by J. Y. Sun
Ethan has been transported to a strange new world. Will he survive this mystical world?
| "Time for bed, Ethan!"
I was mischievous back then, as all teenagers are. I had my phone in my pocket; I would watch later when the coast was clear. Suddenly, a yell startled me, and I left my phone. When I went to check who was talking, no one was there. I went back to bed, not knowing that I left my phone.
The door creaked closed, and I opened my eyes, checking my pockets. My phone wasn't there. I muttered to myself. Soon, the bickering of the house stopped, and everything was quiet. I laid awake, thinking about what I could've done, and thought about the piles of homework I had yet to finish.
My thoughts drifted, and sleep had yet to loom over me. It only felt like minutes, but a muffled DING rang, and I knew it was already 12:00. A small, ash-black circle that appeared from the side of the room started to suck me in, pulling me with an invisible rope. Soon, I was in a dark, eerily silent, winter-cold black room.
A raspy voice started to speak from all sides of the room: "You have disobeyed the heavenly rules by awakening in the hour of 0:00; there is nothing that can pay for such a crime, therefore you will have to traverse to the journey through the grueling, tormenting land of 0."
My feet started trembling. What was this planet, and what had I done? I sternly said: "I will not go to whatever planet 0:00 you'll send me to." I could feel my skin becoming goose flesh, and my confidence breaking. The invisible figure muttered to himself and chuckled.
The invisible figure said: "Well, then let's give you some practice." in an undertone voice. A loud, echoing kick knocked me to my knees, and a dulling pain faded away. The figure spoke again: "Good luck, you'll need it!"
Suddenly, a large grey-white circular portal opened, and I tried to cling onto the ground, but not reaching the black floor. I couldn't feel my legs; they had been sucked into the portal, and soon, I would be consumed.
Only a split second later, my entire body was in a colorful, blazing expanse, flinging me this way and that while colors scurried around me. Thirty seconds of being thrown around later, a few blotches of bright lime green and shadow black spilled like ink, and only a second later, I got thrown across the colors and without warning, there were steaming clouds around me.
I could feel stings around me and water poured onto me like needles. The ground was coming closer, and I could see a rocky, bulky mountain pierce the sky below. There was a sudden gust of wind that pushed past and diverted me to a pine-green field of grass that pierced my slippers, which had somehow evolved into sneakers whose colors were fading away.
I touched my legs on which I fell. It was prickled with dots of crimson blood that washed into the rain, falling to the ground. I stood up and bit my lip, walking and wincing with pain as the needles of grass punctured my skin and popped my veins.
There was a small beach next to a roaring ocean and I decided to stop at the rocky beach. It was completely quiet except for the pattering of water and the whooshes of wind above.
I started to wish I did start sleeping before "0:00," but it was too late to wish that now.
Once I finally did get to the beach, I was quivering and my feet were bloody and lashed. I went willingly to the shore, a beach with rocks and spiky boulders. I found a small boat to sail on. I went to take it, dismayed to find a reaper imprinted on it.Â
The entire sky was coated dark, navy blue, and rain poured like water from a beaker. The clouds were as dark as the sky, timidly watching me as thunder roared into the ocean.
I suddenly felt that I was in the reaper's land, but was doubting this answer, as I had no proof and didn't want to find any.
I knew that a horrid storm was not at all good boating conditions, so I finally decided to wait out the storm before going. I could also find a village and get supplies, so I searched miles around, looking through the martian landscape while the whirling wind wound through the sky, but no signs of a village were there. After searching as far as I could, my feet trembling and aching with cold, I went back, looking back at the rocky, unforgiving landscape, and laid down on a soft, calming part of the usually dreadful beach, and closed my eyes, dozing off.Â
When I woke up, the entire sky had been shining a million light bulbs, and the boat was more visible in the warm, lit weather: A large wooden canoe sat with a wide center that had attached a small room, and a splintered hung outside roof, while a small bench housed all of the places to sit down.
The waves looked unforgiving and hostile at first, but deep in my gut, there was an aching feeling that I could traverse what the strange voice had called "A gruesome, tormenting land of zero".
I was relieved when the first part of my journey was secure, as I had been suspecting something to happen, or that the weather wouldn't give in, but no, the first hour felt safe, and the sun gleamed rays of warm, sparkling sunshine, and the boat shading me with its small hangover.
