Saturday, December 19, 2015

Upon Reflection

When the last of the archer-skeletons crumbled and no more Ebonmen gurgled and flitted about, then I stood alone in the desert for a long while.

My sweat chilled me in the morning air, and then the sun soaked into my clothes and warmed me up again. Reflexively, my mind strained to interpret this and translate it into some kind of analogy for my condition. If this labor produced anything, it has since melted like a thin drift of snow and I mayn't record it here.

Tired in my limbs and tired of myself. I stared off into the featureless blue sky, an unending and consistent hue of robin's egg. No birds, no clouds. No squirrels chittered or sprinted up rough bark; no children laughed and shrieked in the distance. Biter slid from my fingers as I stood there unsteadily, entranced with nothingness, in the broad sea of sand.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Story in the Stones

The nightmare legion assembles outside the desert temple.
To my dismay, the pyramid temple was surrounded by fell beasties, milling about as though expecting an event to erupt and coalesce them into an organized platoon—or even a company, so numerous were they. I ground my molars as my eyes adjusted to take them all in, to differentiate the Explodicons from the cacti, to pick out the tall and slender humanoids as black as the night itself, for there were a few of these about as well.

All of my senses were on high alert. Agasado, to his extensive credit, held perfectly still while I took the lay of the land. Now, I have very little skill with the base function of chivalry, that is, fighting from horseback (Old French chevaler, "knight"; Latin caballarius, "pack-horse"). I certainly had no desire to abuse Agasado's patience with grazing cuts with a sword or nasty cracks about the skull with my bow, during my preliminary learning phase, so I rode him out a certain distance to a clearing, then crept around the largest group of these predatory nasties.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Gazing Pool

"Nature, in return for his love, seems
to adopt him as her especial child."
What became of the explosion-cultists?

Were they hoisted on their own petard?

Surely this place could not have been erected by the monsters themselves. Surely not.

With the pyramid temple secured, I returned to Agasado (starting to have second thoughts about this moniker). He had patiently waited for me, milling about in a mildly restive state entirely appropriate to a high-spirited and healthy stallion. I admired his discipline and wondered at his trainer. Myself, I have an affinity with animals, one well documented if I may be completely honest with myself. Documented by no less august a personage than Nathaniel Hawthorne himself, most kindly. But thus it is with the small critters, the chipmunks and little brown birds; to bond with and manage a large creature like a horse, wild and willful, that is an achievement I must respect with some awe. Like I said, I get along with Agasado just fine, but I admire the hand that steadied his nerves and gave him to trust.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Dapple Gray and the Demesne

Now it's time for Thoreau to know the dappled stallion.
There is nothing else to do today but explore my environment. I'm now living in a desert, which heretofore has been absent in my direct experience, and as there are no other pressing concerns (save the protracted, long-term ones I've plotted), I will avail myself of the leisure.

I'm thinking of what to do with the horse. There is no hay here to feed him currently, yet he (the horse is very apparently male, before anyone chide me for crass assumptions) does not appear emaciated. Once my own garden is underway I should be able to provide for him, at any rate.

As I said, he is calm around me and does not mind the scent of human, apparently. He is outfitted with tack and harness, and his coat is a healthy mottled gray with few blemishes or scrapes. Whether he originates from here or was selected and brought hither from that wild herd I discovered so long ago, there is no way for me to tell. All I could do was assess his flanks and rub his velvety nose while trying to come up with a name for him.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Far Away, So Close

It wasn't until the second day on the sea that I realized how much I miss sailing. I hadn't done much of it back in Massachusetts, truth be told, but the opportunity presented itself fairly regularly in this unlikely world. I've sailed out of desperation, for survival and exploration, and I've sailed strictly for the leisure of it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Decision Is Made For Me

Thoreau is cultivating his pigs, to prepare a large to-go lunch.
Diligent Reader, may I address you casually, do you recall the last time I fled a place? Do you remember what was going on when I finally decided it was time to pack up and leave? Let me remind you.

I had been on Ellery Island, you will no doubt remember, when I had been tergiversating over this exact same situation. I was growing weary of the one location and needed to expand and challenge myself, so better to invigorate my faculty with new air and revitalized blood. While I entertained these discussions, the monsters on that patch of land began manifesting an alarming new strategy, taking me completely unawares and nearly terminating my existence once again. (When will be the last time, I wonder?)

