Sunday, February 2, 2014

~~For Love of Minecraftia: Chapter Nine--Wherever You Go~~

I woke up in my bed in Minecraft to the bright sunlight shining in my face. I couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary. I couldn’t see anything through the windows around me. I smiled a little at the familiar sight, not at all surprised to find myself back in here. “Where do you want to go today, Mitchie?” I asked myself, getting out of bed. I felt my stomach rumble, so I went down to the kitchen, my mouth already salivating for bread.

I dug around in the chest, but found none. Pouting, I decided I’d eaten the last of it when Haruhi and I had eaten together, so I took some wheat from the chest and headed over to the crafting table, setting about making it. I liked how crafting still worked, even though a lot of the things about the game had changed when I became added to it.

Speaking of which, exactly who had left those clothes for me, anyways? Had my gift just naturally spawned what I needed into the world?

Knowing it was not really worth thinking about it, I sighed, shaking my head as I finished making up the bread. I took it down to the dining room with a bucket of fresh milk and some pork.

A second after I’d entered the familiar room, all of the food landed on the floor, the milk spilling everywhere.

There was a gigantic creeper head in the corner of the room.

The squares that formed its eyes were the size of my fists. The down-shaped mouth and rectangular cut-out that formed its nose were around the length of my forearm across. The head of the creeper was, in total, four one-meter blocks by four one-meter blocks.

Suffice to say, it was flipping huge, and it was not supposed to be there.

Nor was it supposed to be moving towards me, floating a foot or two off the floor. I was about to turn and run when a weird voice came from it, thin and high pitched: “Are you the Gifted?”

I nodded shakily, trying to move backwards. The creeper head saw me move, and with a small bob in the air, I was immobile, only able to move my head.

“Don’t run from me, Gifted. You have been playing enough. It is time you face your destiny—the game is over now.”

The hell did it just say? Those few sentences from it managed to scare me even more than seeing Slenderman in the basement. I just stared at it, and it stopped moving towards me, staying about a foot away from me. Way too close for comfort. Still, at least it had stopped moving towards me.

Realizing it was probably waiting for me to say something, I stammered, “What do you want from me?”

The creeper head let out something that can only be described as a snort—an impressive feat without a nose. “How very egotistical of you, thinking I want something from you. Instead, it’s the other way around, Gifted. You want something from me.”

I just kept staring. “What do you mean?” I asked it, my heart in my throat. Did I really want to know?

“You want your freedom from the Gift, don’t you? And you want that awful Tulpa in your house to leave you alone. You want that adorable James to like you. You want to be beautiful.”

Okay, this was getting creepy. It knew way too much about me….Swallowing, I managed to ask, “How do you know all this? And…..Could you give me any of what I want?”

The creeper head nodded. “Of course I can, Gifted. I can make you the most beautiful girl in the world—but to earn it, you’ll need to do something very important for me….”

I nodded, knowing I had no choice. “What do you need of me, oh creeper head?”

I earned another snort from it. It shook from side to side, seeming to smile at my attempt at joking politeness. “Oh, Gifted, I definitely prefer you to your father….”

If I had been able to move, I probably would’ve fallen down and gotten soaked by the milk that was still pouring from the bucket behind me.

“My dad?”

It let out an annoyed tsk, tsk noise. I bit my lip, hoping I had not angered the thing at all. Luckily, nothing seemed to happen, and I was just left staring at it for a few seconds while it seemed to try and think up a reply.

Finally, it spoke again. “He never told you about me, Gifted?”

I shook my head. “Was he…supposed to?”

The creeper head bobbed in the air again, and I realized it was nodding. “So he didn’t tell his own daughter that he had met God….”

I felt my heart explode out of my chest from beating so fast. “God?”

The creeper head nodded, and then said to me in a voice that sounded like the singing of millions: “Herobrine is real. You must fight him, Gifted. He plans on breaking the barrier between the world of Tulpas and our world. If he does so, not only will all of the games of Minecraft crash, but horrific creatures even worse than Slenderman will be released.”

