Friday, June 17, 2011

DAY ONE : The First Night

It got dark in what seemed like seconds.

I'll probably be fine.

The sun had been starting to edge down, for sure, but the time between that, and absolute darkness, was what felt like mere seconds.

At least there is a sun, he thought, with everything else that is strange about this place.

He’d been laying the foundation for his shelter- he’d found a patch of dirt he liked, dug into the side of the hill, whipped up a shovel and leveled it off, and was just placing down the walls and ceiling when the darkness hit.

He hated fumbling about in the dark like this, placing blocks by the stars and the scant moonlight, but he wanted a roof over his head in case it rained, and, though he hated to admit it, there was something creepy about this place at night.

He banged his head and hurt his hands several times, but finally finished it off, except for a little space in the front where he was planning on putting a door, if he could just figure out how to make one. He jammed the wood this way and that, but couldn’t quite get it.

And then he heard a peculiar sound. It was far away, and he would have thought it was the wind, except, there had been no wind all day. It was like a whispered hiss , far off in the distance.

And sounded like it was coming closer.

He stopped moving and strained for a few seconds, to listen.


And they were definitely coming closer.

Fear gripped his heart. He was not a cowardly man, and if anything the fear made him redouble his efforts at building the door, but there was something inhuman and calculating about that noise that made his blood run cold.

More footsteps. And out in pitch dark, a low, strangled moan.

But always the hiss, getting nearer and nearer to where he was.

In desperation he heaved blocks this way and that, willing them into place with sheer force of mind- and then, bam, something locked and he held a door firmly in his hands.

He raced forward and jammed it into the doorjamb, securing it tightly from the inside, just as a dark green face emerged from nowhere, mouth open wide, rotted teeth barred.

Matheson shrieked and jumped back.

The creature was ugly. Ugly beyond belief. Green broken, rotted skin and lifeless eyes. It had that same vacant look as the pig, except it clearly intended some form of harm, its detachment making it all the more terrifying.

It jostled the door and pounded the walls, trying to force it’s way in, never taking it’s eyes of Matheson’s, but when it became obvious that the house was solid, it slowly slunk off to the side with a final, vicious hiss.

He knew it wasn’t gone, however. He could hear it breathing as it moved around his house, and after a while other noises became apparent as well; The clatter of bones on stone, the soft thud of decaying flesh on dirt, the gurgled cries and mad shrieks of inhuman creatures thirsting for blood.

Matheson wished desperately for some light.

If I survive the night, first thing I do tomorrow, I light a fire, he told himself, cursing under his breath he had wasted so much time today. I didn’t know it was going to be like this, he thought, I didn’t know. He slunk against the wall opposite the door, hoping they couldn’t see him in the inky darkness, hoping against hope he wouldn’t see the moon obscured by a sinister face.

That was a prayer that was not be answered.

Within minutes the creepy green being was back, it’s eyes burrowing into his soul. He stared back it, at first overcome with a growing sense of terror that slowly began to give way to an indignant rage.

I’m not going to hide in the corner just because you stand there, he thought. This is my house, ugly as it is, and I worked hard to create it. I didn’t ask to be dropped here. And I’ll be damned if I let you get to me! He shouted that last part, caching himself off guard. Did he say the whole thing aloud?

Either way, the creeper just stood there- creeper, that was a good name for it, he thought. It hissed, but stayed motionless.

He cast about for a weapon, grabbed his axe, and stood up. This ends now. I am a man- I am Matheson Squareface Quiverbottom, Esq. You picked the wrong place to play peeping tom.

He gripped the axe tightly and inched forward. The house was not very big and he was at the door in seconds. He couldn’t see the creature much better, and it was no less monstrous up close, but the smell, somewhere between rotting flesh and week-old egg salad, was enough to gag a dead dog’s worth of maggots.

Get some
Ssssss, it hissed. Matheson put one hand on the door, took a breath, and wrenched it open.

“SSSS THIS!” he bellowed (internally regretting that that might be the last thing he’d ever say) and whacked the beast on the head. It recoiled, and a phosphorus like glow flashed across it’s skin, but Matheson was not deterred. Again and again he struck it, and then all hell broke loose.

Matheson was thrown off his feet as a burst of heat and air erupted across the ground, sending splinters of wood and stone and dirt flying through the air. He was knocked back into his house, and struggled quickly to his feet only to find half his house in ruins- the creeper was nowhere to be seen, and in it’s place was a smoking crater.

This is not good, he thought, and he gripped his axe tightly as he edged around the corner, peering into the darkness.

There was a snap, an arrow embedded itself into the wood just inches from his head. He sprang back into the corner.

Now they’re shooting at me?! He stayed motionless. There were footsteps outside, the crunching of dirt and clattering of…bones?

Curiosity got the better of him and he crawled forward, peeking slowly around the crumbled wooden wall.
There was a man in the crater now- no, a skeleton! A walking, breathing, living skeleton. It growled at him and held up its bow, aiming another arrow in his direction. He withdrew his head and the arrow pounded uselessly into the wall.

Great, he thought. Exploding zombies, and now this. It’s only a matter of time before it decides to crawl it’s way up here, and makes me into a pincushion. I have to do something.

He edged forward, and sure enough, he could hear the skeleton trying mostly unsuccessfully to clamber up.

He waited until a skeletal hand came into view, and then brought his axe down on the hand, splintering bone and sending white fragments of fingers flying. He immediately lunged forward and whacked away, striking the skeleton on the head and shoulder in a flurry of blows.

Take this, you bone-headed skeletal bastard
 It took a few hits, but the arrow it had at the ready went wide, and before it could notch another, he’d returned it to the bone yard from which it came.

Exhausted but victorious, Matheson slunk back into the corner. The night was ending, he could tell. Tendrils of pink and purple were weaving their way across the sky, and the terrifying noises were growing dimmer and dimmer. He listened intently for several minutes, for any sound or sign of a new foe, but by the time dawn had broken he was sure he was finally, happily alone.

Continue to the next post.

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