The obvious conclusion to be drawn, thus, is that the monsters are somehow attuned to my thoughts. Just as the critters and small birds of Concord had sensed my good nature and befriended me in displays of unity and support to guests, so too do these aberrations of nightmare sniff the changed breeze when my thoughts drift and shift. For no sooner had I merely begun to entertain the possibility of leaving the villagers' cabin than they stepped up their offense. This morning I spotted no fewer than three witches milling about behind my quarters. I pounced upon them easily enough, only to be flanked by Explodicons that emerged from I know not where. While I could knock these back to a safer, more manageable distance, abruptly my vision began to jar and rattle, as a gale of arrows lodged violently into my armor. For as I had descended into the depression behind my cabin to wrangle the Explodicons, no less than a squad of archer-skeletons crested the ridge to pepper me with their volleys.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Roads Not Taken

Thoreau is engaged in lots and lots of this.
Most of the time it yields nothing, yet still he persists.
Not much new to add in this department. I'm back to mining, sorry to say. I'm no longer carving out a complete railway to my island of origin; I am, however, hewing through stone several meters above that track, fanning at exactly the same intervals until I've created parallel rills of perilously deep free-falls in the rock. Should I misstep and tumble down these, there would only be smooth granite and andesite for me to grasp at, and as my tender fingernails are not up to biting into volcanic mineral, my fleshy corpore would accelerate until it struck bedrock, which as I've stated before is wholly indestructible.

So I'll watch my step, and I'll continue to mine away in search of minerals. I did find a few veins of iron and gold, a little more ante for my furnace's pot. Not that I was ever a card-fancier, I merely know these terms. Lately I find myself scraping the recesses of my musty skull for all the old axioms and... what's the word... colloquialisms which spiced the dialogue of my former community. As I lack any suitable company for conversation, I can only practice my faculty of speech by reading aloud these journal entries, and then only less than half of each day, as the sun rapidly streaks across the sky and plunges the terrain into darkness, when my sonorous voice should attract the usual variety of malefic supernatural entities.

Friday, November 27, 2015

"Listen Very Carefully to Me."

He makes himself right at home.
I was very startled to see another person, after Selidon and Voessi slipped away under cover of night so long ago. That is, I assume they fled. They could easily have been devoured by night creatures, but that would have had to have been a very thorough job, as I've been over this territory dozens of times and haven't found so much as a blood stain or a fingertip left behind.

The stranger walked right into my little house, and immediately I had a flashback of days gone by. Back in Massachusetts, that is: it was known among my acquaintances that they had but to walk right through my door and make themselves at home. If I were not in, they would leave a little note saying they'd missed me, or would entwine a small grass ring they'd crafted while waiting for me. It saddened me to recall these suddenly, for at the time I acted very haughty and cool about it, though inwardly I was rather delighted and charmed by their thoughtfulness. Now, of course, I'm exceedingly famished for friendly social discourse and I miss those past interactions with a keen longing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Corruption of Society

The author's writing desk, replete with hovering journal and quill.
All right, I want it known that I don't wholly reject technology. I hope I made that clear last time, but just in case there is any room for misunderstanding... I wish to record, in my own hand, that there are allowances to be made. I don't like the concept of energy-slaves, which is essentially what these devices are that we contrive to do our labor for us, but inasmuch as these mechanisms (trains, printing press, Morse's telegraph, &c.) do not exploit sentient beings or animals—who possess their own sentience, I quite assure you, but this is grist for another entry—I suppose I can overlook them to a degree.

I maintain that we should endeavor to enjoy these while maintaining a balance with the natural world: just because we have this miraculous, lightning-fast telegraph, let us not forget how to settle down with our neighbors and share some ripping yarns over a few beers (especially if someone else is paying: beer, like information, wishes to be free). Yes, we may avail ourselves of the "steel-horse" upon its gleaming rails, but let us not lose the appreciation of a restorative autumn's walk from house to neighbor's house, listening to the birds and watching the musquash scamper across the banks of-...