After an hour or two, a large, darkening wave loomed over me, showing a frothy edge while many small fish mercifully swam out of its way. I pulled a small, cracked paddle that barely could support itself, and tried to canoe out of the way of the monstrous wave. A small creak came from the paddle, and soon, a small plank of wood came floating away from the waves. The tsunami started to hurl me into its ever-increasing size, and soon, I was clinging onto the rim of the canoe, feeling it turn an entire 90 degrees, and the light being shadowed by the giant wave. Only a minute later, the warm boat started to turn back up to its normal stance, almost capsizing itself and making it start to wobble back and forth. Soon, a second tsunami started to come, making my boat latch on, while almost staying afloat, and soon, my boat barely skidded, bouncing about to the next tsunami in front of me. I was able to stay above the shadows but I lost my boat in the troughs.. I suddenly felt the twinge of the icy water. I saw the light-laced sky start to darken over me.
The water was black and dirty, washing up twigs and odd green pellets. Not a moment passed when a slight tugging started to pull on me, eventually turning into a giant pull, lurching me into the troughs. As I got pulled into the bottom of the wave, I saw a horrifying, terrible face of a monster. It had many eyes and mouths, each one the size of my living room, watching me with its every whim. It pulled me up from the troughs, and I saw a clustered face, with different heads that blew in the whirling wind. Moving back and forth, its siphoned tentacles sprang back and forth, eventually becoming so erratic, the waves themselves started to turn away from the pouncing tentacles.
It started to arch its many heads toward me, drooling car-sized globs of spit onto the ocean while opening its mouths, full of unorthodox teeth, but an even bigger monster swam forth, the size of a building splashing the waves, making the boat capsize and making the several-headed monster drop me into the deep water. The large monster was rigid, almost square-like in shape, while a neighborhood-sized mouth opened to a slithering tongue that was barely visible in the waves, winds, and rains.
The boat started to wobble into the troughs, lost in the dark abyss of water. I fell as the waves gulped me down, and my body started to stay motionless in water.
Holding my breath, I pushed on the water, feeling the cold creep up my brain, making me shiver back and forth. Only muffled sounds of loud swishing was heard, and the waves soon pulled me into the water, but I kept pushing, feeling water below me gently push me up while an iron fist pushed me down.
Soon, I started to push wholeheartedly, and a few seconds later, I gasped for breath, feeling the iron fist try to lug me down like a rock. A wash of water sprayed my face, and sent me toward where my boat was.
I eventually found my boat in a wave of strong wind, dangling around, barely able to sustain me; without three-quarters of the planks it first had. I swam as hard as I could toward it, and finally feeling the soggy wood, I pushed with the last of my energy. After finally lying down on the wood, I fell asleep at the drop of a hat, not knowing what would happen next.
When I woke up, it was, again, bright, with the blazing sun burning on my back. The small canoe was already a mess: An entire half of the canoe rim was ripped off while parts of the floor were missing, filled with empty air. The small box of a room in the center was barely supporting itself, with as many holes as swiss cheese. As for the hanging piece of wood, it oddly dangled on a corner, moving with the wind.
After that catastrophe, I decided to go fishing with a small stick with a rope attached to it, which had a bucket of worms on its side, all of them wiggling around. Hanging the stick overboard, I started to wait for fish. Minutes turned to hours while the sky gradually turned lavender and rose red. Every once in a blue moon, I caught something wriggling around, and would be extremely startled from watching the still ocean, matching with the horizon line in the distance.
All in all, I could only catch around 5 fish, and only one of them was big enough to eat as a full meal.
I was famished as I went to sleep, as I hadn't been able to eat since before the strange portal had opened, but I was able to have a good night's rest.
I was shivering the next morning when I woke up and when I stood up to find the bucket of fish, I saw that everything was foggy and hard to see, and there was a strange humming coming from a giant clam. I squinted and saw a small, barely-visible clam, still faintly vibrant, glowing like a giant lighthouse. In the center of the unusually large clam was a girl with curly, fiery hair, grinning with a smile going from ear to ear. Strangely, a velvety-looking tail was poking out from her, and soon, she was twirling the scaly tail and whispering: "I can share secrets... secrets with you... if only you'd swim near...", and I felt the sentence a pinch familiar. Sirens!
I found two loose corks rolling on the floor and sealed my ears tight to fight the odd siren. Soon, the music and the words started to come into my ears, with a seemingly priceless aroma. Still listening, I ran into the small room, and saw a medium, camouflaged rope, and tried to tie myself, sweating and shaking as if I had a seizure. Only ten seconds later, I gave up, instead locking the door and pushing the corks as far as I could. As the oddly flat sea started to wave around, the sound was quickly bleached by the crashing of waves. As soon as the waves started to appear, a snake-like hiss started to burn in my ears. The sound came closer... and closer... and closer... until a sudden BANG scared me out of my wits.
