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.