Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DAY FIVE : Mining Alllll Night Loonnnnng

Lives left : One.

He stumbled home just before dark, fried himself up a pork chop, and woofed it down before he even realized what he was doing.

I really need to get some other kind of food going here, he thought. He couldn’t see himself, but he bet a week of nothing but sand, blood, and pork hadn’t exactly been great for his complexion.

He snuck a peek at his garden, was again disappointed by the lack of change. They were growing, for sure, but definitely not at the rate which he’d hoped. He figured he should probably water them, and spent a little while trying to fashion some kind of bucket, but it just didn’t work.

He threw his tools down dejectedly and looked around. He’d walked and run and stabbed things all day, but he was still feeling restless. He couldn’t go outside…but maybe he could do something productive in here?

He started sizing up the walls of his basement, thinking about possible projects. I ought to start mining, he thought. I’ve seen strange stones in some of those caves, I’ve found coal just digging around in here…I bet if I start going at it, something good will happen.

He whipped together some pickaxes, chose a wall, and started digging down.

I'll just dig until I can't dig anymore.

Down and down he went, stone flying this way and that. He must have gone down twenty feet, in a jagged line, but encountered nothing.

Aw shit, he thought, as he started hitting dirt. This was going nowhere...but once started, he couldn't stop.

He was so frustrated he stopped putting torches down, digging in the dark and going purely by sound. This seemed like a good idea, until he struck the stone above him, and started to hear a rumbling sound. He dove back, as a mass of gravel covered the space he’d been standing in not seconds before.

He coughed as the dust filled his lungs. That was close! No more of that. He bet not even the mysterious beach-entity could save him from that.

He cleared away the rubble, and kept going for a few minutes, but he was so paranoid of cave-ins now, he’d really lost the fire for it.

That’s enough of that for today, he thought, and he gathered his tools and scrambled back up with some difficulty. I’ll have to put in some proper stairs, especially if I go much farther. I’ll get hungry at the bottom here, and die of starvation before I reach the top.

At last he stumbled back into his house, and collapsed on the floor. He was shocked to see it was still night, and for a second wondered if he had dug all through the day; but then tell-tale rays of purple and blue began to show through, and he knew the sun was just rising.

Some good timing, he thought. He still had some time before it was safe to go out…why not put the stairs in now? He should be worn out, he knew, but actually, with a few minutes to catch his breath, he didn’t feel tired at all. Must be some strange effect of this world…he didn’t even feel the need to sleep!

Or maybe it was just the insanity, setting in.

His strangely limitless pockets were bursting with heaping mountains of stone from all his digging, and he fashioned them into crude slabs for a stairway, and then headed over to the mine to make the whole thing a little more user friendly.

But, blast it! He’d made it too small, and the stairs wouldn’t fit unless he hunched over. Not exactly the most comforting prospect. He gritted his teeth and grabbed his pickaxe. At least the hard work was over, now all he had to do was knock out a bit of the ceiling, place the stairs, and he'd be ready to go.

Away he went, knocking out this part here, and smoothing out this part there, making it all symmetrical and even like a coke head with OCD. He’d gone through like a wild man before, but now he was picking and choosing his targets, and he had to admit, it was kind of meditative and peaceful. He felt downright zen, at one with the world.

He knocked out a stone above him and got ready to place the stairs down, when he heard that familiar rumble.

He didn’t even have time to move, he barely even had time to raise his hands to protect him when BAM, a huge weight crushed him to the floor. Gravel filled his lungs, he couldn’t breathe, and he squirmed and wriggled and then somehow, someway he was free. He fell facefirst, hitting his head on the stone and giving himself an instant headache.

He slowly sat up and looked around – HE WAS TRAPPED. Panic gripped him for a few seconds, but then passed when he remembered how easy it was to dig things out in the world. Seriously, was this stone made of cardboard, or what? He shoveled the gravel away, and in a few minutes everything was back to normal, except of course, for the gaping dark hole above him. He peered up into for a while. He didn’t think anything else was up there, but he wasn’t sure, so he walled it in.

No use leaving anything to chance.

He finished the stairs, extremely cautiously, and then headed back to the surface, chiding himself for almost getting buried alive twice in the space of ten minutes.

He looked at his garden as he mounted the top step. The plants had hardly changed. In fact, they seem to have almost gotten worse.

As Matheson looked at them, and the army of torches surrounding them, he flared up with rage. He knocked the torches down, burning himself a few times in the process and accidently flinging one on the garden, which lit up a few of the plants in seconds.

It’s too dry down here, he thought. Ugh. He really had been hoping that would work. All he had left was one pork chop, which he fried up and ate mechanically, the several day old, gamey taste, bringing him only the very basic satisfaction.

Slowly, he became aware of a very strange noise outside. A kind of constant, unending, random tapping. His brow furrowed and he strode up into the main floor.

“What now?”

But as he looked out the door, he realized it was just rain. Rain! He threw open the door and ran outside, staring straight up to the heavens. It was raining all over, a thick, heavy, beautiful rain. He hadn’t even realized that he’d missed it so much, but he had.

He let it wash over for a while and looked around. There were some scuff marks and overturned rocks, here and there a little puddle of something or other, but the monsters were behaving themselves. Perhaps they’d given up?

He thought back to his garden inside. Should he bring those plants up, make a garden up here? Not a bad idea, he thought, but then his mind flashed angrily. No, let them starve, if they won’t grow for me, they don’t grow at all. I’ve got enough seeds, I’ll just plant a new one.

And so he did, hoeing out a nice section right behind his house and planting out ten of fifteen feet of dirt.

“Maybe you’ll perform a little better,” he said, and patted the dirt reassuringly.

The rain stopped almost immediately, as if to spite him. He stared straight up for several seconds, uncomprehending. Maybe he was tired? Or going crazy? Once second it had been there, and then it was gone?

Ah well. Seemed as good a time as any to go exploring.

Continue to the next post.

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