In front of me, a fanged, black-tinted monster jabbed at me with its razor-sharp, foot long nails. The small window was now scratched, with white marks everywhere, and a few cracks. The horrid face of the monster started to hiss at me, sticking out its slimy, sky-blue tongue.
Above me, crackles of thunder roared into the sky, banging against the room, and the rain shot down in small lines as if they were arrows. Suddenly, another great BANG of the room rang in my ears, and around me, at least ten more peculiar sirens were resting their piercing eyes against the cracking walls.
Around me, the wood started to crack and break, and eventually, an unusually loud bang startled me, and a chunk of soggy wood got thrown onto the side of the room; and with such force that a crack started to splatter rain all over the already wet floor. In a split second, a jagged blue head stuck into the broken wall, shooting its eyes straight toward me. The siren released its tongue, stretching it like a rubber band and reaching toward me.
An odd starchy liquid started to pour out of the siren's mouth, flowing into its 2-foot-long tongue. Immediately, dripping green liquid started to move around, dripping onto the floor and making it turn vomit-green. Holding back puke, I started to feel blood churning in my stomach. My gut felt empty, as if it were a pouch of air. Around me, the banging of sirens trying to destroy the boat cornered me, and it seemed there was no hope left.
The odd blue tongue started to stretch a slight bit, trying to lick my shirt. A drop of the green liquid dripped onto my pants, and a stinging pain let out. I winced: "Ouch!". Another chunk of wood started to fall onto the floor, but instead stumped onto the siren, making it turn back and slap its tongue against the wall, making a finger-sized small piece of wood fall to the ground.
Â Suddenly, the siren started to stick out its dirty nails, screeching them onto the floor and finally sliding down, falling into the water with a loud splash and a burble. Soon, another siren took its place, instead trying to wave its dirty hair, full of grime and small parasites, with a smell of rotten corpses in a field of expired eggs.
A small rock burst into the room overhead, falling right in front of me while the hair waved oddly in a squiggle, eventually letting out a group of murky-skinned, glaring, hissing snakes, slithering around. I put the warm rock in my hands, and slapped it with as much energy as I could towards the snakes, and suddenly, the rock cracked open as easily as an egg, and from it let out a small sword, only as large as a small pen.
There were intricacies that were diminutive, not visible to me in the dusty gloom. Oddly glowing, it started to grow larger, fading its original glow and becoming pine-green, glittering with gold stained edges. A small rosewood handle had a small hole, still vibrating with energy.
I wielded the sword, watching with confusion as the siren started to shriek with fear, making goose flesh appear on me. Eventually, the entire group of sirens were shrieking, breaking the already beaten-up glass, sloshing it outward and making the shards hit the sirens everywhere.
I started to swing the sword, feeling the warm wood contrast the freezing air. Surprisingly, when I started to wave the sword, the sword started to swing itself, leading me to the already bloody sirens, swinging this way and that. After only a minute, the entire colony of sirens were either cut in half, fell off the boat purposely, or scurried away. The crashing waves started to carry the sirens away, and stopped the roaring waves.
The sky started to clear, releasing a large sky of diamond-blue; the ocean glittering as the sun sprayed across me. A soft breeze rolled past, chilling my arms. I could clearly see the wreckage in the daylight: Shards of grass splintered the boat everywhere, while shimmering seaweed clung onto the ground like glue. Only half of the rim remained, and the last screw of the shade was only half on. The small room was partly broken, and the place where the glass used to be was empty, while cracks everywhere marked where the sirens had scratched.
Sitting in a small area free of glass shards, I watched the sun shine, not sure if I would be able to see it much longer. Scales on fish glimmered with the brightness of the moon, while I laid down, closing my eyes.
I noticed a fin pop out of the water in my peripheral vision. At once I knew that I was surrounded by giant, fearsome megalodons. It was suspenseful at the least and scary at the worst. I was shaking, trying to stand still, and not raise suspicion among the group, but it was too late. The megs knew that I was there and were trying to stall me by moving in a circle.
This was probably the most troublesome scenario at sea. I started to move the sails. Suddenly, the sharks swam after me, and one bit the hull of the ship, but failed to cause any real damage to the boat. I was only one inch away from the evil-hearted fish, but eventually, they reached a mossy floor on the seabed.
The seagrass saved me in the nick of time, as one of the sharks was about to catch me, but got lost in the seagrass. I also knew that mossy seabeds possibly meant that I was near the shore. I saw the coast up ahead, and at last, after countless hardships, I got to shore.
Once I got to the beach, the boat somehow withered away, as if it were running away, teleporting, but that was not of importance now.l
As I scouted across the shore, a strange thing startled me: The beach was dotted with vague dots of medium red, and they were all moving, as if they were a colony. Even more strange, the first waves on the shore appeared frothy and foamy, as if they had been dosed with a can of bubbles. After a few minutes, the large red beach was not full of dots, but large, giant crabs, with pincers as big as a door.