I woke up to my dad shaking me by the shoulder, in the back of the van. “We’re here, kiddo. Rise and shine.”

I nodded, getting numbly out of the van. It wasn’t easy—the straps of my mom’s purse got entangled around my feet, just as I was getting out of the car. I fell flat on my face on the pavement, sitting up and giving my mom a very unamused glare. She grinned, getting her purse from off my feet, not even bothering to help me up.

My dad, hearing the mutter of barely contained curses that followed, came around the van and helped me up. He gave me a little smile, before dancing around like an idiot, trying to make me laugh. Just like James had tried to make me laugh in the hospital.

Remembering James made me only glower harder, the anger from my mom’s carelessness and unhelpfulness being replaced by missing James. I hadn’t even thought about him until now….

My dad gave me a little smile, probably realizing what I was thinking. He hugged me tightly, saying in my ear, “You’re going to be okay. You should be safe here.”

Okay, so I was wrong. He didn’t realize I was missing James so much it felt like the sun would never shine again.

Giving my dad as brave of a smile as I could, I hugged him back, before heading around the van to deal with the box of Cloud. I picked up her large crate carefully, hearing the poor kitten give a mewl of fear as her world shifted around underneath her. I said some soothing nothings, carrying her towards my grandma’s house.

The closer I got to it, the more I shuddered. It was a rather small house, only one floor and a basement I never planned on going into. I think it had only two bedrooms, which meant I’d probably be sleeping in the living room. I kept walking towards it along the trail of misshapen round, flat rocks, staring at unfinished siding and the weird marks along the foundation that stuck out of the ground a good two feet. Seriously, when my grandma left her husband—who has long since died—she should have taken a lot more of the money with her….

I gained the doorstep, and found it already open, my mom’s voice coming from inside. I also heard the only vaguely familiar voice of my nana as well. Steeling myself for the upcoming grandmotherly speech about my hair and face and body (no wonder I have self-esteem issues), I went into the room.

My nana yelled at me when she saw me. “Mitchell Angela Nathans, get your tomboy ass in here right this instant! Your grandmother wants to get a good look at her only hope for great grand kids.”

Dear god. She used my full name. I hated it when she used my full name. Trembling a bit, I went into the room, and stared at my nana.

She was beautiful as always. Her hair was as perfect as it had been since the last time I had seen her when I was a little girl. There was not a single wrinkle on her face—if you didn’t know better, you’d say she was in her twenties at most. This is probably due to the fact that she’s had more work done than there are stars in the sky. She was dressed impeccably in a long tight dress, with slits up either side of her legs to her knees. She looked like she could be going out to do modelling, instead of just living in her quiet run down house.

Compared to her, I was a slob. I had not showered in a few days so my hair was lank and greasy, I probably smelled awful, and my face had never been touched by makeup. Ever. I was also dressed in my favorite oversized grey sweater and jeans—an outfit that might as well be a uniform because of how often I wore it. I was one of those people who just re-wears the same sweater or hoodie forever, so often that it actually gets to be a part of them. Knowing I didn’t measure up to her in the least, I bit my lip, trying to smile at her under her intense stare. She noted every flaw in my appearance, and shook her head. “Your mother told me you made a male friend.”

I glared at my mom. Of course she had told her….My mom gave me a bit of  a pained smile back, mouthing, “I thought it would make her go easier on you, Mitchie.”

Of course she was intelligent to think that….Vowing I would send her to the gates of hell later for telling my grandmother about James, I tried to smile at my grandmother, nodding. “Yeah, he’s a guy from my science class. He came to visit me in the hospital.”

My grandmother nodded, before saying sharply, “God does not approve of premarital sex. I would recommend you stop speaking to this boy now, and go to the church. You must have been punished for thinking dirty thoughts about James—you need to confess your sins.”

