Work in progress
Chapter one – Waking up – Day one.
The first thing I remember is waking up on a beach. I didn’t even know where I was, let alone how I got there. The coarse Sand blinding me and filling my mouth as I coughed up sea water. Sounds of the waves and wildlife all around me, even some birds cawing in the distance. I’m alive.
Getting to my feet, I shrug off the ordeal. As my eyes adjusted, I saw a magnificent forest in front of me, and an endless ocean behind me. Huge palm trees and a thick floor of plants I have never seen before & so much larger than I’d expect! It was like a sea of green, waving in the breeze. I could make out a mountain in the distance, maybe a volcano, a massive thing to say the least.
Wrapping my head around my new environment I notice I have something embedded in my forearm. Startled, I scratched at it with no idea what to make of it, but it glowed red and had a readout: Survival quotient unknown. What did this mean? Who put this in me? Where was I? Why? So many questions, no answers to be found. Though the mysterious thing embedded in my arm was strange, it offered something in return. It had instructions for constructing different objects. Tools, clothing, weapons, everything I might need. Some things were blacked out though, I wonder what they are and how I could use them.
Reluctantly, with this new information, I made my way inland. I needed shelter, food, something to cover myself with, and a weapon just in case.
I found some drift wood on the beach and a few pieces of flint large enough to make a hatchet. As I gathered leaves and fiber from the plant life to bind some makeshift clothing, I notice movement from the corner of my eye. Animal? Person? Readying myself I slowly strafed around the rustling grass. What met me, was familiar, but unknown. One thing was for certain – It did not mean to pass me by.
Exploding from the taller grass, a very large lizard maybe four feet tall ran my direction. it had a frilled neck adornment, and many teeth. It was fast. Reversing my steps instinctively, the frills on its neck opened up and it reared its head back before spitting a green liquid in my direction. I avoided the majority of the attack, but some of the goo caught half of my face. The only obvious effect it had, was completely blinding my right eye, and the putrid smell was distracting. At least it wasn’t burning me, or worse.
Its speed not slowed, I recovered enough to catch it a glancing blow with my hatchet before it flew past my dodge. Turning immediately, it sped forward for another attempt, screeching the entire way.
My eye was mostly clearing up by now, an apparent temporary tactic used by the beast, much to my relief. Gripping the hatchet with both hands I ran to meet its charge. Catching it’s lunge with one of my own, I plant the hatchet in its throat, stopping it cold.
Not as tough a creature as first sight might suggest. Looking down on it, this had to be some kind of experiment, because it surely couldn’t be a dinosaur. Could it? No matter what it was, surely it can be eaten, the berries not quieting my stomach quite like expected.
After spending a few hours on the beach, I constructed a small thatch hut on the edge of the forest. The sun unforgiving in this place, I was glad for the shade. I also found that I could drink the sea water. Surprisingly it was more fresh water than salt.
The sun was going down now, and after my first day, I had to prepare for the first night. having seen no other person or creature since my first run in, I was almost comfortable – Then I heard the roar. Almost indescribable. Like an angry, wounded gorilla roaring into a metallic cave. It immediately sent chills up my spine and I instinctively clutched the axe harder, for all the protection it would offer me. It seemed paltry, and the roar would keep me from sleep that night.
For hours I heard calls from many different creatures. Trees being overturned, and every so often, another roar from whatever creature of hell was running havoc in the forest. I could only hope that it was very far away.
Day two – On the move.
Daylight came without interference from creature or person, and with the light, comfort crept back in. If I could see, I could run. But to where? I needed to find my way around, and if possible, find better shelter.
When I first scouted the beach, I noticed a bend in what I assumed to be the west. I followed it for a time and found in the distance a great tall tower of some sort. It glowed red, and was joined with two others, a blue and a green one. People? I didn’t know, but It offered hope that I could keep away from the jungle and its many dangers that only my ears have felt. I had no real interest in traveling the ground of whatever beast made such a sound, so I set off towards the red spire desperately hoping to find answers.