Along the rocky, dissolving beach I went, and suddenly, a large, agonizing pain arose in my back, and behind me, a trailer-sized body of a crab was holding me up with its gnarly pincers, curiously watching me as he threw me back and forth, swinging my body around and around as the world became a painful blur...
A few minutes passed as the agonizing pain made a small, cold stream trickle down my back. Blood. By then, almost all of the crabs were pointing and watching me, as if I was an alien creature, which of course, I was. The crabs hauled me around, and soon, the crabs were swinging me back and forth on their backs while I felt their slippery, hairy skeleton start to wiggle around as if they were dancing, and every once in a while, one would throw me onto their pincers, inducing me to the almost intolerable pain of the knife-sharp pinch.
I could only watch the first ocean-blue sky, fading across gradually as it continued into a vast expanse of purples and arrays of citrus and peach.
I slept for the night to regain strength. This partly worked, but I was still drowsy when I woke. I started onward.
As I trudged along the prickly grass, I noticed a vague figure of a mountain range start to appear. I started to see how ginormous and gargantuan the mountain chain was. The mountains were almost as tall as the Alps and had craggy cliffs and peaking mountain summits above the clouds. I was excited and nervous about the journey ahead, but I walked anyway.
It was a harsh, desolate, around 20 mile-long walk to the mountain. I walked near the local fauna and the lakes and streams. Everything was oversized by 10 times. I was starting to get hungry again and ate a few local berries. As I walked, I started to wonder, "What day is it?", and did not conclude. I wondered how the creatures could grow so much. I hypothesized that the fauna was so big and the streams as well. I kept walking and saw that the "desolate walk" was not that desolate. I was glad, as I would've been bored by now. As I walked, the sun started to set, and I rested on a tree bed. When I woke up the next morning, I saw the mountain range, and I didn't know what to think yet.
I started to climb a mountain and noticed a stray wolf growling at a cockroach. I thought I might be a nice companion, so I tried to tame the dog with a bone and some chicken, but it came to no avail.
After some time, I continued my journey to the other side of the mountain. My feet barren, a sharp rock could easily pierce and puncture my skin. Food would be scarce up above. I could fall to my death on a cliff. I noticed that only the toughest of the people would survive.
I took the challenge anyway. I started the mountain climb frightened of the journey ahead, bewildered. I suddenly reminded myself that I needed some supplies. I wasn't too far, a laughable few meters, so I jumped down.
I started to wonder how I would get my materials to climb the mountain. I needed rope, a pickaxe, some food, a pair of boots, and some thick clothing. I didn't want an oxygen mask and decided against having oxygen masks, as they would be a lot harder to wield or possibly obtain. I thought for a minute and decided to make a makeshift ax with some log and a sharp stick. I would cut a tree and start crafting a pickaxe to mine through the dirt to some stone, then I would obtain the stone and use some rope (I'd get to this later) to tie the wood from the old pickaxe to make a new pickaxe to help with climbing. I decided to make the rope first by ripping my clothes and squeezing it until it was considerably tight, then tying the cloth by the edges. Afterward, I would make food. I could probably make a lot of makeshift rope, but I would lose a significant portion of my clothes and be more vulnerable to predators, but I would be protected by my coat anyway. I would collect a bunch of sticks and tie them together, and use this as my basket. Afterward, I would use some of my wood from crafting a pickaxe and a sharp rock tied together to make a spear. I would hunt various animals to use as meat and pick some plump berries. Then, I would put the food in the basket and use the skins of the animals to create a sort of jacket to wear. I would use this tactic for the boots too.
This was way harder than I perceived it to be. I couldn't find many animals and the skin was hard to move. The rock line was deep, but I remembered a post that told me how to dig earlier in the year. The rock was very hard and hard to dig through, as I thought of this plan only because of playing Minecraft (TM). The trees were huge and scary to cut off. But after an entire day of working, I was ready for the journey ahead.
The next morning, I set off to climb the mountain, certain that I didn't miss anything. The mountain was not very hostile at this level, and I was able to make it through the first few hundred meters just fine, then I found my first cliff. It was only a few meters tall, so I could climb it by myself but decided to use the ropes and the pickaxe instead. After I overcame that cliff, I had to overcome another, and another, and another. Every few meters I came across another cliff. I was getting frustrated about the cliffs. At lunch, I gulped down another few pieces of meat.
