exclaimed The tall, burly man.
"Well, obviously he can do just that" replied the guard, who was now disarming me. The girl just looked at me blankly for a few seconds and then walked off, back into the main grounds.
"Look, come with me lad, we need to discuss some things that we say to all strangers."
Like a procession, we walked single-file to a large oak door, embedded in a dark watch-tower, which was slowly crumbling into non-existence. As we walked through the massive entrance, it became clear that there was more people in this place than I thought. The sound of laughter was sounding, as well as the chinking of glasses. All this stopped as soon as i was noticed. The room went deadly silent.
"ere', who's this little runt?" bellowed one of the men at the back.
The guard just carries on past them and starts for a flight of narrow, winding stairs, the tall guy in front of him and the girl even further ahead.
"Yeah, who is this guy? No-one's come here for five years now."
"There's no way that people can still be arriving in this land."
As they realise no-one is going to answer, the voices start back up again. We quickly make our way up the stairs to what must be the top of the watch tower. Here, there was a gold-encrusted door with a brass knocker on the front. The girl makes her way in and after her comes the tall guy, the guard and me. A dull light has filled the room, but it is bright compared to the now night sky outside. The guard ushers me to a small wooden stool where i am suddenly bombarded with a series of questions.
"Ok, firstly, what's your name."
Her voice is soft and calm, but firm and tense at the same time. I pause and wait for a few seconds before answering.
"Hmmm, ok...Joel. Now where did you come from and how did you know where this fort was?"
"Well, i found myself in this world about a month ago."
"I left to search for other people today. I knew i couldn't be the only one here. There was a wooden path that led to the fort."
"Okay, well it doesn't look like you can do much harm to us sooo, you should be alright to stay with us."
She leans closer for just a second and whispers in my ear.
"Just between you and me, you are the one of the two people here who isn't an adult, so be careful."
She pulls away and walks over to the door. Before leaving she calls back in.
"Oh, Graham, show Joel to his new room. It's the one opposite Matt's."
"Sure thing Katie."
The door closed gently and once she was gone Graham passed me my possessions. Sword, shovel, axe, gold, leath-hang on, gold?
"Think of it as a welcome gift" said Graham "I like you and your personality. Not many people can sneak past me." he chuckled. "Now let's get to your room."
We walked down the stairs and past the open room, which was now empty apart from one cleaner. We walked across the dimly lit room to another set of stairs, this time leading downwards. The door at the bottom led to a long corridor, lined with sconces and in them, candles. My room was fairly close to the door and i was mildly satisfied with the contents. A reasonable size bed was on the right side of the room and at its foot, a chest to hold personal belongings (not that i had many). The room had one single light source, but that was all that was needed. Upon the small side-table to the left of the room was a small plate, a cracked mug and a key, presumably to work the lock in the door.
"See ya in the morning"
Graham left the room and as the faint sound of his feet faded I fell into bed.
I awoke to the sound of clanging. My eyelids were heavy and my mind not ready for the day ahead.
"Come on you dirty toads, get up already."
I hauled myself out of bed and slowly got my clothes on. I opened the heavy door and walked out into the corridor. No-one was there, so i presumed that i was the first out. I decided to jog up to the dining area and as i suspected, no-one else was around. Damn! Bacon. Eggs. Bread. I thought I'd seen the last of you. I sat there for a few minutes with only the silence of the room to comfort me. The door opposite me creaks open and the adults started to come through and sit down. A group of the adults who looked like the 'Jocks' of the hoard, came and sat down next to me. I was nearly done, but as i tried to walk away one grabbed my collar and restrained me.
"Heh heh, looks like we got a newbie eh?"
"Ha ha, yeah. Look how stupid he looks with those shorts."
"Hey, don't make him cry, he might have to run off to his mammy"
"Ha ha ha ha."
I quickly intervened.
"My mum is dead."
One by one, the men fell silent. The one who had made the comment looked sick and retreated to another table. The rest quickly followed suit. I wouldn't mind talking about my other life to people, as i didn't even know my parents. It just made a handy way of getting out of awkward situations. I quietly put my dishes in the washing area and saw Graham. I rushed over to him.