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Underground Railroad

Terminus: Ellery Island (Bartram, another day).
That is done. It is done, my one major craft, and hopefully the penultimate miracle I manage in this insane and contradictory world. I have recreated the Underground Railroad...

Hmm. As accurate as that may be in a strictly geological sense, my meager joke seems to me disrespectful of the endeavors of my family and our actual support to facilitate the escape and liberation of fellow enslaved humans. While I do like a petty witticism now and then, it should not be the dispensation of one class to mock the plight and suffering of those in a disadvantaged class. It is neither brave nor clever—and certainly it is in no sense noble—to capitalize upon the misery of others for one's idle amusement. Mock yourself, poke holes in those above you, but do not admire yourself for ridiculing human tragedy.

To bring the reader up to date, should one be so inclined to hear a whole lot of nothing, I have been laid up a fortnight while my sorely tried body manages its miracle of healing and regeneration. The diligent reader will no doubt be familiar with my misgivings against wanton advances in technology. I'll assume this is true, for the sake of my little observation now, though my book sales would suggest a less-than-rapt audience.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en

Happy Hallowe'en from Waldencraft! Thoreau will dig his way out soon, with lots to say about his adventures.

Guest Commentary: Albert Camus

Bonsoir à tous. Albert Camus here, filling in for Thoreau just for the interim.

Sorry for the disruption, but maybe you guys haven't noticed. That'd be fitting, wouldn't it. Poor guy's out there, busting his hump on his little chain of islands, or somewhere on the Lost Continent or whatever. His last message to the world is that he's going deep into some mysterious caverns near the bottom of the world, trying to create an amazing transcontinental railway on his lonesome. His only obstacle, after the crushing loneliness and astounding geographical distances he has to cross, is an unending horde of horrifying monsters that defy rational understanding. And he says, "Back in a bit," and then we never hear from him again, and you don't even bat an eye. That's priceless. Isn't that just the way?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thoreau's Crazy Train

The fanning method of mining.
Many days have been spent on the back-breaking labor of digging the underground railway. While the activity itself is entirely uninteresting, affording me a liberal week of neglecting my journal (for what is there to update? Pontificating upon the blisters of my hands? The unchanging scenery of a one-meter-by-two-meter corridor in stone?), there are in fact a few aspects and discoveries I would like to record here for my own benefit.

Mind you, this is intensely boring work. To create a railway, I carve out just enough room to run a minecart down, plus headroom for myself. This has been a trial-and-error process: I stand two meters tall in this realm, and when I sit in the minecart, I still require two meters height and one meter in width. This is the barest necessity for a gangway. While digging this out, of course, it is advantageous to start "fanning", that is, mining large side passages as far as I may reach in all directions, at intervals of two meters, to advance my odds of finding mineral deposits. While this triples my work time, it is essential for personal development and acquisition of resources, so for the present time I see no alternate route about this.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Beginning of a Plan

I have sighed many times over this article which now I write. My spine has cramped with my scribe's position, sitting on the oaken floorboards in the cabin which once Selidon and Voessi inhabited. I did not sleep last night but paced the floor, attempting to sort in my head the various thoughts and dreams and half-baked notions which ramble about in there like a pack of feral children. There is no tea to be had, nor pipe to be smoked, none of the usual distractions or vices, even if I should break with convention and take one up. Because why not, in this world where nothing makes sense?

The author entertains himself by
mocking the skeleton for 15 minutes.
When I press my cheek against the coarse glass of the cabin's windows, it is cold. The sky is dark, though I see the pink hues beginning to form on the horizon. An archer-skeleton ambles past the window, bow at the ready, sounding for all the world like someone has kicked a xylophone down a staircase; soon he will burst into flames, if he does not find a sheltering tree. I watch the back of his bleached skull round the corner of the cabin as he stalks off, and I have no emotional attachment to his presence. Not fear, not revulsion, even my academic curiosity wanes.

Oh. He has fallen into the well, in a misguided attempt at self-preservation. Surely, there is enough shade in there to guard him from the sun, and should he catch fire, he is perpetually bathed in cool water. But now he can't climb out nor operate his bow to pluck out the eyes of casual observers.

