The Village

Dawn had started to turn to dusk when he found it. In the distance, just past the rolling dunes, stood a village in the foothills. Wiping the sweat off his brow, his pace quickened as he hurried towards the lights of their torches, and the sturdy buildings.

‘Hello!’ His voice carried across the grass and rough gravel pathways on the approach to the small village. ‘Is there anyone home?!’ Desperation tinged his voice. Getting to the first building, he hammered his fist on the door. ‘Anyone in?! Please!’

He waited. Nothing happened. He moved to the next door, pounding on that with his hand. Still nothing. From door to door he moved, knocking and peering and praying that someone would open up. He made his way past stone and wood-built houses, past plots of vegetable gardens, grazing animals and even a well, the promise of pure water at the end of a bucket. But for human life, it was entirely lacking.

Slumping down against the village well, he took stock of his situation. He’d woken up by an oasis, dressed in just his comfortable jeans, a plain tee and a his work boots. His rucksack, a mil-surp purchase, was on his back but empty. He’d started to walk in the direction of the mountains, west of him by his reckoning. He must have walked most of the day, gathering supplies where he could. Meagre pickings at best. Now though…

The village was in a way as if everyone just vanished. Torches were still burning, and a couple of the houses had their doorways blocked by a torrent of gravel.  It wouldn’t hurt to gather some supplies for the evening. They might have gone somewhere. Yeah, he thought to himself. He’d camp out in one of the houses after getting some supplies. If they came back, he could quickly explain, offer to work for what he took. Maybe they’d be generous…

With the sun setting, he worked quickly to gather some food to eat from the vegetable plots. Another quick search of the houses, none of the doors having been locked, resulted in him coming across a rather nice building. With books inside, a few torches and a sturdy wooden walking stick, he settled in at a table and bench. Some of the books were in languages he couldn’t read, others were simply blank. A few held promise though, containing details of skills and crafts. Maybe they’d let him study, he pondered as he started to slip off to sleep.

~

Startled awake, he shook the cobwebs from his mind as he tried to get his bearings. Something had woken him, he just couldn’t… There it was again. A long, hollow moan coming from behind him. His knuckles went white as he gripped his makeshift weapon and turned.

It was peering at him through the window. Its form was human but its features far from. Matted hair topped its head, skin a sickly green-blue colour. It made no motion to strike the panes of glass, it just stood staring at the man inside with an occasional groan escaping its lips.

His throat gave way to a little squeak, a sound of pure fear as he started to back away. Arms weak from adrenaline, it took every ounce of strength he could to blockade the door with a bench, making certain to wedge the handle with it. He saw further glimpses of outside as he was doing so. Skeletal beings wandered the night, and something with bright red eyes scuttled along the roof of a nearby house. He was starting to get an idea of just what happened to the village’s inhabitants.

Curling up under one of the remaining tables and clutching the walking stick he found, he waited the night out without sleep or respite from the groans and clicks going on around the house.

~

The colour drained from his face as he watched the village from behind the window. Sunrise had come, and brought the monsters outside fire. The spiders, their legs and fat bodies covered in hair, retreated to the west. The skeletons and walking dead on the other hand simply burned in the morning light, mindlessly wandering about until they fell apart.

It took him a few hours to build his courage before he ventured out. A few bones, some tattered strips of fetid flesh, and a few abandoned arrows were all that remained of the night-time visitors. It puzzled him.

The low hiss coming from behind him caused him to spin quickly, coming face to face with… something. An abomination, armless and green. Its skin was veined and its face vacant, and it was coming straight for him. The closer it got, the more its body started to bloat. He screamed and ran, turning to see it shrink back down to normal size.

‘What the…’ He blinked, before gripping his stick. As it came close again, he whacked it on the head. It flinched, and started to bulge once more. Yet again he ran, and it shrunk back down once more.

‘… I don’t know what the hell you are, but get the hell away from me!’ He yelled, darting forwards to swing wildly at with his stick. The onslaught of blows made it flinch back a little more, but soon started to grow and puff out. The smell hit him, of sulphur and… it was smoking, and starting to flash.

‘Oh geez…’ he breathed, his face going pale. Instinct kicked in, and with a heavy lunge he knocked the unstable creature back into a doorless house, its floor covered in dirt. He’d just turned around to run when the blast wave hit him, flinging him down to the ground. His ears rang, and the flood of chemicals into his body made him feel very weak and shaky. When he saw what had happened to that old house, his stomach gave a weak lurch.

The windows and part of the roof had blown out, along with part of the doorway and a dry section of wall. Dust was still billowing out from where the floor had been displaced. ‘Damn…’ was all he could say, staring at the destruction wrought by just one creature. As he got his bearings, he began to look around the village anew. If those monsters had killed, or even drove off the inhabitants, then they wouldn’t be coming back. As such, they wouldn’t mind if he helped himself to supplies. He had to rationalise these things before he could even contemplate action.

‘Gather… craft…. then what? I guess I could build things. Need to keep those monsters at bay, eat… I guess it’s just me.’ He said out loud to the abandoned village, the crops, the animals and the small piles of dust and remains that were the only indicators to the visitors before. A stray chicken clucked up at him, tilting its head in the most curious manner.

‘Gather, mine, craft, build, explore… guess this is my life now.’

– Thanks to Notch giving it the A-okay, many Minecraft players have been playing Minecraft 1.8’s leak, the ‘Adventure Update’. The above is, with some artistic license, my first night using the new world generator and features.

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One thought on “The Village

  1. Pingback: Thinking Thursday: On Inspiration From Computer Games | With That She Wrote

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