"Oh, hey Joel. You doing ok?" "Yeah, i guess. Some guys tried to provoke me, but they looked really stupid when i told them my parents were dead." I smiled lightly.
"Oh. Sorry to hear that."
"Nah, it's ok. I didn't even know them anyway. That doesn't matter though, all i wanted to know was what I'm supposed to do now."
"Oh yeah. Basically, you are split up into groups doing different activities. One will do some combat training, another doing long range combat training and the last doing exploration. The more experienced members help protect the fort and make decisions with Katie."
It seemed like Katie was the leader of this rouge group.
"This morning, you're gonna be doing some combat training. Just go out the doors into the grounds at ten o' clock and you'll be met by Matt. He's the combat instructor. I'll be seeing ya then!"
I wandered back to my room, since i had half an hour to spare. There was a rock in the corner of my room, which gave me an idea. It proved to be useful as a sharpening tool for my sword. It was only crude and made out of stone, but worked well. This i had found out when fighting the poison green monster. I finely worked the blade until it had jagged back-pointing teeth. In practice and in combat this should prove handy...and deadly. Five minutes before ten o' clock, i paced up to the eating hall, over the way and through into the grounds. It was a bright morning and the sun glared in my face. I covered my eyes for a second and i could just make out a few figures. I could quickly make them out properly. The one at the front in the mixture of leather and iron armour, must be Matt, the one taking the session. The others were just a mixture of men who i didn't recognise in the slightest.
"Hey hey, looks like i got the new kid! Wonder if you're any good in combat."
I didn't reply. I nodded and carried on walking toward the group.
"First off, I'm going to give you guys a briefing, mainly for the new kids' sake."
One of the men grumbled and another sighed.
"Yes, yes, i know it's boring, but we wouldn't want a kid getting lost or hurt out there would we?"
"Maybe" one of the men chimed. A few others chuckled at this prospect, but it didn't phase me. Matt ran through some of the basic instructions and precautions, since we were going outside the fort grounds. Basically stuff like 'don't wander off', 'Always be on guard' and 'don't swing weapons around aimlessly'. He gave basic directions of where we were going and from then it was just a game of follow the leader. We arrived in the open, light clearing about five minutes later. The sun made a shaft of light, bursting through the luscious, green canopy. It fell upon seven wooden dummies with buckets on their heads. Some were suited with armour from the likes of leather and hide to more advanced sets of iron armour. The figures wobbled around in the light breeze, as if they were fidgeting and eager to get into action. The men lined up in front of Matt as he allocated each person a target dummy. I was given one wearing iron rimmed leather armour. It seemed a bit harsh to give the n00b one of the harder targets, but i murmured to myself
One of the men was handing out swords, but as he came over to me i declined and showed him mine. He showed no emotions, but instead just carried on to the next person.
"Okay. First we will practice a slicing technique across the open part of a body. You should aim to make contact with the soft parts of the body, such as the stomach. This gives more damaging results. In lots of cases, blood loss may kill them, but if the stomach is cut open, their insides will be able to spew out."
He gave a creepy, deranged smile.
He counted to three.
A loud concussion of clunks sounded as everyone sliced at their opponent. The damage of my blade was easily comparable to the others'. Long, worn marks were left on the armour and some of the leather was ripped. Matt seemed surprised at the finesse of my attack and so did the others. Most of them looked away and tried to ignore me. They obviously underestimated my strength and precision. We carried on doing this slice attack for a few minutes and then we moved on to lunges. For this, we did not use a dummy as it was too hard and tough to strike at. Matt was turning out to be a really good teacher and i was glad it wasn't one of the older guy's taking the session. We ended close to one o' clock, which was probably best, as my stomach was a tiger, fiercely growling and clawing out of my stomach. Lunch was okay i guess. Toast was the main option with cake for afters. That was quite a change and very sweet. According to Matt, my next session was scheduled to be archery. This, however, had been moved to tomorrow for me and instead, a leader named James would be taking us hunting. It was apparent that our rouge group was low on stocks, including food and supplies. This was quite fortunate, as i had just had the tiring combat session. We gathered in the courtyard, similarly to the combat session and were met by James a few minutes later. He explained to us how this hunting trip was mainly to collect food and supplies from animals, however there are some creatures that are alive in the day that are harmful. He named these two creatures. Most of the other men were familiar with the term 'Spider', but very few 'Creeper' and even then, none had ever seen one. Unfortunately i realised what a Creeper must be and i let out a quiet yelp.