I could draw an analogy between us, but honestly, it would take too much out of me.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lost to Dreaming

The author long ago constructed a fishing-shack on a small island
I have said several times in this journal that I cannot sleep. All the more surprise, then, that I found myself waking up upon the floor of the villagers' cabin. Were there sheep in the area, I should make a bed of their wool... come to think of it, I do know where to locate some, not far from here.

But I slept, I tell you O my reader. I had fallen asleep at some moment last night, and I plunged into a deep slumber. Were this the usual world I was born into and knew all my life, I could reasonably assume I had exhausted myself with all my boating and climbing. Oh yes, yesterday I spent the entire day sailing around Sewall Sea. I had a clear orientation of south, based on the rising and setting of the sun, and my little wooden boat does not seem to drift but sails true, unerringly true. This is the most valuable factor for navigating the ocean in this or any world, a craft that does not list or stray. Due to this, I was able to sail south and, after some hours, catch sight of Ellery Island. My crops and livestock were doing well, but my maps were not in the dwelling-house. It was no trick to sail from there to Bartram Island, of course, and there I found my old maps.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


The vale behind the cabin: poppies, tulips, no huckleberries
This rainy, overcast morning finds me more withdrawn and taciturn than normal. I'm tired of "the fresh woods and pastures new" just now, though I trust I will not always be so. It surprises me to discover within myself an emptiness for other people, when so often in Concord the abundance of them drove me into the woods.

It is no surprise, of course, to miss the chirp of birds in conversation, as this world has none. And as I walk about the former villagers demesne, a random memory has burst into my mind: there are no huckleberries here. Why should there be, of course, when Providence has populated this bizarre realm with plants and animals in a manner conforming to no sensible pattern or system. There are horses and cows but no dogs or cats; there are potatoes without cabbage.

I am a little surprised at myself for this nostalgia for things I once took for granted, for people I sought to escape. I confess to feeling a bit childish at this moment.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Heart of a Pig

The map will have to wait! The most exciting development has occurred!

When that it happened I took a moment's whim to settle down to while an hour by fishing, I did this in my usual fashion (lacking pipe or cup of tea, of course): I found a nice slope by the house, I carved a serviceable pole from a stripling and some spider's silk, then seated myself comfortably to cast into the lagoon.

Yet another dreaded sea-temple, uncomfortably near the cabin.
Now, one troubling thing about this atoll is that it is frightfully near another of those underwater temples that blister up occasionally throughout the Sewall Sea. To overreach and strain the analogy, it was not unlike the woman I thought I loved, where at first I took in her comport and façade at face value, believing her to represent herself as I saw her. Call me naïve, yes, but no moral crime was committed by yours truly in assuming people to be representing their truest selves. When in the course of time, as must naturally transpire, one becomes aware of greater depth and dimension to another person—and certainly, no human has ever laid out all their cards upon the table, at first meeting—this manifested in a certain turbulence beneath the placid surface, shall we say. And this is reasonable and acceptable in a beautiful young woman, as it is in any human being; on this I am confident we all may agree. All of us, we have our undercurrents, our riptides, our ebbs and flows. How churlish would it be to permit these within us but little tolerate them in others?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Learning the Language

The homestead, as the author has come to consider it. For now.
I find this village pleasant... well, it is inaccurate to call this a village, as it really is only one solitary house on a hillock, standing above an atoll. One cabin and its garden: I'm sure I don't know what could be as pleasant.

Except, of course, for another couple of houses somewhere nearish. I must wonder what has happened to the other houses, if others there were. What is it about the area that retains these two villagers to this house? Are they the keepers of a disappeared tradition? Are they defenseless to travel across great stretches of land, just the two of them? Are they waiting for the others to return?

I cannot answer any of these, but the truth is that I have picked up a few words in their tongue. I am not fluent, but it was a stroke of that particular genius/obviousness that we seemed to hit upon recently, which compelled us to share the names we have for various objects. Promptly we traded our words for, of course, the crops: wheat, carrots, potatoes, and then water and then soil. When we established the pattern of education, that is, isolating an object and then naming it, we were able to properly introduce ourselves. They know me as "Henry"; they are Selidon and Voessi. While they appear identical, they nonetheless manifest subtle traits that distinguish them from each other, not the least of these being their occupations. Selidon is a shepherd (we have amassed many other words through drawings and rather superior pantomime on my part) and Voessi is a fisherman. As soon as we established this, they wanted to begin trading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Storming the Village