Early in the morning, when the heat was not so great, I fashioned a few a spears and assembled some improvised clothing to wear. It was not much, but I would not feel the scorch of the sun so greatly, nor the bite of the surprisingly cold nights. I also made a pick axe after having began to understand the use of the stone in my forearm better. It’s as though it was a tool, and I’m a test subject. “Survival quotient: unknown” So unsettling is that message, but given my circumstance, and the information the stone offered, I assumed this was some sort of trial.
It’s like a castaway novel gone science fiction, as though I’m being observed. Or maybe it’s more along the lines of The Most Dangerous Game and I am being hunted for sport. I vaguely remember the story, but I do remember enjoying it, and rooting for the younger hunter. The islands owner having become bored with the hunt of every creature only to find himself attracting ships caught in storms to crash into the rocks of his island. His quarry being the survivors of such ordeals, used solely to sate his appetite for the hunt. He would give them ample head start, and even some minor tools, but he did not warn them of the traps set in the jungle of his island. In the end, the hunter became the hunted. Though in this story, I do not see myself faring as well.
I followed the shoreline until midday, passing large turtles and small birds along the way. They seemed content with leaving me alone as they gathered food for themselves, and luckily, I did not run into more of the large lizards. As I rounded a bend on the shore, the water crept inland to form a river cutting through the land. In the distance I thought I saw a man chopping wood, but I dismissed the thought as just an illusion. As I crept closer, I noticed trees were falling down and the unmistakable sound of axe against wood. Might I have been mistaken before? Crouching to lower my chances of getting spotted I inched closer to get a better view through the foliage.
My earlier assumption was correct, it was a person! He was gathering materials and adding to his hut. Occasionally going to waters edge to fill his water skin and collect fish for meat, he appeared to be much more comfortable in our environment than myself. I did not see many weapons around, nor did I see any allies that may attempt to overpower me, so I crept closer. I watched for maybe an hour to get a feel for the man, and it appeared that he was simply focused on improving his hut, he showed no signs of wavering either. Two hours go by and still he collected more materials, he was even amassing a good pile of berries. I decided that it was time for me to make myself known, so I stood up.
“Hey, do you speak English?” I say, as calmly as possible.
He turned as though expecting an attack with a slingshot already pulled back, eyeing me as the lizard had the day before. Absolutely ready to kill.
“Whoa! Hey man, I just woke up on the shore yesterday and you were the first person I’ve seen! I mean you no harm,honest. I don’t even know where this place is!” I quickly blurt out with my axe ready in hand.
“That right? So why have you been creeping in the bushes? Planning on raiding me during the night. You wouldn’t be the first to try.”
Shrugging my shoulders like I was caught in the act. “Well…Uh, I didn’t know if I could trust you I suppose. Looks like you think the same way. I was just making my way to the spire to see if I could find other people. But wait, does that mean there are other people here?”
Lowering the sling a measure, the man relaxes a little. “The spire? You’ve got a lot to catch up on, stranger. Follow me. Don’t reach for your weapon unless I say to.”
Putting my weapon away , I agree and reluctantly follow, although I was quite relieved to be around another human. I had never felt more alone until having woke up in a place like this. Hopefully it would not be the death of me. Even with that in mind, I was certain I could let myself trust this fellow. I hoped that too, was not a mistake.
Chapter 2 – Lay of the land – Day 3
The man I met went by the name of “Goober”, don’t know how he got it or if he came up with it himself, but I wasn’t about to question it. in fact I had too many other questions that I hoped he could answer. Unfortunately, beyond our shared experiences on the island, he knew about as much as I. We could both only remember details about society and our names. Most things were taught to us by the stones in our wrists, but otherwise we only knew things beyond a personal level. Except our names. Was the only thing we knew about ourselves, short of the occasional interest of course. Sometimes things would slip through, but never in great detail and only things that seemed insignificant such as my literary inclination. He deeply enjoyed fishing, so he never had to worry about hunting or getting himself into trouble that he might not be prepared for.