"Erm, Joel, is something wrong?" James asked.
"N...n...no. Everything is absolutely fine."
"Do you know what a Creeper looks like James?"
"Umm, no. I've only been told to keep a look out and be careful."
I continue to stay quiet. That green monstrosity i saw must be a creeper.
"Okay then guys, hunting, let's get to it."
We walked for what seemed like an age. Through the dense forest which seemed to expand forever. James moved without a sound. All that could be heard was the crunching footsteps of the other men, clumsily clambering through the leaves and underbrush. Suddenly he stopped and signalled for silence. Up ahead was a group of eaten, worn and pale people.
"Hey" one of the men said from the back of the group
"Some other people!"
The man rushed forward past the group, me and James. James tried to snag his collar to restrain him, but the man shook James off. The people could feel their senses kick in. Flesh. New, fresh, clean flesh. Their heads whipped round, revealing empty eye sockets and a gnawed lolling tongue. the teeth were either worn down or not there altogether and skin was flaking off everywhere. The pale shards floating down looked like snow, but with the essence of death and horror. The man had the sudden realisation of his mistake and tried to turn around, but he slipped on a moss covered log. As he fell, the creatures sprinted towards him. No-one intervened, not even James.
"You've got to do something!"
"No way man, too dangerous". He whispered. "I can't risk losing the whole group."
One man was sitting, back against a tree, horrified at the sight. I couldn't let this happen. I immediately yanked a vine from within the leaves and started to tie it round my sword's handle. James looked over at me in confusion. I leapt up from my hiding place and as i looked over to where the man was, the creatures were already upon him. My sword sliced through the air and as it left my hand, moved like a missile. I thought it was too late, but my sword made contact with the beast's skull. It cracked through and shattered the skull into a million fragments of bleached bone. The teeth hooked into the back of its head, brains and meagre spatters of blood dripping all over the luscious green grass. I recoiled the rope, so that the creature keeled over backwards. The force driving its thigh bones through the knee caps. Whether it could feel pain or not, it was surely belittled of any movement it had left. The other creature, now looking more like a human, snapped it's head around to gaze at me with it's empty eyes. I glanced over at the unconscious man. He looked okay. The second monster started to sprint towards the group, but this time James stood up and drew an arrow in his bow. It made contact silently and the beast fell instantly. He ran over to the man with two others who helped carry him over to us. James told us to head back. Nothing was said for the rest of the journey.
It had been an awkward first full day here. No-one would talk about what had happened at the hunting session and quite understandably too. We still weren't to know if the man had been infected or not, but he was certainly healing okay on the outside. Sometimes i visited him to see how he was doing and i soon realised that he was a nice guy. He was very gracious that i had acted and helped him from the Striders (this is what we have named the undead creatures). For weeks the atmosphere was quiet and all activities carried on as normal. I had learnt some techniques in herbalism so that we could increase our medical supplies, however, it is apparent that my combat skills surpass those of healing and farming. When I awoke i saw a faint figure standing before me. My eyes hadn't adjusted to the light yet. They spoke to me quietly and soon i realised it was Katie.
"Come on you idiot, get up"
I mumbled some words even i couldn't understand and suddenly I was jolted out of bed by my arm.
"I've noticed some rustling outside the gates and sometimes what looks like a head. I think there are people outside the fort and I thought I would take you with me. Of course, you won't be able to come if you're still in bed."
She smiled at me before leaving the room. I got ready into my casual clothes, the armour left hanging on its hook. I quickly grabbed my sword, sheathed it into my scabbard and hurried off to the door. I met Katie by one of the walls. Everything was extremely quiet, but i could definitely hear a faint rustling outside the grounds. Me and Katie both climbed up onto the south-facing wall, directly above the entrance doorway. I peeked over the top and saw a hook burrowed into the dirt.
"Okay, I've spotted a trap outside the entrance. We need to find another way out."
"Nah, just hop over the wall!"
