Thursday, July 28, 2011

DAY FIVE : The birth of a nemesis.

Start from the beginning.

Matheson awoke at the crack of dawn, on what he figured was his fifth day, or possibly sixth. He wasn’t really sure, things had gotten crazy for a while there, but now he felt confident and in control. Things were going to be different from here on out.

He gave a quick look at his plants as he prepared to head outside. They had grown in the night, but only a little. The ones closest to the torches had definitely sprouted up, but all in all they had hardly improved at all.

Well that sucks, he thought. He was almost out of food, and had really hoped these things would just take off.

“If its torches you want, it’s torches you get!” He shouted, temper flaring, pausing for a minute at how strange it was to hear his voice.

A little carbon dioxide never hurt anyone.
He covered the basement with torches, the smoke so think by the time he was done that he was worried he might pass out from the fumes. He’d see what had happened by the time he got back, but he was feeling impatient, he wanted these little bastards to grow grow grow as fast he could make them.

The house had weathered the night well, he was glad to find. There were a few rather creepy and ominous scratch marks here and there, and an arrow lodged in the door out of protest, but all in all things were fine. He started whistling a happy tune and set out.

Initially, he intended to stay well within range of his little hovel, should trouble arise, but his curiosity continually got the better of him, and he strayed this way and that.

His house was on the side of a massive hill, one of about three or four such cliff-dotted, geologically impossible mini-mountians that ringed the little valley.

He made his way down to the center, and immediately regretted it. Several times he almost stumbled into massive pits that came from nowhere. It felt like this whole area was built haphazardly over the remains of some great hole in the earth.

He came across several caves, some massive and seemingly endless, some narrow, twisted, and claustrophobic.

Bones littering the entrance is a good sign, right?
He wanted to explore them, but they had certain cold, ominous air that kept him cautious. Not to mention, he thought it was quite likely the monsters took shelter under the earth at night, and the last thing he wanted to do was wander into a nest of giant spiders without a better sword and a few hundred torches...and maybe a portable nuclear device.

Here and there he mined some coal that had been thrust up out of the earth. He gathered some seeds, killed a few chickens and took their useless feathers with sullen resentment, but mostly just marveled at the scenery. Far off in the distance he saw snow-capped mountains, rolling deserts, and mysterious islands, covered in massive redwoods.

But mostly this.
He’d taken it for granted that he was on an island, and though it seemed the ocean was everywhere he looked, he wasn’t so sure. Was this an island chain? Some sort of archipelago? Some kind of inhumane, godless mess of giant lakes, like Michigan?

He couldn't tell, and going out at night was such a terrifying prospect that he wasn’t sure if he’d ever really figure it out. Maybe one day, he could make a string of forts dotting the land, letting him range around at will, and retire to safety at night? He briefly envisioned himself as a roman legionary, building a great highway, fighting off Gallic barbarians, coming home to the love of beautiful Italian women who would bathe him and feed him grapes and stuffed SPIDER!

The spider lunged at him from its ambush spot a little above, but misjudged the distance and sailed over head.
“Oh, come on! It’s not even night yet!” He yelled, shaken from his daydream, but the possibility of being trussed up and served as leftovers drove him to quick action, and he had his sword out before the spider had even managed to properly turn around.

He wasn’t feeling particularly generous, and with a slice here and a slice there, he went ahead and severed several of the spider’s limbs.

“This’ll make you think twice before you run around when you’re not supposed to,” he said. He moved to cut off a few more, but the spider lunged at him, mouth gaping, fangs snapping, and it almost managed to sink it's fangs into his hand. This one was feisty! Matheson shrieked and drew back, slicing off one of the creatures fangs as he did so. Black blood shot out like a fountain.

It screamed a hideous scream, rearing up on what blood-soaked legs it had left, and Matheson heard other spiders take up the call in the distance. The spider and Matheson circled each other for a few seconds, like boxers, waiting for the right opening...but he began to hear the screams and yells of other spiders gathering around him, and saw their dark black shapes in the distance, coming closer.

“You win this round,” he said, and sprinted off. The spider tried to give chase, but with only four legs it couldn’t do much more then hobble.

We’ll meet again, flesh bag, it thought. We’ll meet again.

Matheson ran for ages, trying to put as much distance between himself and the spiders as he could. They kept calling to each other for some time, but the sounds were far off, and after a while, they stopped.

He stopped to catch his breath, and somewhat sheepishly realized he had no idea where he was. He’d been out for quite a while, and well the sun was still up in the sky, he knew it wouldn’t be for long, and when it wanted to go down, it would do so very fast.

There were so many god dam tree’s it was impossible to get a good view. He hated them.

“I’m going to make a chainsaw one day, and cut down the whole lot of you.”

He gave the tree’s a mean look, but felt stupid and so just left.

Movement up ahead- he threw himself against a tree for cover and peaked around.


A cow! He watched it for a few seconds. There were a few, actually, milling around.

Some beef would be nice. And Milk! And Cheese! And Cake! And Ice cream! Man, he thought, moving out of cover and walking up to them, if I can get me a few cows, there’ll be no end to the food I can make.

When he’d gotten kind of close to the cows, however, they all turned to face him at exactly the same time, and and just stood there, unblinking.

Matheson stopped too. He looked from one cow, to the next, all their eyes burning into his. He felt uncomfortably exposed, held within their gaze, but everywhere he looked there was a cow, peering into his soul, stripping him naked, and not liking what it saw.

He backed away a few steps, and then stopped.


And with that, he charged them with his sword, hacking and stabbing in a rage-fueled orgy of blood that Matheson Squareface Quiverbottom, Esq, so often found himself in when confronting defenseless woodland creatures. Perhaps it’s a symptom of living in a cruel, hostile environment, and only having power over these kinds of helpless animals. Perhaps he’s just a bloodthirsty monster. Perhaps something far worse, and far more sinister, is at work.