The witch spotted me when I drew within a few meters of her: an inopportune bolt of lightning illuminated my craft and caught her eye. As soon as I was detected, I leapt from the boat and scrambled for stable footing on shore. She knocked back a potion and lights began to swirl around her person, the effect of whatever she had used to empower herself, I know not what. Her hand darted under her robes and withdrew another potion; I nocked an arrow and envisioned a golden line from my bow to her core, despite rivulets of the storm blurring my vision. When she drew back to hurl her vessel, I released the arrow, and it flew true to bury itself into her throat. Her eyes rolled in their sockets, she dropped the bottle and clawed at her throat, sinking to her knees. With a second arrow loaded I cautiously approached her. Her lips pulled back in a terrifying sneer and her jaw worked, but then the life drained from her face and she collapsed upon the sand.

The A.C.M.s groaned and pounded at the cabin's door.
I released the breath I was not aware I'd been holding. Some savage instinct within me overrode my faculties: I searched the wretched body for useful items, then planted my boot to her shoulder and rolled her into the ocean, her purple robes swiftly vanishing within the depths of the Sewall Sea. I am surprised at myself for the callousness of my behavior, it is not something I would have imagined myself capable of. And yet this is the fact of it, as I record it without waiver or apology.

This accomplished, I turned my attention toward the large stone house, only to witness two A.C.M.s battering at the oak door. I sprang into action: two arrows pierced the back of one animated corpse, and it collapsed. The other seemed not to notice, so I carefully lined up two more shots and dispatched it as well.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Journey Worsens

Vast stretch of desert, entirely unfamiliar to the author.
It should surprise no one that I have found the great continent which was my destination. I cannot determine what was my intent to deceive the reader of this journal, in pretending that I was abandoning Ellery island with no specific designs to land. I suppose it was more romantic to sound as though I'd trundled up my essentials into a small wooden tub and flung myself once more into the vagaries of the Great Sewall. No reader can be more disappointed by the mundanity of my itinerary than I am by my flimsy deceit; I think that I do not mistake in this.

That behind us, I have found the southern coast to the lands I knew full well to exist. Where I have gone awry, to the reader's delight, is that I recognize nothing of these lands. According to my map, I should have found enormous, savage snow-capped mountains, down which fearsome rivers of lava ran to most dramatic effect. Spruce carpeted the sides and caves enticed the adventuresome eye, both for ready-made shelter and allure of what prizes they contained.

Nope, couldn't find a shred of this. No mountains, no lava, no spruce. Just a vast desert covered in sand and more sand, with traces of cactus and sugar canes, plus a low and miserly scrub-brush about which there seems no magnificent promise. I skirted the coast, scanning for anything remotely familiar, as disappointment filled up my vessel before catalyzing into dread: if I couldn't recognize the land I expected, flying due north across Sewall Sea, what were my odds of turning southward and drifting to the familiar lands?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Last Ditch of the Horrors

It is no matter to build a new boat. I've nurtured a thriving grove of trees on Ellery Island, and I have deconstructed and repurposed the trestles in nearly every rail gangway within my ambit. Nonetheless, I admit to being perturbed at the mindless monsters that shouldered my little craft out of its specially designed safe-hold and on into the waves. Voiceless my rage, still did I hustle downstairs and take out a mob of them in my controlled monster-generator. I came out loathing myself but, I confess with savage pride, a little sated.

This is true and I need admit it to myself. If I cannot be absolutely honest on these pages, to myself, then there is no point to staining this book with my thoughts. There is no point. If I cannot frankly address the world, if I refuse to stare into my own depths and honestly chronicle all that I find, but instead attempt to deceive and mislead the true authority... there is no point to continuing this journal. I will not contrive a sottisier as my only remaining testimony.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Stifling Complacency

Baah-baah, they say. Cluck-cluck. They bide their time.
Oh, what do I do with myself now... I have a system in place, that serves me well. It's called "playing it safe": there still are random factors beyond my control, this is well, but on the main I'm able to mitigate the worst disasters due to having managed my property with discipline. On the surface of Ellery Island, my sheep and chicken mingle well, produce eggs and wool, and when they are numerous I render them to meat-stuffs. Between them and my well-tended plots of carrots, potatoes and wheat, I will never go hungry. As Heraclitus saith...