The hell did she just say? Premarital sex? I hadn’t even kissed him! Angry now, I said as much to my grandmother, albeit in a bit more polite phrasing. This inevitably led to a screaming match with her, during which my mom wisely fled the vicinity before I turned on her and tore off her head. My grandmother kept calling me a slut and a whore, telling me that God would make me pay for my sins by unleashing the dogs of hell on me so they would eat my skin.

Okay, so this was getting way overly creepy. Her eyes were focused right at me, not blinking any more. Her voice was steadily climbing higher and higher until I could no longer hear it but feel it vibrating through the air around me. All around her neighborhood, I heard dogs barking like crazy.

A few seconds after her voice became impossible to hear, my dad grabbed me and dragged me out of there. He said only five words as he shoved me and my mom back into the van with all of our stuff: “We’re going to a hotel.”

My mom nodded, seeming a bit numb. Not wanting to speak to her, I hugged my knees to my chest, glaring daggers at the back of her head.

I won’t bother transcribing the next hour and a half. I’ll just skip to where things get interesting again, in a cheap hotel room not a half hour’s drive from there. We had finally gotten more food into us, the subs my mom had brought us having long since gotten uneatable.

I was curled up in the bed, Cloud in my lap. We’d snuck her in in Dad’s coat pocket, making the little kitten promise not to meow so much and get us kicked out. My mom was looking between my dad and I now, a confused expression on her face. Clearly she was figuring out that something was not right with us.

Before she could ask, my dad told her everything, his matter of fact tone making it hard for her to disbelieve. When he got to the part about how his gift had passed on to me, my mom stared over at me, her mouth hanging open. I nodded, shrugging. To offer more proof, I turned my back and moved my sweater and t-shirt up around my neck, showing her the scratches on my left shoulder. From what I could feel, and the mildly worried look on my dad’s face, the marks from Pedobear’s claws hadn’t yet faded. I pulled my sweater back down, and waited for my dad to stop talking.

When he was done speaking, the look on my mom’s face was priceless. She clearly thought we were crazy. But I could also tell that she could really think of nothing to say to disprove our claims, especially when I let her get a closer look at the bandages around Cloud’s poor left front leg. My dad willingly attested to having seen a large piece torn out of Slenderman’s suit jacket—a piece he now knew had been used to bandage Cloud’s leg.

Deciding it was my turn, I swallowed, and told them as much as I knew about what I had been seeing in my dreams. Even though they didn’t know enough of the references to get it, they got a bit of an understanding of the insanity my mind—and the game—had become.

Finally, when the stories were done, my mom pulled out her laptop and gave it to me. It was really fancy—one of those unbelievably expensive and impossibly thin ones. I bit my lip, unsure of what she wanted. She just gave me a small smile and said, “Play, Mitchie. I want to see this for myself, if that’s okay with you.”

I had never been more frightened to plug in a USB. Once I got the game up and loading, my mom was already making herself some coffee, my dad holding Cloud in his lap. While we waited for the game to load, I looked around at my family. They had to be pretty brave right now, knowing that there were countless dangers that could be waiting for us. But they stayed here with me, not calling me crazy or running away. They just stood by me patiently, letting me know everything would be okay.

Finally, the game loaded. I loaded my world, and found myself at the foot of the steps, where I had been before I woke up. I moved the character around, finding no sign of the giant floating creeper head. Yay?

Deciding I should check on the outside world, I left the living room, and stopped dead in my tracks.

Everything was gone.

The archways were gone. The lake was all dried up. The hills surrounding the valley had massive craters everywhere in them. Scattered little blocks of food and materials lay everywhere, remnants of a once beautiful world. The trees were reduced to nothing.

Herobrine had destroyed my home.

And that was when I heard it, the chilling, impossible voice: “Wherever you go, I’ll be with you….”

I turned slowly around, and stared right into white eyes.


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