Either way, when the dust had cleared and the blood stopped spurting, the cow’s corpses poofed out of existence, and all that was left was their bloodstained skins.

“Oh, come on.” He said, to no one in particular, but gathered them up all the same.

“I could, uh, make some boots out of these, I guess.”

He wiped the blood of his face and looked around. Now it was getting dark for real, but through a clearing in the trees he saw the outcropping he’d dubbed ‘Capo Hill’, for its (not all that actual) resemble to a guitar capo. He cautiously picked his way home, muttering to himself that he really needed to make some sort of giant marker he could see from miles away, to stop these kind of things from happening.

Totally a capo.
Continue on to the next post.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DAY FOUR : In which Matheson develops a green thumb.

He woke with a start.

He’d slept for ages, he was certain, and though he initially hated missing the first light, as he got up he was glad he’d given his body the chance to heal. Last nights weariness was gone.

He popped upstairs, and the low position of the sun confirmed his suspicion.

Well, shit. He was down to his last porkchop, and had run plum out of coal. He’d do a little wandering, see what he could find, and come back before dark and put the night to good use.

He started up the hill, to get a good vantage point on what was going on, but thick masses of grass had grown up all over the placel. He started cutting it back, lest it get too big, and out popped seed after seed.

He picked them up, looked them over. He knew nothing about plants….or did he? As he stared, he got the distinct and sudden impression they were wheat seeds. A memory came to him, from far away, a young kid running his hand through fields of golden stalks, the smell of stew and rabbit, gruff voices, the rumble of heavy engines.

I ought to try and plant a garden, he thought. Man can’t live on pork chop alone. Well, maybe he could. If he couldn’t find an alternative source of food, he’d have to put that hypothesis to the test.

The sun was already beginning to disappear. Jesus, he thought. I was really laid out last night. He pocketed the seeds, and turned to head home, but stopped.

Screw it, he said. I’ve probably got a little bit of time. Let’s do this.

He dashed off, madly, honing in on every plant he could see and cutting it to pieces. He hardly even stopped to gather the seeds- instead he sent them flying into the air and trusted that at least some would make it into his pocket.

He was so focused he hardly even noticed the sun was abandoning him, but seeing a creeper glaring at him from atop another hill brought him back to reality.

Time to go home. That didn’t stop him from slashing down all the grass he saw on his way home, though at that point it was almost a reflex. He just did it with an eye open.

The first thing Matheson did when he got home was run into the basement, grab a hunk of pig from his underground ‘meat locker’ and start gnawwing away at it. But what he saw down there stopped him cold.

Those seeds were sprouting!

Just a little, but from where he’d thrown them, just a few hours before, they’d taken root in the earth and started to grow!

Maybe I could get a garden going down here, he thought? That’d be pretty nice. I’d never even have to leave!

That thought made him both happy, and depressed, at the same time.

He grabbed his pickaxe and set to work clearing a space for a garden, happily stumbling across some coal in the process. He mined out as much of the stone as he could, brought in some dirt from here and there, and after raking it a little and tilling with it a hoe, he was pretty proud of himself.

He delicately planted the seeds in rows, placed a few torches for light, and stood back to admire his handiwork.

The seeds were growing before his eyes!

He took a few steps back, actually, at first. It was kinda creepy. Why should they grow so fast?
He had visions of terrifying plant monsters springing up from the ground and devouring him in his sleep. But the seeds stopped pretty quick, and he relaxed, wondering how long it’d be before he could harvest.

Now it was time to eat! He wiped the sweat off his brow, picked up his wiggling raw porkchop, and prepared to bite down, then stopped.

I’m tired of this raw meat bullshit. I bet I could make a stove of some sort, he thought. I’ve got enough coal to get a pretty good fire going.

Sure enough, he made up a quick stone frame, put some wood scraps inside, lit it on fire, and in a few minutes his house was full of the smell and sound of crackling meat.

As he took his first heavenly bite, he thought, it almost drowned out the sounds of skeletal hands scratching at the walls and door, hungry for his flesh.

Continue to the next post.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

DAY THREE: A quiet night in.

As Matheson sat in the basement, which unfortunately did not muffle the sound of the scuffling monsters above him hungry for his blood, he reflected on the day’s events.

I should be dead, he thought. I should be dead twice over. But here I am, nary a scratch. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He felt positively horrible, his arms and legs sore, his neck stiffer than a forty year old scotch.

But he was intact.

That fall should have snapped his bones in half. He’d felt his skin singeing right off in that creeper blast. And yet something, or someone, had dragged him to the beach, fixed him up, and left him there, unconscious, but somehow protected.

Or so he thought. He couldn’t be quite sure that it had just been pure luck nothing had attacked him while he had 'slept'. He had a terrifying vision of waking up, on the beach, at night, a spider crouched over him, wrapping him up, preparing to sink it’s fangs into his flesh.

Tomorrow, he said, I’ll put a shelter up there. Something to make any awakening there a little more comfortable.

But even as he thought that, he somehow felt, without being able to explain why, that from here on out, he was on his own. It was like he knew he’d used up his two chances, and any further injury would spell certain actual death.

He stretched and leaned back. He was a bit peckish, and dug through his pockets for a snack. He had a handful of seeds- he tried to split them open in his teeth, but they were too hard, and all he got was a throbbing pain in his teeth.

Perfect, he thought, and spit them to the side with disgust.

He also had two mushrooms, a grubby, brown looking one, and a more colorful, red one. He eyed them over, but he had no idea how to tell safe ones from poisonous ones, and didn’t feel like trying his luck just yet.

He patted his stomach consolingly, leaned back, and shut his eyes.

On to the next post!