I started to feel a slight steepness, and this continued until it was hard to stand up properly and I had to use all of my strength to move forward a few steps. I was weak once I got to level ground, and I took a rest. Afterward, I continued my journey.
I found a swamp, probably the most interesting part of my day. I was entering the swamp when I saw an alligator that was in the water. I was very swift in my actions. I was right at the bank of the alligator's river when it suddenly attacked me and tried to grab at my jacket with its deadly, venomous teeth. I used my pickaxe to attack the creature and used my small amount of meat as bait and threw the meat away. The alligator was lured by the bait and I went out of the swamp. I went up the mountain some more.
It was evening, and I found a dark, eerie cave. As I entered, an old woman walked toward me, her face wrinkly and ancient. She asked me to join her in her little cottage. I thankfully agreed and followed the old woman to a small, peaceful cot.
I ate well but had trouble sleeping, and I knew something was off.
I found a dark, crimson red door and opened the door. I had bloodstains all over, and suddenly I knew the truth: the woman was a witch, and she had poisoned my food. The woman had a keen sense of hearing, as she told me not to go in there, as a last-second thought. I went back to bed and waited until the witch fell asleep again.
I opened the door to the forbidden room, and found an antidote. I thought it would be for when she found a favorable stranger and let them go. I quickly got the antidote and drank it from the test tube-like bottles in which the precious liquid was kept. I stole a fire potion and quickly ran out the door, dropping the potion as I left.
The woman came out of the door and shouted, "I will get you one day, and you will pay for this crime with your life!" but it was too late. I escaped, while the vicious witch burned to death. I was drowsy, but I knew that I had to leave the area quickly. I trudged along the relatively flat terrain. I walked for hours before I found another cave, but decided not to go in a cave until further notice. I slept outside, which was probably a bad idea, but I survived through the night.Â
In the morning, I kept going. I found a giant cliff and I knew it was a good place to test my set of tools on a taller scale. I threw the rope up and used the pickaxe as a holder. As I started to climb the cliff, I thought about how I was going to survive this mountain, and suddenly knew that I needed to wield a sword if I wanted to survive on a mountain with witches and evil sorcerers. I decided I would do this the same way as I made my pickaxe.Â
I suddenly felt a tugging on my t-shirt. A deafening roar started to appear, and suddenly, a furry, furious big cat started to jump and almost jabbed at me with its razor-sharp teeth. I ducked, and turned away, feeling the saber tooth cat grunt behind my back. It started to charge at me, and soon, I was running at my top speed while a saber tooth cat was running behind my back, determined to kill me. The cat started jabing at my back, occasionally crunching a bit of my shirt, and sometimes puncturing a bit of my skin.
In the nick of time, I turned to one side, barely missing a large cliff, while the cat fell, landing dead on the ground with a loud THUD. Exhausted, I sat down, feeling the few shrubs rub against me. I gasped for breath; wind swirling like a tornado. I wondered if the sabertooth would die from the fall.
I made sure to be prepared for any other attacks. I walked for a few minutes and found a second cliff, covered in trees. I used the branches and roots of the trees as well as some sticks to aid the climb. For the first time, I could go up the cliff with none of my tools.
I prepared for some peace on the way to the other side of the forest but I made some stone arrows, which were sure to be of use someday, and made a makeshift bow out of rope and a warped stick from the ground. I was frightened when I saw a dead sabertooth, the one I'd fought, but I used the skin and some of the meat anyways, using the fur as a hat and reinforcement coat. I walked the forest calmly, but I felt an eerie feeling, and the forest was dark and foggy. I saw the thicket thicken, and there were vines with acid and trees with acidic sap.Â
I touched the cold, damp trees as I walked by, and it stung me with every touch. By noon, my jacket's fur was unkempt and it had bald spots. I had a few blisters on my body and was aching from the lack of rest. I sat to eat but didn't eat much. I gulped a few pieces of meat that were a little gooey and raw. I knew I couldn't stay in the area for long, so I trudged along, arm and legs aching, full of blisters. I kept walking through, with no thoughts in mind. I climbed several cliffs and stopped once in a while. As I saw the sunset, I found a frozen lake on a cliff. I hacked with my pickaxe until I saw water on the tool.Â
My throat was hoarse, as I forgot to bring drinking and bathing water, and I drank the water gratefully. . When I was finished, I saw a dark figure moving toward me. I tried to run away, but it caught up to me. I saw the figure turn into a hunting boy and tell me to join his mom and dad for dinner. I was so ecstatic that I forgot about his strange appearance. This turned out to be a grave mistake to make.
I followed the boy up the mountain a little. I saw a more capacious cot, lined with small wood supports, and a shabby, worn down door opened. There, a feast was plated while burbling water boiled in a small, glossy pot.