...nope, that's still gone. I've lost all my Classics. This saddens me deeply.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Measure of a Man

Coal lies within easy reach; diamonds may be had,
if one chooses to risk the threat of burbling lava.
There are days, weeks perhaps, when I mine solely for the meditative comfort it affords me. Perhaps this sounds strange, to you of my civilized brethren, for whom society has been forged and tweaked for the surplus of creature comforts and convenience, and you cannot understand my sentiment. Generations prior, men reaped modest benefits commensurate to the sweat of their brow. Integrity was quantified by the effort an ambitious laborer plied to his trade.

This is no longer true, as merit is gauged by how many menials and slaves one may indenture toward one's own riches, and somehow the whole of a nation has been finagled into compliance with this horrific estimation. But on my island—or on my secondary island—yet may the purest estimation of a productive being be evaluated strictly by productivity. No one does my work for me; I hire no one, I commission no one to labor for my profit. I stake the estimation of my worth not on any corporation of desperate lackeys and subservient drones.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Unfathomable Depths

The author mines directly overhead. Never, ever do this.
It seems I am not much for learning from my own mistakes. I have commented on the quality peculiar to humans, that they are highly resistant to learning from others. It strikes me there are those who pursued this folly or that boondoggle, ran afoul of Fortuna, suffered for it, and saw fit to record their misadventures to better prepare future generations, only to be met by a resentful and indifferent audience. That was amusing, thinks the reader to himself, but it's clear where he went wrong, how his thoughts were poorly composed. I am not prone to such carelessness. At that point, it's a race to see which human will repeat which part of history first, with a secondary competition to register the greatest amazement that no one had the facility to warn them from experience or at least offer sage counsel.

Who said I'm a misanthrope? Go put your face in the corner, dunce.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Thoreau kicks off from shore and drifts leisurely from harm.
After that hair-raising adventure, I have permitted myself to relax and recuperate for a day or two. Too much rest is rust, I know, but in this case I think no one could blame me for wanting to stretch out in my bed, behind the security of meter-thick polished granite walls and a stout oak door, watching the sun crawl across the sky.

Not that day, you understand. I didn't even wait for my clothes to dry before I clambered into another makeshift boat and set sail. Night had fallen and the A.C.M.s were out: they had emerged into being within the livestock pen, however, and they find the simple wooden fences more than their match. They can manage staircases but not ladders; I have heard the fiercer of these mindless revenants pound at my door, but I haven't seen them make a try for the fence posts. Adios to these odious hosts, it's the ocean life for me.

The Last Gasp

Well, that didn't go very well. But, spoiler alert: I survived. Sorry if my handwriting gives that away.

This is going to be a long one. Fetch yourself a beer or suitable potation, avail yourself of the Honest Jakes, then come back and get comfortable.

In salvaging gangway trestles, Thoreau had to sacrifice other items
like this fireproof leather armor. You know.
As you know, I had a very solid plan established by which to safeguard my continued survival. In my skylarking about the facilities, I happened upon a large room with a broad patch of natural soil. This saved me the work of stumbling through mineshafts in a vain attempt to recall where I'd seen deposits of loam, collect these, and haul them back to my grounds. The dirt was already there, and most of the lighting by which plants photosynthesize their sustenance was present, in the form of a hotly glowing spill of lava. All I had to do was plant my carrots (there were three in my pocket) near the light and grind my skeleton bones into meal to hasten their progression.

But it wouldn't do to have lava spilling all over my crops, would it? So I constructed a fence from the salvaged trestles supporting the circuitous gangways. This promptly caught fire and spread more rapidly than I would have supposed. A third of the fence was lost before I could put the fire out—flames are startlingly susceptible to stone axes—but the carrots were safe. I tilled the soil, planted my roots, and dug a trench for the water.

Now: to find water.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Underground Accommodations

What archaic people laid these tracks? It is a mystery to all.
Now I'm in a bit of a bind. The good news is that my mining on the second island (I really should name these, now that there's more than one) has not only been fruitful in production, but has led to other, mysterious caverns as well! Some of these are merely large cavities in which a bat has become trapped, but in one case I uncovered an underground pool. With some cunning pick-work, I styled it into a handsome little sauna, I think.