I peered over the edge and i was faced with thick, fibrous, green vines. Katie was already half way down, to concentrated to notice the brown lump in the underbrush. Without thinking, i drew a razor sharp arrow from my quiver and let it fly. A faint whimper came from the bushes and a steel bolt flew inches from Katie's head. She still fell the rest of the way from shock, but landed with the prowess of a cat, as if nothing had happened. I quickly vaulted the battlements and slid down the vines to where Katie was looking into the bushes. Slowly, a figure appeared from the hedge, dragging behind him a steel crossbow. It took me a few seconds before i saw the gouge in his lower stomach.
"Shit, hang on. Katie, grab his shoulders, we need to get him back to the..."
"He set up a trap outside the gates remember"
By now, the man had passed out and was gradually turning paler and paler.
"Keep an eye on him for a second, I'm gonna sort out the trap."
"Okay, be careful"
I started to wipe the blood from his face and tried to clot the blood around the wound. I put my jacket to the bolt, and further examined the bolt and entrance cut. The bolt wasn't rusty which was one thing and he didn't look to be hit in a fatal place. Out of nowhere a deafening noise sounded and the shockwave sent me flying to the ground. The first thought that went through my mind was of Katie. I now had little hope in the bandit surviving, but i told myself i would come back for him. I ran through the bushes, occasionally stumbling over roots or logs. I was horribly welcomed by the smell of smoke, sulphur and burning plant matter, as well as a dirty great crater in the ground outside the gates. I couldn't see Katie. People were starting to come out of the barracks to see what was going on.
"You there, get the man round the corner of the walls"
The man rushed off around to where the man was lying. Stumbling around, i tried looking for Katie, but my hope was fading. Suddenly, a hand grabbed my ankle and as i spun my head around i saw Katie at my feet. Her clothes were burned and some of her skin was singed. The wounds looked horrific, but i needed to help. By now, the bandit was already at the gates. I quickly followed with Katie in my arms.
The blackness lasted for what seemed like forever. I can't tell how long it's been like this, but I know it's been long. Slowly, i manage to open my eyes a slit. I think I'm in my room, but everything is very blurry. There's a slight tingly pain in my back and in my legs, but it isn't too bad. The desk in front of me fades and i open my eyes again. My head leans to the side and i can just about see a man with a large bandage, lying on a bed beside me. Suddenly, my back stops tingling and instead feels like it's burning the skin. I see another figure standing in front of me, unfortunately looking away. I try to call for help, but only croaks and dry coughs materialise. The figure slowly turns around and for a second just looks at me sympathetically, but then realises something. He rushes over and lightly embraces me, but i don't know why. He pulls away. Realising that he's probably hurting me more. The room slowly turns black again, making the boy's speech inaudible. A slight clinking awoke me. As i opened my eyes and sat up, i realised that i must be in my room in the fort. Joel was placing a wooden tray on my table. I could see food on it, probably breakfast. I don't know how long i was asleep for, but it must have been at least a day. Joel turned round and saw i was awake.
"hello" he chimed.
"urghh, what happened?"
"well...in short...you got half blown up by a bomb."
"my legs aren't missing though are they?"
"nah, don't worry, some burns though!"
Suddenly it came back to me and i saw the man with the arrow in his stomach.
"is the guy you shot okay?" i said with a rushed voice
"yeah, thankfully the medic finished patching you up pretty quickly"
"okay, i just don't want to be responsible for a death and if his group find out we killed him, they would almost certainly attack us"
"what makes you say he was with a group? He looked like a complete nomad to me"
"come on, ive only just woken up from being half exploded and you don't even realise..."
"i don't reckon a lone person could get hold of explosives in that quantity"
"I'm gonna go and talk to this guy"
"no way. You need to lie still for longer yet"
He was right. I tried getting off of my bed, but a searing pain shot through the whole of my back and legs.
"don't worry, we'll be okay and i'll check in on you every now and then. We won't be getting blown up!"
He grinned slightly, as if he understood exactly how I felt.
Four days had passed since the accident. Both myself and the stranger were healing well and we have both started walking around again. Once we are both fully healed, a group of our finest men (and Joel) are going armed to sort this out. We've managed to verify with him that he is Every now and then I've wondered how our group hasn't ever seen or heard about this other group of people