Only a few minutes later, when I had seen all of the little cracks and glue on the planks of the house, the boy called: "Time for dinner!" I ran to the table, sitting down while a man with a scruffy beard came to the table, smiling.
I wolfed down everything I could, and before the small family could finish the first appetizers, I was completely done. A few moments passed, and a sharp pain stung my stomach, while my stomach felt a dull ache. A small box of seemingly rotten planks colored black marked a very dark room.
I ran to the darkest room, and there was Death, with a hooded, ash-grey jacket and a pale skeleton face. I closed the door and ran to the entrance, but when I opened the rotting door, I saw a dark abyss. I couldn't get out of Death's house. I ran back to the dark room, and Death was gone.
I rushed to a fine glass set labeled clearly: ANTIDOTE OF POISON. I rushed to throw the milky substance, and felt the stings and pains fade away. I still had my tools in my jacket, and pulled out my sword and walked around. I drank the antidote and ran back to the entrance. I opened the door and was relieved to be on the mountain again.
I kept waking up but noticed something strange. I saw a chair that wasn't there before. I suddenly saw Death above me. I was chilled, and Death spoke: "You are in my game. If you find the key to the door in the house, you will be in reality once more. If you do not complete this task by sunrise, you will be stuck forever. Spend time wisely. Hisss..." And he left me.Â
I heard the hissing sound that he made at the end, and thought about what that meant. I concluded that I would have to find a snake to figure this out. I heard "Spend time wisely" which I hypothesized meant that I would go to a cleaner, newer area of rock. I walked aimlessly for some time until a part of the rock was almost white color clean and looked very young. The rocks had a cave in them and I went in.
I found a forest in the cave, glimmering with diamonds, leaves of gold, and berries with the sweetness of candy and went in search of the snake. The bark was the color of sapphires and the lavish, crystal clear ponds were extraordinary. I saw an old, discarded sign as I walked in that said no matter how tempting it was to touch or eat one of the plants, I never could. I ran, and I knew that I could not even touch a single leaf.
I found a burrow further in and crawled meticulously through the old diamond hole. I found a snake that said: "The scroll is the spirit of the dead. Find it and you will be lost to the underworld. The sea is with you..."
How guessed that I would have to find the scroll and retrieve it and give it to the sea without falling into the underworld below?
I ran forward, not knowing where the scroll was. I ran down the mountain, sliding down cliffs, avoiding the trees and bushes. I fell in a crystal clear lake, found a very bright point, and swam toward it. The water was lifeless as much as it was beautiful and welcoming and had a mysterious ambiance. I swam for several minutes and finally found the scroll in a glass room. I used my now wood pickaxe to break the room, I gasped for breath and retrieved the scroll. I found a lightness to the scroll, and when I held it at an oblique angle, it propelled me forward.
I suddenly realized that I had to use the scroll to my advantage to stay in the world. I flew through the night, finally reaching the ocean.
I landed gently on the shore and put it in the subtle ocean waves, and I heard a whisper from the sea: "The key is a journey to the forest, in the... garden..." and I was off. I ran to the forest as fast as I could and easily found a garden next to a small cottage. I found a small hole and found a golden key in it. I took it and ran to an elevator and it conveniently sent me to the house and went to the dark room.
I opened the door and was in the world, with the antidotes, and a gust of warm, inviting wind pushed me out the rotting door. I was cautious and checked for any signs of fantasy, but everything was okay. I found and slept for the night in a cave, and slept well.
The next day, I continued the journey. I ate the food that I found in my smelly, filthy basket, and set off to the top. It was getting a little cold but was okay nevertheless.
The mountains were gorgeous and I found another cliff, and was excited to see if the view got any better up top. The view was magnificent, and for the first time, I saw the grand view of the mountain from up top. The view of the roc-like birds in the background, flying away into the distance.
I was almost at the summit of the gargantuan mountain with probably a day's worth of climbing left. I started up the mountain, already in the snow by midday. I ate the meat, which was beginning to feel regular even uncooked and a few days old.
I was back on track by afternoon and I was thankful for my jacket. The place was ice cold and had a few scattered frozen ponds along my trail. There were a few frozen, lifeless bodies in the foggy, cloudy place.
I started breaking the frozen ponds, using the rest of my rope to make a water basket, and started upwards, wondering how I would get down from the summit. I eventually found myself at the summit of the mysterious mountain, only to see that the other side was a giant cliff. I thought for a very long time, hours even, and concluded that I would use my rope (from the bucket for water) and untie it and attach it to my jacket also using a rope.