I have also disclosed an alarming and wholly unexpected discovery: that of a network of railways and trestles. All this, a few dozen meters below the surface of the second island, one of only two in my worldly awareness. I can scare believe it, but the fact of train tracks, coal cars, wooden load-bearing struts throughout a seemingly endless labyrinth of gangways is incontrovertible. It would be easier to stand in a field of marigolds at high noon, attempting to dissuade your company of the fact of the great spread of grass, the bright, beaming flowers or the sun that beats upon your heads. And yet I struggle to reconcile with this, for it means that there are—were—other people here. How long ago, I cannot say: they have abandoned their devices and their mining is incomplete, leaving me to exhume as much iron ore, lapis lazuli, gold and diamonds as my frame may bear.

The bad news is that I have become expertly lost.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Large Goals and Small Victories

Spoiler: Thoreau gained a carrot.
I've been remiss in journaling. Let me express no little regret for this, for the past few days have shewn great works of wonder, but of these two are most paramount and they are too important to "save until the end"... Ugh, that puts me in mind of those entertainment-hunds who slaver endlessly for the next chapbook or penny dreadful, and their drive to endlessly inform you of how many they've read consumes the whole of their being. But God save you, should you hint at the events at the end of each publication! Oh, heaven forfend! Woe betide them who are not suitably precious about the endings of these tawdry melodramas...

I apologize for carrying on. It is an emotionally laden topic. I care not for the preservation of these petty distractions, but I have suffered the hammers and the tongs of those for whom little else matters.

So let me ruin the grand surprise of this entry and announce my two greatest revelations: I now have a second island and a carrot. The carrot did not come with the island. I was flanked...

Strange Notes

The author commits a tactical error.
It's been a day of nothing upon the sea. To alleviate the boredom I've just devoured a roast mutton chop, and I wasn't even hungry. I just wanted something to break up the blear of the sky against the waters. It was a good piece of meat, and I marvel at how it's made suitable for our bodies by roasting but not raw. It's almost as though life were a large and complex game, in which conditions must be met in sequences, in order for us to progress. You can grow grain, but it must be ground, mixed with yeast and toasted in fire before you can eat it; or you can give it to an animal who eats it directly, and you can eat that animal, but first it must be dressed and roasted. To claim this is merely coincidence is to beggar the imagination.

At any rate, I enjoyed the chop, tossed the bone into the briny depths, wiped the grease off on my trousers. It took no more than ten minutes of slow chewing to get through it, and now I'm back to staring across the limitless horizon with nothing to break it in any direction. My mind bounces around in its cage like an ill-tempered monkey, desperate for any plaything to distract it.

I thought I would make a few notes about the sundry strange qualities to my world, to kill an hour or a few (though one should never wish to lose even a minute of one's life, I trow).

Friday, September 18, 2015

A-Boating I Shall Go

I awoke today (strange to say, since I do not sleep) with a fire in my chest.

Morning breaks on safe harbor.
All morning, I have paced the sandy strand along the lagoon that is the entire southeast section of my island. I say "southeast" though of course I have no orientation but the sun's track across the sky: I have arbitrarily selected a "north" for my own point of reference, and as there are none but God's beasts to quibble with me on this point, the democratic process was swift and entirely satisfactory. But up and down the banks I strode, scratching my chin where the skin flakes at the base of my beard. I made a point of breathing and appreciating the freshness of the local air, in hopes of blowing the cobwebs from my skull's interior. To my left spread an apron of sturdy tulips, before my stone fortification, and their flashing colors occasionally distracted me from my thoughts. I stared up into the sky, where flawlessly rectilinear clouds drifted at a uniform ceiling above the sea across a dome of deep azure. I paced the lagoon up and down, back and forth; the two wild pigs peeked at me from within my oak forest but did not approach.

I haven't mentioned this lagoon yet. (Lord save me, I nearly wrote "my lagoon". Such arrogance.) The ocean is deep without limit, as nearly as I may perceive, so the sandy shoal here is quite a relief. Sometimes an octopus may drift in and out; other times, skeletons or other fell beasts wander through it, their speed impeded, and I may pick them off at a safe distance with my bow, collecting what they drop with convenience. But I've been thinking, the shape of this lagoon should be ideal to secure a small boat, and the shallowness of this water could only facilitating disembarking.

