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.

So there was just me on this island, which I haven't bothered to name yet. Is this mound of sand and dirt my sovereign nation, that I should label it with some tawdry, self-important appellation? (And even if I gave it a name, with whom should I share it? The sheep? The oak trees?)

A discrete and singular realm, lodged in the Void.
I came to fully clothed in my customary raiment, the same clothes I'd worn on the previous night's constitutional. I say "previous night" though in truth I cannot have any idea how long I'd been unconscious: were this island as remote as it appeared, perhaps I lay dormant for a week or more, being spirited from my home by unknown assailants via unguessable means across astronomical leagues. This is as much to suppose as my having been transported to another dimension, either a parallel Earth differing from ours only in certain details or a tiny pocket realm floating in the blackness of space. The possibilities beggar the imagination, yet that intellect should better be spent in gainful efforts.

To quote myself, I felt behooved to construct a fine little Yankee dwelling-house, and here the differences between my home world and this island began: where I should have spent a week felling and hauling good Massachusetts red pine and candlewood for a meager cabin, I instead masoned a small fortress for myself within the space of a day. This should not have been possible, especially considering that the days are so much shorter than those to which I'm accustomed: several hundred can pass in the span of my usual diurnal cycle, and I seem to no longer require sleep, as well.

This has been my life so far. I very hastily erected barbican in one short day, I've constructed all necessary implements for digging, planting, hewing and anything else, and I've begun mining beneath my abode. What my little island lacks in breadth, of course, it more than makes up for in depth. By this means I've acquired more than strictly sufficient quantities of coal and iron, for weapons and armor...

Oh yes, there are monsters here. Not merely enormous spiders, but ambulatory skeletons armed to the last man with bows and arrows. There are upright stacks of some green flesh that creep with perfect soundlessness: they rush up to you, if they can see you, and there is only the briefest hiss like a grenadier's fuse to herald a terrific explosion. These usually excavate a goodly tract of land but, I recognize, stand the potential to cave in my little dwelling. I've been caught in the force of several of these blasts and—again, the difference between our worlds—I've survived to record the tale, when in my home world I'm sure my limbs should be distributed over tremendous distances and in considerable disrepair.

Once again, there are no living souls save mine (and such as God's beasts may possess), but there are upright walking corpses, formerly men. Were these victims of some great sailing vessel, lately claimed by the unforgiving sea? They are clothed, they wear a human-like visage but for rotting skin, and the whole of their vocabulary is sublimated to limited variations on a theme of moaning. They gasp, they groan, they shamble toward you inexorably, seeming to sense a warm human body over great distances; they will not attack an animal, for unknown reasons.

Two days ago, one of them dropped a potato.

A healthy, whole potato it was, which I thrust immediately into the ground in hopes of doubling my vegetative menu. Whereas otherwise I should hide safely behind my masoned stone walls, a meter dense, now I find myself in armor and bearing a simple blade, patrolling my limited grounds in hopes of finding a walking undead horror in possession of a carrot.

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