The cold slowed progress a little and numbed me severely. I finally made my parachute and, with great anxiousness, jumped off. The wind was fast and bitter. The cliffs were right next to me. My heart was pounding.
After a few minutes, I landed safely on a grassy plain. The local flora and fauna were here, the same ones as I'd seen on the other side of the mountain range.
I sat down, enjoying what little tranquility I had, feeling the soft wind brush against my scratched knees. I laid down, feeling small butterflies flutter around, touching the ground with snippets of happiness. Closing my eyes, I smelled the sweet air, licking it from the sky until I almost ate a butterfly, and laughed. There were no responsibilities, no homework to turn in, no essays to write. It felt like I was meant to be here.
A half hour passed, and my body felt healed, ready to face whatever laid ahead of me. I stood up, looking across all of the beautiful scenery, watching a small red and purple area, filled with smoke and orange, burning lava.
I walked towards it, not knowing what to expect. Trees stopped covering around me, and soon, the foot of the hellscape was a step in front of me.
I went in, but the scorching heat quickly became unbearable. The sky seemed to sizzle above me, and burns scraped across. I turned back with frustration. How was I going to get to the other side if I couldn't even get through one meter of it?
I walked back, feeling the gray clouds of smoke and the burning area around me fade behind me. Once I got back, a small whisper blew from the wind: "The key to getting through the fires is a quest... quest... quest... in the cave... cave... cave... the west cave..." I turned to my west, and saw a large hole in the ground, as if it was about to eat me.
The crunching grass below me was the only sound that broke the eerie silence. In front of me at the huge mouth of a rocky cave opening, the floor was as smooth as glass. I slid in. Whooshes of wind sped past as I gathered speed, my rear starting to feel as if it was on fire. Only small flames burning endlessly lit the darkening cave. Thirty seconds passed, and I was as fast as a cheetah, rolling down gentle slopes and frightening cliffs. Around me, spikes shadowed the dim light, and not a single living thing was around.
A few minutes passed, and I landed feet first into a large stone pillar. A few thumps and thuds startled me, and soon, three giant, 5-meter long pillars stood, lifeless in front of me. I stood up, balancing myself with the stone in front of me. Lichen and moss spread around the floor and ceiling, even spiraling their way around the pillars. Miscellaneous inscribed drawings were put on the ancient bricks, towering over me.
I slid in between the giant pillars but as I walked into the "alleyway", there was an unexpected note of music, and the pillars once again hauled themselves to the ground. The square of rock I was sitting on fell, and I quickly ran past it, making another dissonant sound appear. The slab of rock there fell as well.
Suddenly, this had become a running game and below, the rocks seemed to fall forever. I gulped. Sounds started to appear left and right, ringing around as if it were an orchestra playing music. The satisfying thumps of rocks tumbling down kept going perpetually, it seemed. A few minutes passed and I looked back, seeing what had become of the rocks.
Below, a night-colored sky extended forever, making stars gleam and the upside-down moon shine brilliantly into the night. A split second later, the rocks stopped crashing, and regular ground appeared, saving me from running forever.
I laid down, exhausted from what had just occurred. Panting, I rolled over, feeling the cold stone floor cool my heated body.
A minute passed, and I stood up, legs feeling like noodles. In front of me was a full set of coal-black armor, gleaming with an ash hue. I immediately took the set of armor, fitting the bulky armor onto me. After at least ten minutes, the armor was on me, but the helmet felt like a tropical rainforest, and sight was very limited.
Suddenly, an emotionless "grrr..." came from in front of me, coming closer. I ran, only seeing the rocks around me and suddenly, I stepped and felt an abyss. This was the end of the path. A few minutes passed, and the grrs came back, haunting the entire cave, echoing across the walls.
I started to run, holding my breath as I entered the abyss.
When I took a step, there seemed to be an invisible bridge, and I kept on going. A gust of wind flashed by me, and the grrs started to fade, and soon, the noise stopped altogether. The magical bridge started to collapse, and it pulled me with it. I reached out for the edge of the abyss, but knew that it would be no use; the slippery stone floors would keep me down for eternities.
When I reached out, nothing was there, and I was left to beat against empty air. In a moment, gravity hurled me down, air rushing down me. Stings of wind flew against me, pricking me continuously. A minute passed, and suddenly, a thud landed me onto a tunnel, looking exactly like the surrounding stars. The pounding hurl sent me straight forward, lurching my body up and shooting it up like an elevator. It felt like a roller coaster, going up and down with the consistency of waves on a beach.
A sudden jolt of upward motion threw my body forward, making myself land headfirst into the ground, but the armor sprang me back up with a clang. The tunnel swerved left, throwing my heavy body with it, and clanging the hard armor.
