I didn’t feel quite right when I woke up this morning. For starters, my bed was missing. I also had a killer headache, and my surroundings seemed a bit strange. There was no food in the chest, either, so I knew it was time to go out to the farm.
If I had been feeling that things were a bit odd when I woke up, I now realized that they were completely fucked up. Who would set fire to the entire forest? Where was my small farm plot? Was that black sheep a charred witness? A strange uneasiness crept into my bones, and I realized I should be going. It’s not like there were really any tools in my small home, and I really didn’t even recognize it. No food, no farm, nothing else, either.
It continued on like that for what seemed like miles in every direction. I kept finding black sheep, too. It’s hard to feel alone when you’re surrounded by the helpless victims of a forest fire… but I did.
In the middle of all of that carnage I found a strange pit. I dared not explore it, as by this point all I had collected were the crudest of tools and a few bowls of mushroom soup. Fearing that this might be the person who set blaze to the forest I decided it wasn’t a good idea to stick around. Who knows what sort of strange stuff they were up to down there.
After wandering through the burnt forest for hours things returned to normal. The forest seemed never ending. I was smacked out of my trance when I encountered a dyed sheep. I knew this had to be the work of a person, as there is no way a sheep would turn yellow in nature. My loneliness and complete lack of understanding as to where I was had gotten the best of me – I started calling out, hoping to find someone else.
When I encountered tilled soil I knew I was staring at the work of man. My shouts became louder. My voice grew horse as I continued searching. I could tell sun would set, soon. I was still alone with no shelter and no idea where I was. Fear was really starting to get the best of me.
I heard some humming coming from the treetops, so I decided to climb up and have a look for myself. Nothing except another sheep, mocking me in the distance. The end of the forest seemed nowhere in site, and I was begging to worry that I would be stuck in here over night.
Girl: Who are you?
Steve: My name is Steve Floor. Who are you?
Girl: What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.
Steve: I’m sorry. I mean no harm. I’m lost and confused.
Girl: Where is your armor? Where are your weapons?
Steve: Weapons? Armor?
Girl: Don’t play dumb.
Steve: Listen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why am I the one being interrogated here? Did you set fire to the woods around my cabin?
Girl: That’s your cabin in the open like that?
Steve: I… guess. I didn’t really recognize it. I left when I realized someone had lit the forest on fire.
Girl: It’s happening all over the world. Do you really not know what’s going on?
Steve: I am completely clueless.
Beth: My name is Beth, Steve. (It was at this point she revealed herself from quite a distance away). I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. All I can tell you is that if you keep heading east you’ll soon be out of the forest. You can’t stay here, you’ll bring trouble.
Steve: What do you mean?
Beth: You’re like a baby – you have no idea what’s going on. You have no weapons, no tools, no armor. You’ll be a burden on me, and I’m sure you’ll end up leading someone to my location. Go east. You’ll find what you’re looking for.
She disappeared after that, and I could not find her. I used the sun to gather my bearings and continued eastward, as best as I could. I eventually came to this – certainly not what I was looking for, Beth.
I looked back at the forest I had just escaped one last time. I had no idea what this Beth was so worried about. But daylight hours were extremely limited, now, and I knew that I had to keep going east. I had no idea what I might find, but what else could I do?
After walking for some time I came to a seaside cliff. Another yellow sheep was waiting for me there. Perhaps they were some kind of omen? This certainly wasn’t what I was looking for, though. I crafted a small raft from some wooden planks I gathered and decided to continue sailing east. The weather was fair, the waves were calm, and there was no way I was sleeping any time soon.
I forgot to take pictures when I first came across this door, about an hour after setting sail. There were several openings in the hills above it, showing what looked like untouched caverns. For some reason I felt the urge to exploring for rare minerals and gems, but I knew I had to find someone else, and this tunnel was obviously man-made.
As I continued deeper a strange site crossed my eyes. The tunnel was fully lit, yet a complete vein of iron ore had been left untouched. Was this some sort of strange test? I wondered where the twisted person who had concocted this experiment sat, watching me. I didn’t care, though. I had been in this strange, lonely world for nearly a full day, and I needed it. I took it all.
I took this picture after falling down that hole. I thought I would be dead, for sure. First, while falling – I didn’t know how deep the hole was, but something in my gut told me that it was likely to go on forever. It stopped after about 12 meters, though. Luckily I landed in a shallow pool of water or I would have been too hurt to get back out.
I sat there for a long while, waiting for the sick freak who had set all of this up to come and do what he had planned. I knew that I wouldn’t go down without a fight, though. After what seemed like an infinity I piled up some sand until I could climb back out. Goodbye, hole!
When I came back out of the tunnel the sun was rising. I saw this – one of the strangest feats of architecture I’ve never imagined. I knew that it was man-made, so I began climbing the hill as best I could, hoping to find someone.
At the top of the hill I found this entry way. It was hidden so well that I had completely overlooked it until I was right on top of it. I knew, though, by the euclidean geometry that this had to be created by human hands.
Inside I found an abandoned city. After shouting a man calling himself “Murader” appeared with his dog. He refused to allow me to take his picture, though*. He explained that I was in Shangraila, a city that was meant to be a safe place for anyone who was lost or alone in the apocalypse. When I asked him what he was talking about he laughed and wandered off around a corner, and up a stair well. I chased after him but he was gone.
Shortly after that I met a man named Noobai. He told me a bit more about the city. It was recently built by a small group of people looking to establish a place where society could begin to rebuild itself. But then a gang of some sorts, known as The Griefers, decided to put the town under siege. The builders had little choice but to retreat temporarily while they figured out how to protect Shangraila, which is why it was so empty when I found it.
He asked me who I was and where I was from. When I told him all that happened that day, he placed a sign on the wall for me.
He told me that it wasn’t a safe place, right now, and that I should be going. My stomach growled loudly, so he showed me to a small plot in the area. He said even the Griefers leave those alone, as they feed everyone. I took a few carrots and some potatoes. Noobai seemed disgusted with me. I guess he realized how confused I was.
Noobai: Always replant the crops you take. It’s only common sense.
With that, I was on my own. Noobai left, disappearing almost as quickly as Murader had, earlier. I wandered around a bit, marveling at just how lonely such a large, magnificent place could feel. Then I heard something – a Griefer, I was sure. I snuck up quietly – but it seems that it saw me before I saw it.
I don’t know why, but I felt that monster’s gaze deep in my heart and soul and knew that I needed to run and get away before it got me. Luckily I found a safe place to rest within the city where I think not even a Griefer will find me. I’ve hidden this journal here, just in case I’m killed in my sleep.
*Murader did let me take his picture, and he looked absolutely awesome, but for some reason that screen shot (along with about a half dozen others) didn’t save. If you liked this, please comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!