The resounding question: why have I not thought of crafting a boat until now?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Ambulatory Corpses of Men

Night of the living Ambulatory Corpses of Men.
Conflict comes to us in many forms. Some say that life is nothing but conflict, internal and external, intentional and entirely outside of consciousness or sentience. What does this mean? There's the conflict of a newly born baby struggling to learn the bizarre and illogical language into which it is born, without a base language for point of reference. There's the conflict of that baby requiring so many things, the requests for which it cannot put words, like "I'm tired" or "I'm hungry" or "a snake has bitten me. Extricate it and fetch the physician as swiftly as possible."

There's the conflict of living beings that struggle against the elements to survive, enduring mudslides, hurricanes, several feet of snow, the brutal and unforgiving sun, just to see one more day of scraping for food. There's the conflict of living beings in pursuit of this, while simultaneously avoiding being attacked and preyed upon by other entities who necessarily share their goals. Much higher up on the philosophical infrastructure is the concern of sentient beings who riddle themselves into intractable corners: what is my purpose here? For what do I toil so hard to survive? What right have I to take the lives of others, merely to prolong my own pointless existence? How can any person anticipate any potential reward in the Afterworld, having ramped up his own success and survival upon an immeasurable heap of corpses and carcasses? What is the nature of such an Afterworld as would reward these heinous acts? Where did I get the idea such acts are abhorrent; from what other world did I come that informed me any differently?

I could really use that cup of tea, right about now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How It May Be We Arrived

Sunset over the field of tulips.
Animate flesh-eating corpses aside, skeletons riding giant spiders aside... this island is not a wholly unwelcome experience, I must admit. It's quiet, untamed and natural. All my needs are provided for.

I would rather great tracts of land about me, the better to stretch my legs in a healthful exertion. Half of the island is a sand bar, the other half is good loam for my garden and some several trees. There is also a variety of Dutch tulips, if I'm not mistaken, displaying a palette of gentle hues. Their mere presence is calming and even cheering, but it is of late my practice to perch beside my palisade and watch the sun go down beyond the ocean, aligned with my field of flowers. It truly is a sublime luxury, not gotten with gold or labor—it's simply there. It always was.

It's interesting to note that one end of the island is home to large oak trees, while the other end seems to harbor some thriving birch. I wonder which came here first, and upon what vesper their seeds were borne? Was it the labor of some diligent swallow, to carry the seeds in some desperate pitch across the ocean, to this small speck of an island it could not (outside of unknowable animalistic intuition) have been aware? The coincidences are too great. I reckon it likelier the seeds have simply drifted across the vast, featureless expanse of the ocean and, with decades and decades to play itself out, happened to wander close enough to the soil to take root.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Pocket-Dimension

First things first, I suppose. As I said, I woke up on an entirely bereft island, a dot amid a great sea stretching to every horizon. The sun blazed overhead and a cool breeze carried the scent of kelp and brackish waters.

Thoreau regards his modest garden.
There wasn't another human soul around, though this small and amorphous island was populated by convenient pairs of cows, pigs, chickens and sheep. Convenient, I say, as breeding these would supply a third of my diet (the remaining sectors being those of fish and such plants as could be scraped from the soil). Moreover, I anticipated the cows should provide milk; the sheep, a goodly measure of wool; and the pigs... well, should I craft or otherwise come upon a saddle, I should say a stout pig might provide a few hours of perambulatory adventure.

But to breed any of these, I needed wheat, and as I'd said, this proved profoundly reluctant to produce. Now, as everyone knows, pigs require carrots for sustenance, yet none was to be had on my little island. I wasn't sure what I could do to secure a varied diet, if anything were to be done.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Way Past the First Entry

I would have updated my journal sooner, but I didn't have one. I had to make one for myself.

That necessitated a string of events: first I had to dig out my shelter, as you do, then punch a tree into blocks and convert these into planks and sticks, then tools. I built my little crafting table, fashioned a pick, and went to work on the ground beneath my feet. When I had enough cobblestone, naturally I built a furnace, and the rest is details.