A few minutes passed, and a large opening led to the ground, and the momentum from how fast I was going flung me out into the air like a cannon, making me land onto the ground with a BANG. Around me, the same fauna dotted the area and when I turned left, I could see the cave I had entered, still eerily silent like before. Behind me, the cave entrance started to fade, making it almost invisible.
Before realizing it, I sprinted as fast as I could and felt the blazing heat tremble into my eyes, almost burning them and giving me a small burn, making me wince.
The sky was cloudy near the crater with an endless fire range spanning in all directions. I stepped in. The ground crunched around me. I kept going and set my pace to a light jog, but suddenly, I saw a huge asteroid the size of a building hurl at me and multiple smaller asteroids coming at it at nearly the same pace. I paused for a second and spent no further time getting to speed.
It seemed like the end of the world: thunderbolts burst out of the clouds, the fire-burnt ground shook, and the asteroids were like flaming fireballs, coming from a video game. I felt my heart pounding against my chest, and the ground felt like knives. "This is the end." I thought.
I ran and ran and ran while the asteroids got closer and closer. The edge of the crater was nowhere to be found. A small asteroid finally hit the ground with an ear-deafening sound, and the surrounding earth blew a huge cloud of dust over me and it made it hard to breathe.
I kept running and my footgear started to melt, and the pain felt like a million needles hitting my feet. A big group of other flaming, sci-fi-like asteroids each the size of my house started to impact the ground.
After a few minutes, I couldn't see five feet in front of me and I was suffocating. But the worst was yet to come. After a few dozens of minutes, the biggest asteroid hit. The explosion was so bright that for a second there seemed to be a sun on the ground, spewing massive amounts of human-size rocks into the air, and I got hit and passed out.Â
When I woke, I was in the same place, but the clouds of dust had subsided and the asteroids had all hit. Their craters were still flaming, more than they were before, somewhat covered in a layer of fire and molten rocks oozing from the tops.
My legs felt like noodles and were sore and sweaty. The ground was more or less purple now instead of ash black and lava red.
I weakly stood, trembling, and quickly felt that I was bleeding, and saw that my armor was fragmented like glass that fell from a tabletop.
The craters made a magical moon-like appearance. I felt standing become easier as I started walking the barren landscape. The perilous fire was lessened and the few of them left were small and harmless.
I kept walking, and the thought came to me that the reaper was trying to harm me as much as possible. I felt chills down my bones. The thought stuck: what if I died? A teenage boy was no match to the reaper.
The landscape was flattening gradually further away from the impact. I walked for many hours through the uncombed, ominous land, and when my entire body ached and it was sunset, i finally found the end of the crater and was joyous to see actual land.
The food basket had been destroyed and its contents dispersed and burned to a few piles of ash on the ground, so food was sparse.
I saw the green grass, the trees, and fauna, and inhaled the fresh air. I walked into the small plain and settled to sleep for the night. The sky was dark now, and there was a fresh citrus breeze. I wriggled off my armor and made a small rag to wear for the night.
When I woke up, the breeze was acidic and revolting, I saw a repulsive, gut-churning forest, and went in. The trees were lined with dangling vines and deformed mushrooms with the smells of sulfur. I could barely pass through the forest and my shoulders were touching the rotten trees. The morning fog made it hard to see and dampened my shirt.
I felt the burning acidic liquid burn through my rags and winced at the pain, and remembered the mountain forest that was somewhat like this.
The vines formed into a thick undergrowth that blocked my walk, and the trees were wilted and pale as if they had been ransacked by the turquoise undergrowth.
But what seemed like a few hours later, I stopped and realized that I needed to find an animal to hunt, and sure enough, there was a deep growling from the southwest. The growling was coming from a hiding bear, and it was ready to pounce, but I noticed that I was there, but wasn't able to parry his moves.
The bear was able to break through the undergrowth and trees with its razor-sharp claws and jagged inch-long teeth. The bear's furry arms swung this way and that, leaving me in anticipation of the next clawing.
I twisted a mediocre tree branch and it broke loose, giving me a wooden weapon to fight with. The bear fought mercilessly with its claws and tried to frighten me with its mighty roar. I stuck the stick at random through the undergrowth, and a few minutes into the battle, it seemed like I hit its eye, and it roared in anger while I ran, but eventually, the bear came to its senses and picked me up.
The terrifying claws started to jab at me, and it scarred me badly. I tried to wriggle out of the bear's paws, but I concluded that I needed to use my stick to blind the other eye of the creature. The plan worked, and the bear was blinded, and it was easier to stab the bear and kill him.
When I killed him, I ate the meat right away and quickly regretted it because the meat was new and uncooked.