Looking at his little hut, it seems like it’s worked out for him. Where mine was a ramshackle thatch box, his seemed ready for attack. No doubt due to his run ins with other “tribes”, as he calls them, and the occasional carnivore. His hut was built under the shadow of a steep cliff and based just off the shore of the river mouth. Was idyllic in a way, but with a layer of unknown terror in the form of distant shouts and roars. Life here was awe-inspiring & intimidating, to put it simply.
Throughout the day he showed me many different types of plants and gave me the rudiments of what I should look for when gathering. Berries became easy, but some plants were better for making and cord than others. I also learned that ‘most’ herbivores were passive, and that every carnivore would likely attack on sight. Thankfully, we did not see any.
He helped me craft some hide clothing that would serve me better than the pitiful gathering of plants that covered my body. it even gave me a calmer outlook on things, as though this “armor” would protect me from most things that might come my way. Man…have you ever been so wrong that you couldn’t even be mad, simply because of your foolishness in hindsight?
During one of our berry gathering trips a ‘Dino’ as he calls them, exploded from a thicket up the hill from his hut. Much larger than the miniscule thing that attacked me two days previous, this one hissed and looked like it was meant to run things down. Feathers adorned its elbows & head. And many, many teeth armed its jaws. Oh, and the claws…
Noticing the vicious looking lizard, ‘Goob’ instinctively reached for a spear, “Raptor.” He whispered.
“Ready your weapon! And slowly,spread away and down the hill. We will trap him between so it cannot overtake us both!’
Nodding my understanding, I unsheathed my own spear in readiment. I felt much more confident putting some distance against us with this weapon. My axe would have left my nerves on fire in fear of close combat with something like this.
The ‘Raptor’ eyed us for only a moment before deciding I was the better target. Wonderful. Turning its stance into a powerful sprint in no more than an instant, my stomach sank when the realization hit me. It’s going to gut me before I even made it a week! Doing as I was told, I gripped my spear and readied for a side step that I hope the Raptor would not read before I had done it.
Fifty yards and closing I almost didn’t hear Goob shout. “Run! Get back to the hut!” I began to turn on my heels when I noticed a strange red glow falling over the large reptile, it’s eyes on fire. Not feeling the need for any questions I followed as quickly as my feet would take me. Twenty feet from the door I gamble a peek over my shoulder and notice that we weren’t it’s main goal anymore, but a large black pig-like beast that was hauling ten shades of ass in any direction it could find. Goob directed me inside and slammed the door shut followed by a heavy latch..
“What… the hell… Was that thing?” Hardly catching my breath I was still dumb struck by what we just encountered. It was fast,very fast.
Still staring at the door as though he expected it to blow open he simply turned and replied. “Almost your first death,ha!”
”First..? Hey what the hell was that? That thing was glowing!”
Pausing to catch his breath and shake off the edge of the encounter. “Yeah… that, my friend, was an alpha predator. Much, much worse than it’s natural counterparts. Faster. Stronger. Meaner & more capable than a run of the mill raptor. Not something we want to fight head on. Or ever. Ever.” He finishes with a worried grin. No doubt just as relieved as myself.
“So let me get this straight, there are more if those things out there? I mean, do they get bigger? What else do I not know about this place!” Now I’m pacing around the room unsure of my place in the food chain. My thoughts keep returning to the damn stone in my arm and what it’s purpose is.
I stop. ” This. What is this thing?” Raising my arm, I’m done with half answers. “I need to know.”
” You aren’t the only one. I’ve only been here a few weeks, but there are other people who might know. I’ve avoided them so far because I can’t tell who I can trust.” He says bluntly.
“Some of these people are barbaric. Cannibalistic bastards that kill without thought, and in fact do it for sport.” He’s not grinning anymore. As he puts his weapons away he turns towards me and almost started straight through me, waiting for the more questions.